Anybody who tries boxing for the first time will quickly realize that it’s not as easy as it looks. we have all been beginners, where you start punching for 30 seconds and your arms fill with lactic acid, forcing you into defense as you can barely hold your hands up to your face anymore.
Once you get a bit more advanced, your arms can take more punishment and you start to run out of breath struggling to suck any oxygen in so you can keep pushing forward and throwing punches.
The truth of the matter is that boxing is one of the most intense sports in the world. It utilizes all three energy systems heavily and it requires amazing levels of overall fitness. That is one of the main reasons why athletes from all sports come to boxing to get in better condition and increase their stamina.
Introduction To The Body’s Energy Systems
before we go trying to increase our stamina and endurance for boxing, we need to understand the different Energy systems that the body has so we can train affectively for the sport.
The Aerobic, Anaerobic and Alactic energy systems cover our total fitness. They range from slow pace and long lasting, to max force and short lasting.
The Aerobic System
The Aerobic system covers slow paced long-lasting activities like jogging or long distance running. Aerobic exercises allow us to keep going using the oxygen that we breathe in throughout the exercise.
the Aerobic system, is the building block or foundation of your fitness and developing a solid base here will allow you to train harder in the other systems and increase your stamina.
Once you build the solid base you should maintain it for years to come.
The Anaerobic System
anaerobic exercises are the ones that cause your body to fill with lactic acid, making your muscles sore and forcing you to stop. this will include activities like bag drills, padwork, strength training and sprinting.
Anaerobic exercises typically last from 5 seconds up to a minute and there are plenty of effective ways to build this fitness that will all stem from how fit you are in your aerobic base.
Having a good aerobic and anaerobic system will allow you to get through a boxing class a lot more easily.
The Alactic System
Alactic exercises use almost all of your body’s force in less than 5 seconds and it represents throwing your hardest punch or short combo in a quick flurry looking for a knockout.
This system will build on the base that we have developed through our aerobic and anaerobic bases although there are ways to target it on its own as well, like strength training.
Putting A Plan In Action
Now that we know what the energy systems are we can start to put a plan in action to increase our stamina, endurance and overall fitness for boxing
Pro boxers will try to work their aerobic conditioning before they even enter a fight camp and in the first couple of weeks they will look to do long runs and other forms of cardio to get their aerobic system in peak condition.
As a beginner, you should be putting heavy emphasis on building a strong aerobic base or even if you are an intermediate who hasn’t put enough emphasis on cardio but only training in the boxing gym, cardio is the starting blocks.
#1 Running Is Crucial For Boxing
It’s no coincidence that you see all of your favorite boxers putting in a lot of miles on the road with slow steady paced running. It is important to note that the energy systems aren’t a sliding scale so if you start running faster you will move more towards the anaerobic system and a lot of exercises are a mix between aerobic and anaerobic conditioning.
To start building a base for boxing you should start with a 5km run twice a week on top of all your other training or at least get one 10 kilometer run in per week or else build up to that if you can’t manage it starting out.
Floyd Mayweather is famous for running 6 miles every day when he is building up for a fight and he does it quite fast. A 12 round boxing contest last 36 minutes and there isn’t too much point in running for over 10 kilometers although a few do long distance running like a marathon it could really help to increase your stamina.
as you get better at running try to increase your pace and you can always use a smart watch to get all your vital details
Slow steady pace running is the key to building a robust fitness for boxing and it also as the benefits of building the muscles and toughness in the legs and conditioning them so you can move around the ring even when you’re tired
#2 Jumping Rope Or Skipping
Skipping not only provides an excellent Aerobic workout, it develops the coordination between the hands and feet, teaches beginners how to improve their footwork, it builds endurance in the shoulders and arms which is crucial for being able to last longer when throwing punches, and it is a fun, progressive workout where the more you practice the better you will get.
Roger Mayweather once said that skipping is the key to being a great boxer and if we look at all the great champions from Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson they’ve all been very proficient jumping rope to a professional level.
For a beginner you can just do treat the five rounds of three minutes each and have a menace minute in between and you can increase the pace by lifting the knees and sprinting for 10 seconds a couple of times through each round.
Jumping rope is also excellent for burning belly fast when you lift the knees up to the chest.
#3 Swimming For Boxing
Swimming has been a favorite method of building aerobic and cardiovascular strength for popular champions such as the Klitschkos, Anthony Joshua, Floyd Mayweather, Amir Khan and many more.
Swimming not only works every muscle in your body, it has low impact on your joints, you can use it for active recovery and you can get a great fast or steady pace workout.
Swimming can have just as positive an impact on our aerobic conditioning as running although it doesn’t build up the leg conditioning it could still be considered as part of building up your stamina for boxing.
