The Fit List

Learn How to Fight and You'll Know How to Sprint

Simulating combat will whip your own butt into shape, while helping you build power and endurance

Learn How to Fight and You'll Know How to Sprint

Boxing is a total-body workout, though most of the power comes from the hips and core. Photo: Yuri Arcurs/iStock

The first time I took a boxing lesson—with a real fighter, one who lost to a young Mike Tyson in the Olympic trials—he outfitted me in gloves and headgear, then gave me the first lesson: “Boxing is here,” he said, slapping the side of my glutes. If I wanted to generate power, most would come from the hips and core, not the arms and shoulders, he said. 

Very soon, I learned that not only does the power of the punch indeed come from that spot, but also that boxing is about as close to a true total-body workout that I have ever done. It works strength, cardio, core, agility, power, and nerve. In short, it works it all, making boxing an ideal workout for adventure athletes, because it helps prepare your body for those times when you need to crush a hill, leap an obstacle, or fire to the finish. “This will give you explosive power that will improve core strength and sprint ability,” says Martin Rooney, founder and CEO of boxing-based fitness program, Training for Warriors.

You don’t need to be holed in a garage gym with a heavy bag to see the benefits, because you can do the following workout with no equipment at all—just shadow-boxing will work. Or pick up a set of training gloves and some mitts to punch with a partner. Add in a few bodyweight exercises in the middle of your sets and you’ll have a session that’ll leave you feeling primal—and primed to go.
 
Warm-Up: 5 minutes of dynamic work (light run, lunges, bodyweight squats, arm circles)
 
Round 1:

  • 10 punches (alternate left-right)
  • 10 pushups
  • 10 punches (alternate left-right)
  • 10 of core movement of your choice (V-ups, bicycle kicks)
  • Repeat this round 3 times

 
Rest 1 minute (or switch gloves and mitts and have partner do the round)
 
Round 2: 

  • 20 punches (10 left, then 10 right)
  • 10 bodyweight squats
  • 20 punches (10 left, then 10 right)
  • 10 plyometric jumps in place
  • Repeat this round 3 times

 
Rest 1 minute
 
Round 3:

  • 1 minute punches (mixing left and right randomly)
  • Sprint (10 seconds)
  • 1 minute punches (mixing left and right randomly)
  • Sprint (10 seconds)
  • Repeat this round 3 times

 
Rest 1 minute
 
Round 4:

  • 3 punch combo x 6 (right-left-right; rest for a beat of 3; left-right-left; rest for a beat of 3, etc…)
  • 10 bodyweight squats
  • 3 punch combo x 6 (right-left-right; rest for a beat of 3; left-right-left; rest for a beat of 3, etc…)
  • 10 pushups
  • Repeat this round 3 times

 
How to Punch: Stand with your knees slightly bent, facing your target head-on. (In a fight, you’d be turned so your non-dominant shoulder was facing the target to protect your body from punches.) Keep both mitts at chin level. To punch, rotate your hips away from the target. As you rotate back, extend your arm and aim to punch through the mitt, generating force with the torque of your core.

Filed To: Workouts, Strength and Power Training, Sports

Holiday Subscription Sale

Outside Magazine Latest Issue

Save 79% and get a free gift!

Not Now

Special Holiday Offer: Save 79% and Get a Free Gift!

Subscribe
Holiday Bow