Fitness for Boxing

When we talk about fitness for boxing, we primarily consider stamina. Stamina is a series of physical and mental capabilities that allows a boxer to last longer and maintain a high intensity. These capabilities include cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and mental fortitude.

This article, Fitness for Boxing, is about stamina but understand that strength training and mobility should be apart of any athletes workout.

Before programming, we must understand our best options.

Improving Cardiac Output, Muscular Endurance and Recovery

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves a short burst of exercise (30 seconds maximum) followed by a recovery period (10 seconds to one minute). These small training intervals may be performed for several sets.

HIIT is effective for achieving better cardiac output, improving muscular endurance and enhancing recovery.

A 50/50 protocol such as 30 seconds of exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest is one of the most effective protocols for lowering body fat but for the purpose of improving fitness for boxing, there are two HIIT protocols I would recommend.

  1. Tabata- 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat eight times.
  2. My brutal option- 30 seconds of exercise followed by 15 seconds of rest. Repeat five times.

The two methods are effective for improving the following capabilities:

Cardiac Output- Cardiac output refers to the amount of blood one can flush around the body in a single heart beat. This is important as it indicates effective transportation of oxygen. Therefore, the specific training protocol must consciously make the heart beat hard.

Muscular Endurance- Muscular endurance is the muscles ability to go about prolonged intensity. This is subject to glycogen storage, lactate tolerance and  the number of capillaries.

Recovery is indicated by the time it takes for ones heart rate to go back to its resting level. The less time it takes, the more efficient the athlete is at recovering.

Notice that the HITT protocol is very explosive and is therefore very specific in the development in fitness for boxers.

Improving VO2 Max 

VO2 Max is the amount of oxygen the lungs are capable of absorbing. Good cardiac output coupled with a high VO2 Max indicates great oxygen transportation.

A good once per week protocol would be a 5 minutes effort followed by a 5 minute active recovery for 4 sets.

Let’s use the bike as an example…

The effort will ask the athlete to travel as far as he or she can in 5 minutes. The active recovery simply involves a gentle cycle that keeps the body moving.

Improving Mental Fortitude

As far as the development of mental fortitude goes, a long run is ideal. The intensity does not need to be high but it is recommended that the athlete runs for at least 30 minutes.

Programming Fitness for Boxers

The HITT protocol is a great finisher to eight to twelve sparing rounds. The total length of that particular session should not last more than one hour. Three sessions like this per week will drastically improve the athletes energy in the ring.

The VO2 Max session is highly intense and should therefore not be coupled with any other form of exercise unless it involves flexibility and massage. Only perform this type of workout once per week and keep a day of rest either side.

Take a long run once per week but keep it leisurely. Put on your favourite music, don’t track your mileage but ensure you measure the 40 minutes.

Coach’s Recommendation

I’ve thrown a few methodologies at you today. However, I have yet to recommend an effective piece of equipment. Nothing beats the Air Dyne.

I’d be the first to admit that it looks like a simple spin bike with arms. However, after trying out this brutal piece of machinery, I’ve learnt to appreciate that harder the one peddles, the more difficult it is to fight against the brutal air resistance. The Air Dyne is recommended globally but the worlds greatest strength and conditioning coaches. You can’t go wrong!


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Martial Arts Training at Home

So, your local martial arts club runs twice per week, you have no equipment and next to no space. No worries. Today’s post will teach you how to get the most out of your martial arts training at home.

Kicking in the Kitchen

Whilst holding onto the kitchen surface, practice your side kicks, turning kicks and hocking kicks.

Use a set and repetition format. Beginners should practice 2 Sets of 12 kicks. More advance students should practice 3 Sets of 20 kicks. The key is to never lose form. Place full emphasis on technique.

Static Knee Chamber Holds

The knee chamber is a critical part of effective martial arts kicking. It is the initial knee raise of a kick and it contributes to power and speed plus it acts as an effective guard.

Hold your right knee up as high as possible for 10 seconds. Repeat this process on the left. Do this exercise for 3 Sets if you’re a beginner or 6 Sets if you’re more advance.

