Imagine doing the hardest workout of your life, gasping for every breath while your muscles quiver in protest. Then imagine doing that workout while someone else tries to hit you as hard as they can. That’s boxing, and it will get you fit like nothing else.
The legendary boxer Barry McGuigan calls it “punching fit”. We spoke to McGuigan ahead of the release of new film Jawbone, for which he helped train star Johnny Harris, himself a former amateur boxing champion. McGuigan left us with no illusions about the challenge boxing presents.
“Being punching fit is a whole lot different to being just generally fit. You can be fit as a flea and boxing will still absolutely shred you and leave you in a mass of sweat very quickly. Punching in itself exhausts your body and muscles. Then you’ve got to get used to being hit.”
Fortunately, you can do some work on the conditioning required for boxing without getting hit in the face. According to McGuigan, the whole-body demands of the sport mean that compound exercises that use the punching muscles are your best bet for a killer boxing circuit.
15-Minute Boxing Conditioning Circuit
Complete this six-exercise circuit from McGuigan by working for 30 seconds at maximum intensity, resting for 30 seconds, then moving onto the next exercise. A full round takes three minutes. Aim to complete five rounds in total for a 15-minute workout that’s sure to leave you a quivering mess.
You know it’s going to be a tough workout when it starts with burpees. Stand tall, then drop into a crouch and kick your feet backwards to get into into a press-up position. Then jump your feet forward, stand up and leap into the air. Repeat.
2. 1-2 punch on bag, step back, 1-2 punch on bag
The classic jab-and-cross combo. Throw one of those, step back, then step in and throw another 1-2 combo. Brush up on your punching technique with this guide to the four basic punches.
3. Prisoner squat
Put your hands behind your head as if about to be arrested and then drop down into a squat until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Stand up, then repeat.
4. High knees and straight shots
While doing high knees on the spot throw straight punches (into the air, not on the bag) with alternate arms. If you think this is a challenge for your co-ordination just wait until step six.
You know this one. Adopt the position – supported by your forearms and toes, with your body forming a ramrod-straight line from shoulders to feet – and hold it for the duration of the intervals.
6. High knees and uppercuts
Round off the circuit with some high knees while throwing uppercut punches (again, into the air). A test for both your fitness and your co-ordination.
RECOMMENDED: Carl Froch’s Boxing Workout
Jawbone is released in cinemas on 12th May and on DVD and Blu-ray on 29th May