Top 5 Boxing Exercises

December 25, 2011 December 25, 2011 by Johnny N Boxing Training, Boxing Workouts 121 Comments

How many new exercises have you learned since you started boxing? How many have you tried and then never used again?

If you count everything you’ve seen in the gym, pre-fight training videos, and Youtube, we’ve got all the exercises we need … and more. Much more. It’s easy to think there’s some magical exercise out there to make you the next Muhammad Ali but I disagree. There’s only so much exercise your body can handle so you’ll have to prioritize.

Top 5 Boxing Exercises

How are my favorite boxing exercises…


1. Sparring

There’s no training that better mimics fighting conditions than sparring. Aside from the excitement of trading punches, it’s a great boxing workout. Sparring is so much harder than training! You work every muscle in your body jumping, twisting, and contorting in an effort to respond to your opponent’s every move. Your arms get tired because you’re swinging at the air. Your legs wear out faster because you keep going off balance. Your mind is panicking because you’re don’t usually have to think so fast during training. You can’t breathe as quickly because you got a mouthpiece on and an opponent who won’t give you any room to breathe!

Is there any workout more challenging
than punching and trying not to get punched?


How to Spar

I don’t recommend this for everyone but here’s how I do sparring: I try to spend as much time as possible in the ring. I spar for warm-up, I spar for exercise, I spar to develop my skills. If no one says anything, I’ll hog the ring for over an hour!


Here’s my secret:

I go slow. When I first hit the gym, I’ll spar light with a beginner to warm-up my muscles. I’m only touching him, not trying to hurt him. He’ll usually have a trainer coaching him but it’s ok, he’s only a beginner anyway. It works out nicely because I’m getting a live opponent instead of boring shadowboxing (which I still do, btw). After the warm-up sparring, I head to the jump rope (if I haven’t already done this), bag work, stretching, etc.

After the warm-up exercises, I’m back in the ring again! This time it’s a workout, I’m in there moving and trading with a solid opponent. We’re both being fast and powerful. It’s controlled, but it’s still a workout. I last 3-6 rounds, tops. I step out of the ring exhausted this time, and start chatting with coaches and other fighters about improvements to make on technique or strategy. I do some work on the mitts, try out the new moves in front of the mirror and on the heavy bag.

And then, I’m BACK IN THE RING AGAIN! This time, I go light with another skilled boxer. We work on different combos and strategies but we’re not trying to beat each other up. We’re helping each other out, giving each other different looks and chances to improve. For example: If I throw a combo that lands and he didn’t see it, I’ll throw it again for him to develop the counter for it. I might throw the exact same combo 5 times in a row until he sees it counters it perfectly. Once he’s got it, we both smile and move on to other things. We’ll trade punches again giving each other chances to work on new things, sometimes coaching each other as we fight. Because it’s really light sparring, we’re usually more aggressive and staying in range with each other to keep a continuous flow of punching. Being that nobody’s getting hurt, we go up to 30 minutes straight — no breaks.

When sparring is done right, it develops EVERYTHING a fighter needs — conditioning, skills, and mental confidence. You’ll learn more from sparring if you keep it controlled. Don’t try to be a tough guy. If you’re just sparring to beat each other up, you won’t last beyond a few rounds.


2. Mitts

The mitts is probably the best boxing drill to learn new technique. It’s similar to sparring in that you get to improve your offense and defense simultaneously. (Actually, I can’t think of anything other than sparring to test your defense.) The real benefit is that you get a trainer who can see your every move and give you instant feedback. Hitting the mitts is the probably the best way to develop new skills and it’s a lot of fun.

The advantage of the mitts is that it works your timing and accuracy in conditions that mimic a real fight. You’ll have a moving target that also punches back at you. My advice when working on the mitts is DON’T GET TIRED. Yes, hit it hard if you must but learn how to punch right. Try going for 30 minutes straight and then when you’re ready to stop, finish off with 3 hard rounds. Don’t just throw power into every shot, develop your accuracy, timing, breathing, coordination, and reflexes. Just like with sparring, the keyword is “CONTROL”. Control yourself, don’t get tired!

Anybody that gets tired hitting the mitts
is definitely going to get tired against a live opponent.


3. Shadowboxing

One of boxing’s most underrated exercises. Physically, it develops your form, speed, and balance. You can practice anything you want at full speed and move around. Sure, it’s not as glamorous as beating up the heavy bag but it’s deadly effective. It conditions your body to throw fast punches and gives you the opportunity to practice all fighting movements.

Shadowboxing is like
meditation and visualization exercise for a boxer.

Use the opportunity to practice anything you want — like a difficult counter getting past your opponent’s guard. You visualize as you shadowbox, moving around an imaginary opponent. Shadowboxing in front of a mirror allows you to check your form and see instant changes in your movements.

My favorite benefit of shadowboxing — you can do it anywhere. In front of the TV during commercials, while talking to friends, waiting in line at the grocery store, underwater in the pool, or anywhere you can find a mirror. The only equipment you need to shadowbox is a place to stand and a few seconds of time. 😉


4. Double-end Bag

This right here is my favorite bag. The double-end bag is something between a heavy bag and a speed-bag. Hitting a speed-bag can get repetitive and a heavy bag is a bit hard on my hands over the years, so the double-end bag naturally became my favorite “bag”.

