Image of Anthony Joshua from generationiron.com
Boxing is one of the world’s oldest and most popular sports. The reason why we are so fascinated with boxing is that it is very primal and it takes us back to the very basics. It’s just two people facing each other, trading punches until one of them falls down and can’t get back up. The only rules involved are: No kicks, no headbutts and no punching someone in the crotch.
Another big reason why we enjoy boxing is that we like to imagine what we would do if we were in the boxer’s shoes ourselves. Would we be up to the task? Would we fight through the pain and the blood? Would we pick ourselves up off the ground when everybody thought all hope was lost and then deliver that final blow which knocks your opponent out, sending the audiences to their feet?
Because of this, we have decided to bring together this article on how you can build yourself a boxer’s body.
Image of Anthony Joshua; image credits to Giphy and Showtime
The Body Type Of A Boxer
When you think about boxers, who comes to mind?
Is it Stallone from Rocky, Hillary Swank From Million Dollar Baby, or real-life boxers like Floyd Mayweather, Muhammad Ali, or our very own Vijender Singh who recently went pro!
The one thing all of them had in common is that not only are they absolutely shredded, they also have very lean and athletic bodies as well. This allows them to swerve and move around and avoid their opponent’s punches. Also, you need to ensure that your punches pack a wallop so that when they connect, you can knock your opponents right off their feet.
As Muhammad Ali once famously said,
” Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee.”
Fighters constantly get bruised and battered and they still get back up and fight back. The constant repetition of dodging and avoiding punches and throwing punches of your own requires immense muscular endurance and great cardiovascular health, without which you would tire yourself out in a flash. In modern boxing, it’s mostly a test of endurance and a matter who’s got more left in the gas tank in the final rounds.
Why Is Cross-Training So Important For Boxing?
Boxing matches go on for 12 rounds of 2 to 3 minutes each. That’s half an hour of non-stop fighting, dodging, falling down, recovering and getting back up. In order to go the distance, you need to improve your whole range of physical characteristics:
- Cardio: Cardiovascular health can be developed through swimming, running, and even cross-training regimens like Crossfit, etc.
- Muscular Endurance: Your muscles need to be in tip-top shape so you can shoot and defend punches through the whole 30 minutes of a match. The best way to develop muscular endurance is through regimens like circuit training or yoga.
- Strength And Power: In order to end a match, you need knockout strength in your arms. Your body also needs to be strong enough to absorb the brunt of blow after blow and still not give way to fatigue.
Because of all these reasons, boxers often adopt a cross-fitness approach apart from boxing in order to build up strength and muscle, endurance and stamina, flexibility and dexterity in the boxing ring. Let’s take a look at all the fitness practices which can help you build a boxer’s body.
1.Circuit Training For Boxing
Circuit training is a form of body conditioning or endurance training or resistance training using high-intensity techniques. It targets strength building or muscular endurance. An exercise “circuit” is one completion of all the prescribed exercises in one program. When one circuit is complete, one begins the first exercise again for the next circuit. The time between exercises in the same circuit is short, often with rapid movement to the next exercise. Circuit training can be a great way to develop a boxers fitness.
Circuits can be used to develop aerobic fitness, anaerobic capacity, strength/speed endurance and the ability to maintain movement even under intense fatigue. Circuit training is absolutely essential to building the following characteristics.
Boxing requires anaerobic bursts of energy but it also requires the long-lasting power necessary to stay strong and effective through all the rounds. Circuit training for endurance can be a simple combination of bag work and running. Start with a three-minute round on the heavy bag. Instead of taking a rest period, take yourself outside or get on the treadmill and run a quarter mile at a steady pace. Enough reps of this routine will build your endurance up in no time.
The best boxers in the world have also, always been the fastest boxers in the world. If you are fast at throwing punches and moving around the ring, you gain a considerable edge over your opponent.
Start off with a three-minute round of speed punches on the heavy bag. Focus on speed and punch the bag with straight 1-2 punches as fast as you can for 15 seconds. Rest 15 seconds and then go right back to punching. Continue the cycle through the full three minutes of a boxing round. After a minute of rest, move to the floor and shadow box nonstop for a full three minutes. Move your feet very little and concentrate on making your punches as fast and fluid as possible.
Image credits to Giphy
Knockout power comes from conditioning your muscles so that you can load as much potential energy as possible in a punch and then releasing it as fast as possible. Training for power should not be isolated to just your power punches. A powerful jab can be just as valuable as a powerful right hand or left hook.
Hold a 10-pound dumbbell in your right hand and punch the air with the dumbbell for 30 seconds. Immediately drop the dumbbell, put on your glove and strike the heavy bag with your right hand as hard as you can for the next 30 seconds. Switch the dumbbell to your left hand and repeat the cycle.
