Boxing Fitness

Boxing Training for Boxing Fitness

In the Oxford English dictionary, the entry under fitness is as follows:

adjective (fitter, fittest) – of a suitable quality, standard or type to meet the required purpose.

I want you to focus on the ‘required purpose’ bit. In terms of the boxing training that you do, the required purpose is to maintain a necessary skill level (to a suitable quality) over a defined period of time in order to overcome an opponent in a combat situation.

A professional boxer needs the physical fitness to maintain skill levels for up to 12 x 3 minute rounds. An international standard amateur boxer requires the physical fitness to compete in maybe 4 bouts over 5 days. So, whilst amateur and professional boxing training programmes may differ, they both require the development of an all-round, specific level of boxing fitness that will support the successful execution of skills to an appropriate standard:

Just to provide us with some simple ways to define our fitness, I have laid down 3 core boxing fitness principles that we should aim for:

  • During a round, the boxer can work beyond what their body can comfortably deal with i.e. the boxer can work at such a high rate that the muscles cannot be effectively supplied with oxygen (anaerobic exercise/maximum effort).

  • During the one minute interval between rounds, the boxer is able to ‘recover’ i.e. the heart rate reduces from maximum rate of around 180 to 200 beats per minute to around 100 beats per minute or less; this allows the boxer to be fully effective during the following round.

  • The boxer has the endurance to maintain this cycle for the full duration of the contest.

The boxing training and equipment used by boxers in order to support these principles of boxing fitness have remained largely unchanged for close to 100 years. Why? Because they work. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. The activities and equipment form the basis of a varied, interesting and effective physical fitness regime. So, forget about the humdrum existence of life on a treadmill and get fit with boxing training and boxing fitness.

In order to provide some structure to help us describe boxing fitness, I have segregated the articles into 2 high level categories:

There really is lots to find out about boxing fitness here. At any point in your learning, feel free to drop a question or observation into the comments and I’ll post a reply. On a final note (and if you haven’t noticed yet), I really want you to understand the benefits of attaining boxing fitness by pursuing a boxing training regime, be you a combat sports person or not.

The level of all round fitness generated by boxing-based training is second to none. By combining the boxing skills with the boxing fitness work, you can reap benefits not only in a ‘healthy living’ sense, but also in terms of self-defence; boxing training and boxing skills development will mean that your options during any ‘fight or flight’ situation are greatly enhanced!

Good luck, enjoy the articles and use the right boxing training to achieve boxing fitness!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

martin October 25, 2014 at 9:18 pm

hi fran, can you give me some tips on how to be fit and sharp, roadwork and all that.

i havent sparred for long time but i want to get fit and sharp before i spar.

im 23



Fran October 31, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Hey Martin

Build in plenty of sprints. Interval running too. It’s about working to maximum effort then getting your recovery time down.

Hope this helps


stacey August 4, 2014 at 10:46 pm

by going to training everyday and keep up with your execise so than you became a better fighter that what i do because i do boxing for the hickbay so whakapona ki a koe beleve in yourself bro you might come a good boxer when you finish all your boxing fight


JOEL July 15, 2013 at 9:38 pm



Fran July 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm

By working hard Joel, ideally in the boxing club with the advice of a decent coach.


rick July 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm

hi I don’t no what is up with me im a good lad when training but when it comes to the fight I just seem to back off I just cant get in there im 6.4 ft I fight tall but fill small when in the ring any advise


Anonymous May 7, 2014 at 9:34 am

Heya Rick,

I’ve always had it the opposite. Dense bones, hell I don’t know, but I’m usually up against much taller guys. I feel for you, I really do. I didn’t really know what to do in the beginning to get inside and do some real damage. Knowing what it’s like to be the shorter guy. My trainers at the time never had that problem to deal with either. I’d say if my taller opponents had sweet jabs with good timing (especially if they could pop them out hard enough to break my rythm), and more than a couple of power shots close in to discourage aggressive guys, I’d have a pretty tough time, and be expecting that taller guy to be trying not to smirk so much.
Even aggressive guys aren’t stupid. It takes energy to get in and get busy.
But if I were you, I wouldn’t sweat it to much. Even if the shorter guy gets in and gets some damage in, expect to get hurt. Hell, everyone gets hurt a bit. It’s normal so protect yourself as best as you can. I guess if the shorter guy gets in and you run outta options, you could always wrap him up. But don’t you go trying to push the shorter guy off first, let him push you off him. Otherwise he’ll get you off the push off before you can hurt him and then you’re in it all over again. 🙂
But hey, what do I know. I’m just saying this cause I know how it feels. I’m just grateful someone cared enough about me to help me turn my height disadvantage into a strong advantage. If you’re really serious, get a trainer. A good one with good eyes and loves the sweet science. Even if you have to work extra shitty jobs to pay for his time.