You can hit the double-end bag as hard as you want
but you have to time it right and be deadly accurate.

It’s far more challenging to hit and develops your higher level skills, mainly timing & accuracy. I understand some fighters (especially beginners) don’t spend much time on it but I will say this, “Do it! Train on the double-end bag, and you will get much better at hitting opponents in the ring.” It’s pretty satisfying to land combos on the double-end bag and much more satisfying when you can do it to a moving opponent.

Aside from the timing and accuracy, the double-end bag is great for developing hand speed and arm conditioning. It’s far more tiring to the double-end bag because you have to be fast each time. I think of it as the minimum hand speed — if you’re not fast enough to hit the double-end bag, you’re probably not fast enough to hit an opponent. I recommend you wear 12 to 16oz gloves and hit the double-end bag for at least 3 rounds. Sometimes I’ll go for 30 minutes straight (even while chatting with other boxers), but hey, that’s just me.


5. Jumprope

The jumprope is one of
the best exercises for full-body conditioning!

I’ll tell you it’s my why favorite conditioning exercise for boxing. It teaches you how to increase your muscle efficiency, WHILE developing your muscle conditioning! If you’ve ever skipped rope before you’ll know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t then you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Using the jumprope trains 2 things, body conditioning and relaxation. Most beginners have a problem of always using their muscles and not knowing how to relax. If you do this on a jumprope, you’ll gas out in a few minutes tops. However, if you DO know how to relax you can jump rope forever and not spend much energy. A beginner will exert his energy the whole time on the jump rope whereas an experience skipper will relax with very quick bounces that require only a split second of muscle contractions.

When I first started jumping rope, I was out of breath in about 2 minutes. Now I can go for at least 2 hours; I actually don’t break a sweat until 15 minutes in. The difference is that I know how to relax and contract my muscles just in time to skip over the rope. It develops my mental relaxation and maintains a minimum level of awareness of all times (you have to always be aware of the rope). Later on this raised level of awareness can be used to slip jabs or other punches. You’re always use to moving and thinking AND you can still relax while doing so.

Physically, it works the arms, shoulders, back, and legs. You’ll develop better footwork and more relaxed footwork. Combine that great body conditioning with the improved muscle relaxation, and raised minimum level of awareness and you’ll see why the jump rope makes better fighters. At the very least, you should be able to jump rope and tell jokes without getting tired. Anybody that can do that will be able to box without getting tired.


Honorable mention: CRUNCHES & RUNNING

These exercises ALMOST made it to my list but unfortunately they don’t because they’re boring as hell and don’t develop any boxing skills.

Core exercises like crunches are important for ANY sport because your core connects your entire body together. Having a stronger core allows you to combine the power of all your muscles so to exert force as one solid unit. Almost all moves that you make in boxing requires the synergistic output of your entire body. Having a strong core allows you to punch harder, run faster, and move explosively without losing control. Most fighters that have bad balance will typically have a weak core. Think about it…if balance is about staying centered, then what muscles in your body are helping center yourself? THE CORE! The core is especially important in boxing because your opponent is hittnig you there with punches. If you don’t have a strong stomach, your stomach will hurt when you try to move your legs or throw punches. You’ll be weak and you’ll be in pain if you don’t do those crunches. Quite simply, it’s impossible to make explosive movements with your body if you don’t have a strong core.

Running is one of the most functional movements of the human body. Human bodies were MADE to run — yes, we were anatomically evolved to travel quickly using 2 limbs. I can’t think of any other animal that can run the same way we humans run. Our bodies were built to run as a means of transportation, but I guess nowadays in this age of technology running just means exercise to most people. Well, it’s a good exercise because our body is made to run efficiently. The structural placement of our limbs and muscles make running one of the most natural and efficient ways to use (and exercise) our entire body. I guess that’s the secret to developing athletic ability, you have to workout using natural movements to make your body more functional. Sure, you can lift a ton of rocks and argue that lifting rocks is harder than running. But does lifting rocks really make you more functional overall as an athlete? Hmmm…

The Best Exercises for Boxing

The best boxing exercises should help to develop higher level boxing skills. After training for so many years, you get sick of just running or doing crunches. You start to appreciate the more challenging exercises. All of these exercises (except the jump rope) will allow you to practice your more advanced fighting moves. The best exercises to me are challenging AND fun.

What about other boxing exercises?

Calisthenics, push-ups, etc. I don’t enjoy them as much but they’re all important. You need to do everything, but if it were up to me…you know exactly where I’d be spending my time.

You can do all the exercises you want,

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Radd December 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Thanks bro, refreshing article.

Quote; Johnny N “Shadowboxing, you can do it anywhere… waiting in line at the grocery store”

Not a good idea, i dont want to get shot by an grocer due to misunderstanding 🙂


Johnny N December 27, 2011 at 1:05 am

Hahaha, where do you shop?!


Radd December 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm

That’s my shop;

By the way i know you are busy with the book and articles in row, but if you find time in the future, “How to hold a mitt” or complete mittwork tutorial would be great. It is more complex than it looks i guess.


