7 Best Exercises for Boxing | Full Boxers Training Guide


Boxing is a difficult sport, as it requires you to have both physical force and aerobic shape. As a result, knowing which are the best boxing exercises- can be critical for optimizing your workout routine.

I’ve seen many elite boxers train in different ways. Consequently, I have an idea of the best exercises you can constantly do to ensure you’ll progress quickly.

So, without further ado, here are the 5 best exercises for boxing.

  • Straight punches drill
  • Jab + Straightpunch combo drill
  • Shadowboxing freestyle
  • Deadlift
  • Runs (Long + Recovery)
  • Weighted pull-up
  • Bench press

To clarify, I’m not saying that you should do all of these in a single workout; not at all. Nonetheless, if you consistently perform these exercises while having an appropriate workout routine, you’ll progress quicker than if you had chosen different drills.

I’ve been lifting weights and training in martial arts for the past 6 years. Throughout this period, I’ve experimented with countless workout routines and exercises. So, I’ll share my results and what I’ve seen with the scientific data regarding these exercises.

Following that, we’ll discuss each exercise and explain what it is and why it’s suitable for bettering your physical condition. Let’s jump into the first one: the straight punches drill.

#1- Straight punches drill

The first exercise we’ll examine is the straight punch drill. But, essentially, we must first understand that boxing itself- can be a fantastic workout. Moreover, boxing is suitable both for shedding body fat and building muscle.

So, what is the straight punch drill?

The straight punches drill is when you work on the power of your punches, primarily your straight punch. For example, in a boxing match, it’s not uncommon to see a fight end with one boxer landing a fierce straight punch (either with the leading or rear hand).

Thus, to perform this drill, you throw powerful straight punches onto a punching bag. With time, your power increases when you stay consistent with your drill.

In the video, you’ll notice the fancier version of this drill. If you feel you’ve mastered it, you can move on to something fancier, as the trainer shows in the video.

In my eyes, seeing success with this drill- will come naturally since it’s easy to learn and execute.

Nonetheless, it can get difficult on the aerobic side of things. As such, you may need to take a few breaks if your aerobic shape isn’t as solid.

#2- Jab + Straightpunch combo drill

The jab into a straight punch is by far one of the most prominent combos in boxing. Those who master it- hone their skills to such a degree become much better fighters. So, how does this combo work, and how do I practice it?

First, find a punching bag, or you can also use shadowboxing, essentially boxing without a punching bag. Then, start with a jab, a quick punch with your rear hand, and follow it with a fierce straight punch. Repeat that a few times and rest.

The boxing community calls the jab into a straight punch: a cross.

Throughout the history of boxing, boxers caused plenty of damage with this combo. Some fights even ended with the execution of this combo, leading to a quick victory.

Because of that, if you want to become the best boxer, it’ll be best to master this drill as soon as possible. Moreover, this combo is one of the most uncomplicated ones since it involves 2 punches.

Eventually, if you want to become the best boxer, consider practicing this drill at least once a week. Additionally, you can combine the jab into a straight punch with other exercises, such as lifting weights, which we’ll discuss in the 4th spot.

#3- Shadowboxing freestyle

In all martial arts movies, there will be a scene where the good guy does shadowboxing, the art of punching in thin air. So, as a result, it does have some basis to it. So, should you shadowbox?

Shadowboxing is a suitable way of practicing both your offensive and defensive moves while being calm. However, you can also shadowbox intensely, improving your boxing abilities and aerobic shape. As such, it’s incredibly valuable, and you should perform it at least once weekly.

Again, every fighting movie includes shadowboxing. Hence it has to have the slightest basis for doing so. Well, that is entirely true.

Shadowboxing is a fantastic way of working on your weaknesses and strengths altogether. For instance, if your left hook (a punch that utilizes circular movement) is weaker than your right one, you can shadowbox and work on perfecting your left hook technique.

Moreover, you’ll find that it’s a fantastic aerobic exercise, as it’s tiring. Because of that, your aerobic shape will improve with how intense you make it to be. By the way, that’s another advantage; you can control how intense the exercise will be.

Here are some benefits of consistent shadowboxing. Source

  • Improved form and technique. Shadowboxing is the best way to give all your attention to your stance and movement without distraction from a bag or opponent.
  • Enhanced muscle memory.
  • Improved balance.
  • Great workout.
  • Stress relief.

Once you get the hang of it, you can start freestyle shadowboxing, which is more intense than the regular one. For instance, you’ll work on what’s popping in your mind, which is a fantastic exercise.

#4- Deadlift

For the 4th pick, deadlift was the winner, as it’s the mother of all weight lifting workouts. For those who want to build muscle, it’ll be best to include the deadlift in your workout. First, let’s look at why it’s as effective as it is.

The deadlift is effective because it works on more muscles than other exercises. So, for example, you can expect to exhaust your legs, back, neck, and even abs while going through an aerobic exercise. In fact, everyone who deadlifts- will sweat profusely because it’s one of the most challenging workouts in the world of weight lifting.

