How to Build Stamina for Boxing

Woman is wrapping hands with pink boxing wraps
(Image: _jure/iStock/GettyImages)

Boxers have a very dangerous sport. They not only have to throw punches, but avoid their opponent's fists. They move constantly, ducking away from punches and firing back with lightning-fast speed. The pace of a boxing match can take a toll on the body, unless you've prepared by bolstering your stamina during training.

Boxing Endurance

Even though their sport is confined to a small ring, boxers use constant movement of the upper body to throw punches and the lower body to move around the opponent. The punches take precision, power and, most of all, energy to throw.

As a boxer gets tired, they have a harder time dodging and throwing punches. They have to be in peak condition throughout the rounds if they want to stay competitive. Stamina is so important for boxers because it allows them to use their skills throughout the match.

When boxers work out, they usually stick to circuit-style training. In boxing, fighters compete for either two or three minute rounds, then take a 30- or 60-second break before the next round. Boxers usually train the way they fight, working for the same amount of time as one round and then resting.

Running For Boxers

Running is one of the most well-known endurance activities. Many boxers do long distance running for 30 or 45 minutes at a constant pace. This helps improve endurance but isn't as good as sprinting and resting. Boxers need to build up sports-specific stamina so they should run for two or three minutes at a time and then rest.

Sprints are sports-specific to boxing because they alternate work and rest, simulating a boxing match where there's rest in-between rounds. When the bell rings and the fight resumes, the sport is fast-paced and they have to push their bodies like you would in a sprint.

An 800-meter sprint takes about two minutes, which means that it's a good place for boxers to start. You can sprint, rest one minute, then repeat for as many rounds as you want. Most boxing fights are between three and ten rounds, so aim for that amount of sprints.

Jumping Rope

Jump roping is also very specific to boxing, because you're constantly bouncing on your feet. It's important to stay light on your feet in the ring so that you can react to whatever your opponent does. With all the bouncing around that boxers do it's important to condition your legs and calves so that they don't get tired.

There's also a lot of shoulder muscle endurance required to jump rope for two or three minutes at a time. Boxers need to condition their shoulders so that they can keep punching hard.

Like running, jump roping also works your lungs and heart to give you better overall endurance throughout a round. Pick up the pace with your jump roping to make it more or less intense.

Heavy Bag Punches

Heavy bag punches are one of the most sport specific things you can do for boxing. Move around the bag, punching it and dodging fake punches for two or three minutes. You can throw combinations of punches and then move to simulate a fight.

Your punching stamina will quickly improve if you hit the heavy bag because it's much more massive and difficult to move than an opponent.

Black boxer punching the heavy bag in the gym
To train for boxing, use the most realistic drills that you can. (Image: oneinchpunch/iStock/GettyImages)

Mitt Drills

If you need something more realistic than a punching bag, you can have a partner hold punching mitts. You can even step into the boxing ring and have them interact with you like a real opponent. With mitts, your partner can throw mock punches and block your punches.

You can also do different punching combinations and drills to focus on your weak points while improving your stamina. Set a timer to two or three minutes and have your partner call out different punches and combinations. To keep you on your toes, have them punch back occasionally.

Punching mitts are very tiring because you have to move your feet to keep up with your partner. At the same time, you have to maintain your accuracy to hit the mitts because they're a much smaller target than a heavy bag.

To turn the punching mitts into an all-out conditioning drill you can have your partner stand in place and rapidly punch with your jab and cross at the mitts for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds until the round is over. This will train your body to go through explosions of punches and then back off to fight more conservatively.

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