Johnny N December 28, 2011 at 6:02 am

It’s definitely more complicated than it looks. I know the drills and routines but I’m not as smooth as I’d like to be. Maybe in a few years…

PS: I wouldn’t even shop there, let alone shadowbox.


curtis c December 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Really jump rope! What tricks would you recommend the egg beater, the can can, what? which tricks would develop which muscles and accomplish which kind of training goals? hope to hear from you soon.


Johnny N December 27, 2011 at 1:05 am

Any jump rope tricks are fine. The general idea is to use the jump rope more, Curtis.


J December 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm

are the mitts suppose to be combination after combination? (such as 1-2-3-slip-1-2-3-slip)


Johnny N December 27, 2011 at 1:06 am

Yes, J. Use the mitts for at least 3 rounds.


odolla December 26, 2011 at 6:58 am

Good times…however, my question is: HOW do you jump rope? What I mean is, is there a particular pattern of jumping that you should focus on or should you just skip rope like a 9 year old girl? I hate skipping rope, (and the damn double-end bag), but I’ve come to the conclusion that they are both intergal to what I want to do, so I’m dedicating less time to my favorites (Heavy bag, Sparring) to focus on rope and the DE bag. Any advice to a beginner (other than the obvious) on both of them would be nice… thanks!


Johnny N December 27, 2011 at 1:08 am

Jump it like a boxer….or even like a little girl. There are so many talented kids in the USA jump rope program, I almost wish I did that in high school. Here’s my advice…give it a try. If you don’t know how to jump rope, force yourself to try it for 2 hours on your first day. Keep breathing and keep trucking through it. After that first day, try it for 30 minutes everyday…then come back here in a week and tell me what difference it made in your fighting ability.


odolla December 27, 2011 at 7:17 am

Will do! thanks!


dave December 30, 2011 at 7:17 am

Whoa there partner!

>IF< you are in good shape already.. You could try 2-3 rds. to start off. But 2 hrs?!! Injury is almost certain. You're working muscles that you haven't conditioned. Start off slow.

If you're not in shape just do 1 rd of jump, per day for a while, when you can do more do more, but only increment by a round at a time. Push yourself of course, but don't forget repetitive stress injurys occur quickly and take FOREVER to heal up.

Not only do you need time to get conditioned but as Johnny says, eventually it's going to get a lot easier once you learn to relax.


Spaniardguy December 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Great selection (nº1 sparring no doubt!!!!)

but crunches?????? For functional core work = isometric exercises (plank and bridges), full contact twists, and basic strength exercises (deadlift, squat, overhead press,….)


Johnny N December 27, 2011 at 1:08 am

There’s a billion ways you can do crunches. And I must say I’d rather do crunches than to add all the weights.


Laura December 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Sparring with the pros is how I warm up (or warm them up) either way its fun sparring with the pros, its great for us beginners because we learn, build up confidence and get fit too. Mitts and jump rope are up there with my favorites, tire flipping is another, practicing on the speed bag, double end bag and weight lifting.


Johnny N December 27, 2011 at 1:09 am

Laura, you’re awesome. I can tell you have a good trainer…and you must be pretty good, yourself.


Laura December 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Well, I am as good as anyone would be who’s only been doing Boxing for a year, which isn’t that long. =D

But yes, I do have a great trainer who’s a fantastic source of knowlegde and motivator. So all the credit goes to him.


Orlando B. December 27, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I just started and wondering if I could replace the jump rope for biking? i weigh 250 5’7ht gravity is not my friend at the moment. looking for some ideas because the skipping is killing my knees. I need alot of conditioning.


Laura December 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm

*Just thought I would comment because I also happen to have bad knees*

Biking is good, but skipping and running is important for developing rhythm and foot work. Remember, you’re not sitting in the ring, you’re standing up, so its important to train the required muscles you need to spar efficiently. Skipping and running is great for the core.

If you belong to a local gym you try using the elliptical machine/ cross trainer, its similar to running but without the same impact to the knees or you could try uphill walking at a moderate pace. Both will help strengthen you knees, also considering lifting weights and stretching, they will help with your joints.

Take a look at your diet too and make sure you’re eating the right food, Johnny has written a fantastic article here on the website on the ideal Boxer’s diet thats worth checking out.


Johnny N December 28, 2011 at 6:11 am

Do other conditioning exercises that don’t pound your joints. Biking will help you condition, but it doesn’t have the footwork benefits of jumping and it’s definitely not on my top 5 exercises for boxing. Do what you can and work your way up, Orlando.


Martin February 3, 2012 at 9:00 pm

What about swimming?


Johnny N February 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Swimming is a great exercise but I don’t do it.


Kurt December 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Hey Johnny. You mentioned calisthenics in the article. Do you think you can make an article about all the different calisthenics there are and what they can do to develop your body?


Johnny N December 29, 2011 at 4:33 am

LOL! Kurt, I could make an entire new website on the subject of calisthenics. Essentially, they are exercises using nothing but your body weight to develop functionally superior muscle. I’ll definitely put a guide together, thanks for the great idea.


Everton Henrique December 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm

To those who have bad knees or even worse, like me…

Well, we can’t really run away from workouts that cause some pain. It’s normal and needed to feel some pain.
Try at the beggining do some isometric exercises to gain some muscular power and after one month with these exercises you’ll probably be able to do some light rope jumping or running.
Light weight lifting may also be good to gain some sustentability.

