Burn Major Calories With This 20-Minute Boxing HIIT Workout

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You don't need a punching bag for this calorie-torching boxing workout.
Image Credit: BROOK PIFER/Stone/GettyImages

It doesn't take long in a boxing workout to get your heart pumping. And when you add a HIIT element to the mix, well, let's just say you should get ready to sweat.

Thanks to periods of hard work followed by short rests, high-intensity interval training helps you burn calories faster than you would doing steady-state cardio. Bonus for anyone short on time: That means your workouts can last just a few minutes.

Case in point: This HIIT boxing workout from Justin Blackwell, master coach and boxing director for BoxUnion, a boxing studio in Los Angeles, takes just 20 minutes. "My motto: 'Pace yourself, but push yourself,'" Blackwell says.

Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.

The Warm-Up

"Use this round to really warm up," Blackwell says. "If you feel a need to stretch a little bit, that's fine. However, make sure you complete a full 3 minutes of jump rope." And if you don't have a jump rope, "hold" an imaginary rope in your hands and jump nonetheless.

Jump Rope

Time (In Seconds) 3 Min
Type Cardio
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Jump rope for 3 minutes.
  2. Rest for 1 minute.

Round 1: AMRAP

Do: 2 minutes alternating between 15 seconds of mountain climbers and 15 seconds of push-ups. Do as many rounds as possible with good form, then rest for 60 seconds.

"Everyone is starting from a different place in their fitness journey," Blackwell says. "If you need to take a break to complete your 2 minutes, trust your body." Just don't pause too long, he says, before you jump right back in.

Mountain Climber

Time (In Seconds) 15 Sec
Type Cardio
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Start in a high plank, with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
  2. Drive one knee and then the other up toward your chest and back down at a consistent pace.
  3. Make sure you don't round your spine or drop your hips toward the floor.

Push-Up

Time (In Seconds) 15 Sec
Type Strength
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Start in a high plank, with your hands under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
  2. Inhale as you bend your elbows at a 45-degree angle away from your body and lower your torso toward the floor.
  3. Exhale as you push away from the ground.

Tip

"The wider the hands are away from the midline of your body, the more you engage your back," Blackwell says. "The closer to the midline of the body, the more triceps will be engaged."

Round 2: Boxing Combo

Do: 3 minutes of 1s and 2s (punches) with a sprawl every 8 to 10 seconds. Then rest for 60 seconds.

1-2 Punch to Sprawl

Time (In Seconds) 3 Min
Type Cardio
Activity Boxing
  1. Stand with your non-dominant foot in front and your dominant foot several inches behind and to the side. Bring your hands up to your face, with your lead hand in front of your face and your rear hand at the side of your jaw.
  2. Punch straight ahead with your front arm (that's a 1).
  3. Draw it back to the guard position as you punch straight ahead with your rear arm (that's a 2).
  4. Continue alternating arms with these straight punches, rotating through your core.
  5. Every 8 to 10 seconds, drop down to a push-up position, then hop back up to your feet (that's a sprawl).

Tip

"Practice good defense: Make sure your hands come back to your face," Blackwell says. "And if you cannot do a sprawl, modify with a squat jump or body-weight squat."

Round 3: Squats and Uppercuts

Do: 3 minutes alternating between 10 seconds of speed squats and 15 seconds of shoe shiners. Then rest for 1 minute.

Speed Squat

Time (In Seconds) 10 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Lower Body
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Turn your feet to point out to the sides just slightly.
  2. Hinge at your hips and bend your knees (as if you were going to sit in a chair) while keeping your chest up to lower into a squat.
  3. Either keep your arms raised in front of you at shoulder height for balance or bring your hands up to your chest with each squat.
  4. Once you've lowered to a 45-degree bend in your knees, squeeze your glutes and stand back up.

Tip

"Squat as quickly as you can," Blackwell says. "Try not to lock out the knees or drop too low into the squat below a 45-degree bend in the knees."

Shoe Shiner

Time (In Seconds) 15 Sec
Type Cardio
Activity Boxing
  1. Stand with your non-dominant foot in front and your dominant foot several inches behind and to the side. Bring your hands up to your face, with your lead hand in front of your face and your rear hand at the side of your jaw.
  2. Perform nonstop uppercut punches with speed. Start with your rear hand and punch forward and up as if you were hitting someone under the chin.
  3. Pull back to the guard position and switch arms.

Tip

"Shoe shiners should be at about 70 to 80 percent intensity," Blackwell says. "It's almost impossible to go 100 percent for a full 3-minute round."

Round 4: Abs and Freestyle

Do: 3 minutes alternating between 15 seconds of crunches and 15 seconds of bicycles. Go straight into 2 minutes intense freestyle punching without any rest in between.

"Again, pace yourself, but push yourself," Blackwell says. "Complete the full 3 minutes. If you have to take a break during this round, the clock must stop. Duration is very important for your conditioning."

Crunch

Time (In Seconds) 15 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Core
  1. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and bring your heels as close to your butt as possible, knees pointing up. Hold your hands in front of your chest.
  2. Squeeze your abdominals and raise your head, neck and shoulders off the ground without bringing your chin to your chest.
  3. Lower back down.

Bicycle

Time (In Seconds) 15 Sec
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Core
  1. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and bring your heels as close to your butt as possible, knees pointing up. Place your hands behind your head, elbows wide.
  2. Rotate your torso and draw your right knee toward your left elbow, extending your left leg out straight.
  3. Come back through center, then switch sides, bringing your left knee to your right elbow.
  4. Make sure you extend your legs as far as possible and get your elbows all the way to your knees with every rotation.

Freestyle

Time (In Seconds) 2 Min
Type Cardio
Activity Boxing

Throw any punches or combinations you want to.

  • Jab: Punch with your lead hand (your non-dominant side). A jab is a straight punch, meaning you punch straight out and pull your arm back.
  • Cross: The cross is a straight punch with your power hand, the rear hand. Your body weight shifts to your lead leg as you pivot your rear foot and rotate your body to the front.
  • Hooks: As you throw a hook, your arm comes out slightly to the side of your body, forming a 90-degree angle. With a lead arm hook, your body shifts slightly to the lead side with your weight in the lead leg. When throwing a rear arm hook, your body shifts slightly to the rear side, and your weight stays in the lead leg.
  • Uppercut: When throwing a lead-arm uppercut, slightly bend the knees and dip the rear shoulder to protect your face. Drive your lead arm upward, keeping the elbows bent.

Tip

"Let it all go — move your hands, move your feet," Blackwell says. "Remind yourself what you are fighting for. Do not stop because you are tired. Stop when you are done!"

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