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How to Train Like a Fighter: Boxing Cardio and Agility Conditioning

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Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson, Joe Louis. Some of the greatest boxers who have set foot in the ring have transcended the sport to become cultural icons. Even boxing’s silver-screen characters become larger than life and part of our regular lexicon (“Adrian!”).

The sport of boxing resonates with Americans, as does the ability to adapt boxing’s fundamentals to physical fitness thanks to the natural understanding of the sport’s mechanics: punch. Luckily, boxing has evolved past the brutality to become one of the best ways to get in shape. If you’re new to UFC GYM, or if you’ve been an active member for some time, and you’re thinking about trying out boxing, here are the best ways you can train just like the boxing greats of yesteryear. Here we break down various techniques and workouts to make you ready for some boxing cardio and agility performance.  

Jump Rope

Every boxer jumps rope. It keeps boxers light on their feet and quick on their reaction skills. Also, it’s a heck of a cardio workout that requires no experience and just a rope. Here are some different jump-rope variations you can do.

  • Single jumps: The traditional jump rope. Grab a rope that’s long enough to allow you to jump over. With opposing ends in each hand, rotate the rope up and over your head and jump over the rope in a constant motion. It’s all in the wrists!
  • High knee jumps: Perform a traditional rope jump, but lift your knees just high enough to be parallel to the floor. Keep the motion fluid and quick.
  • Jumping-jack rope jump: Move your legs in a jumping-jack motion while performing your jumps.
  • Advanced techniques: If you’re looking for something more advanced in jump rope, there are more difficult techniques, like the figure-eight jump, but that’s for advanced jumpers.

Heavy Bag

You can’t box without going toe to toe with the heavy bag. But before you let out the aggression, make sure you’re wearing the appropriate gear for safety.

Heavy bagwork builds strength, and it’s a cardio shredder. Here’s a simple routine you can utilize to get started on the bag: Try to go three full minutes on the heavy bag with a minute of rest between your reps. (As an alternative to the heavy bag for beginners, we recommend shadowboxing.)

Crunch Sit-Ups

You’ll need no equipment when performing the classic crunch. The good news is boxing demands a lot from your core, so you can perform any variation of the crunch you know and love.

Clap Push-Up

Perform a traditional push-up, but on the way up, explosively push up with enough force so that your hands are off the floor and perform a quick clap. Quickly place your hands back in position to catch yourself in the push-up plank. Congratulations! That’s one rep!

Jumping Leg Lunges

Perform a forward-moving lunge. When moving back into position, push with enough force to explode upward and quickly switch your legs to catch yourself in a lunge position and immediately repeat with the opposing legs. That’s one rep.

Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are a fundamental Boxing conditioning movement. Executing a pull not only works on the grip, biceps, shoulder, and core, but the primaryn back muscles all boxers will use for power in their punches. 

SAQ

Boxers work on speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) for fast reaction time as they need to be able to direct all their force in one direction during a round. This includes the agility ladder for your feet and changing the patterns from frontal to sagittal and transverse planes of motion. Anything you can do with your feet, you can do with your hands (from a plank position). Fast hands and feet are essential for boxing. 

If you think you’re ready to start training like a boxer, then visit a UFC GYM to get a free pass.

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