With the “Fight of the Century” about to jump off, we thought we’d take some time this week to talk about the exercise regimens of pro boxers.

Honestly, have you ever seen an overweight boxer?

Boxing Workouts

OK, well maybe there’s a few exceptions.. but you know what we mean!

Well, OK, there was one. But not too many overly fat boxers who weren’t in the heavyweight division!

Boxers are known to have very fast cutting cycles in preparation for a fight. They will sometimes have to drop as much as 30 pounds in a week or two in order to pass a weigh-in.

The catch is, this kind of extreme cutting is dangerous. There’s a real possibility of permanent organ damage, especially if it’s done wrong. We want to stress that the exact routines of professional boxers should never be followed at home. They mostly focus on dumping all possible water weight, and then immediately replacing it after the weigh-in, so they’re not going to help a long-term fat loss plan at all.

But with that disclaimer stated, we can learn a thing or two about how to get ripped like a boxer – without the madness of dropping weight classes at the last minute. After all, most boxers stay quite ripped year-round.

Only try a little of this at home

There’s a few tricks you can safely take from the fitness practices of boxers to supercharge your fat loss, however. Most of the boxing cutting cycle is based on extreme diet manipulation, like barely drinking water and almost completely cutting carbs, and that’s the dangerous part that you want to avoid.

The part we want to focus on are the intense exercise routines. Boxing workouts are uniquely geared to building cardiovascular endurance while also improving overall strength and lean, action-packed muscle. That’s a recipe for serious fat annihilation, as you can see by watching any major fight!

And better yet – despite our love of lifting in gyms – much of this can be done without heading into the gym!

Getting Strong Now

Let’s take an in-depth look at exercises that are commonly done by boxers, and what each can do for your body composition.

  • Jump Rope

    One of the simplest cardio workouts on the planet, yet one of the most overlooked. Jumping rope only requires an inexpensive rope and a place where you can jump without destroying floorboards or making your downstairs neighbors call the landlord.

    Boxers not only use the jump rope as a cardio workout, but it also helps to improve footwork and agility. If you’ve never done it before, there can be a bit of a high barrier of entry, as it’s trickier to time than it looks. But it’s like riding a bike — once you get it, you’ve got it forever.

    Like jogging, however, jump rope can be hell on your joints over time if you don’t take precautions. Do it on a surface with some give, preferably a thick mat. A good pair of running or cross-training shoes is also helpful.

  • Heavy Bag Workouts

    Hitting a heavy bag is used by boxers to practice punch technique and build both power and footwork, but it’s also a surprisingly good cardio workout when done for 10 or 20 minutes at a go.

    Of course, you’ll also work your arms, but with a long session you’ll be surprised how much you engage your core, back and chest as well.

  • Running In Sweats

    Fighters and trainers have known the importance of sweating to get lean since the days of handlebar mustaches and bare-knuckle boxing. This is mostly a water-weight thing, however. Good for short-term show, but not for long-lasting fat loss. Still, if you’ve got to quickly knock off a few pounds for a work-related physical or something, it’s a trick to keep in the arsenal.

  • Shadow Boxing

    Shadow boxing is widely misunderstood, probably thanks to training montages in a lot of movies where a guy just seems to be dancing around randomly pretending he’s fighting an invisible opponent.

    The actual purpose of shadow boxing is to work on strike technique and placement by using your own shadow, ideally projected onto a wall in front of you, or simply by using your own reflection in a mirror. As the video above explains, if you’re looking down at your shadow on the floor while you’re throwing punches, you’re doing it wrong.

  • Compound Weight Exercises

    The boxer workout isn’t about isolation exercises and showy muscles. It’s for getting lean and mean and focusing on core strength and explosive power, and you do that with compound exercises.

    Don’t forget the squat!

    The squat, of course, is the king of all compound exercises. If you’re new to them, it’s important to get your form on point before taking on weight, however.

    Other core workouts

    A neat and simple core strengthener is the “basketball balance.” You simply lie on a basketball with the ball positioned under your stomach. You spread your arms and legs out and gently roll from side to side, engaging your core muscles to keep your knees and elbows from touching the ground.

  • Leg Plyometrics

    Leg plyometric exercises are all about building explosive power. They’re basically a series of hops and jumps, with the “box jump” being the most common representative that you’ll probably see in gyms. The great thing about these is that they require little to no equipment. Exercises like tuck jumps and bounds are done with body weight only.

  • Sparring

    Sparring isn’t necessary if you’re just looking to burn fat and get fit, but it can be a great overall workout, and might give you a sense of whether boxing is something you want to try your hand at.

Yo Adrian, I Did It!

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