Aim for 10 or 20 lengths without stopping.
cycling is another great way to build up our cardiovascular endurance and stamina for boxing and it also builds up the leg muscles and works the glutes which is great for increasing our conditioning for boxing.
I personally like to do spinning classes which is high intensity interval training will you go from fast anaerobic work to slow aerobic active recovery. You get to workout as part of a group and everyone can encourage you to put in a good effort to increase your fitness and stamina for boxing.
#5 The Rowing Machine
The rolling machine is ideal for boxing as it works the shoulders and back and it has no impact on your knee joints but you can really push hard and get a good workout.
You can go for a slower steadier pace for say 2 kilometers without stopping are you can try and hit 1 kilometer as fast you can.
You can also do high intensity interval training will you push hard for 10 seconds and then go at a steady pace for another 50.
If we want to take our cardio to more intense level all we need to do is pick up the pace. Instead of running 10 kilometers quite slowly you could run 5 kilometers as fast as you can and this kind of work will help you to deal with the faster pace of boxing building on a good foundation.
#6 Hill runs
if you want to make your running more intense then you could always find a good Hill to run up i put an incline on your treadmill and run at a good pace for 5 to 10 minutes. This will build up your calves and your conditioning very well.
sprints are the ultimate way to build up your anaerobic cardio outside of the boxing gym. Set a timer so that you are sprinting for 10 seconds and then jog back to the start before sprinting again. Do this five times before you take a break and do 3 sets of 5.
#8 Hill sprints
Hill sprints are one of the best friends of professional boxers when they have six to three weeks to go before their fight.
This really Hammers the anaerobic conditioning system, burns fat and increases our stamina no matter what happens in the ring whether the pace is fast or slow or we’re moving forwards or backwards.
#9 Sled Runs
Another of my favorite ways to blast the anaerobic system is with sled runs in a commercial gym, loaded up with some nice heavy weights and push it as hard and fast as you can for five to 10 seconds before turning around and doing the same.
This builds the legs on the glutes as well as really hammering our conditioning systems
Boxing is a sport where you’re gonna see all different kinds of things coming at you in the ring and having a good variety in the way you workout will allow you to condition yourself in various different ways and get you used to dealing with different situations.
#10 The Heavy Bag
The heavy bag is the ultimate piece of equipment for increasing your stamina, you can hit it as many times as you want and it will keep coming back for more. I guarantee you that you will run out of stamina before the heavy bag does.
You want to be organized when you work on the heavy bag. Don’t just work until you get tired and take a break, download an app on your phone or use the gyms timer to slot you work and rest into rounds.
You can go 2 mins with 1 minute rest when you are starting out and you can increase that to 3 minutes when you get more fit.
Work on your footwork as well as your combos and remember that you don’t have to load up on every punch but you can set up a hard right with a soft left.
Good Heavy Bag Combos
Double Jab Cross
Cross – Left Hook – Cross
Cross (Body) – Hook (Head)
Jab – Rear Hook – Cross
The possibilities are endless and it will help to improve your stamina, endurance and punching ability. The heavy bag is the king of increasing your stamina among other bags like the speed bag and reflex bag which are also great for improving your game.
#11 Pad Work
Pad work with a coach is one of the most enjoyable ways to improve at the sport but it takes a lot of stamina. Going a few rounds on the pads has a number of advantages:
It increases your arm endurance and stamina.
It allows the coach to correct your technique and help you improve.
You can practice all the techniques you learned on the heavy bags and improve further as a fighter.
#12 Shadow Boxing
Shadow boxing can feel awkward at first but once you realise that all of the top fighters in the world put a heavy emphasis on it, you can start to understand the benefits.
Shadow boxing simulates to exercise you want to grow your stamina in perfectly so it a great way get fitter for the sport.
Use your round timer to go for 2 or 3 minute rounds and you can always use light dumbbells to add resistance to the workout, build the shoulders, endurance and stamina for boxing.
Sparring is the ultimate test of your conditioning. It simulates a real fight except you will only be going about 70/80% most of the time depending on how well matched you are with your partner.
Both the offensive and defensive elements of sparring can take it out of you but if you stick with it, you will make a tremendous improvement quickly as a fighter as you learn what combos work and what doesn’t and what is going you to get hit with punches can be quickly corrected.
If you want to increase your stamina for fighting, sparring is the perfect way to do it.
An Important thing to keep in mind is that you might be tensing up too much as a beginner causing you to fatigue more quickly. Keeping your shoulders lose and free as you box will help to improve your stamina. If you are too rigid, you will get tired much more quickly as your arms have to work a lot harder from a stiff position.
We hope you enjoyed this article and let us know your feedback in the comments.