4 Boxing Workouts
Sometimes, running just doesn’t cut it. Perhaps the weather stinks. Or your running shoes haven’t been replaced since the Bush administration. Or maybe you just hate running. But you can still get in great shape by using boxing workouts. If you have a pair of boxing gloves, and either have a punching bag or a partner to hold some focus mitts for you, you have the goods to have an awesome workout. A towel may be needed to mop up all your sweat, and don’t worry – no cut man in your corner is needed (but feel free to say “Cut me Mick!” during a workout).
Keep in mind that these routines are just that they’re simply workouts for those who want to improve their conditioning or shed bodyfat. They are not meant to teach boxing technique, focus on fundamentals, or prepare you to be an MMA fighter. They may help you develop a six pack but you’ll need a lot more than that to fight Brock Lesnar.
The issue with most kickboxing routines is that they’re too low on the intensity spectrum. There’s a sweet spot for conditioning and fat loss protocols, and this just so happens to be between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. Bouncing around a punching bag for 60 minutes may help you break a sweat, but it won’t promote fat burning. This is a different concept that calorie burning, as some intensity is needed to force the body to mobilize and ultimately burn fat.
Another problem is that these boxing workouts are auto-regulated. This means that your success with them is dependent on your effort. 30 seconds of punching means an all-out effort – you shouldn’t feel that you can punch for another 30 seconds. If you can then you’ve lowered your intensity, which affects fat metabolism. Sadly, a lot of trainers think that more is better, so they try to drag out conditioning drills to simply tire out their clients. If 5 crisp kicks paired with short rest works well, then 20 kicks is better, right? Not exactly.
If you can push yourself and use smart rest intervals, then these workouts offer a nice alternative to traditional intervals. Let’s get to them.
- Power Endurance. This refers to the ability to do repetitive, intense work. After all, you’re hitting the punching bag, so you want to feel like Rocky while you do it. This workout can serve combat athletes well, as it’s specific to their sport. The idea here is to do a brief set of all out work. In this case, researchers propose the 5-5 concept (1), where you do 5 seconds of all out striking followed by 5 seconds of rest. Sounds easy, but do enough rounds of this (about 10 minutes worth) and you’ll be feeling it.
- Metabolic Conditioning, part 1. The workout is simple. But simple doesn’t mean it will be easy. This conditioning program calls for 20-30 seconds of all out punching, which is very demanding on your conditioning levels(2). You’ll want to couple this with 90 seconds (or more) of rest, or what we call a 1;3 work/rest ratio. This though, is a minimum recommendation. As the weeks go by, simply add more rounds. If you’re feeling extra salty, try lowering the rest 10 seconds week to week.
- Metabolic Conditioning, part 2. This is a more advanced version of part 1. In this case, you combine your 20-30 seconds of punching with all out kicking per leg. So an interval would look like this:
20-30 seconds of kicks with non-dominant leg
20-30 seconds of kicks with dominant leg
20-30 seconds of punching. Rest 3 minutes.
- Power Circuit. For advanced athletes, you can combine modified Olympic lifts with your bag work. The hang position is somewhat similar to a fighting stance, which is beneficial to your punching performance (3). Here’s what a workout could look like:
A1. Hang Power Snatch (bar starts above knee) x 3-4, rest 20 seconds
A2. Punches x 20 seconds, rest 20 seconds
A3. Burpees x 5, rest 20 seconds
Still want to run? Probably not. Boxing workouts are a great conditioning tool. It’s also a nice stress reliever when your boss decides to put the pressure on. Now get your Rocky on and start getting in great shape!
1. Bounty, P.L. Campbell, B.I., et al. “Strength and Conditioning Considerations for Mixed Martial Arts.” (2011) Strength and Conditioning Journal 33;1, 56-67
2. Buse, G.J, Carlos Santanta, J. “Conditioning Strategies for Competitive Kickboxing.” (2008) Strength and Conditioning Journal. 30;4. 42-48
3. Turner, Anthony N. “Strength and Conditioning for Muay Thai Athletes.” (2009) Strength and Conditioning Journal 31;6. 78-92