Best Fitness Program for Boxing

by Ara Romano on Jul 22, 2022

Best Fitness Program for Boxing

Successful boxing requires a combination of speed, power, strength, and endurance. Bulk can also be an advantage, depending on weight classification.

Weight training, or resistance training, used intelligently, can promote and enhance these athletic characteristics. Because all athletes have individual needs, a generic program like the one included on this page will need to be modified for specific styles, age, goals, facilities available, and so on.

General Preparation

The general preparation phase2 should provide all-around muscle and strength conditioning. If you prepare on a seasonal basis, this phase should take place in the early preseason. If you do not have "seasons," then just progress through the training phases in sequence.

As a general rule, and for all the following programs, don't do the workouts prior to a fight training session.3 Do them later in the day after ring work, or well before, or on a separate day altogether, if possible. You need to be fresh for ring work. Nothing you do should limit your ability to practice technical boxing skills in the environment in which you would normally compete.

Frequency: 2 to 3 sessions per week for 8 to 10 weeks
Type: General conditioning
Exercises: 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps, plus warm-up and cool-down from the basic strength and muscle program.

  1. Squat (or leg press)
  2. Bench press (or chest press)
  3. Romanian deadlift
  4. Crunch
  5. Seated cable row
  6. Triceps pushdown
  7. Lat pulldown
  8. Overhead press
  9. Biceps curl

Rest between sets: 30-90 seconds

Specific Preparation

In this phase, you will focus on the development of skills you need to succeed in the ring.

Strength and Power

Frequency: 2 to 3 session per week, 4 to 6 weeks
Type: Strength and power
Exercises: 5 sets of 6 reps

  1. Romanian deadlift4
  2. Incline bench press
  3. Hang power clean
  4. Pull-ups
  5. Squats
  6. Combo crunches at 3 sets of 10 to 12

Rest between sets: 3-5 minutes (crunches: 1-2 minutes)

Speed and Agility

Frequency: 2 to 3 sessions per week, 4 to 6 weeks
Type: Speed and agility
Exercises: 5 sets of 30 seconds each for maximum reps

  1. Broad jumps
  2. Agility ladder
  3. Single-leg lateral hops (30 seconds per leg)
  4. Box jumps

Rest between sets: 1-2 minutes

Competition Phase

The aim of this phase is the maintenance of strength and power. Ring training and competition should dominate. Prior to the start of the competition, take 7 to 10 days off from heavy weight work at the end of Specific Preparation while maintaining your ring work. Weight training in the competition phase should play essentially a maintenance role.

Frequency: 1 to 2 sessions per week
Type: Power; lighter loads and faster execution than in the specific preparation phase
Exercises: 3 sets of 10 reps, rapid concentric movement, 40% to 60% of 1RM

  1. Squats
  2. Hang clean
  3. Romanian deadlifts
  4. Crunches

Rest between sets: 1-2 minutes

Aerobic Conditioning

Boxing over the course of 12 rounds requires stamina and aerobic fitness. Most boxers run for this type of fitness. A regular "roadwork" run5 is a crucial training element for increasing aerobic fitness and endurance,6 especially for those who fight over 12 rounds.

Distance runs should be between 6 and 8 kilometers at a moderate pace for four or five days each week. Longer training should be avoided to minimize muscle loss and conversion of fiber type from fast to slow. Circuit training in the gym will also provide aerobic conditioning.


  • Be sure to warm up prior to weight training.
  • Don't train through serious injuries, acute or chronic.
  • Don't sacrifice a ring session for a weights session unless you're treating or recovering from an injury with weight work.
  • If you have a knowledgeable coach, be guided by him or her regarding the details of your program.
  • Take at least a few weeks off at the end of the season to recover after a hard season of training and competing.
  • If you're new to weight training, read up on the fundamentals before you start.