I’m telling that because I’m feeling that by myself… I have 4 herniated discs and I simply need to keep training… Everytime I stop because pain it just gets worse in a long run.

Don’t give up buddy. You can also do some avaliations with a sports’ physician or physiotherapist. They can help you a lot.


jack December 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm

jhonny i have 2 questions

1 – Does the workout routine diifer depending on the fighters style?

2 Also i have develeoped a lot of bad habits since i stoped competing in boxing about 6 years ago ( i am 20 now)

question is if i train right i can fix the bad habits right?? i developed these habits as i used to just shadow box for fun. got lazy jabs etc


Johnny N December 29, 2011 at 4:34 am

Hey Jack,

1) The workout routine differs depending on the fighter’s BODY!
2) Yes, you can fix your bad habits as soon as you start working on it. Pros have bad habits too, not just you.


sicnarf December 29, 2011 at 1:00 am

Hey long do professional boxers do situps in der workout?how many times a day?


Johnny N December 29, 2011 at 4:36 am

Sicnarf, competing boxers spend anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes daily just doing core work.


sicnarf December 29, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Hanks johnny


Bam December 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Hey man,
Neat article, you got any tips on what to do if you have shin splints?
I know plenty of rest is key but I get them from time to time and I hate having to cut out my road work and skipping, particularly as they’re a good section of our boxing workouts. Can’t really get a bike either, not a nice area I’m in. Just looking for any sharp excercises which get the blood flowing.


Johnny N December 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Bam, what about a stationary bike? I would also check your running form or your running shoes if you’re getting shin splints.


Kurt December 29, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Another question. I’ve read many boxing routines that the pros use and they do the same sit-ups, push-ups, dips, and pullups basically everyday. I’ve was big on weight lifting before I got into boxing and one thing I learned from weight lifting is that by doing something everyday, you will over-train and your muscles wont grow or adapt. So would doing calisthenics and core work every day work for boxers? Or should you do it every other day?


Johnny N January 3, 2012 at 12:57 am

Calisthenics are natural exercise…so they don’t wear down the body like heavy weights. You can do them everyday. It’s important that you don’t do too much at once or else you’ll injure your body just the same as you would with weights.


armii April 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Okey but pistols(one leg squats) doesnt weat down the body liek ehavy weights too?


Johnny N April 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm

No, it doesn’t.


victor valdez December 30, 2011 at 12:37 am

Dear Coach, Nice website and I always keep coming back to it atleast once in a day.
I am 33 and have been training for like 1 year already…apart from getting fit I also feel strong

My question is that I havent done a lot of sparring and so everytime I spar with someone I loose and play defensive ( I spar with my trainer whose of course better than me coz there are no other options as its not a boxing gym )..
I have my first fight coming up in Feb so now I will start training for it soon.
What do you suggest to keep the motivation going and the what should be my training schedule for the next 6 weeks till the build up of the fight?

Thank you and I know its a long message and thanx for your time to read through it..


Johnny N January 3, 2012 at 1:25 am

Your trainer is responsible for motivating and training you. The average schedule is training 3-5 days per week, and running 5 days of the week. If you don’t have the personal motivation, I would suggest that you not take the fight. Competing is dangerous for unmotivated individuals.


Victorvaldez January 3, 2012 at 4:46 am

Thnks Coach I will keep this in mind and keep you updated if u like hw it goes.

Thanks again.


Rodney Verges December 30, 2011 at 10:46 am

Great article as always Johnny! My order is pretty much the same as yours, *except* for some reason, I just can’t get myself to jump rope for more than 10 minutes… never have been able to, no matter how much I want to.

I always start my fighters, and myself, with 2 to 4 ‘cover rounds’. We have 2 rings and 2 cages, so we usually can get 8 pairs going at first, after that, I like to jump into sparring.

For my fighters that need work, I set them to a specific task during shadowboxing, then they work the same task with 3 rounds of mitts, then the same task with 3 rounds of sparring, which each round progressively harder. There’s a lot of guys that just spar, without sparring with a purpose.

As far as the mitts go, I usually get surprised by how terrible some coaches are with mitts. If you can’t hold mitts well, you’re definitely doing your fighter a disservice. Mitts should be extremely active on both the fighter and trainer. As a trainer, you need to be in good enough shape to give your fighter the mitt workout he deserves.

One guy that still amazes me with his mitt work is Freddie Roach. His parkison’s is off the hook until he gets in that zone, in the ring and can work the most active fighter in the sport for a ton of rounds.
When I work my fighters on the mitts, sometimes my sadistic side comes out, and my goal is to see if I can make them throwup.. I learned it from my first boxing coach. If you had trouble making weight, do 30 minutes of mitt work with him, and you’ll be getting rid of that weight by the end.


Johnny N January 3, 2012 at 1:27 am

I have to say 30 minutes of mitt work is not hard enough to make everyone throw up. Many guys know how to relax through the whole thing and hit hard without putting too much effort.