Nonetheless, you may not be as inclined to build muscle. With that, it’ll still be best to include it in your workout routine, as you’ll better your strength and mobility- while going through a tough workout.

You’ll need an Olympic bar with weights on the side to perform the deadlift. Then, once the bar is resting on the floor, you pick it up from the middle with a straight back. Let me pause for a second. You must have a straight back if you don’t want to experience back pains when you’re older.

Hence you pick it up both with your legs and back. To further clarify my point, please watch this video to understand how not to hurt yourself while deadlifting.

#5- Runs (Long + Recovery)

By far, running is the single most effective exercise for health purposes. For instance, if you want to improve your well-being and overall physical condition, run. Additionally, if you want to better your aerobic shape and mental health, run.

Well, you see my point. In my eyes, running has been the best exercise I performed throughout my career. As a result, I can’t recommend it more.

So, why did I choose to list it as #5? Honestly, since this article is about boxing and not the best exercise for physical health, running has taken a step back. Yet, it’s the best exercise here that you must perform to remain healthy.

Running will also improve your abilities as a boxer since it’ll better your aerobic shapewhich will influence how long you can stay in the ring. As a result, the more you’ll run, the more time you can withstand in a boxing match.

Past research has found running reduces the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, disability, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It also improves aerobic endurance, heart function, balance and metabolism. These are important components of your overall health status.


Finally, you should involve both long and recovery runs in your workout routine. First, long runs are runs where you focus on your aerobic shape; thus, they’re more difficult. On the other hand, recovery runs are short and calm- without emphasizing an improvement in shape.

We’ll discuss building the perfect workout routine later in this article.

#6- Weighted pull-up

The last two exercises are weightlifting ones. Including these in your workout routine will cause numerous positive effects. Some of them are:

  • Better physical condition
  • Dense muscles
  • Building muscle
  • Improved strength

So, as you can see, you shouldn’t leave out weight lifting, as it’s one of the most critical aspects of every boxer’s life. As a result, let’s discuss the weighted pull-up, one of the most effective back exercises.

The weighted pull-up is a much more challenging version of the pull-up since you’re held back by more weight. As a result, its effects on your overall shape- will be better than performing a regular pull-up. Essentially, you’ll build your back, biceps, neck, and abs.

Additionally, because it’s more difficult, you can expect to burn more calories and cause hypertrophy, the body’s process of building muscle. As a result, it’s much more effective and suitable for bettering your physical shape.

Finally, it’ll improve your abilities as a boxer by doing all the benefits I mentioned earlier. Put it simply; you’ll be stronger and more capable of throwing fierce punches. Hence, you’ll become a better boxer.

#7- Bench press

The final exercise you should perform as a boxer is the bench press. Previously, I mentioned that deadlift is the mother of weight lifting exercises. Surprisingly enough, the bench press is the father.

The bench press is an exercise that emphasizes the chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs. For boxing, it’ll cause you to have a complete body composition, leading to a better aerobic shape and the ability to generate more force in your punches.

I did leave out the squat, a fantastic leg exercise that is the godfather of all weightlifting exercises. However, the ones I mentioned for boxing are more beneficial.

Eventually, the bench press is one of the best weight lifting exercises you should perform weekly. That’s because it’s a compound movement that both burns plenty of calories and builds muscles.

It’ll be best to include both the bench press and weighted pull-ups in your week to cause balanced growth, but more on that later.

How to increase punch power

One more desirable trait for boxers is increasing their punch power. That’s because the more force you can generate through a punch, the better of a boxer you’ll be.

There are 3-ways one can go about increasing their punching power:

  • Build muscle
  • Hone boxing technique
  • Boxing training

First, you can build muscle. It’s no secret that the heavier you are, the more force you’ll be able to generate through your punch.

Next, you can ensure your technique is at the top of its game. Consequently, you’ll be capable of throwing the best punches possible and thus have them be more powerful.

Lastly, you can train in boxing. Then, you’ll finally find that your ability to generate fierce punches will be better since you constantly throw punches.

How do boxers get in shape so fast?

Boxers get in shape quickly because they can dedicate most of their hours to training. As a result, their progression rate will be higher than the average trainee. For instance, while most of us can’t train more than 6-times a week, boxers train at least 7-10 times a week.

Eventually, your progression rate will correlate with how much effort and time you dedicate to training. If, for instance, you train twice a week, someone who trains double the time is most likely to progress faster.

What’s a boxer’s workout routine?

The critical point you must pay attention to when you construct your workout routine is to not train the same muscles on consecutive days. By doing so, you allow your body enough time to rest.

Boxers’ workout routine includes aerobic exercise, weightlifting, and boxing training. The primary guideline is to avoid training the same muscles on consecutive days. As such, if you deadlift on Sunday, ensure you don’t train and use your back on Monday. If you do, you’ll overtrain your body.

