Knowing how to format your workout is vital for continuous improvement. You don’t want to be wasting your time doing pointless workouts and end up just spinning your wheels.
You probably joined boxing because you want to learn the sport, get in excellent shape, or both. To do any of those you need to be efficient with your training.
I’ll break down the essential aspects of an effective beginner boxing workout routine which will allow you to improve your skills and get in shape without wasting unnecessary hours in the gym.
Many people skip the warm-up for their workouts because they don’t realize how important it is. You don’t have to set aside a long time for this, but you should cover the basics.
I always start by getting in my stance and slowly moving through some boxing movements like different punches, slips, and steps. This allows me to get some blood moving to these parts of the body and lets me feel what muscles might be tighter than usual. If I feel tight in a particular spot, I’ll make sure to focus on that body part a little more than usual.
If I don’t have any unusual or lingering tightness, I go right into my regular warm-up.
- Slow and controlled neck rolls
- Shoulder rolls – keeping my arms by my sides I roll my shoulders which is great for loosening up my traps
- I never used to do this until I started getting stiffness and pain on the side of my neck, which continued into my traps. It would often tense up very early in my workout, but this has completely removed the problem
- Arm circles – start small and increase in size until you’ve covered the entire range of motion
- Single knee tucks
- Butt kicks
- bodyweight squats
- ankle rolls
- Stretch anything else that feels tight
This usually works for me, and I don’t follow a set amount of reps or sets. I typically aim for ten reps on everything but will stretch certain body parts more if it feels tight. Just warm up until you feel loose and ready for your workout.
This should complete your warmup.
After warming up, you should do at least three rounds of shadowboxing. People new to the sport often overlook the benefits of shadow boxing but its incredibly important for improving your skills. It’s a great time to work on form and new things you are trying.
There are many things you can and should focus on while shadow boxing, but as someone relatively new to the sport, you should be focusing on moving and throwing punches with proper form as well as making sure you are snapping your punches out and bringing them back to the correct place.
If you have a mirror available, it’s super helpful to watch yourself in the mirror while doing this because you will be able to see problems with your form that you might not realize while hitting the bag or doing pad work.
Being able to visualize someone in front of you is another way to benefit from shadow boxing. It may take some imagination to do this, but once you figure it out, it allows you to create any scenario you want, and you can work on countering or working on combinations without getting hit.
I’ll go into more detail in a future post dedicated to shadow boxing, but it’s still important to gain what you can from it and not to overlook it in your workout.
Now that you are warmed up and have done a little bit of shadow boxing, you should be ready to dive into your skill work. This can come in many forms, depending on what you are trying to improve.
If you are working on hand speed, head movement, footwork, blocking, or power now would be the time to break out those drills and focus specifically on improving that aspect.
Something you should be wary of while performing these drills is not to work too many aspects of your game at once. You should focus on improving only one or two specific skills at once. Otherwise, you will not see fast improvement on any of your abilities.
It takes a lot of work and time to drill new skills into your muscle memory, and if you don’t take the proper time for this, you might never properly retain what you are working on. Work on whatever it is you are trying to improve until you are very comfortable with it and it starts to happen without much effort or thought, then you can begin moving on and focus on something else.
I like to end my boxing workouts with about 10-15min of cardio. This can come in many forms, including biking, rowing, HIIT circuits, or ab work. The conditioning you do at the end of your workouts should not be a substitute for your consistent cardio outside of practice. I just like to end my workouts with a bit of extra conditioning.
Another excellent option for ending your workout can come in the form of shoulder conditioning. This could be holding weights and doing arm circles until your shoulders burn or doing burnouts.
If you don’t know what burnouts are, its when you hit the bag as fast as you can for a set amount of time with more of a focus on speed than form. You should still focus on throwing sharp punches and bringing your hands back to your face, but if it gets a little sloppy as you tire out, it’s not a big deal.
I will do 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for a set amount of sets depending on my workout.
To layout the workout in a more organized way:
- Warm-up (stretch, jump rope 3 rounds)
- Shadow Box (at least 3 rounds)
- Skill work ( ~ 6 rounds)
- 10 – 15 minutes of cardio
Realistically this workout should only take about an hour if you are doing 2-minute rounds with 1-minute rest, and slightly over an hour if you are doing 3-minute rounds with 1-minute rest.
It doesn’t take hours to get a great workout in and to see consistent improvement; you just have to follow a productive routine.
I’ve been following a routine like this for years and have seen consistent improvement the entire time. The only thing I had changed from when I started is I often do more than 6 rounds of skill work during my universities practices, and I swap cardio for sparring.
Believe me, it works.
Comment below any questions you might have!