Boxing fans see fictional boxers, like Rocky Balboa, partake in elaborate workouts within training montages backed by a corny soundtrack and believe that’s the way real boxers train. It’s not.
As a boxing journalist I’ve observed multiple boxing champions prepare for marquee fights. Check out my previous work and you will see some of the training camps I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of. What I’ve noticed from all of these training camps is that most boxers generally train the same way. They may differ in terms of strength, agility, and stamina training, but when it comes to throwing punches they follow a similar framework.
On an average day in the gym, most boxers do several sets of boxing specific exercises within the time frame of a normal round and fight. They will do a specific exercise for 3 minutes straight followed by a 1 minute break, and will repeat this for 10-12 rounds or more. The pros usually add rounds as they progress in training camp. I’ve seen some fighters train up to 24 rounds within a workout session, but that’s not the norm.
When you are training make sure to start with a number of rounds that you can handle. Don’t try to train for a full 12 rounds if you’ve never done it before. Start light with 4-6 rounds and progress from there.
Most people think that elite level fighters spend the majority of their days in a boxing gym, but that’s not true. During a normal day of training camp, most boxers spend less than 2 hours in the boxing gym. That’s not to say that they aren’t putting in serious roadwork and strength training before they enter the gym. They have to do this if they want to be successful, but they aren’t spending as much time as you think within a boxing gym.
Most fighters will spend more time in the boxing gym if they are sparring. Also, some boxers will do their normal 12 round circuit followed by 6-12 rounds of sparring. That’s a killer workout and they can only do it so often or they run the risk of over-training, which can drain a boxer before a fight.
If you want to train in the gym like a pro and you have the proper physical fitness to do it, do a 10-12 round circuit of several boxing specific workouts. If you do a 12 round training session, you will only spend 48 minutes in the gym and you will burn anywhere from 400-600+ calories depending on your intensity. If it works for the pros, it will work for you.
(Stay tuned for my ongoing boxing workout series. I will focus on specific boxing exercises in upcoming posts.)