Now, to make matters clearer, I’d like to offer a potential boxer workout routine. I’ll assume that you want to become a professional boxer. As a result, I’ll include a week with 6-days of intense training.

  • Sunday – Boxing training
  • Monday – Back + Biceps
  • Tuesday – Chest + Triceps
  • Wednesday – Long run
  • Thursday – Boxing training
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – Recovery run + Legs + Mobility

As you can see, you can get creative with your schedule. Nonetheless, the takeaway is for you to avoid training on consecutive days. Let me show you what workout routine you should avoid.

  • Sunday – Boxing training
  • Monday – Boxing training
  • Tuesday – Long run
  • Wednesday – Recovery run + Legs
  • Thursday – Back + Biceps
  • Friday – Back + Biceps
  • Saturday – Chest + Mobility

This is the type of workout routine you should avoid. Mainly, I encourage you to research some certified online boxing coaches who share their favorite workout routines. Then, you can follow that to ensure you’re training optimally.

The harmful consequences of training on consecutive days- are detrimental. Your overall well-being will drastically decrease since many negative effects will flow your way.

We call that overtraining. In the next section, I’ll discuss overtraining in-depth, so stay tuned for that.

Do boxers run every day?

Running every day isn’t as shiny as it may sound. First, for some specific people, running every day will be beneficial. However, for most individuals, this act will cause plenty of injuries.

Boxers don’t run daily, as they know the harmful consequences of overtraining. To clarify, if you work the same muscles on consecutive days, you risk injuring yourself by overtraining a specific muscle. As such, if I perform the bench press day after day, I may overtrain my chest.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Running is the same deal; if you run on consecutive days, you may cause harmful consequences to your legs. However, I’m no dietician; thus, let’s look at a professional study on the detrimental effects of overtraining.

Lifestyle-related signs of overtraining Source

  • Prolonged general fatigue.
  • Increase in tension, depression, anger, or confusion.
  • Inability to relax.
  • Poor-quality sleep.
  • Lack of energy, decreased motivation, moodiness.
  • Not feeling joy from things that were once enjoyable.

I believe that every one of these effects will drastically decrease your overall well-being. Imagine your life with all these effects; how different would they look?

The secret is not to train the same muscles on consecutive days. For example, if you train your chest and legs on Sunday, then train your back and biceps on Monday. As a result, you’ll avoid having your muscles in an overtrained state.

What was Miky Tyson’s workout?

Mike Tyson is one of the best fighters in the history of boxing. That’s because of 2 primary reasons; he had a large and intimidating frame and an extraordinary technique. As a result, no one could stop him when he stepped foot on the ring.

Well then, what was his workout routine like?

Tyson incorporated calisthenics, running, bodybuilding, and boxing training. As a result, he was able to build a considerable frame while improving his boxing technique. Eventually, his large amount of muscle resulted in an ability to generate much more force swiftly.

For example, his calisthenics routine involved high numbers of reps, such as 500 dips, 1000 sit-ups, and 1000 air squats. That’s the most reps I’ve seen one person perform.

Consequently, he could build plenty of muscle in a relatively short period.

Unfortunately, finding the exact exercises and numbers- is impossible. That said, we know that he incorporated everything I previously mentioned, bodybuilding, running, calisthenics, and boxing training. For that reason, he built an extraordinary body while honing his boxing skills to perfection.

And because of that, not one fighter could stop him inside the boxing ring.

Should boxers lift weights?

Boxers should lift weight because it’s a suitable way to increase punch power and overall muscle. As a result, by growing your overall muscles, you’ll become a more capable fighter, as you’ll be able to generate more force, shed more body fat for aerobic capability, and have a better frame.

Consequently, there’s no losing when discussing the benefits of boxers to lifting weights. In fact, if a fighter doesn’t build muscle or lift weights, one will be at a significant disadvantage in one’s fighting career.

The 4 most prominent exercises you can perform to increase your muscle mass are deadlift, weighted pull-ups, bench press, and squat. However, if you squeeze these 3 into your weekly workout routine, you’ll eventually cause hypertrophy, the body’s process of building muscle.

Final words

Boxing training- may get incredibly difficult. As a result, it doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or more advanced; knowing which are the best exercises- is crucial.

That’s because the more optimized your workout routine is, the more progress you’ll have. The more improvement you’ll experience, the better of a boxer you’ll be.

I’ve been training for the past 6 years, and I can tell you that different exercises have different outcomes. For instance, if you follow the 7-drills I included in my list, you’ll ensure your rate of progression is better than the average beginner boxing trainee.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you’d also enjoy reading about the deadliest martial arts worldwide. So I encourage you to give it a read!


I've served in the military as a special forces operator for 4-years. In that period, I've trained in many martial arts, including karate, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and even Krav Maga. I want to share my passion with you, so here it is!

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