Whichever way you go, best of luck Rick. And I hope you learn quicker than I did!


Viki November 25, 2012 at 11:53 am

The professional boxer how can train using the principles of SPORT and FITT ?


Fran November 26, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Hi Viki

Not sure on SPORT. On FITT it’s all about the cycle of preparing for the fight. Early in the cycle it’s building the aerobic fitness and later in the cycle it’s about developing the anaerobic fitness. The frequency, intensity, time and time elements are all changed to give differing results at different points in the cycle.

Hope this helps.


Gaz May 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Fran, we have chatted before and without sounding redundant and blowing………the proverbial………You are one of the tightest coaches on the web! Bar none. I am trying to incorporate a lot of what you say and do in my class forum. Question…..I am 41, been in boxing/training sparring/fighting/for 18 years but have no idea how to hold pads for somebody. How do I learn this key component? I feel like such a novice when questioned about pads. I mean, I can “get by” and hold pads for a beginner and get basic combos down but…. I want perfection. I want to be extremely sound on the pads and be able to teach the pads.
Any help is appreciated. Thank you Fran.


Fran May 20, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Hey Gaz

My apologies for the delay in responding, and thank you for the compliments.

I’ll put together an article over the next few weeks, with some video. In the meantime, I suppose the most effective advice I could give would be to treat it like a spar/fight. Given your experience your in a good position to do this. After all, pads are designed to replicate a fight. So, make the boxer move forwards and backwards. Make sure that they are thinking of defence by encouraging them to duck or slip after shots are thrown. Stay in your stance, this will improve the boxer’s perception of range. Finally, if the boxer is just throwing a one-two, I like these to be thrown to the same pad rather than one to each pad. Feels a bit more realistic to me.

You’ve probably seen the Boxing Punch Pads with Ash, if not worth having a little look at as you may pick up a thing or two. Another is the Counter Punching Russian Style article.

Hope this helps Gaz.



jason.nolan October 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Thanks fran I’m looking to get back to boxing training next month so will let you all know how I get on.


jase October 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I’m 40 now but have always kept myself in decent shape I went to a boxing gym years ago but only for fitness, I’m looking to go back to the gym once I can fit it around my kids but these dayI neede something to train for do you know anything about the whitecollar boxing fights fran or do you think if I go to a Gym where I can do some sparring this will be all the drive I need to work hard.


Fran October 23, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Hay Jase

Sorry for the delay in getting back on this one mate. You know,sparring is a funny thing. I personally haven’t sparred for 10 years, not since I was trying to help a mate qualify for the 200 Olympics! If I were to spar now, I’d want to make sure I had 6 to 8 weeks of structured, consistent workouts and runs. Even then, I’d be a little edgy wondering whether I could I could still hold my own! We’ll see!

The important thing to start with in my view is to get structure around the workouts. I make sure that I work in rounds, make sure I work for the full duration of the round and don’t fall into the trap of blasting it for 30 seconds and then doing nothing for the next two and a half minutes and I make sure that I don’t spend more than a minute rest in between rounds. I also work slow and steady to start with and try and fit in a few longer runs. I always take it steady and don’t overdo it otherwise I do more harm than good!

Boxing is an individual sport. Aim to spar at some point sure, but in the shorter term you need to motivate yourself to nail the consistency of the workouts and to make sure you keep going for weeks ahead. It is tough, but you’ll get your sharpness back sooner than you’d think.

Cheers jase.


stacey August 4, 2014 at 10:35 pm

you should go back if you want to so you keep fit


stacey August 4, 2014 at 10:37 pm

cause im a boxer and im doing my best to keep fit


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