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How Do Boxers Train For a Fight?

Boxers train approximately 5 hours a day when they are getting ready for a fight. There are many ways that you can train, but you have to incorporate different exercises and methods in order to get into the best shape. These include: running and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), mitt work and sparring, strength and conditioning and boxing drills.

Running and HIIT

To be able to go the distance a boxer needs to have stamina. Running (roadwork) with high intensity interval training is a common form of cardio training that boxers use to get in shape. Roadwork isn’t just your normal jogging at a steady pace for 5 miles. It’s common for a boxer to sprint as hard as they can for a short amount of time (intervals) or distance, This type of cardio training helps a boxer with conditioning, endurance and speed. A lot of boxers will incorporate 2-3 interval training workouts each week. Since boxing is about short, bursts of powerful movements, high intensity interval training workouts are a great way to train. As you get stronger, you can decrease your rest periods by 10-15 seconds. An example of a training workout regimen would be:

  • 1 mile warmup jog
  • (6) 600 meter sprints at about 75% of your top speed, with 1 minute rest between each
  • 0.5 mile easy cool down jog

Mitt Work and Sparring

Mitt work or sparring is another exercise that boxers use to train. These exercises are more realistic to an actual fight than bag boxing drills because they can help boxers improve several skills they need in the ring, such as:

  • Power
  • Speed
  • Technique
  • Offensive & defensive skills
  • Fighting strategy
  • Footwork

Strength and Conditioning

Strength and conditioning is another exercise boxer’s use to train. Boxers lift weights and perform bodyweight exercises for strength training. Great examples of strength and conditioning bodyweight exercises that boxers do are:

  • Pull Ups and Chin Ups
  • Push Ups
  • Jump Rope
  • Sprints
  • Crunches
  • Planks
  • Leg Lifts

Boxing Drills

Boxers also train for a fight by practicing boxing drills for speed, condition, footwork, stance and power. These drills help improve a boxer’s technique and get them into fighting shape fast. You can use power punch combinations as well to give you a better simulation of a real fight (link to video). When you’re practicing and throwing punches, be sure to move your feet, reset and “block” in between your punches, and, most importantly, keep the intensity up. Shadowboxing is a great training exercise, but only if you mimic a real fight, staying quick and aggressive (link to video).

What Is a Boxing Training Camp?

Some boxers opt to participate in a boxing training camp which can give you a definite schedule for your training. This is exactly what FightCamp offers and where the name comes from. FightCamp is at an at-home boxing gym that offers hundreds of online, on-demand classes, equipment and a personalized online training course. It is a great option for those looking to train at home.

A short boxer’s training camp is 6-8 weeks while a longer training camp is 10-12 weeks. The training camps that are shorter tend to have a maximum of 2 spikes of additional workouts added to their training regimen. On the other hand, longer training camps will gradually increase to 2-3 spikes to their training volume. Depending on your goals and your fitness level, you may wish to look into one of these to help you train.

Ultimately, if you are looking to get in shape fast and want to adequately prepare for your next boxing fight, you will need to incorporate workouts and exercises that focus on endurance, stamina, and strength. Running, HIIT, mitt work, sparring, shadowboxing, strength and conditioning, weightlifting, and boxing drills are all great ways to train. Remember, always train with intensity!


The Author: Tommy Duquette is the Co-Founder and Head of Content  at FightCamp. He is a former US Boxing Team member with 136 fights under his belt and qualified for the 2012 Olympic trials as the #2 seed. He has 18 years experience training clients in boxing and fitness.