Boxing 101
It’s possible to acquire the body of a bruiser without risking the bruises.

January 16, 2015

It’s possible to acquire the body of a bruiser without risking the bruises. Here’s what you’ll need for a home boxing workout: a vinyl or beaded jump rope, weighted gloves (8 ounces will do, for starters), a countdown timer, light dumbbells, and a place to drop for pushups and crunches galore.

Your commitment controls the time involved. The following workout can be completed in 15 minutes, or thrice that. Simply adjust the intervals, starting with 30 seconds and working up to 60 as you build strength, speed, and wind. Go for a full-body regime, alternating legs and arms every other day. And don’t count reps. Work against the clock like a real boxer. You’ll soon understand that a 3-minute round is forever.

The Simplest Boxing Circuit Ever

1. Shadowbox with weighted gloves. Start with smooth, controlled punches—six to the imaginary body, six to the phantom head, again and again for 30 seconds. Later you can add other punches and combinations to the program. For now, keep those gloves up and feet dancing. Extend the punch out, then pull it back to guard your face and chin. Bob and weave to avoid vicious (if fictitious) counterpunches.

2. Jump rope for 30 seconds. Start with both feet together and your elbows bent in tight, and stay close to the ground. And this ain’t no playground. Go 85 percent of max for half a minute–or until you puke. When you work up to 60 seconds, you’re only a third of the way through the round.

3. Do pushups—nice and smooth—for 30 seconds. Keep your body straight from your shoulders to your ankles, and lower yourself until your upper arms are lower than your elbows.

4. Roll over for abdominal crunches. Feet on the floor, hands behind your head, and shoulders lifted off the ground, then lower and repeat. For the second set, the upper body remains flat while you raise your knees toward the ceiling, lower, and repeat–a small but powerful movement.

5. Get on your feet again for weight work. Starting with 5-pound weights, do full-range-of-motion biceps curls, all the way down, all the way up, for 30 seconds; then military presses for 30; then combine the two for 30, raising the weights from the bottom of the curl position to your shoulders, then above your head. Keep at it for 4 minutes. (The next day work your legs instead, lunging to the left, then right, then squatting for 30 seconds, with weights in your hands.) Number 5 can be ignored every third day, if desired.

6. You’re almost halfway home. Now repeat the circuit.

7. Increase weights gradually and interval lengths by 5 seconds every week until you start seeing the results you’re after (i.e., that jerk at the bar, flat on his back). For conditioning, exercise in short bursts of speed–sprints and hill work, for instance, not marathon training.

Don’t go picking a fight unless your skills meet your conditioning. Boxing, as it turns out, is a lot like golf: Without outside observation you tend to master your mistakes. At some point, you should visit a boxing gym or consult a trainer. Plus, there is genuine pleasure and release in hitting a heavy bag alongside another boxer. Go ahead. Take a whack at it.