If you want to see someone throw up, make them drink 1/3rd cup of water and tell them to go sprint full speed for 15 seconds. Make them race each other so you know they’re not cheating. And I’ll definitely think you’re sadistic if you do this.


james January 3, 2012 at 1:28 am

Hi coach can you give an example of sparring, shadow boxing, and mitt work with a specific Task.? Also what is sparring with a purpose?


Johnny N January 3, 2012 at 2:10 am

James, sparring with a purpose means to spar with a GOOD PURPOSE (like developing better technique, or working on skills) as opposed to sparring simply to beat up your opponent. Sparring, shadow boxing, and mitt work should all be done with the purpose of developing skills…instead of just showing off power.


Kareem January 5, 2012 at 8:02 am

Jump roping is a big secret of mine.. It’s amazing how many guys at many gyms don’t do this. That said though I think all of the tips are excellent. Unfortunately, the best tips (mitt work & sparring) require another person. The conflict that I’ve found with sparring especially in a new gym is it’s generally NOT controlled. It’s sad but a reality I’ve often seen (and it discourages me from sparring at times honestly) is it can become “TOO MACHO” vs. “we’re working to help each other”.

About mittwork, I’ve learned how to do somewhat do the “Roger Mayweather” padwork (not totally) but finding someone that can replicate that for me (me as the striker vs the catcher) is difficult. I think it has its place but I think traditional mittwork also has it’s place.

Often times I’ve seen mittwork session by others just turn into a glorified heavy bag session which to me defeats the entire purpose of it..


Kareem January 5, 2012 at 8:06 am

I’ll offer an example to me of what sparring with a “purpose” is. Lets say I’ve identified a weakness of mine which would be coming out of clinch with one of my hands down which would expose me to a counter. To me (and I could be wrong here but…) a sparring session(s) to correct this mistake would be to work with your partner to recreate that during your session. The entire session doesn’t have to involve that, but when you’re in a clinch and you step away, your partner knows to NAIL you or attempt to..

That way hopefully your muscle memory learns to defend that shot to where as it’s second nature. There are other controlled sessions I can think of but that one was off the top of my head.


Gil January 5, 2012 at 9:36 am


Happy new year.

Right now, I am experimenting with different floor excercises, but rope and shadowboxing are always done. One thing about shadow boxing is that it is indeed one of, if not the most portable excercises out there.

Additionally, Pushups, pullups, squats and sit ups are a staple, period. The only weighted resistance I use are small hand weights and a set of 20 lb dumbells for a complex. Other than that, I personally hate the redundancy of lifting heavy weights. I do enjoy working with a heavy medicine ball I just purchased and it adds a fun, yet challenging element to a workout.

I have always found the double end bag to be one of my least favorites, but since I am getting better at it, I look forward to working on it more. At the moment I don’t have access to mitts, but at some point I will recruit my wife to hold them for me. I am really trying my best to get her to joing me in a few workouts on the bags.

As for running, honestly, I get bored with simply runing an x number of miles. However, I prefer running or sprinting a relatively short distance, then do pushups, shadowbox and footwork at the end.


darren January 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm

just a quick question , i havent been boxing long , just under a year infact and i have my 1st fight coming up in feb . but i still get into the habit of leaning forward all the time with my head down . have you got any training methods that could get me out of this habit ?


Johnny N January 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Darren, try to straighten your back so that your chin is tucked back towards your spine instead of letting it hang forward in the air. Keep your chin over your front chest instead of over your front knee.


BTF January 7, 2012 at 10:03 am

Trying balling up a rag and sticking it under your chin and working the heavy bag. Its incredibly annoying but really pounds it into your head


odolla January 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

The double end bag is my new b*tch. Very fun…

Johnny, are you familiar with one of these?:


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 9:48 am

Yes, I am.


BTF January 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

Interesting choice to include the double-ended bag, since it is pretty clearly a skill-level above the rest. Can’t say I disagree though


Gian January 9, 2012 at 12:21 am

How do you shadowbox your jabs full speed without hurting your elbow?


MG January 9, 2012 at 12:28 am

I made a double-end bag in my room with tennis balls (for head punch and for body). Its really nice thing and i think it improved my skills. But, that tennis balls are really light weight and its very similar to shadowbox so i think i hyperextended my elbow a little bit because i sometimes do 12 rounds and thats a lot i think so i have question same as Gian 🙂


Johnny N January 9, 2012 at 9:52 am

Warm up your joints before going full speed. I plan on posting a joint warm-up routine later on. It also helps not to over-extend your straight punches. You can add a slight arc at the very end of your punch or think of your fist making a slight loop back to you instead of going straight in and straight out. Jabs will always be really straight punches, though.


MG January 9, 2012 at 12:30 am

period is coming after “i think” in last row 🙂


A January 10, 2012 at 12:12 am

Johnny im starting to fall in love with the jump rope especially once i learned how to properly do it,


Johnny N January 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

YES! I want to convert as many fighters as possible. Spread the word!


gerald January 18, 2012 at 8:36 am

Hey Johnny at what level has the double end bag have to be????


Johnny N January 18, 2012 at 10:09 am

I recommend the double-end bag to be anywhere from chest to chin level.


J January 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm

how do you feel about cycling good cardio or?


