Boxing Cross Training Workouts

The concept of cross-training for the boxer is a fairly new concept.  Since boxing is not a sport included in collegiate athletic programs, like football, baseball, basketball, track or soccer, it has missed out on the opportunities of these fore mentioned college programs.  Without that collegiate affiliation, boxing has missed out on the discoveries and research of exercise science over the past 20 years.  So it is no surprise that most boxers and their coaches are not schooled or exposed to cross training concepts. Even fighters like Bobby Czyz, one of boxing's great middleweight champion did not use anything other than road running and jump rope for cardiovascular conditioning.  Czyz a man of notable intellect, retired in 19xx and simply missed the boat - coaches at that time were not open-minded to reading exercise science materials that proved the benefits of cross-training.  Furthermore, boxing's two biggest superstars, Evander Holyfield and Oscar de la Hoya are both intelligent men who have recognized the need for more than a single boxing coach and do not want to miss out on physically excelling beyond all past fighters.


Evander Holyfield Working Out

A Look at Great Boxer's Like Holyfield and De La Hoya - Training at the Top Level.

5 Great Cardiovascular Workouts

These routines include some anaerobic
drills which train the body more accurately for boxing.  Cardio should be done 3-6 times a
week depending upon the level of athelte.

Classes - Most local health clubs offer spinning classes.

MARTIAL ARTS BENEFIT:  Will build great strength in the thighs, improving stances

- 1 Mile Run, then 3 minute Jump Rope Interval - Just tie the rope around
your waist and go for 30-60 minutes.

MARTIAL ARTS BENEFIT:  Improves wind overall for sparring and forms.  If ½ miles are run fast, the anaerobic
system will also improve.

Climbing - Although an usual workout, wall climbing on a treadwall or at a
climbing gym will quickly prove its overall workout.

MARTIAL ARTS BENEFIT:  Will increase agility ultimately improving hand and leg
coordination which will benefit footwork skills when fighting.  The treadwall can also improve ground
fighting skills due to the 'scrurring' nature of fast climbing.

a Mile (on any surface), Sprint a 1/4 Mile - Go for 30-60 minutes.

MARTIAL ARTS BENEFIT:  Will improve ability to fight long rounds, like in judo

Swim 4 laps (breast stroke or backstroke), then Swim
Sprint Freestyle One Lap - Make sure that you regulate your breathing.

Will improve breathing for intense form and fighting competition.  Will also, condition arms to avoid
getting 'punched out.'



Anaerobic Training

boxer's 12 rounds at 3 minutes piece with one minute rest is a format that
simulates anaerobic training. 
Although most think that a fighter is experiencing the aerobic phase
throughout a fight, it is in fact anaerobic.

boxer is exposed to many unusual experiences within his competitive arena.  The process of preparing to fight
requires far more than a morning run to be properly conditioned.  Anaerobic exercise refers to high
intensity exercise.  When the body
is within the anaerobic phase, the extra oxygen supply in your body runs out
and it pulls from it reserve, it is at this point that the body is experiencing
its anaerobic threshold.  It is
easiest to determine this when the body begins gasping for air.  This will occur after a series of
flurries are thrown or after a running a sprint.  Boxing is like several sprints.  The punches thrown require a tremendous amount of speed and
power and then the body must learn to recover in a short period of time.  It is this system that is critical to
the fitness level of a boxer.


who headed Oscar de la Hoya's fitness team for several years shares several of
the anaerobic training regiments that he used to prepare de la Hoya for his
fights in 1995-1999.  In order to
train for explosive power, Park incorporates various cardiovascular
machines.  He recommends intervals using
the Treadmill, Nordic track, Reebok slide and the U.B. T. (an upper body
trainer that looks like a bicycle for the arms).   By using all these different machines, the body
experiences complete cross training in an athletic state.  Furthermore,  Park keeps the intervals intense and above the maximum heart
rate in 3-4 minute periods of time. 
However, to mimic the recovery time within the ring, Park uses a one
minute rest interval between anaerobic intervals, which also allows his fighter
to get to the next machine.


