Boxing Workouts: The Best-Kept Secret of NFL Football Players
September 9th kicks off the official start to the 2021 NFL season and NFL players have been in full training mode. American football players are considered to have some of the strongest, fastest, and most athletic bodies in terms of overall fitness as compared to any other sport. As impressive and athletic as these individuals are, most NFL players love incorporating cross-training into their workout routines to ensure they can perform at their best. One form of exercise that is gaining popularity among NFL players is boxing training during the offseason.
Russell Wilson. Mark Ingram Jr. Clay Matthews III. Besides all being professional NFL players and some Super Bowl champions, these elite-level athletes all have something else in common. They have added boxing into their offseason training routines to take their training to the next level. So if you want to train at home like these NFL players, here are the top boxing exercises they use to enhance their footwork, speed, and agility to name a few, that you can add to your routine!
The jump rope is one of the best tools that any athlete can use to train, especially football players. Jumping rope is simple and effective, and is a staple in the repertoire of a boxer. Skipping rope for even 5-10 minutes a day before or after a workout can help build stamina, coordination, and improve speed and agility, all of which are crucial for success on the football field. While it doesn't take much experience to get started, learning more advanced moves does take skill and practice, coordination and timing, and quick feet.
Want to add jumping rope into your workout routine? Check out this quick 10-minute jump rope workout with FightCamp Trainer Tommy Duquette.
Speed Bag Work
The speed bag has been around for centuries and is a key piece of boxing equipment that helps boxers (and athletes) work on upper body stamina and hand-eye coordination. While the concept of using a speed bag is simple, it takes practice, patience, and rhythm to successfully master this exercise. One must throw accurate, precise, punches each time in order to maintain a rhythm of the bag. Throughout their offseason practice, NFL and football players can use the speed bag to increase their upper body endurance and work on shoulder strength.
Heavy Bag Training
What is the first thing you think of when you hear “boxing training”? Do you instantly visualize some classic Rocky training montage of the Italian Stallion putting in work on a boxing punching bag? You’re probably not alone. Training with a heavy bag is by far one of the best exercises anyone, especially NFL athletes, can do to amp up their workout. Heavy bag training helps develop stamina and endurance, power and explosiveness, speed and agility, hand-eye coordination and footwork, and more.
Mitt work is also a popular form of training that many athletes are tuning into these days, as it helps develop timing, reaction speed, and hand-eye coordination. Athletes, especially football players, can benefit from mitt work practice and training with a coach. Being able to respond quickly to oncoming threats and hits is key in contact sports like football, which is why the added element of an opponent during boxing mitt work training, can help football players in their game.
You can learn the basics of mitt work with FightCamp Trainers Tommy Duquette and Coach PJ in this video.
Shadowboxing is a great way to get low-impact movement into a training routine without any equipment. Plus, it can be incorporated into your warm-up or cool down. Shadowboxing drills focus on movement, footwork, agility, boxing technique, and balance. You use your shadow or your reflection in the mirror to simulate your opponent in the ring. Shadowboxing allows you to focus not only on your body but also on your mind. With consistent training, shadowboxing puts you in the ‘zone’ and triggers the muscle memory that you will gain over time. Shadowboxing is the ultimate total body warm-up/conditioner that NFL players can utilize to master their own movement patterns and learn better body awareness and finesse, which translates to massive success on the field.
Learn the basics of shadowboxing with this FightCamp YouTube video.
NFL players are tough. So are boxers and other high-level athletes who train in combat. They say you need to be a little crazy to want to get hit, and physical contact plays a large part in both football and boxing. Adding boxing workouts into one’s training will help improve endurance, stamina, coordination, balance, power, explosiveness, mental fortitude, speed, and agility.
So if you want to train like an NFL football player, add boxing into your at-home routine. FightCamp boxing workouts are created and led by real-life fighters (Fun Fact: FightCamp's Coach PJ is actually a former football player!). They’ve put it all on the line and know what it takes to become a champion--whatever your sport or fitness level. With FightCamp, you can count on an authentic and demanding at-home boxing experience that will deliver one of the toughest and most well-rounded workouts you’ll get anywhere.
The Author: Jeff Turbett is a former all-state track athlete, collegiate football player turned weightroom junkie, and fight enthusiast. He has trained in boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA in the past. Having coached personal training in the past, he knows the importance of cross-training and the numerous benefits it has for combat sports. Jeff is also a contributor at BellaVita Fitness and Wellness online.