Guest Blog Post by Boxing Coach Carlos Moreno

My Top 5 Weight Training Exercises for Boxing
(by Carlos Moreno, personal trainer and boxing coach in London)

Midway through my amateur boxing career I finally discovered resistance training during the time I was completing my personal training diploma. In our course we had to use free-weights and machines to put together a training program for clients in order to help them reach a required goal. During this time I became aware of the importance of resistance training alongside cardiovascular (CV) training and began to incorporate it into my boxing training program.

You may be wondering why it took me 5 years to realise the importance of weight training for boxing and this I can say is because boxing is fundamentally a very traditional sport. By this I mean that trainers tend to be ‘old school’ favouring more out-dated forms of training to build their fighters up, such as ‘roadwork’ or running, skipping and sit-ups. As time has moved on and more scientific discoveries about the effects of exercise on the body have been made, personal trainers have found new ways to build and improve on older models of training exercises, in effect helping individuals become stronger and fitter then they were even 20 years back!

These days you will find more and more professional and even amateur boxers working with strength and conditioning coach, whose job it is to provide advice on the fitness side of the boxing training. Some boxers now even work with nutritionists to provide specialised advice and some go as far as seeking a sports psychologists. In turn this is causing the sport to become more and more competitive with boxers seeking new scientific means to gain an upper hand and nowadays you will find that most, if not all, do some form of weight training.

I personally felt a big difference when I incorporated weights into my training program (even against my coaches’ recommendation) and during that time of my amateur career I was very strong and performing much better, winning an average of 86% to 93% of my fights in 2 years! On that note here are my top 5 weights exercises for boxing:

1. Deadlift:

In boxing you need very strong legs if you are to handle taking punches and still stay on your feet! Even if you just train for fitness you will still need good lower body strength in order to deliver strong punches using the torque from the hips and the twist of the feet from the calves. Deadlifts are a great way to work your legs and will help you build great strength on your quads, hamstrings and calves. A deadlift is usually performed with a barbell but dumbbells or kettle bells can be used too.

To perform a deadlift start with your feet shoulder width apart and parallel, keep your upper body straight with your chest out with the weights in front of you. Bend the knees at a 45 – 90 degree angle was you lower your body and then stretch out your arms to grab hold of the weight, with your arms straight throughout extend the legs as you straighten your body while lifting the weight off the ground. Then bend the knees again as you lower the weight back down to your knees or slightly lower.

2. Chest Press
The chest press is a great way to increase your upper body strength and I like it specifically because it simulates the punching action, working the same muscles you do when punching. This will increase the power of your punches and also build punching endurance so you can puncher harder for longer.

To perform a bench press it is best if you have a spotter to help you. Lay on a bench with your back flat, extend your arms to grab the barbell or dumbbell from the weights frame or from your spotter, then once you have the weight gripped firmly, lower the bar towards your chest bending the arms at a 90 degree angle. Breathe out as you extend your arms and push the weight away from your chest to complete one rep.

3. Squat
The squat again is a great weight to increase your lower body strength. To perform a squat deadlift the weight off the ground (barbell), if your using a barbell you will need to lift it up unto your shoulders, with your back straight bend the knees to a 90 degree angle as you lower the weight towards the ground in an eccentric movement. Then extend the legs as you lift the weight back up to starting position.

4. Bicep Curl
Having strong biceps will increase your punching power when throwing short punches such as uppercuts and hooks and will make you more effective on inside boxing (boxing close range).

To perform the bicep curl with a barbell or dumbbell start with your feet shoulder width apart and deadlift the weight off the ground using an underhand grip (palm of hands facing away from body). Grip the bar with your hands shoulder width apart and your elbows tucked into your ribs and slightly bent. Bend the elbows further as you lift the weights concentrically (towards the ceiling) while keeping your elbows fixed, bend them until the weight reaches your chest then lower it slowly back down all the weight to starting position to complete one rep.

5. Shoulder Press
Having really strong shoulders is a must in boxing for a number of reasons. First you will need to be able to hold your guard up for extended periods of time in order to protect yourself and this takes muscular endurance of the shoulders. If your shoulders (deltoids) are not strong enough you will tire quickly and your guard will begin to lower, exposing you to danger. Secondly strong shoulders will allow you to throw powerful punches for longer without tiring and you will need less effort for greater results when throwing punches.

A shoulder press can be performed seated or standing and you should first practice a seated shoulder press before moving on to a standing one. Sit on a bench with a the weight on the floor in front of your feet, bring your chest down to your knees so that you can reach the weights, grab hold of them and raise them up to your shoulders. To perform a shoulder press start with the arms bent at 70 – 90 degrees, chest out and back straight with the weights held on either hand above the shoulders. Extend the arms concentrically (towards the ceiling) until your arms are straight and the weights are above your shoulders. You should look as if holding a big box above your head. Lower the weight back down towards your shoulders to complete a rep.

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