Boxing Workout – Plyometric Circuits for Speed, Power and Strength

plyometric boxing workouts

Plyometric Circuits are the corner-stone of a good boxing workout. A boxer must maintain his strength and explosive power through two or three minute rounds. Plyometric circuit training is designed to mimic the demands of an actual fight. It takes exactly two minutes, or the duration of a round in amateur boxing, to complete the following eight circuits.

Leave one minute rest between each circuit and do sets of circuits to recreate the conditions of a fight. Do each exercise for 15 seconds at a very high intensity and then move onto the next.

Boxing workouts are very popular ways of getting fit and losing some weight. Many people become sedentary over the winter months.

Boxing workouts train you to be powerful, not just strong. Start with vertical jumps, then chin-ups, then seated medicine ball throws with a partner. Move onto straight one-two (jab-cross) punches with dumbbells. Then, using Swiss ball, alternate abdominal crunches with incline press-ups. Perform side jumps with a 20-30cm high rope. Move onto flurries of punching combinations while holding 1-2kg dumb-bells, and finish with 3-5kg medicine ball sit-up and throws.

Weight Training for Boxers

Weight training for boxing should benefit the whole body, so cut out isolation reps, and choose free weights over machines. You want strength, so aim for two to three sets with six reps, explosive on concentric phase and slow on the eccentric phase.

Plyometric Training for Boxers and Athletes

This is resistance exercise followed by a matching plyometric one. For instance, a bench press followed by medicine ball chest pass. The resistance workout kicks the nervous system into gear, so that more Type IIb fibers are available for the second explosive exercise. Type IIb muscle fibers are those that produce the most explosive force.

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Squats 2 8 60 secs
Vertical Jumps 2 6 60 secs
Bench Press 2 8 60 secs
Medicine Ball (MB) Chest Pass 2 6 60 secs
Barbell lunge 2 8 60 secs
Step jumps 2 6 60 secs
Lat pull down 2 8 60 secs
MB overhead pass 2 6 60 secs
Weighted crunches 2 8 60 secs
MB sit ups 2 6 60 secs

Boxing Specific Complex Training

Sport-specific complex training includes exercises of plyometric nature that closely mimic actions like throwing a punch from the ball of your back foot to your fist, with proper posture and technique.

Exercise (one set) Weight Reps Rest
Left jab 1-6kg dumb-bell 8 No rest
Left jab MB throws 3-5kg medicine ball 6 3 mins rest
Straight right 1-6kg dumb-bell 8 No rest
Straight right MB throws 3-5kg medicine ball 6 3 mins rest
Left hook 1-6kg dumb-bell 8 No rest
Left hook MB throws 3-5kg medicine ball 6 3 mins rest
Right cross 1-6kg dumb-bell 8 No rest
Right cross MB throws 3-5kg medicine ball 6 3 mins rest
Left uppercut 1-6kg dumb-bell 8 No rest
Left uppercut MB throws 3-5kg medicine ball 6 3 mins rest
Right uppercut 1-6kg dumb-bell 8 No rest
Right uppercut MB throws 3-5kg medicine ball 6 3 mins rest

Pure Cardio Boxing Training

While a three to five mile run a week is a good idea, a boxer should make his cardio workouts sport-specific. Interval training is ideal for boxing. An 800 meter interval would closely mimic the anaerobic demands of a three-minute round of professional boxing. Amateur bouts consist of four two-minute rounds, and the following workout has been designed with this structure in mind.

Begin with a 1,200-1,600m warm up of jogging, hopping and short sprints. Then do three 600m intervals at medium intensity with a one or two minute rest between runs. Then do three 200m intervals at high intensity with 30-second rests and jog back to the start point after each run. Finish with an 800m loose run to warm down. Two interval training sessions per week should deliver the best results. Also buy a skipping rope to improve your stamina agility and foot speed.

Boxing Workouts and Motor Programming – Training the Mind of the Boxer

A vital part of a boxing workout is to imprint sport specific actions and make them reflexive by reprogramming the body’s motor programming unit. No matter how much stamina a runner has, he will be exhausted after just a couple of rounds. The act of running is imprinted from an early age, but throwing a punch with proper posture and leverage is an underdeveloped skill for most. An aspiring boxer can train to reprogram his motor unit and progressively boost his performance with better posture, balance and co-ordination, resulting in a drastic improvement in reaction time and fighting ability.

Bodyweight Dips – Barry McGuigan’s Favorite Exercise

Barry McGuigan is still one of the best boxers to have come out of Ireland. His professional career started in 1981, and in 1982 he won 8 fights, 7 of which were by knockout. In 1985 he finally won the WBA title in the featherweight division. His total fight record was 32 wins and 3 losses, with 26 wins by knockout. In January 2005, McGuigan was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Recently he was asked what his favorite exercise was, and he revealed that bodyweight dips were his preferred exercise.

