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Weight Training For Boxing – What You Need To Know

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    Lifting heavy weights tears muscle fibres, and the protein in your diet provides the building blocks to repair and grow muscles so that they come back bigger and stronger than before. That, ladies and gentlemen, is bodybuilding in a nutshell.

    If you want to build muscle, you train with weights more often or increase the resistance and consume more protein.

    Boxers can overlook weight training, as it is associated with gaining muscle, increasing body weight and reducing flexibility. However, this isn't the case, as proven by Olympic lifters. It's more that too much muscle or not enough flexibility training could cause an issue.

    It is also a fantastic way to improve speed, power and strength as part of your overall boxing training and fitness, as long as you do it in the right way. Boxers should focus on increasing functional strength rather than muscle mass.

    The physical demands of boxing ask the body to maintain a high level of speed, strength and endurance that can only be achieved with the right kind of training. Combining weight training with your regular boxing conditioning can optimize your performance on all levels.

    These days, many strength and conditioning coaches in boxing aren't boxers. Some of them stake their claim to fame by having trained good boxers, but those boxers were good before they trained them, so they're just piggybacking off their success.

    Strength training can be tricky in boxing because it comes down to developing strength without sacrificing speed, mobility, and endurance. 

    Weight Training For Boxing - A Closer Look

    When it comes to the sweet science of boxing, there has always been a topic that has been controversial among fighters, and that is weightlifting. To be more specific, many fans and boxers alike wonder if lifting weights is going to make a better boxer or not?

    Weight Training for Boxing In the past, many veteran boxing coaches have frowned upon weight training, saying, "Weight training will make the boxer slower" science has proven that a correct weight training program can increase speed and power.

    "Weight training will make your muscles tight and more prone to fatigue" A correct weight training program will increase muscular endurance, meaning the athlete will be less prone to fatigue.

    "Weight training will decrease the flexibility of a boxer" A correct weight training program will increase range of motion and provide greater flexibility. Weight training is now an integral part of almost all major sports and has been proven to help boxers become faster, stronger and more competitive in boxing bouts.

    Weight training is now an integral part of almost all major sports and has been proven to help boxers become faster, stronger and more competitive in boxing bouts. Weight Training Can Do, Weight training helps create stronger, faster and harder-hitting athletes. A strong opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    Weight training can also make boxers less susceptible to injury by strengthening muscles, bones, and ligaments. In addition, strength training can increase explosive power and anaerobic endurance.

    However, it's important to keep in mind that while this will hold for most types of weight training, some exercises can help you improve your performance in the ring. The problem is that most boxing enthusiasts are simply doing bodybuilding style workouts that make them big but won't help them create functional strength that they can bring into the ring.

    In other words, you could lift weights, but you need to know what you are doing to reap the benefits of the practice. Therefore, you should avoid doing any bodybuilding style lifts or routines and instead focus on exercises that will develop explosive power that will play in the ring.

    Is weight lifting training good or bad for boxers? 

    Yes, weight lifting training is a good practice for boxers to use.

    This is because it can build up additional power, strength, speed and muscle at whatever weight category you are at. It is important to do boxing specific movements as much as possible so that boxers can transfer the movements from weight exercises into technical boxing exercises, sparring or competition in the ring. 

    Why should you weight train for boxing?

    Before your routine, you should be properly hydrated, have water during your routine, and finish a proper warm-up at least 15 minutes beforehand. Shadowboxing can also be added before and after your weight training routine.

    Here's a rundown of the benefits you could expect from a tailored weight training programme:

    Improved endurance

    In addition to improving strength, weight training will also improve endurance or stamina, ideal for overall health and fitness. In essence, you can make your body work harder for longer with increased consistency in performance.

    This pays off in day-to-day life and in the ring, where you need to stay strong for multiple rounds. Improved endurance can also reduce the chance of injury and muscle strain or tiredness.

    Improved speed-strength

    One of the best benefits of weight training in boxing is improving speed strength. This is achieved by moving moderate weights – whatever is for you – at rapid speeds as if punching an opponent.

    Doing this when training means that when you fight without weights, you can hit faster and more effectively before your opponent has a chance to hit first.

    Over time, you can increase the resistance by using heavier weights; practice without weights, with weights, and then without to see the change in speed.

    Maximal and explosive strength

    portrait handsome boxer man standing bric wall looking camera with intense gaze

    Boxers can increase their maximal strength through weight training. Maximal strength is the maximum force you can exert at any given time. You can improve it by lifting heavy weights and completing rep-for-rep movements.

    In turn, this power can be used to improve explosive strength. As a result, explosive strength can produce maximum force in the shortest possible time frame. This added speed is invaluable when you're up against an equally matched opponent and every move counts.

