These kickass boxing drills make a ‘knockout’ body totally possible
We’re not saying you’re going to become Laila Ali overnight, but damn if we’re not girl-crushing on her tight bod. Boxers like Ali are notorious for training hard and killing it in the ring, and they’ve got the hard, muscular bodies to prove it. Whether or not you plan on sparring anytime soon, using a boxing workout that combines interval and circuit training is one of the best ways to get you there — toning, trimming and strengthening as you work on your right hook.
By working in “rounds,” boxers work hard for a period of time and then take a short rest. This is known as more of an anaerobic workout, where your calorie burn continues after you have completed the workout. Even if you have never taken a boxing class, you can still incorporate boxing moves into your regular exercise routine and reap the benefits. Here are six fitness drills used in boxing training that don’t require you to know how to throw a “one-two” punch!
For these drills, you will need a timing instrument (i.e., oven clock, personal timer or cell phone). Set the device for two-minute workout intervals with a 30-second rest. If you want to be official about it, you can order a personal boxing timer from everlast.com.
Do these six drills as a single workout (repeat more than once as you get more fit), or incorporate individual drills into your own fitness routine.
Skipping rope builds cardiovascular strength as well as the coordination, timing and rhythm needed in boxing, while working nearly every muscle in your body.
Skip rope drill:
Keep upper body relaxed while jumping a quarter-inch off the ground.
The rope touches the ground just in front of the tips of your toes.
Maintain a slight bend in your knees.
Let your wrists do the work and keep your forearms horizontal to the floor.
Keep elbows close to your sides.
If you trip up, get right back in your rhythm.
Boxing drill no. 2: Torso twist with medicine ball
A standing side-twist with a medicine ball strengthens the core muscles while twisting your body in boxing to make punches more effective.
Torso twist drill:
Depending on your fitness level, use a 5- to 15-pound medicine ball. Hold the medicine ball with both of your hands directly in front of you, keeping your arms straight.
Stand with your back against the wall, legs slightly bent. Twist at the waist to the left, tapping the ball on the wall, then twist to the right. When you twist to the right, pivot your left foot and vice versa. Continue for two minutes.
Note: If you bend your knees a little more in a squat position, you will also work your quads and glutes as you work your shoulders and obliques.
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Boxing drill no. 3: Knees up
This knees-up drill will improve cardiovascular endurance as well as strengthen lower abs and help develop the coordination needed to match hands with feet in boxing.
Standing on the floor, bring one knee, then the other, up to your waist, attempting to reach chest-high. All the while, move steadily forward around the floor in a circle, forward and backward or simply in place, depending on your space.
Hands are held in “hands-up” position until 30 seconds before your rest period, then you “punch up,” throwing punches directly above your head and bringing knees up at a much faster pace until the timer goes off for your rest period.
Boxing drill no. 4: Jump squats
Jump squats are effective in strengthening the legs and core for defensive boxing moves such as the bob and weave.
Jump squats drill:
Start in standing position with feet facing forward and shoulder-width apart, then drop into a squat position and immediately push back up into a jump; try to jump at least 1 foot off the ground.
As you return to the ground, immediately drop back into the squat position, making sure knees don’t go past toes, then repeat the sequence.
You may swing your arms to give your body momentum.
This is an excellent anaerobic exercise that works your cardiovascular system and strengthens your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and even abs and back.
If you get too tired before the two-minute timer goes off, continue with regular squats until your rest period.
Boxing drill no. 5: Mini push-ups
Mini boxer push-ups strengthen triceps, deltoids and back, all of which are used to “turn over” your punches in boxing.
Mini push-ups drill:
Lie face-down on the floor, placing hands palm down right next to the shoulders. Keep elbows in and arms touching the sides of your body. Push your entire body up, then lower. Just rise only 6 inches off of the ground.
Raise your entire body all at the same time, without arching your back. It is important to keep your arms in tight and close to the body.
You can do these on your knees to start and work your way up to doing the push-ups on your feet.
If your arms get too fatigued before the timer goes off, straighten your arms completely and hold your body up until you are ready to start the push-ups again.
Boxing drill no. 6: Core strengthener
This drill requires lying your stomach over a basketball. This exercise will strengthen your abs, obliques and back muscles, and teach you to keep your core constantly tight. This will keep you from getting the air knocked out of you if you are caught with a body blow!
Core strengthener drill:
Lie face-down on a basketball, with your stomach (between hips and ribcage) positioned on the basketball.
Spread your arms and legs wide, straight out, then roll your body from side to side (left and right) on the ball, keeping knees and elbows off the ground.
The trick is to keep your abdominals as tight as possible.
Incorporate this workout into your regular exercise routine and consider taking a boxing class. Boxing shreds calories, improves your cardio health and makes you a lean, mean fighting machine.
Originally published Jan. 2010. Updated Sept. 2016.