The most exciting part of training in a boxing gym is stepping into the ring and putting your skills to the test against an opponent. But before you can trade shots and hopefully emerge victorious, you have to put in long hours of training, which includes boxing drills, weights and jumping rope. Each of these exercises conditions your body for the moment that you can finally step through the ropes.
Jumping rope and lifting weights are two important areas of focus for any boxer, but they're not the only types of workouts you should practice. Also spend time hitting the heavy bag, speed bag and double-ended bag, which help you develop your boxing fundamentals. Shadowboxing is an effective way to fine-tune your punches, footwork and defense, while working with a training partner and focus mitts helps you simulate competition.
Most boxers jump rope as part of their warm-up exercises, as it provides benefits that directly translate to success in boxing. Jumping rope improves your foot speed, burns calories, increases your cardiovascular fitness and builds the muscles throughout your body, including your legs, core, shoulders and arms. Jumping rope is also a stamina-building exercise that prepares you for the exhaustion you'll feel in the late rounds of a fight or even during a sparring session.
Although weight training is important in boxing, many boxers don't spend as much time lifting weights as other athletes, such as football players. You don't want to get too bulked up for boxing, as your agility and speed can often suffer. Still, weight training including squats, leg presses, bicep curls, triceps dips and bench presses will help you build muscle in your arms and legs to help you be strong and sturdy in the ring. Many fighters use explosive movements, such as dumbbell snatches, to improve their fast-twitch muscles.
Beyond standard weightlifting, many boxers use small barbells for shadowboxing drills. Two-pound weights are usually sufficient; hold a weight in each hand while you work through a three-minute round of standard shadowboxing. The weight resistance in each hand makes punching more challenging, but after you set the weights aside, your hand speed will be quicker. To incorporate weights and jumping rope together, use a weighted rope, which has heavy handles to work your muscles even more. It's tough to jump quickly with a weighted rope, but 10 minutes will have your arms and chest burning.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.