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Mike Tyson's Workout Program

author image Steve Silverman
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

Mike Tyson was one of the most ferocious and hardest hitting heavyweight fighters in the history of boxing. While Tyson would have a myriad of problems inside and outside the ring later in his career, he trained rigorously as he climbed the boxing ladder.

Strength Training

Mike Tyson started training for the ring as a teenager. After his mother died when he was 16, Tyson became a student of boxing trainer Cus D'Amato, who had previously trained heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson and many other fighters. He quickly saw Tyson's vast potential and became Tyson's surrogate father. He also put him on a tough training schedule. One of the elements was strength training. Tyson followed a regimen that included 2,000 situps, 500 dips, 500 press-ups and 500 shrugs with a 30-kg barbell. Tyson followed this regimen seven days per week.

Quickness and Endurance Training

Like most fighters, Tyson did his running in the morning before he went to the gym to work on his strength training and boxing skills. He ran three miles on a daily basis to build endurance. However, before he did his long run, he did interval sprints and plyometric box jumping. The interval sprints helped build speed and quickness as well as endurance and the box jumping helped build the power that manifested itself in Tyson's punching.


Tyson separated himself from other boxers with the sparring work that he did while he was preparing for a fight. Most fighters will spar two or three days in the six weeks leading up to a fight. Tyson did double sessions of sparring on an everyday basis. He would spar for 10 rounds at mid-day with a variety of sparring partners and then do 4 to 6 more rounds later in the afternoon. The biggest problem Tyson had as his talent developed was finding enough sparring partners. As he grew more skilled and explosive in the ring, he hurt sparring partners with his punches and many fighters dreaded going in the ring with him.

Later Years

Many fight fans were mesmerized by Tyson's propensity for delivering knockouts on a consistent basis. They thought he was just naturally gifted and that he could step into the ring and display his power whenever he wanted. Tyson reeled off 37 straight wins to start his career, but beginning with his knockout loss to James "Buster" Douglas in 1990, Tyson stepped back from his rigorous training methods. By failing to push himself in training Tyson showed vulnerability in the ring that opponents like Douglas, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield exploited.

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