Four Boxing Drills To Punch Up Your Fitness
You want an example of someone in peak physical condition? You want a boxer. Professionals at pre-fight training camps can spend just as much time focusing on conditioning as time in the ring and there’s a good reason why. Throwing punches wears you out, and in a sport where throwing and landing punches will get you the win, the fitter athlete has the upper hand.
So when we had a chance to speak with professional boxer Martin Foru at the launch of Puma’s new boxing-inspired JAAB XT collection, we asked him and his coach Daley Perales to share some insider fitness drills that anyone could add to their fitness regime.
Foru started boxing just over eight years ago, after his cousin suggested he give it a try, and he’s convinced of its potential to have a positive impact on anybody. “Boxing is really healthy, not just physically, but mentally, too. It’s like therapy,” he says.
“No excuses, just jump in!” Foru said when we asked what advice he’d give to those considering boxing. “Obviously, some people are scared to start boxing because they think when they enter the boxing gym they’re going to get punched in the face, but it’s not like that, because the coach will listen to you. Whatever you’re up for, that’s what you’ll do.”
Martin Foru’s Boxing Drills
To complete the drills below you’ll need some free space, a partner for two of them, and a punching bag and gloves for one of them. Reassure your prospective partner you won’t be hitting them – they only need to call out commands so it should be easy to convince them. The entire workout should take you between 25 and 40 minutes, depending on your fitness levels and how much time you allocate to rest periods.
Drill 1: Corner cones
Improves: Reaction time, speed, agility
Equipment: Four different-coloured cones (or four different objects)
Lay four different-coloured cones in a small square. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be cones, it can be anything – a bag, jumper, water bottle,” says Foru, “so long as a partner can call out four different points.
“Standing in the centre, do a squat then run on the spot. Stay focused and as soon as your partner calls out a colour, jump over and touch it, then come back to the centre.”
Work for one minute at a time, then change over with your partner. Complete between three and five sets.
Drill 2: Pyramid punches
Equipment: Punch bag, boxing gloves
This is a burn-out drill, so it’ll raise your heart rate and should cause your arms to burn, too.
Glove up and face the bag. Start with a one-two combination of straight punches, then a one-two-three-four combination, then six straight punches, then eight and finally ten. Reverse that pattern, finishing with the one-two jab-cross.
“When you just start out you’ll be in your boxing stance – one foot forward, one foot back,” says Foru, ”but you can also do it with, for example, high knees, parallel to the bag.”
For beginners, when you’ve finished the pyramid of straight shots, repeat the pattern but with uppercuts. Go for one minute at a time, then either take a minute’s rest, or let your partner have a go if you’re working with one.
Drill 3: Circular cones
Improves: Footwork, agility, reaction time
Equipment: Eight to ten cones
Lay the cones out in a fairly large circle, big enough that it’ll take you about eight to ten seconds to sidestep around. Then start circling them using sidesteps, facing in towards the centre. When your partner says “change”, change the direction you’re moving around the circle. Your partner should also call punch combinations. When that happens step into the circle, adopt your stance and then throw the punches.
Go for one or two minutes at a time, then swap. Aim for five to ten minutes in total each.
Drill 4: Push Eight
Improves: Muscular endurance, cardio, strength
Push Eight is an eight-exercise circuit which is guaranteed to have you sweating by the end. It requires no equipment, but a lot of determination. Do each exercise for one minute then move on to the next. What about a rest period? “I’m a professional fighter so he [my coach] will not stop me,” says Foru, “but when it’s people who haven’t boxed before, you can do exercise, rest, exercise, rest.”
1 Speed punching
Stand in your stance and throw straight punches continuously for the minute.
2 High knees
Run on the spot, bringing your knees to hip level with each step.
3 Jump squat and punch
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down, then push up explosively through your heels into a jump. Throw some straight punches while in the air, then land softly.
4 Power jack
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides. Jump your feet out to shoulder-width apart and raise your arms above your head. Immediately jump back to the starting position, squat and repeat.
From standing, drop your hands down to your feet, jump your feet back, do a press-up, jump your feet back to your hands, then jump straight up.
In the top press-up position drive one knee towards your chest, then the other. Continue alternating knees at pace.
Get on all fours with your arms extended and your hands under your shoulders, with your body forming a straight line from shoulders to heels. Bend at the elbows to drop your chest to the floor, then push back up powerfully.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Raise your shoulders and the top half of your torso until you begin to feel a stretch in the upper portion of the abdominals, then lower back to the start.
The new JAAB XT collection is available at puma.com