Dips are one of the best bodyweight compound exercises. They work the chest (major pectorals), front delts (anterior deltoid) and triceps. These muscles are essential for boxers and as dips is a pushing exercise the correct muscles are being strengthened. Curls and rows are less important for boxers.

Barry McGuigan is now 50 years old but still performs dips. Being of a smaller frame is a great help though, as your muscles do not need to lift such a large mass, but really anyone should be able to perform dips throughout their lives if they stay in shape.

Performing dips is also a great way to help tone he upper body and to help with weight loss. The delts and chest are large groups of muscles, do if you combine dips with squats, you will start working the whole body and burn a lot of fat, as well as build solid, functional muscle tissue.

In November 2009 McGuigan launched the inaugural Barry McGuigan Boxing Academy in Leicestershire, UK. The academy aims to help youngsters improve their sporting and academic skills by offering boxing tuition as an incentive for staying on in school or college.

Web Resources and References – Ross Enamait’s guide to boxing fitness training. – Brian Mac’s guide to plyometric training

“A Review of Combined Weight Training and Plyometric Training Modes: Complex Training“ by William P. Ebben, MS, MSSW, CSCS and Phillip B. Watts, PhD

COMPLEX TRAINING: A BRIEF REVIEW” (pdf) by William P. Ebben. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2002) 1, 42-46

Acute Effects of Plyometric Exercise on Maximum Squat Performance in Male Athletes” by NAOTO MASAMOTO, RICH LARSON, TODD GATES, AND AVERY FAIGENBAUM. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2003, 17(1), 68–71q 2003 National Strength & Conditioning Association.

Portuguese version: Boxe Workout – versão portuguesa

More articles to help you get Fighting Fit

65 Comments on “Boxing Workout – Plyometric Circuits for Speed, Power and Strength”

  1. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Akshay, speak to a coach at your gym, they can give you a timetable.

  2. this site is amazingly helpful ive just started boxing back up and recently quit smoking im aspiring to become a real good boxer , this site has put me in the right directions for increasing my heart rate was very very helpful thanks alot !! . jamie

  3. hi.. great information on these workouts tips. Im 21 years old and been boxing for about 2 months and realized this is what i’ve been looking for in my life and eat,sleep,train picturing myself as the next great boxer. before i started boxing i did alot of weightlifting and weighed 185lbs(6 days a week) and still do weights about 3 times a week(but weigh 170lbs) and i been noticing i feel kinda stiff on my bobbing and weaving is there any techniques or “sport function tips” you can provide me with for bobbing and weaving??

  4. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Joel – yeah, sparring and pad work!

  5. Hi there i would like to know if the program Plyometric Training for Boxers and Athletes is like the general phase Boxing Specific Complex Training is for 3 or 4 weeks before a fight or if you would just recommend to do both maybe each of them once a week please ?
    thank you

  6. oh and i ve forget to ask wher could i put the dips in there please i would really like to include that exercise on my training but im not sure where to put it should it be better at the end of the program, or an other day or?
    thank you

  7. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Tomy, it can certainly be used as a part of your boxing training but really you are best chatting with your instructor / coach about the best routines and workouts for you to do in the run up to a competition.

  8. MotleyHealth says:

    Do dips as part of your strength training workouts.

  9. ok thank you and I was also wondering for the Boxing Specific Complex Training part , is it only 1 set ?

    Thank you

  10. MotleyHealth says:

    It can be, it really depends if you are doing this as part of a larger workout or a standalone session, and of course, how fit you are already. Do 1 set and then see if you want to do another.

  11. Hi its me again, I have some concern about the vertical jumps, are they suppose to be made like squat jump, should i not use my hand to help me jumping, should i try to touch the roof or?

    thank you


  12. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Tomy, you can do it either way really – not squatting though. Just try to jump as high as you can. Reach up with both hands or one hand (alternating).

  13. hello how many sets would it be ok to do in one session on the boxing plyometrics doing two sets now seems easy is three sets ok and how many sets would you work up to also can you put the boxing specific on the end of the plyometrics or is it two separate sessions thankyou

  14. MotleyHealth says:

    Hi Chris, you can do more if you want, there is no limit really and you can certainly do the two together. Remember, this is only one part of boxing training.

  15. hello been doing boxing plyometric started with squat then vertical jumps 60 seconds rest then repeat then on to bench press mb chest pass 60seconds rest then repeat then next exercise and repeat to end of list is that the right way or should it be squat 60 seconds rest vertical jump 60seconds rest bench 60 seconds rest mb pass 60 seconds rest to the end and then repeat the whole circuit again thankyou

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