You may then practice with a similar set and repetition format from a side kick knee chamber.

Dog Kicks

Dog kicks are when you practice your martial arts kicks with your hands and knees on the floor.

Start by tucking your knee to your chest, and push back. Repeat this exercise for 2 Sets of 12 repetitions on each leg.

Second of all, tuck your knee into your shoulder (much like a dog having a pee). As you’ll be kicking horizontally, you’ll be mimicking a side kick. Maintain the same repetition range as you would with the first drill.

Martial Arts Training at Home: Full Workout

Perform each drill on each leg…

Kicking in the Kitchen

  1. Start with 2 Sets of 12 side kicks
  2. Next, 2 Sets of 12 turning kicks
  3. Finally, 2 Sets of 12 hocking kicks

Station Knee Chamber

  1. High Knee Hold to the front for 3 Sets of 10 seconds.
  2. High Knee Hold to the Side for 3 Sets of 10 seconds

Dog Kicks

  1. Knee to chest and kick for 2 Sets of 12 repetitions
  2. Knee to shoulder and kick for 2 Sets of 12 repetitions.


  1. Shadow kick boxing is a fantastic warm up tool that may practiced at home. I would recommend a single 4 minute round.
  2. advanced students may up the set and repetition range with the earlier recommendations.
  3. Always stretch after training.
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Self-Defence Alarm 

I’ll tell you what most students come away with when they go to Freshers; A Self-Defence Alarm. These are also known as personal security alarms and rape alarms (although that last one is never used on the packaging).

I want to teach you how to use your self-defence alarm. I’m going to teach you when to use it, how to use it and what to do after you have used it.

When to Use Your Self-Defence Alarm

The self-defence alarm is simple to use. All you need to do is pull out the key chain. It may be used if someone touches you, approaches you aggressively, if you feel as though you are being followed or if a friend is in danger.

How to Use Your Self-Defence Alarm 

After pulling the self-defence alarm, be ready to strike as the aggressor may be prompted approach.

The alarm can be very painful when pressed against the ear. It’s also very disorienting and opens the opportunity to strike.

The alarm can easily be pulled whilst running away and the attention you’ll draw will be very off putting to an attacker.

What to do Once You’ve Used Your Self-Defence Alarm

Once you’ve pulled the pin, you must run. Run to a public place. High streets are perfect and local convenience stores are  also ideal.

If you are trapped or have been pinned by the attacker, you must strike. Venerable areas to attack are the eyes, nose, throat and groin.

If you ever need to pull the alarm, it should be reported to the Police.

  • 999 is the emergency number.
  • 101 is the non-emergency number.
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Self Defence Against a Knife

When choosing a martial arts school, their methods of practicing self defence against a knife must be realistic and simple to perform.

The No Brainer

First, let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. If a martial arts coach fails to stress the importance of running away or complying to someone who simply wants your wallet, don’t go back to that class.

If you didn’t catch our video on responding to a mugger, click here and to watch.

Adaptability of Martial Arts Blocks

There’s very little need to learn new techniques for your self defence against a knife. You should simply adapt the defensive movements that you are already familiar with.

For example, a raising block is a defensive action against a downwards strike. Traditionally, it is performed with the arm bent at roughly 100 degrees. This is effective for deflecting a blunt instrument such as a bat.

However, by deflecting the wrist of a knife holder in such a way, the bladed weapon can cut open the flesh at the side of your ribs.

The tactic is to drop yourself lower and keep your arm bent at 90 degrees so that it doesn’t deflect.

With any block against a knife attackers wrist should be performed with a 90 degree bend in the elbow.

Aggression in Practice, Aggression in Striking

Shortly following the attack, it is critical to land a strike of your own. Strike repetitively to the face and neck but remain cautious of the knife.

Particularly accurate practitioners may wish to strike the temple, back of the ears and jaw line for a knock out blow.

Always remember, we are aiming to escape, not to stay and fight.

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