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Boxing Circuit For Full Body Conditioning

A fighter about to start a boxing circuit.

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Inspiration for this boxing circuit was taken from the workouts I did while training as an amateur boxer in the Royal Marines. The circuit was designed by our coaches (who were also physical training instructors) to maximise physical performance and develop multiple components of fitness.


Circuits and workouts were structured this way to improve training efficiency. The objective was always to get the most out of each workout. A consequence of the fact that military boxers rarely enjoy the luxury of long training time frames. Sometimes we would receive notification of an up-and-coming contest two weeks before fight night.


To stay consistent with my coaches’ training wisdom, this boxing circuit can improve whole-body fitness conditioning. Furthermore, because it features boxing-specific movements and drills, you will also get the opportunity to work on your pugilism.


Before I take you on a quick rundown of the benefits, it’s worth pointing out that you don’t have to be a boxer to do this circuit. As I’ve explained in the hints and tips section below, the circuit can be modified to include fewer (or more) boxing exercises.


Related: Brush up on the basics with this Complete Guide to Boxing

Boxing circuit benefits

Boxers, like CrossFit competitors, need to develop a broad spectrum of physical attributes. Power alone is not enough to win a fight. A boxer that relies on a single strength will be exposed eventually. Mike Tyson discovered this in what is widely regarded as the greatest upset in boxing history.


After the fight against James ‘Buster’ Douglas, who was a 50 to 1 underdog, Tyson admitted that he underestimated his opponent. He trained half-heartedly as he expected to knock Buster out in a couple of rounds. Thus, Tyson neglected his physical preparation, banking on a quick finish.


Essential reading: Jack Dempsey's Championship Fighting

But Buster was far more resilient than Tyson anticipated. When Tyson couldn’t land that knockout blow, he began running out of steam as the fight wore on. His fitness and will were all but exhausted by the eighth round. Three rounds later, Buster would be the first fighter to stop Tyson. In doing so he literally shook up the boxing world while becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion.


The moral of the story? Even brilliant boxers cannot neglect their fitness. A fighter must develop every component of their fitness – strength, power, speed, endurance, and aerobic stamina. Perhaps if Tyson had placed a higher importance on his conditioning, the outcome would have been as the pundits predicted. We’ll never know, of course. However, that shouldn’t stop us learning from his mistake.


Related: Improve your aerobic fitness with this Boxing Cardio Workout

Boxing circuit fitness outcomes

This circuit can help you enhance combat fitness. And because it’s comprised of exercises and training methods that are essential to boxing, the circuit will enable you to remain more competitive throughout a contest.


If you can find a permanent place for this boxing circuit in your weekly training routine, below is a list of some of the benefits you could bag.


  • Cardio conditioning

  • Explosive power

  • Agility and coordination

  • Functional strength

  • Muscle endurance


Related: Essential Boxing Kit that every fighter must have

How to do this boxing circuit

Before starting the circuit, you’ll warm up with a few minutes of mobility movements and 10 minutes of skipping and bodyweight exercises. Just like you wouldn’t step in the ring without warming up, you shouldn’t start working out before one either.


The exercises have been organised into the traditional circular circuit format. Comprised of eight stations, the objective is to complete one full lap before taking a seat on your stool.


To keep things simple, you’ll be sticking to timings as opposed to performing a prespecified number of repetitions. This way you won’t have to worry about counting reps and instead you can focus on maximising performance. Basically, the training timer will be your coach through the circuit.


You have three round durations to choose from. They are as follows:


Level 1: 30 seconds per station
Level 2: 45 seconds per station
Level 3: 60 seconds per station

As previously mentioned, the aim is to complete one full lap of all eight stations before taking a rest. Try keeping the rest under two minutes. Complete as many laps of the circuit as your training schedule will permit.


Circuit key points

  • Improve transition efficiency by organising your kit and producing the session plan so that it’s visible.

  • Don’t start the circuit until you’ve completed this warm-up: 1 min mobility movements (knee bends, ankle and shoulder rotations) → 2 min skipping → 10 air squats followed by 10 press-ups followed by 50 rapid punches → 2 min skipping → 10 air squats followed by 10 press-ups followed by 50 rapid punches → 2 min skipping → 10 air squats followed by 10 press-ups followed by 50 rapid punches → Start the circuit.

  • Set your boxing countdown timer ensuring to factor in a five-second station transition interval. It’s best not to rush between exercises as it can affect the quality of your form.

  • Aim to complete one full lap of the eight exercises before resting.


Boxing circuit session plan.

Boxing workout hints and tips

As the list of exercises suggests, the circuit was designed to be completed in a boxing gym. Skipping a shuttle sprinting requires an open space free of clutter. But if you plan to do the workout at a public gym or your local park (outdoor training ground), you can easily modify the exercises to suit those facilities. Here’s an example for each venue:


Public gym: a member of staff will likely turf you out if you start shuttle sprinting up and down the gym. A simple way to avoid attracting unnecessary attention is by replacing shuttle sprints with cycling or rowing intervals.


Local park (outdoor training ground): I assume that your local park is similar to mine and doesn’t have a set of kettlebells kicking about. Not to worry, simply convert the resistance exercises to bodyweight movements. If you do want more resistance than your body provides, consider taking a resistance band with you or wearing a weighted vest.


If you've got the kit, replace the shadowboxing stations with bag work. Even better, if you've got a game sparring partner, forget bag work and fight instead. Including sparring in a circuit is a great way to simulate the physical demands of a boxing bout. After a minute of sprint skipping and a series of bodyweight exercises, gloving up and going toe-to-toe is soul-searchingly tough. When your is heart pounding and your muscles are burning, you've got to maintain composure and stay disciplined. That is proper combat conditioning.


Related: These four tips will improve your Punch Bag Workouts

Spending a couple of minutes organising the circuit will greatly improve the training experience. You can do this by locating the kit in one area and printing off a copy of the plan. Place the plan in the middle of the kit then, after warming up, start your training timer and get going.


 

Enjoyed this circuit?

Get your hands on 80 more with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts Volume 3.

Boxing circuit concludes with the Hungr4Fitness book of workouts.

 

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 info@hungry4fitness.co.uk.

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