Hallmark, develops Evander Holyfield's explosive power by using plyometric
drills.  Plyometric exercises are
used to train specifically for explosive bursts of energy required within sport
movements.  Hallmark's favorite
exercises include medicine ball throws, side step drills (see exercises below),
sprints and various jumping drills. 
One of Hallmark's signature exercises uses his patented center force
machine for vertical leaping.  The
center force machine not only develops explosive power for jumping, but
Hallmark shares that if an individual's vertical leap increases so will their
reaction time overall.  Since an
athlete's hand coordination and agility is trained through plyometric sport
movements, the vertical leaping machine improves Holyfield's footwork and hand


5 Great Anaerobic Drills -
Building Explosive Power!

Each drill can be easily inserted into
any boxing exercise routine.

Depending on the level of competitor or
athlete, anaerobic drills should be done 2-4 times a week. 

Windsprints - Vary your distances and routes.

MARTIAL ARTS BENEFIT:   Assists in training for explosive power that is
needed during all sections of your form.

Stair Runs - Run forward and sideways.

MARTIAL ARTS BENEFIT:  Helps to condition the legs for fast kicking and improve
footwork when dancing around the ring.

Runs - With or without partners, use landmarks or buy cones.

MARTIAL ARTS BENEFIT:  Improves overall wind so that recovery from fast, powerful
flurries don't leave you defenseless.

Jumps - Or try a variation and do basketball jump shots.

MARTIAL ARTS BENEFIT:  Will help to dazzle the judges when executing jump kicks
during forms competition.

Jumps - Make sure you are using a sturdy surface.

MARTIAL ARTS BENEFIT:  Great for strengthening any kicking or jumping technique,
as well as deep stances (i.e. horse stance).


 Power and Strength

is most clearly defined as "the optimal combination of speed and strength to
produce a movement."  This
definition easily translates into the sharp punches seen within the boxing
ring.  On a more calculated level,
power factors in strength or an individual's one rep max, and speed, the
distance traveled in a specific amount of time.  In the case of a fighter, it is the amount of weight put
behind a punch which travels at its target, in a short period of time.

importance of weight training for boxing skills has been overlooked by the
boxing community until the past 10 years. 
Although top fighters like, Evander Holyfield, Oscar de la Hoya, Lennox
Lewis follow strict weight training programs, they represent a minority within
the boxing community.  The 'old
school' notion that weight training slows down a punch, only carries small
merit if flexibility training is completely absent. 

 Both Jon Jon Park and Tim Hallmark, who
have extensive experience training world champion boxers stress the importance
of weight training to enhance a boxer's power, to develop strength and to
prevent injuries. Although de la Hoya and Holyfield have different weight
routines, Park and Hallmark customize and change their fighter's weight routine
before each fight and every 3-4 weeks during training (or for each phase of


which phases an athlete through 3-4 week periods of different weight programs
is the most beneficial method of lifting weights.  By phasing your weight program the body experiences the most
comprehensive weight training routine. 
Periodization allows for an acclimation phase which tests the body's
current strengths and weakness and goal setting.  It also includes an endurance phase, which increases the
repetitions to 12-20 and 3-4 sets at a significant weight; a strength phase
which increases the weight to optimal loads for 4-6 repetitions at 2-4 sets;
and lastly a maintenance phase which focuses on injury prevention and
maintaining all that has been built in the past phases.

and Park admit that there are several excellent ways to design weight training
programs.  Hallmark recommends that
body parts also be cycled throughout a phase to truly keep the boxer at peak
fighting shape throughout training and for fight night.  Hallmark shared one of his favorite
weight routines, "cycle body parts by working each  body part twice within one week except for one part; then
pick that left over part up the following week for two workouts."  The routine listed below is the one he used
for World Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield.


Week One

and Arms (biceps and triceps)            on
Monday and Wednesday

and Shoulders                                      on
Tuesday and Thursday

Legs                                                                  on


Week Two

Legs                                                                on
Monday and Wednesday

and Shoulders                                    on
Tuesday and Thursday

and Arms                                                on


Week Three

and Shoulders                                   on
Monday and Wednesday

Legs                                                              on
Tuesday and Thursday

and Arms                                          on


Week Four

Chest                                                            on
Monday and Wednesday

and Arms                                            on
Tuesday and Thursday

and Shoulders                                    on

muscles are worked about 4 days a week.

emphasizes that the most consistent aspect of Holyfield's weight training
program is the repetitive stretching exercises preformed in between sets of
weights.  Not only does Hallmark
stretch his World Champ while lifting weights, but after the workout and
surrounding his boxing training.




