BoxingTraining Drills
Boxers and Non Boxers

As with any training/fitness session consult with your physician

before taking part in any exercise program:


As you will read there are two different types of training plans. I have split the programs, because boxing fights and boxing fitness should be viewed very differentley.  As you are aware boxing is a contact sport and requires very specific training, where as boxing fitness is exactly that, fitness.

With this in mind there is nothing stopping you trying both training programs or even mixing them up. Boxerfit plans are designed to improve fitness levels and health balance. With this in mind the Boxerfit program is fun and helps you to improve your fitness levels. The boxing round drills are more specific to the needs of the fighter. A few of the most common  myths and mistakes with boxers are also explaned.

Round drills for Fitness

 Warm up, this should be progressive, you know when your ready to start your exercise program. I have colour coded the program. So start with red and when it’s to easy progress to blue and again to black.

Red x10                           Blue x15                            Black x20   number of exercises to be performed

Round One and Three:

Boxing Pad 100 straight punches

A star jumps,                 squats,                              sit ups     (heel touch)

B elbow to knee,           lunges,                              sit ups     (side twist)

C birpee                         mountain climbers           sit ups     (punching)

D spotty dogs                step squat                         sit ups     (hooks)

Round Two and Four:

Boxing Pad work 1 to 20 straight punches  (a single jab, then jab and right cross ie one two, jab three, jab four, jab five until you have reached 20)

Shuttle runs: 20 meters long, complete three sets of one colour

Red    2 runs and 40 straight punches 

Blue   4 runs and 60 straight punches

Black 6 runs and 80 straight punches

Training days, you need to mix your training up; weights should ideally have 48hrs rest after each session. So here is a  is an example of a week's training program:

·         Monday and Thursday – Running, cycling or aerobic activity  

·         Tuesday and Friday – Boxerfit round drills

·         Wednesday and Saturday - Weight training


Round drills for Boxers 

boxers training drills need to mimic actual fights therefore it's more effective to perform a set of exercises for 30 seconds until 2 minutes of exercise has been completed, let us look at an example:
  • Burpees - 30 seconds

  • Shadow boxing - 30 seconds

  • Repeat

This routine makes up 2 minutes of intense exercise, and with boxing being 80% anaerobic this format makes more sense. After one round has been completed, rest one minute then repeat 3 to 5 times. It is best to exercise one more round then you will be fighting to overload the system, remember, fight night is much more demanding than a few exercises! You can be creative when creating the round drills, you can use shuttle runs, skipping, all forms of press ups - the list is endless. Let us look at another example:

  • 10 press ups

  • 10 pull ups

  • 10 squat thrusts

  • Repeat the above for 2 minutes

Each round you do can incorporate different exercises, be creative and have fun!

Common mistake that are made

Something else I am used to seeing in gyms is shadow boxing in front of mirrors. The mistake here is performing in front of a mirror you will have a tendency to keep looking at yourself and lack movement. This can develop bad habits inside the ring - if you are used to constantly looking around at a mirror when shadow boxing it is likely that you will lack concentration inside the ring. Perform your shadow boxing routine at an intense pace inside the ring, with no mirrors. Use the space you have and visualise your opponent and his/her movements and react to them

A myth shattered

The most popular myth among boxers and trainers alike is that weight training is counter productive and some seem to think you will lose mobility and become muscle bound; nothing could be further from the truth. Research has shown that a properly designed program can increase range of motion as well as speed and power. Muscular endurance and strength are both improved through weight training therefore you should find time for a good weight training routine; you will thank me on fight night! It is important to remember that you must train in a manner that is specific to boxing (we are not body builders), slow weight training is not the best way to train. As I said earlier, boxing is mostly anaerobic in nature therefore our training should reflect this.

During anaerobic work, involving maximum effort, the body is working so hard that the demands for oxygen and fuel exceed the rate of supply and the muscles have to rely on the stored reserves of fuel. For boxers this creates an oxygen debt that we must pay back between rounds. Looking at this it is clear to see that lifting weights at a faster pace is the most effective way to train, but it is not the only way. Every 4 to 6 weeks it would be a good idea to change the routine slightly. We can also work on explosive strength to get us ready for fighting entire rounds with explosive speed and power.


We must focus on maximizing speed and explosive power, and plyometrics is the way to go if we are going to achieve this objective. Plyometrics consists of bounding, jumping, and hopping exercises and teaches the body to react quickly and explosively. Plyometric training emphasizes quality not quantity - each exercise should consist of 10 to 20 repetitions for 1 to 4 sets.

