Boxers and mixed martial artists are among the best-conditioned athletes on the planet. That's because their workouts combine strength, speed, stamina, balance, agility, and focus. Result: a knockout body that's lean and sculpted.
We asked IFBB figure pro Nicole Wilkins to demonstrate some of her favorite boxing and kickboxing moves in a fat-blasting workout designed by mixed martial arts strength and conditioning coach Rob Fletcher, founder of America's Next Great Trainer.
(About 10-15 minutes)
Do each of the following drills for 30-60 seconds; when you finish all three, you've done one round. Complete 3-5 rounds.
Jump Rope: Either with a real rope or an imaginary one, jump in place. Can do regular jumps with feet together, alternate the left foot and right foot, bring heels to butt, or lift knees high while jumping.
Jumping Jacks: Fully extend arms and legs.
Jog In Place: Stand tall and bring knees toward hips.
(About 3 minutes)
Maintain form throughout each punch (see "Boxing Glossary" below). Do all punches in a boxer's stance.
- Jab, then jab again (same arm)
- Jab, cross (optional: add whipping/direct elbow or knee-up)
- Jab, cross, uppercut (optional:add knee-up)
- Jab, cross, front hook
- Back hook, lead uppercut, cross
(About 18-24 minutes)
- Cardio Round: Jump Rope (see warmup for different types of jumps)
- Boxing Round: Repeat Shadow Box workout, focusing on speed and intensity.
- Strength & Conditioning Round: Do 5 reps of each exercise until the round is over.
- Burpees: Stand tall, then squat down, placing hands on floor; jump legs back to full push-up position, hold one count, then jump legs back to start; stand up and repeat.
- Prisoner Squats: Stand with feet about shoulder-distance apart, hands behind head with elbows out to sides. Squat down, keeping hands in place; don't lean forward. Push up through heels to return to start and repeat
- Squat Jumps: Stand with hands at sides, knees slightly bent. Jump up, landing in a squat; keep weight over heels and chest upright; use arms to help you counterbalance. Immediately go into the next jump; repeat.
- Pushups: Full position up.
(About 2 minutes)
Finish your workout by doing a jab, cross, hook, and uppercut combination, 5 reps per side. Focus on your technique, moving slowly through the full range of motion.
Boxers burn fat and increase their stamina by performing high-intensity speed intervals. Try it for yourself on one of your non-boxing training days (either outside or on a treadmill) to get that lean look.
- Jog: Maintain an easy, comfortable pace (20 minutes).
- Sprint Drills: Run as fast as you can for about 1/8 of a mile, then rest for 1 minute. Repeat 5-6 times.
- Walk or Jog: To cool down (5 minutes).
Boxing and kickboxing have their own vocabulary to describe the punch and kick styles that turn you into a well-balanced fighter. Here's what you need to know:
Stand with one foot back, feet shoulder-width apart, back heel aligned with front toes, toes pointed out 45 degrees, and body turned slightly sideways. Keep your weight evenly distributed on the balls of both feet, knees slightly bent, hands at eye level with wrists straight, chin slightly tucked into shoulder, and elbows pulled tight into body.
- Jab: Punch with lead hand, making point of impact with the knuckles of your pointer and middle fingers. As you punch, turn hips while pivoting on lead foot, keep opposite hand up near chin to protect head and face.
- Cross: Punch with the back hand, making the point of impact with the two big knuckles. As you punch, turn hips in the direction you are moving while pivoting on back foot. Keep opposite hand up to protect head and face.
- Front or Back Hook: Transfer body weight to lead leg and punch across body with lead hand, turning hips in the direction you are punching. Your lead arm moves parallel to floor with elbow bent about 90 degrees. Keep opposite hand up to protect head and face. For back hook punch, transfer body weight to back leg and punch across body with back arm parallel to floor, turning hips in the direction you are punching.
- Uppercut: Transfer weight to front foot and slightly dip front shoulder, putting pressure on balls of feet. As you punch, prepare to launch and explode upward, rotating hips in the direction you are punching while pivoting on balls of feet. Keep punching elbow tight to body. You can punch in or up (palm up), depending on the target area (i.e., solar plexus, ribs, jaw, or kidneys). Opposite hand remains up near chin to protect head and face.
- Knee-Up: From boxer's stance, thrust hips forward, driving back knee straight up and in; lower back to boxer's stance.
- Whipping/Direct Elbow: Move back hand as if throwing a hook punch, but keep elbow in front and hand close to body. Whip back elbow across front of your body to target area. Immediately after throwing whipping elbow, lunge forward and drive the same elbow straight into target.