 Ten Weight Exercises to Improve Boxing Skills



(Total Leg)

There are many variations of this exercise and it can be
done outside of a gym.

M.A. Benefit: Helps to keep knee joint stable for
excessive kicking and improves balance.


Step Ups


This exercise can be done outside of the gym and truly
keeps the heart rate up.

M.A. Benefit: 
Improves balance for holding poses and power for kicking.


Front to Side Raises


Begin by lifting the dumbbell weights in front then rotate
it out to the side and slowly lower the weights to the hips.

M.A. Benefit: Improves punching power, prevent injuries when
grappling and receiving arm bars.


Hammer Curls to a Shoulder Press

and Shoulder)

This can be done seated or standing.  Begin with the dumbbells at your side
with the palms facing your hips. 
Perform a biceps curl and slowly lift the weight into a shoulder

M.A. Benefits: Punching power and gripping strength will
improve from this exercise.


Lumbar Extensions


This exercise can be done on a lumbar bench or on the
floor.  Perform exercise slowly.

M.A. Benefits: 
Improves stability for deep stances and ground fighting. Prevents
injuries when involved in contact fighting.


Resist-a-Ball Abs

(Abdominal Muscles)

There are several exercises that can be done on the
ball.  The most important is to
strengthen the abdominal wall while enhancing core stability.  This will prevent injury to the back.

M.A. Benefits: Whether you practice Japanese or Brazilian
juijitsu, ball abs can prevent injuries to the back, obliques and abs because
it improves core stability.


Shoulder Shrugs

and Trapezius)

Use a barbell or dumbbells.  This exercise is much safer than the neck roll.  It specifically strengthens the
muscles that surround the neck.

M.A. Benefits:  
Keeps neck strong and will prevent injuries when trapped in a choke
hold to receiving jabs to the face.




If you are not strong enough to lift your own body weight
try the dips off a chair or bench. 

M.A. Benefits: 
Punching power will improve and your grappling grip from stronger


Lat Pull Ups

Biceps, Shoulders)

Slide your hands into a wide grip to recruit more of the
lattisimus muscles.  Bend your
knees if you need assistance.

M.A. Benefits: 
Once you can lift your body weight for a few sets of 10-20, holding
your samurai sword or sais will be a cinch. .




body and abdominal muscles)

Position your hands on the ball or your feet/shins on the
ball.  Then proceed to do a set
of push-ups.  You will find this
far more challenging than normal pushups.

M.A. Benefit: 
This type of pushup will develop strength through the forearm, upper
body and core section.  All of
which will come in handy when pinning your down opponent on the mat.



Boxing Skills and Drills

the greatest athlete without pure boxing skill can not compete within the
boxing ring.  Today, it takes more
than just skill or shape alone. 
The heavy bags, mitts, double ended bag, speed bag, jump rope and
sparring are the essence of a boxer's training.  The drills that utilize all these simple tools to build
sharp pugilistic skills are most fighter's favorite times in the gym.  Hitting the heavy bags whether they are
filled with sand or water, dancing with the mitts around the ring, focusing on
the double ended bag as it bops like a faceless head and feeling the speed
bag's rhythm coincide with your heart beat are irreplaceable aspects of a
boxer's training.


are six different drills that enhance boxing skills and ultimately improve
footwork, agility, coordination, punching power and shape of many different
types of martial artists; from point to ultimate fighters.  These drills are excellent compliments
to the following standard boxing program that has been followed for
decades.  Although 'old school,'
these basic training drills enhance the average boxer's skills and condition
and can provide challenge to any style of fighter.


length of training is contingent on the caliber of fighter.  The following program is practiced 4-5
days a week.

Perform:            6-
12 rounds at 2-3 minutes a round

SKIPPING            (RS)

BOXING            (SB)

            SPARRING                        (SP)

TRAINING OR PAD DRILLS (which includes Defense) (MT)

BAG                        (HB)

ENDED BAG            (DB)

BAG                                    (SB)

the seven drills above are the fundamentals of boxing training.  Keep in mind that these drills are not
always done every day.  Below is
one sample program followed by many professional boxers.

































































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