Updated: Aug 14
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Make time in your routine for this 30 minute boxing HIIT workout and watch your fitness levels go through the roof! That, by the way, was not a corny catch line to keep you on the page. This workout has been carefully crafted to confer a multitude of benefits.
And the 30 minute boxing HIIT workout isn’t just for fighters. Anyone that wants to improve their fitness, burn fat, and generally get in shape should do this workout.
Here’s why . . .
30 minute boxing hiit workout benefits
First off, the HIIT training methodology is a superior way to promote fitness. Not only is it superior but it’s also far more efficient. For example, studies showed that with ‘high-intensity training, significant improvement occurs with only a 10-minute workout,’ (Exercise Physiology).
Compare this outcome to conventional lower intensity steady state training. The researchers of the above study demonstrated that it requires at least ‘60-minutes of continuous exercise to produce the same training effect’ comparable to the much shorter high-intense workout.
‘Generally,’ the authors conclude,’ the higher the training intensity above threshold, the greater the training improvement,’ (Exercise Physiology ). Similar outcomes have been reported by other researchers.
Athletes ‘who incorporate intermittent high-intensity bouts of exercise into their training regimen show more improvement in performance than those who perform only long, slow, low-intensity training bouts,’ (Wilmore & Costill).
Related: Best Boxing Gloves for beginners
This 30 minute boxing hiit workout burns fat
The fat-burning effectiveness of training at higher intensities is an oft-reported benefit and one that motivates most people to suffer through a HIIT workout.
In the book HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training, the author identifies HIIT as a ‘faster method’ of facilitating ‘weight loss than other forms of exercise’. This benefit of HIIT is supported by a firm foundation of scientific research.
Studies conducted at Birmingham University by Professor Jamie Timmons revealed several surprising outcomes of HIT. For example, in laboratory experiments, Timmons’ research team demonstrated that even super-short bouts of high-intensity exercise can increase metabolic activity.
As well as revving up the metabolism, a precursor for the utilisation of body fat, it was also discovered that the metabolism remains active for up to 30 minutes after a HIT workout.
Improved cardio fitness
From the opening bell to the final clacker, this HIIT boxing workout is all-out war. And though it’s only comprised of three core exercise stations – punch bag, skipping, resistance – it still promotes a broad range of fitness components. One of the main components is cardio.
As is explained in more detail below, the objective is to sustain high output for each of the 30 one-minute rounds.
High intensity training coupled with aerobic exercise (skipping) is a perfect recipe for promoting cardio capacity. Sports physiologist William McArdle reminds us that applying HIIT to an exercise that ‘involves relatively large muscle groups’ – such as skipping – ‘provides excellent over-load for the aerobic system.’
Related: You need a Punch Bag for this workout
Enhanced muscle endurance
Boxing training builds excellent muscular endurance primarily in the upper body. Throwing punches, slipping, and weaving all improve the endurance of the muscles of the back, shoulders, and abdominals.
Muscle endurance is also promoted through the selection of exercises for the workout. For example, one of the three HIIT circuit stations features resistance exercise – either a barbell complex, kettlebell swings, or a bodyweight progression.
In addition to facilitating an increase in muscle endurance, the resistance exercise can enhance muscle tonality. Furthermore, because you will be sustaining high intensity, the resistance exercises can also support the other outcomes outlined above.
30 minute boxing HIIT workout
This workout is organised into a circular circuit comprised of three exercise stations (‘rounds’). The rounds are scheduled for one-minute with a 10-seocnd transition interval.
To broaden the range of benefits, and to make the workout more accessible to a wider audience, each station targets a specific component of fitness. Each training element has been briefly outlined below. Opposite each exercise is the fitness component targeted.
Boxing bag – muscle endurance, power, cardio, coordination, agility
The first station involves hitting the heavy bag. For the stipulated duration your objective is to maintain a high punch rate. To sustain high intensity, you will have to keep your punches light and snappy. Alternatively, you can throw punches in bunches.