2.Yoga For Boxing
Image credits to femalefirst.co.uk
There are several reasons why Yoga should be included as a part of a boxers training regimen.
- Pranayama and other breath control techniques frequented in yoga can significantly improve your fight stamina and recovery between rounds. Proper breathing technique is absolutely imperative for developing endurance. Yoga practice will put you more in tune with your breathing pattern, and help you control it while exerting yourself under stress and in later rounds.
- A long reach and wingspan can give you a definite edge in fighting. Unfortunately, countless hours of impact work on pads, bags, and sparring partners means training for boxing can shorten and bulk up the muscle fibers. Regular yoga practice will improve hip extension, stride length, and gait and flexibility in your joints. Thus, yoga’s lengthening stretches can really improve flexibility in those muscle fibers which have become stiff and also additionally, extend your reach in a fight.
- It also improves balance for better offense, defense, and movement. Better balance can improve your performance in sparring. As we all know, balance is crucial in boxing; some people say it’s everything. If your body balance is up to the mark, you can punch, move, or defend from any position at any moment.
- Yoga is the best thing you can do for recovery of battered muscles and joints after a long and strenuous fight. Not only will regular yoga practice help your body get back in fighting shape after a fight, it will also dramatically improve your recovery time during a fight in between rounds or when you get inevitably get knocked down.
3. Strength Training
Image credits to Getty images
Strength or resistance training is the first tool in creating a boxer’s physique. Without the proper body physique, your punches won’t have the knockout power you need in the ring.
The goal in the weight room is to increase absolute strength through the use of heavy weights and to increase speed-strength by moving moderate weights at rapid speeds. The primary reason why weight training is important for boxers is to increase absolute strength and punching power. In order to develop maximal muscle power, several minutes of rest is needed between sets for the nervous system to adequately recover.
You also you need to ensure that your lower body is strong enough to support your upper body. Punching power is derived at first from leg drive. The amount of power the legs contribute depends on the punch thrown. The jab, which is the straight-forward punch performed with the non-dominant hand, is an abbreviated motion. Your back leg contributes to the punch by driving your body forwards.
Your legs start the chain reaction which delivers punching power to your hands. That chain is made up of a series of joints and muscles, each of which contributes to the movement. For a punch, the kinetic chain starts down at your foot and runs all the way up to your fist. Taking energy and momentum from the ground, your body adds to the force as your progress up the chain. The muscles in your legs, hips, core and upper body all contribute until, finally, the force travels out through your fist.
Image credits to Showtime and Giphy
There are so many benefits to adding swimming to your boxing training.
- Swimming works a variety of muscles, burns calories and it does it all in one go. It’s a full body workout, that improves the capacity of your lungs and heart. In terms of muscles being worked out, swimming is one of the most intense activities there are. In order to develop lean and toned muscle, it is absolutely necessary to put in the laps in the swimming pool.
- Swimming targets a variety of physical aims, making it a perfect alternative to running and other forms of cardio. For example, you can work aerobically by swimming long distances at a time. You can also work in an anaerobic manner, by sprint-swimming, meaning you will be doing interval training, which replicates the explosive nature of boxing. You can also vary the strokes to target different muscles specifically all over the body, and at the same time still improve your lung capacity and overall cardiovascular fitness.
- Also putting in long hours on the punching bag, sparring, jumping rope and doing roadwork can take it’s toll on your body, increasing your risk of injuries. Thus when you can’t hit the gym because your body feels sore, you can still jump into the swimming pool as swimming is low impact on the body but also provides a thorough fitness workout.
Image Of Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston; photo by Neil Leifer
You now, know all that you need to do to build yourself that coveted boxer’s body.
Of course, you’re wondering how do I sign up for all this and how do I find the time to go do all of this without burning a huge, gaping hole in my pocket.
This is where Fitato comes into the picture.
With the fitato app, you don’t need to separately sign up at a gym, boxing studio or a swimming pool. A single fitato membership will give you access to all these facilities and many more across the city with only one all-access pass.
Also, you don’t need to modify your schedule and coordinate with the gym or yoga class you just signed up for. Simply log on to the fitato app, choose a day and a time you’re comfortable with, reserve your desired fitness activity and you’re good to go. If you can’t find the time for one fitness activity, there’ll be some other fitness activity you can attend at around the same time slot.
Just put in the desired area/locality near you and the app will come up with all the fitness activities in that area where you can very conveniently travel to. No more wasting time traveling long distances to go to the gym.
But don’t take our word for it. Check it out yourself!
Download the Fitato App now.