These exercises combine strength and speed to create power essential for the sport of boxing. Plyometric training in a boxer's routine should be performed 2 times per week e.g. Monday and Friday.

Putting it together

So far we have looked at round drills, weight training and plyometric training, but when do we perform all these exercises? These are all pieces to a larger puzzle that must be put in the right places. I would recommend that the same exercise is not performed on consecutive days e.g. weight training should not be conducted on Tuesday's and Wednesday's. The following is an example of a week's training program:

  • Monday and Thursday - Plyometrics

  • Tuesday and Friday - Round drills

  • Wednesday and Saturday - Weight training

The training objectives change throughout the week and in the build up to a fight it is advised that weight training and plyometrics are stopped at least one week prior to competition. It is also important to progress over the course of the season i.e. if you have six weeks to prepare for a fight, than it makes sense to build up the intensity of your training slowly. Sparring should not be done at full pace until the last couple of weeks and round drills should slowly increase leading up to a peak in anaerobic conditioning.

The following is an example six week program involving the round drills:

  • Week 1 - 2 rounds

  • Week 2 - 3 rounds

  • Week 3 - 4 rounds

  • Week 4 - 4 rounds

  • Week 5 - 5 rounds

  • Week 6 - Light training prior to fighting

Week 4 does not progress as it is important not to overload the body too quickly and it also gives you time to get used to 4 intense rounds.

Skill training

This is the most important part of the puzzle, without skills, all the fitness in the world would not help you in the ring. Shadow boxing is typically used to warm up and comprises of a couple of rounds at a slow pace. Shadow boxing needs to be done at an intense pace in the ring and should be conducted before and after training in order to get you used to performing under fatigue. An approach similar to the round drills program above can also be used for shadow boxing, building up from 2 rounds to 5 rounds. This can be done all the way up to a couple of days before the fight, but always make sure you get complete rest the day before

Skill training after sparring

After sparring it is common to take your gloves off and head for the showers - this is the wrong thing to do. It is important that you get used to fighting through fatigue and the gym is the perfect place to start. After sparring you should keep the gloves on and hit the bag, hard! Move left and right constantly throwing punches.


Boxers always tell me how they run 4 to 5 miles every morning and my response to this is - why? What is a nice long distance jog going to do for you in an eight minute fast paced fight? Boxing is 80% anaerobic therefore the training needs to reflect this. Interval running is not easy and this probably explains why many boxers do not do them. The following is an example of an interval session:

  • 20 seconds jogging

  • 20 seconds running

  • 20 seconds sprinting

  • Repeat

After completing this 2 minute run rest one minute and repeat 3 to 5 times.

What about the other 20%?

I have said that boxing is 80% anaerobic but what about the 20% aerobic part of our sport? The aerobic part of a fight is when you are circling the ring without throwing punches at a fast pace. We still need to train the aerobic part in order to have a fitness base on which to work. I recommend aerobic running (no more than two miles) 1 to 2 times per week with interval running 3 to 4 times per week. You should not devote more time than this to your aerobic training as this would mean you are training your slow twitch muscle fibres as much as your fast twitch muscle fibres. This could be counter productive because this would mean your slow twitch fibres may become dominant which in turn would slow you down in the ring. As fighters we need to remain explosive in the ring so the majority of our training needs to be explosive.

Conclusion It is clear to see that boxing is more than just a few rounds of skipping, bag work etc. We need to run, lift weights, perform plyometrics and undertake the punishing round drills. Many clubs today continue to use the same routine day in day out, week after week with no clear progression. Our training is a complex puzzle and in order to maximize performance coaches need to start taking the time to plan their training cycles, being careful not to introduce overload too often or not often enough. This is harder than it seems but if we are to move the sport forward with advances in sports science than it is imperative that we take this time to improve our athletes.

Train hard, and smart!

Article Reference

  • Wadman J. (2005), "The Art of Boxing", Brian Mackenzie's Successful Coaching (ISSN 1745-7513), Issue 24

Email:  or call/text: 0212 955 661

  Muhammad Ali  "Don't count the days, make the days count"  

 As with any training / fitness session consult with your physician before taking part in any exercise program.payments must be made prior to start of boxerfit and are none refundable.  Although they can be swapped to other sessions, providing there is a valid reason. If you fail to attend any sessions, they will be lost. Please give as much notice of any cancellation as possible, so we can arrange an alternative for you prior to booking.