Skipping – cardio, agility, coordination
The second station is purely aerobic (and anaerobic if you throw in a few double-unders). Switching from muscle endurance (boxing) to cardio (skipping) enables you to maintain a high output without fatiguing. During the jump rope station strive to sustain between 100 and 150 skips. Over the final 10 seconds start sprint skipping if you can. (Not got a skipping rope?)
Resistance – strength, muscle endurance, power
You have a number of exercise options to choose from on station three. For example, in the first workout plan below, there is the barbell complex. Here you’re completing five compound exercises performing 2 to 5 reps on each one. The second session plan features just kettlebell swings and the third a body weight progression. Similar to the barbell complex, you will be progressing through five bodyweight exercises performing between 2 to 5 reps.
Boxing workout key points
Before setting a repeat countdown timer and gloving up, complete the 10-minute warm-up. If you only have time on the clock for the workout, use the first 6 rounds as the warm-up. If you do so, progressively increase the intensity.
When warm and ready, set 30 x one-minute rounds on your countdown timer. Don’t forget to factor in the 10-second interval. This isn’t for resting though. 10-seconds provides you with just enough time to transition between stations.
Cycle through the three exercises while trying to maintain a high-intensity output. If you organise the stations in a loop, you’ll find transitioning much smoother. Once you’ve completed the workout, finish off with a cool-down and stretch.
10 minute warm up
4-minutes skipping – light- to moderate-intensity
1-minute shadow boxing
1-minute resistance (use light weights for workouts 1 and 2)
1-minute boxing bag
1-minute resistance (use light weights for workouts 1 and 2)
30 minute boxing HIIT workout hints and tips
To maximise transition efficiency the equipment for this workout must be localised – i.e., placed close to the punch bag. If you have to run across the gym each time you change stations, valuable training time will be wasted. Of course, if you cannot localise the kit, set a slightly longer transition interval. I advise that you use the warm-up to test suitable timings.
The mechanics of the workout run a lot smoother if you use a repeat countdown timer. Constantly stopping to reset your watch will impede the fluidity of the circuit. In addition, setting periodic reminders (30 seconds to go! Final 10 seconds!) can both improve pacing and boost intensity. I recommend downloading a boxing interval timer app. It takes seconds and costs nothing.
Remember, all the exercises can be changed, adapted, and/or modified to suit your training preferences and kit availability. For example, if you don't have access to a boxing bag, simply substitute it with shadowboxing instead. To turn up the temp either hold a pair of light dumbbells in either hand and frantically punch away. Honestly, if you maintain a high tempo you will feel the burn. The same goes for the skipping. If you can't skip or don't have a rope, replace it with shuttle sprints or jogging on the spot (high-knee raises are a killer!).
How I did this workout
I’ve found this workout design to be one of the most effective at promoting high-intensity output and training motivation. Minute intervals are an optimal duration to enable you to get stuck into the exercise before fatiguing. Having experimented with longer rounds (2- and 3-minutes), I can say that the work rate declines rapidly which deteriorates the quality of the exercise. Any more than a minute slugging away at the heavy bag and your start to look like over-cooked strands of spaghetti.
Before starting the workout, I optimise the circuit by organising the equipment close to the punch bag. The moment I finish boxing, I can whip off my gloves and get the rope whirring. As soon as the bell rings I’m ready to skip. Same situation when transitioning from station two to three.
In my experience, it’s much better to complete this 30 minute boxing hiit workout with two dedicated training partners. As well as sharing the suffering, you can motivate each other when the going gets tough. The circuit mechanics do not differ for multiple participants. You would simply assign each trainer an exercise and, once you start the countdown timer, cycle around the stations as normal.
Related: Best Boxing Exercises for beginners
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About Adam Priest –
A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and wellbeing practitioner. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam via LinkedIn or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Driver, J (2017) HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. UK.
HIIT health and fitness benefits – Birmingham University research team featured on the BBC programme The Truth About: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00pd6rv
McArdle, W. D., Katch, F. I., Katch, V. L (2001) Exercise Physiology Fifth Edition. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Wilmore, H. J, Costill, L. D (1999) Physiology of Sport and Exercise Second Edition. Human Kinetics. United States.