    What Are The Pros & Cons Of Weightlifting For Boxing


    • Will develop your explosive power
    • Some exercises could greatly assist you in pulling your punches back faster
    • A good way to treat nagging injuries
    • Great way to make abs more conditioned to withstand punches


    • It could make you bulkier, slower, and more tired in the ring
    • Spending more time lifting weights means spending less time in actual boxing drills.
    • Increased risk of injury when done wrong

    The pros above will only apply to proper weightlifting with the right exercises. Boxers should limit isolation lifts as much as possible (tricep pushdowns, bicep curls) because these exercises tend to be used mostly for bulking purposes, plus they make the muscles they target stiffer.

    Plus, the movement itself doesn't translate to the boxing ring at all.

    Weight Training For A Boxer – Strength Training Vs Bodybuilding

    Comparing strength training to bodybuilding is much like comparing oranges to apples. Strength training and bodybuilding two are completely different sports.

    Conventional thought revolves around weights increasing one's size and muscle groups. However, old trainers fear that larger muscles will strain overall endurance and speed with thoughts on bodybuilding.

    After all, a larger body mass means more oxygen and blood flow. Even more so, if you don't have the correct body type or weight distribution, you'll be sucking air halfway through the 2nd round.

    Under no circumstance should boxers begin using a bodybuilding routine. These routines are specifically for aesthetics, with results depending on a panel of judges examining muscle groups.

    On the other hand, a boxers' weight training will focus on explosive and functional usage. To add, before you focus on explosiveness, proper form and technique must be mastered first.

    Here are a few reasons boxers don't lift weights: 

    It can add size

    This is something many fighters in lower weight classes try to avoid because they don't want to fight taller and bigger guys. 

    It can slow you down. 

    If you're weight lifting like a lifter, it will 100% make you stiffer, slow you down, and destroy your mobility and agility in the ring. There is a right and wrong way to lift for boxing.

    It takes time away from more efficient ways of strength training

    Again, this is more in the alley of lifting for the wrong reasons, but it can take valuable time from the training you should be doing. 

    It can make you tire quicker. 

    The more muscle you have, the more oxygen they will need and gas you out quicker in a fight. 

    Higher risk of injuries 

    For those that choose to lift heavy or are inexperienced lifters, the risk for injuries becomes much greater, especially if you tear muscles before your boxing training

    Weight Lifting For Boxing – The Forbidden Fruit 

    Weight lifting isn't all bad for boxing and has its benefits. The thing is, you have to do it right and stay away from isolated movements for the most part.

    We're going to focus on higher rep compound movements, mainly to avoid injuries, as your body will be pretty worn out from the boxing training alone.

    We don't recommend anyone lift weights as it is not necessarily for boxing, but here are the exercises to do if you must.

    Again, we'll be focusing on compound movements here.

    Woodchoppers/Axe Chops

    This exercise is number one for a reason: it's among the best moves to improve your core strength and explosiveness! As the name implies, this exercise simulates you are chopping a tree with an axe.

    First, you will use both hands to grab the handle, and then you will rotate your core hard, pulling the cable in the process.

    You could do this exercise either with a cable machine or with a resistance band, and it's highly recommended that you do this with enough weight that the exercise leaves you winded after 8 reps.

    Try doing 3 sets of no more than 8 reps in quick succession for best results. Avoid doing this exercise with light weights, and make sure you twist your torso explosively as if you were to cut a tree with an axe.

    This is among the very best weight exercises to improve your punching power. If you do this correctly, expect power gains as quickly as a few weeks. Just like medicine ball throws, this is a very effective exercise because it mimics the actual motion.

    Unlike many other weight exercises, this one is very unlikely to give you much, if any, bulk.

    Shoulder Press 

    The shoulder press is one of the best exercises you can do because the shoulders are one of the most important muscles for throwing and snapping your punches. The shoulder press is also one of the best exercises for explosiveness. 

    You will be doing 5 sets for 10-20 reps explosively, so pick a weight that you can throw up that much. This will also help your neck and your traps, which can help you take a better punch.

    The callisthenics alternative to this is handstand pushups, a much harder workout that will also work more muscles in your body. 

    Bent-Over Row

    Another great exercise that any boxing weight lifting routine should have is the bent-over row. While you could do rows in machines, we always recommend boxers to do the free weight version of the exercise because it doesn't restrict your range of motion, which is exactly what a boxer doesn't want.

    Using free weights also has the added advantage of working supporting muscles that machines do not target, making it a more helpful exercise.

    This exercise consists of bending down, grabbing a barbell or dumbbell, and pulling it up to the stomach while still in a bent position. If properly done, you should feel your back tightening.