Johnny N January 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Cycling is good cardio, many fighters do it. It’s much easier on the joints, too.


saber khan January 30, 2012 at 7:28 am

wow i should have looked at this article before, of course i agree with all of it. sparring is the gold standard bar none for boxing there’s nothing like it.

mittwork is second, specially with a good trainer who mixes in defense with the offense and creates different kinds of scenarios. counterpunching, lead punching, leading then defending and countering, combos.

my 3rd is double end bag, and i cant stand those teeny head-only versions. a nice double end bag with 2 blobs one for head and one for body can make everyone realise how much they need to improve their speed and accuracy rather than whack that heavybag. real timing i think comes foremost from a double end bag that’s been loosened so it’s moving like crazy. real defense (except defense against feinting and angles) also comes from double end work. and we know how everybody avoids this bag, the most useful in my opinion. my entire time in boxing, ive always had to wait for the heavy bag i cant remember ever waiting on the double end bag.

jump rope is the leg version of speed bags. jump roping with varying foot movement is useful as both a measure of endurance and of foot timing.

i dont find the speedbag useful. it seems more like this fun thing everyone feels good doing. i do it, but it certainly isnt in my top 5. more for beginners in my opinion.

shadow boxing is amazing for drilling and building speed and form in punching. if someone maintains their discipline and extends properly and keeps their guard.

amongst body weight exercises, what i love doing and find very useful are:

1. slipping and rolling mixed, 200 times with proper motion. it is specific to boxing and should be done at the end of the day, oh man it burns. specially if done with a tight midsection guard up and bending at the knees while turning and bending the torso. i do 2 sets of them, and it HELPS when a fight or a bout is going to go the distance. keeping those hands up, keeping the back straight, sounds sooo simple but it’s a killer. every time i go to the toilet i push out 100 to 125 just to keep myself in the rhythm. slipping and rolling can become so ingrained after 3 or 4 months of doing this, you will be able to do it instinctually and

2. hanging reverse crunches holding the position for 3-5 seconds, then oblique crunches upside down and then ab crunches upside down. working up from 15 to 100 times each, with just 1 minute in between its main purpose is to get those abs tired and used to keeping tension near the middle of fights when the body shots really do major damage. the standard ab crunches are easiest so theyre last. and the oblique crunches help in taking liver and kidney shots. i dont add weights but i exhale hard at the end and get someone to hit me with a medicine ball.

3. one handed planks going from arm extended to elbow position. it is much much tougher than it seems, and going 3 minutes keeping form perfect is pretty tough. it’s also very representative of a single round of boxing, in that it requires a LOT of mental effort to not give up. slowly one will build tolerance to it, and if it becomes too easy (which takes a lot of time). when it does, i do my own reverse version with the chest upwards, holding onto a bar and legs straight. it looks like a boxer with a square stance in guard position with legs straight and angled 30 degrees from the floor. keep elbows really close to your shoulders half contracted. the aim is the same, holding yourself straight. and getting someone to throw soft karate chops at the midsection, then harder, then hitting with medicine ball to simulate punching. go 3 minutes on this and your opponent is going to have a hard time getting you to wilt with body shots (i cant go more than 4 minutes on this). it works out the biceps, abs, the core, the mid back and lower back.

4. lateral shuffling with guard up. its something i found useful from basketball. first going side to side on your own as fast as possible by timing yourself. once you get tired. get someone to try and escape from you by moving laterally (just like the basketball exercise) and mirror their movement. your aim is to react to that opponent and have him. to make it harder, let your target bend their knees more than shoulder width and move their arms for balance while you keep your guard up. its a very very difficult exercise if the opponent is smaller than you and mobile. really similar to cutting off the ring against someone. on a sidenote, trying to catch a cat or a chicken is perhaps the best footwork exercise for chasing an opponent in the world. i tried it a few times on my family farm a few years back and couldnt even come close.

5. the chest flyes machine. i do it in reverse with a small weight, so i can move fast but not too fast. doing it in reverse focuses on the posterior shoulder and i do many many reps of this. it helps to bring back the arms after throwing punches. i usually alternate arms and in my mind im throwing great haymakers and bringing my arms back. that motion, once its done a lot, really will help boxers to automatically bring the arms back.

6. im also really really fond of fast lunges with a ball under my foot. the aim is to be as fast as possible while putting your foot out as as far as possible with the ball under it. its an exercise my trainer made me do to help with recovering from lead left body hooks and jabs to the body and rights. its more useful to fighters who throw those kinds of punches fast and have to make up for lesser arm length.


Jokulps February 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm


I got a real problem… I can barely do 1 minute of jumprope. After what, I’m already exhausted.

This is fckin weird cause I’m used to running half-marathons with an average of 1h45. But when I have to change the rythm, when it comes to high intensity in a short lapse of time, then I’m fucked up.

What should I do exactly to improve that ?


Johnny N February 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Awesome question. Keep doing it….calm your breathing down. Do it when the attitude that you’re just going to start over every time you trip on the rope. And keep starting over for an hour straight. It helps to play some music. Within 2 weeks, I promise you will be able to go on for a while without getting tired. I would also recommend learning some tricks so your arms don’t get too tired spinning in the same position.


Jokulps February 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Btw, your ebooks are great ! Night’s gonna be long !


Johnny N February 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Thank you, Jokulps! I’m glad you enjoyed and I really appreciate the support.


