The Ultimate Fitness Workout Part Two: Strength
There’s a saying that there’s being in shape, and then there’s being in “boxing shape,” which is a whole different level of fitness. Floyd Mayweather has now made the essentials of the boxing workout accessible to everyone through his new fitness gym franchise, Mayweather Boxing + Fitness.
In this series on the boxing pathway to fitness, we explain how a boxing workout yields incredible results for anyone who undertakes it, regardless whether they ever step into a boxing ring or not.
In our first post, we talked about how cardio training is a fundamental part of a boxing workout. This is because cardio and conditioning are the foundation of boxing shape, because boxers need the stamina not just to last for 10-12 rounds, at 3 minutes each, but to excel and exert themselves to dominate their opponent. Check out that post here if you missed it: Ultimate Fitness Workout Part 1: Cardio
In this post, we discuss how strength is developed as another key element of the boxing workout. Boxers need to be explosive and that means there needs to be aggressive power behind every punch.
What is unique about boxing strength however is that it develops as part of a total body transformation. If you think of boxers, you don’t think of the muscle-bound, weight-lifter, or body-builder type. That’s because boxing strength is fluid, movable strength that presents across the entire body.
For someone looking for an everyday fitness routine, this is ideal because it means that the entire body will be engaged in increasing strength. This will lead to increased agility and mobility, as the body develops greater overall poise and balance, supported by the entire muscular system.
For example, a commonly unworked muscle that can be strengthened through boxing is the serratus anterior muscle also known as the “boxer’s muscle”. It looks like a bird’s wing tucked under your armpit. The serratus anterior is strengthened by the protraction of the scapula, which is a movement that occurs when throwing a punch. The serratus anterior, when strengthened, can help prevent scapular winging and other shoulder injuries.
How is this strength work accomplished in the boxing workout? First, it is obvious that intense cardio training builds muscle strength throughout the body. After that, boxing strength begins with a strong core because it enables the boxer’s full strength to be transferred from the legs through the torso into explosive punching power. Also, the boxer’s strong stomach muscles serve as a barrier to protect the organs underneath. For these reasons, boxers develop the signature boxing six-pack as part of their essential training. This can include medicine ball rotations, which build the oblique muscles. And of course crunches and sit-ups are a mainstay. Click here for some of the best abdomen exercises from Mayweather Boxing + Fitness, including The Floyd Mayweather Sit-Up: https://mayweather.fit/blog/best-ab-exercises-for-boxers/
As we mentioned, boxing power emanates from the legs and delivers all this force as channeled through the boxer’s punch. Therefore, strength training of the lower body is vital to develop. The key muscles are the glutes (gluteus maximus), quads (quadriceps) and hamstrings. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body and hence arguably the prime mover behind all bodily strength movements. As a result, exercises such as squats that work the lower body are an important component of strength training. Squats come in different variations to involve different motions and activate the muscle groups in different ways. Try these three squat variations from Mayweather Boxing + Fitness: https://mayweather.fit/blog/3-squat-variations-for-boxers/
Finally, when we think of boxing of course we think of the arms that deliver those punishing power punches. Whether it’s a persistent jab with a cross, or a devastating hook or uppercut, the boxer uses his or her arms as a weapon. Boxers gain strength by practicing their combinations on the punching bag and by doing exercises such as push-ups for arm strength. Push-ups work the triceps, pectoral muscles, shoulders, all while engaging the core. Here are four challenging push-up variations from Mayweather Boxing + Fitness: https://mayweather.fit/blog/4-challenging-push-up-variations/
In our next post, we’ll talk about agility and recovery — what keeps boxers light on their feet, and what occupies them after the workout, when they put their feet up and help their body recover.