    After you bring the barbell/dumbbell to your stomach, you are going to bring it down without letting it touch the floor. Do 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Do 3 sets of 6-8 reps.


    This is one of the best weightlifting exercises. Although it is not necessary to use weight, weight can make it easy for you to progress. This is one of the only weights Roy Jones was said to have lifted in his prime.

    Squats work 70% of your body and your legs, which is one of the main driving forces of your punching power. So if you're lacking in the punching power department, working your legs will be a good option to help increase it if you've done everything you could for your form. 

    The front squat is a good exercise because it can engage in your core much more than most weight lifting exercises. 

    pair red boxing gloves

    This is another exercise you want to make sure you learn to do properly from the best lifters out there. You can do this for 10-20 reps, 5 sets. 


    Not just for cross-fitters & circuit trainees, the snatch is a very useful exercise for developing the explosive strength crucial in boxing. Moreover, this is perhaps one of the most efficient exercises.

    Because the exercise is so complete, you only need to do a few reps to reap its benefits. And best of all: this exercise isn't exactly known as a muscle builder, keeping you quick and light while at the same time making you a more fearsome puncher.

    Also, this exercise is excellent for developing your stability and mobility. Aside from your punching power increasing, expect your balance to improve after a few weeks of making this movie.

    Bench Press 

    The bench is people's favourite workout, and it can have it's placed in a boxing workout if done in the same way as all the other compound lifts. Focus on tightening your back and glutes when you lift, and make sure to engage more than just your chest to get the weight up.

    Try not to isolate your chest and bring your grip to shoulder length to get more triceps in there. This is the closest thing you can get to pushups.

    10-20 reps, 5 sets, explosive, fast. 

    All in One day, 2-3 Times a Week

    If you're going to lift, do it only 2-3 times a week, and when you do it, do all these compound lifts in one day, back to back, after your boxing workout. Give yourself adequate rest from the weight. This is not want to do every day.

    How Often Should You Lift Weights?

    Many fighters tend to have the exercise selection part down, but they aren't sure how often they should do the exercises. And the answer is that it depends on how hard you are going to the boxing gym.

    If you are a pro/amateur boxer and are currently training for about, then there's a big chance that you are giving your all at the gym every time you go, leaving you exhausted.

    Combine this with much roadwork, and you have a recipe for overtraining.


    Weight training is but a piece of a boxer's training regimen puzzle. Tailor your weight training program to work around your boxing schedule of focus mitts, footwork routines, heavy bag training, study, and sparring.

    Every athlete is different, and this weekly sample routine can be adjusted to match what you are looking for. Find out what you need as a boxer and educate yourself. At the same time, experiment with different routines to be the best fighter you can be.


    What Weight Is Training Best For Boxing?

    Boxers need to focus on compound movements such as deadlifts and squats, which virtually work the entire body. Exercises such as shoulder presses, pull-ups and crunches are also included in this program.

    Is Boxing Good After Weight Lifting?

    No, weight lifting overcomes your speed and range of motion, which are the most necessary tool in boxing. You can do weight training 2 days a week under your boxing coach's guidance because no heavy left allows boxing.

    Can I Do Boxing And Bodybuilding?

    A fighter's goal is to develop fitness in cardio (endurance and anaerobic) and functional strength. You can mix the two if you aren't serious about becoming one or the other. If you want to become a boxer, then train like one. If you want to become a bodybuilder, then train like one.

    Will Boxing Make My Arms Bigger?

    So, will a boxing training workout help you to gain more muscle? The answer is: YES! Boxing is an incredible full-body workout that can help you to build muscle in your legs, hips, core, arms, chest, and shoulders. It can also help with your strength, speed, hand-eye coordination, agility, endurance, and power.

    Can Shadow Boxing Build Muscle?

    It will help you gain muscle mass.

    Shadowboxing is a wonderful exercise for muscle gain, especially for your biceps, triceps, and shoulders. In addition, it will help in toning your muscles.

    1. Find a gym. Boxing gyms aren't typically found in the yellow pages, but there are resources on the internet that can lead you in the right direction. ...
    2. Be sure the gym is within striking distance. ...
    3. Be open-minded. ...
    4. Choose your coach carefully. ...
    5. Do judge the gym by its cover.

    So, can boxing be self-taught? Boxing can be self-taught but it's not the quickest and most effective way to become better at the sport because you aren't able to tap into the knowledge of a boxing coach who would be able to help you one to one.

    Best Age to Start

    Specialists in sports medicine believe that boxing classes are better to start from 9-10 years. Starting too early could result in putting the student off, as boxing is hard work and not always as fun as team sports, such as football or rugby.

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