Jokulps February 3, 2012 at 5:19 am
Johnny N February 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Very fun exercise by the Russians.


Eric February 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Roadwork, Roadwork, Roadwork, and then some more Roadwork.


Brendo February 29, 2012 at 10:04 am

Hey Johnny,

What do you think about Roger Mayweather Mittwork?

I think you don’t have an article specific for working with the mitts and should be interesting to learn it from you. Thanks for everything. Your website has been an incredible help!


Johnny N February 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Roger Mayweather is one of today’s top trainers. If you want to learn mitt work, watch him! I don’t have any articles for this because there are so many great guides out there already. I’ll put some up in time.


ProDreams May 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Johnny i want to develop explosive and fast handspeed. what are some of the best workouts for that. Are Plyometrics good for this?


Johnny N May 17, 2012 at 8:31 am

Plyometrics will definitely help. Please check out my article on “hand speed drills and exercises“.


J May 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm

ProDreams- Johnny might not be able to get back to you he is very busy, but i will be glad to help him and you out he wrote an article on what your looking for. And


Chris May 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Hello what about shadowboxing? Fe:Pacman (manny) he is doing without hip movment almost running in the same place.. I dont know what to do now, should i do shadowboxing like he does? or slowly and with better techniq twisitng my hips etc., legs.


Johnny N May 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Do both.


Begginerboy June 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm

hey coach, i have a question… i used to go for boxing classes for a year in my college but i got a job and moved to a different city. the boxing gym is on the other end so i can there only go during the weekends. i wanted to know if i have a choice between a heavy bag or a double end bag then which one i should buy so i could practice at home ? i still need to improve my basics a lot so your opinion would be very helpful. 🙂


Johnny N June 19, 2012 at 11:03 am

I would get the double-end bag and suspend it with some very tight elastic bands (or multiple bands).


Theonewaymma July 12, 2012 at 9:30 am

All of these boxing exercises are great, however I think the mitts would have to be my favorite. Being a woman it is a great way for me to learn to defend myself.


vvtill July 22, 2012 at 12:40 am

sorry for asking this stupid question, may i know would punching on the wall will toughen up the fist bone? one of my coach told me some fighter will throw a light punches on the wall (with glove on) for i.e a light jab on the wall just to toughen up the fist bone.


Johnny N July 23, 2012 at 10:16 am

That might work but I’ve never seen anybody train like that, and more importantly, I’ve never seen any pro train like that.


Vato Loco July 22, 2012 at 6:57 am

Makiwara boards and knuckle pushups will toughen hands, but hitting walls is meant for King Kong.


J July 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm

haha loc you say funny stuff hahaha


vvtill July 25, 2012 at 6:35 am

May i know does 10 minute sit up mean you do 10 min sit up straight without stop or rest ? (I think it is impossible) Normally i will only do 30 sit ups and rest for 1 minute then do 30 sit ups again. My instructor told me to hold a dumbbell plate during my sit up to add resistance, may i know what’s the benefit of resistance sit ups? Would it increase my core strength more?


Johnny N July 26, 2012 at 3:31 am

Yes, do it without rest. If you can’t do it, then work your way up to it. Maybe 2 minutes at first, then later 5, then later 10. Almost no one is born with the ability to do a boxing workout. Yes, resistance sit-ups can increase your core strength.


vvtill August 4, 2012 at 6:08 am

Appreciate if you could make a new video regarding leg workout for boxing power? Just would like to check with you, whether the punching power actually come from leg and core? So i better focus on sit up and leg workout rather than build triceps and arm muscle, am i right?


Johnny N August 15, 2012 at 9:30 am

Yes, I’ll be happy to do this. Power comes from all your limbs centralized at the core. The problem is that most people have weak cores but strong everything else. So the workouts you need most are core. Next comes the legs. And yes, sit-ups and leg workouts are much better than arm workouts.


Neil Makwana August 11, 2012 at 3:20 am

Hi Jonny – I just want to congratulate you on running this website, which is very informative and articulate and extremely helpful for a beginner like me. I have only been boxing for a few months since tearing the ACL in my knee from karate. Thankfully boxing hasn’t stressed it overly so far and I love the intensity of the workouts and the sparring is great -though my stamina needs real improvement.

One question about shadow-boxing, should i do it with light weights (say 3kg) in each hand to mimic the weight of the glove and add resistance ?

Ps – if you have any books, I will certainly buy them (if available in the UK).

Many thanks,



Johnny N August 15, 2012 at 9:33 am

Hey Neil!

I would shadowbox with gloves on if you want to have some weight, otherwise you can develop shoulder conditioning with the speed bag. Avoid shadowboxing with weights. I do sell an instructional ebook and video! It’s all digital and downloadable from anywhere in the world.

No actual print books are available now…maybe in the future when it’s not so expensive to print 300 color pages!


Alex September 18, 2012 at 7:12 am

Hi Johnny – I am 17yrs old and after school i workout for about one hour in a local gym everyday and get back to studies, as I am from India where studies are indispensable!!! The thing is after i workout i get tired, i feel sleepy and a bit de-hydrated.

What do you think can solve this apart from you know electrolytes (lemon juice), almonds etc ?



Johnny N September 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm

You probably have to eat more before the workout and also eat a little something after the workout. Getting tired after a workout is supposed to be a good thing. De-hydrated means you need more water.


FELIX October 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm



konk November 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm

hi! Johnny…
thanks for providing information briefly and was really helpful..nice job


konk November 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm

i would like to visit your site regularly and seek help from you whenever needed…:)


spence November 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Hey Johnny, you mentioned that you relax and contract your muscles as you jump rope. I might sound technical. but do you inhale, contract on the landing phase or the jumping phase?


Johnny N November 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I breathe as though I’m running. Basically one breath for several revolutions. I might speed up my breathing rate if I’m jumping really fast or doing doubles and triples.


Benji A January 31, 2013 at 5:06 am

Johnny, I have a weak core. I used to be a decent swimmer. That’s why at roughly 120lbs, I feel like I have a lot of natural power. I know you say your the hardest pound-for-pound puncher in your gym, and it’s not hard to see why. At 145lbs I can tell you hit like a truck! I have a few questions:

1) Do you have that natural power?

2) How much does buidling the core help with power if you already have natural power?

3) Does having strong back muscles help w/ natural punching power?

4) After strengthing my core, will punching technique come more easily?


Johnny N January 31, 2013 at 11:01 pm

1) Yes.
2) It adds even more power.
3) Yes.
4) It depends. A stronger core will give you the conditioning to develop your technique but it won’t make up for poor technique. You still have to learn how to punch.


kk April 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

jhonny please reply,
Im 19 , been boxing for a year, according to your article Im ready for boxing but i dont get it…..when ever I spar I get really exhausted around the lower back and the lower and upper thigh muscles, Ive been doing squats and jump squats, also core workouts …….but in vain…..I get tired specially when ducking and rollingt o avoid punches……and also pivot….at wits end pls rply…..


Johnny N April 19, 2013 at 9:34 am

You’re ducking over too much that’s why. Stay centered, move only an inch instead of flopping your upper body all over the place. Use much less movement than you think is necessary. Stay on your axis and your back won’t get tired.


vicky June 4, 2013 at 9:13 am

hello Johnny… i just started boxing before 2 months in a academy… tell me some tips to increase my stamina…


Johnny N June 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Check out my “EASY Boxing Workout”


Dean June 11, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Hello Johnny, The 2 main reason I started boxing is because of some boxing comics.. and when I started watching your instructional videos. I really learned a lot.. even on my first day the trainer said I should go do the intermediate boxing class already instead of the beginners class (thats all because of your videos so thank you!)

I’m doing an intermediate class now but my body is so weak with all the push up and sit up drills. SHOULD I STOP GOING TO CLASS AND FOCUS MORE ON THOSE TWO EXERCISES BEFORE I COME BACK? OR SHOULD I JUST KEEP GOING EVEN THOUGH IM NOT THE BEST AT THOSE. Its so embarrassing that i’m always the first one that tires out on those drills. Anyway hope you could give me an answer Johnny.

Have a great day.


Johnny N June 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Boxing is both mental and physical. Keep training and improve wherever you can. There is always room for improvement.


Clayton October 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Im just a 14 year old boxer, and I get in the ring with semi-pro fighters. Is this good for my body and how? Also my current shape is like a kid version of Manny Paq. I know this is great, but how would you recomend I stay this way?


Johnny N October 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Take your time. Keep learning and growing. Your body will grow into whatever form it takes. As long as you keep improving your fighting ability, you’ll be fine.


Satpal December 12, 2013 at 10:48 am

Hey johnny……i am a 14 year boy …..iam of 5’5″ and wants to grow more ……..but seriously i cant find any beast boxing workout for me please help me johnny……and my goal is to be best


Johnny N December 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Have you tried the “EASY Boxing Workout” on my site?


Satpal December 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Yes i am doing…. i am a biginner but wants to fight like pro man


Satpal December 15, 2013 at 6:18 am

And johnny my brother from other mother please make a stretching exercising workout…


Johnny N January 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm

I’m definitely looking into this. In the meanwhile, I recommend YOGA! Tons of great yoga videos online. Especially for opening the hips, and stretching the shoulders and core muscles.


Satpal January 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Sure but what type of yoga i am saying this because i have a yoga app on my android mob called daily yoga….

Johnny N January 9, 2014 at 2:27 pm

I never bother myself with the type or style of yoga. I simply look around and try to find exercises I like.


Hail June 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Hey Johnny!
Love this site ! It helping me out so much!!! I got a quick question doe. Do you have any post regarding leg workouts. Some kind of leg workout to make me faster, and more explosive. Would prefer without weights.


Johnny N July 22, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Check out the ExpertBoxing EASY Boxing Workout.


Galley La April 2, 2015 at 9:28 pm

Hi, Johny !
I live in Malaysia, a country where it is super tough to get a decent boxing gym, more Muay Thai and MMA gym around here….
I started kcikboxing last year, and after I stumbled into this site, it has become my favourite place to look for answers
Just wanna say thanks a lot for all the hard work and tips !!!! I love boxing now !!


keithy January 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm

” I can’t think of any other animal that can run the same way we humans run.”
What about the ostrich? It can run pretty well on 2 legs.


Johnny N January 14, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Great job. You found one!


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