Is Anaerobic Conditioning the Key to Success in Boxing?

Is Anaerobic Conditioning the Key to Success in Boxing?

Good anaerobic conditioning is a basic need of every boxer.

What happens if your opponent is a boxer who is fast and strong, but has no stamina? An opponent will demolish him via superiority.

If you are smart enough to avoid being knocked out. You will surely obtain a tremendous superiority victory with better stamina. Even your opponent will be that angry he will leave himself open for a knockout!

Anaerobic conditioning is a key part of being successful in boxing, especially in amateur fights.

There are so many fights that are decided by better conditioning. Muhammad Ali, for example, won most of his fights on superb conditioning and quickness.

Joe Calzaghe won all of his fights that went to the later rounds. Rocky Marciano was also a master of anaerobic conditioning. He used very similar punching power in the first and in the tenth round!

When Vinny Pazienza attacked, they were equally as fast and as strong combos in every single round!

The most important benefits of anaerobic exercise

First of all, we need to define anaerobic exercise. This is a type of physical exercise which is strong enough to create the forming of lactic acid.

As more lactic acid is created, your body will feel more muscle soreness and you will breathe harder.

An ability of the boxer to hold out as much as possible in the anaerobic regime of training is called anaerobic endurance.

We will focus on the benefits of anaerobic exercise which are the most important ones for your boxer.

Improved VO2 max

Among all benefits of anaerobic exercise, this is the most important one. The highest amount of oxygen your body is able to consume during the exercise is definitively a need of every single good boxer.

How does it effect boxing? The bigger this value is, your boxer will be able to handle longer combos and waste less power on, for example, ten or fifteen punches in a row.

If you want a good anaerobic conditioning for your boxer, you must focus on high-intensity interval training sessions which are specific for boxing, or training sessions which will simulate realistic conditions.

If you find the way to increase the oxygen debt of your boxer, he will be able to maintain a lot more attention, activity and to throw heavier strikes during the whole match.

Remember, three minutes is a very long time to maintain the constant activity. If you want your fighter to throw punches constantly, you need to adapt his body to a strong interval training sessions.

More glycogen in your muscles

It is very well known fact that a regular workout causes your body to store glycogen better.

If more glycogen is stored in your boxer’s muscles, he will be able to throw strong punches and fast combos for a longer period of time, and the recovery time between two combos will be shorter. This is also one of the very important benefits or anaerobic exercise.

Decreased soreness and fatigue

Once your boxer gets used to heavy anaerobic intervals, you will notice that he shows less soreness and fatigue during hard matches after a few months.

What happens if your boxer is not fatigued? He will attack like a lion and he will never give up, his mentality will be ten times better!

If you feel less fatigue, you will slip and counterpunch extremely fast in every single moment of the fight! This is an example of how an anaerobic conditioning makes a perfect fighter!

Less soreness will affect positively on punch power and the number of strikes your boxer is able to receive. Remember Lennox Lewis – he was able to receive as many strikes needed with one goal – to obtain a perfect counterpunch which will send his opponent to the ground!

Shorter recovery period between the fights

Are you aware the fact that your body needs 48-72 hours to recover after a professional boxing match? Are you aware how important anaerobic conditioning can be?

If you train your boxer properly, he will be able to recover a lot faster than his opponent, which will enable more fights during the year, develop better pain tolerance and better mood and self-state.

You needn’t be depressed for a long period of time, and that is where anaerobic endurance comes to the fore. This is one more of unavoidable benefits of anaerobic exercise!

Better be depressed the evening after the match and wake up fresh in the morning!

Positive influence on strength training and overall power

Have you noticed how strong are the sprinters compared to the long-distance runners? This happens because more fast-twitch fibers are activated during the high-intense training.

More fast-twitch fibers will effect on better physical look, stronger muscles and more punching power.

Have you ever seen a boxer who is not a heavyweight, but has no muscle definition at all?

Here comes one more of the numerous benefits of anaerobic exercise – your boxer hits harder than the opponent – this increases the percentage of winning a fight via knockout!

The mechanism of anaerobic conditioning needed for every good boxer and one-week training example

First of all, here is what you, as a coach, has to aim when trying to improve the performances of your boxer.

It includes sprinting, jumping, plyometric exercises, punching, combos… high intense workouts which will exhaust your body and improve your performances!

This is an intense exercise which doesn’t last long, usually few seconds to 2-3 minutes, but an intensity of the exercise remains high throughout the workout.

Here come the first tasks of anaerobic conditioning in boxing – how will you deploy your energy when you have at least three rounds? And every round lasts for 3 minutes!

If you are looking to become a professional boxer, hard intervals are something you need to focus on – rope jumping, pushups, situps, burpees, strong strikes, quick strikes, slips… you need to learn to adjust the training program!

The most reliable concept of anaerobic training for boxing relies on adjusting three-minute rounds into high-interval training sessions!

Make sure you do not perform this type of training more than three times per week unless you are in a preparatory period. Remember, your body needs at least one to three days to completely recover from this type of training.

Practical examples of anaerobic conditioning with explained benefits of anaerobic exercise for your boxer which can easily be applied in the match

Ok, let’s assume your boxer is a rising star who plans to become a professional. You need to prepare him for 4-6 rounds of boxing – let’s start explaining champions!

As you are trying to implement all those parameters into the round, it is important to know what to apply and when to enable maximum improvements to your fighter. All training sessions last 30-120 seconds, and you should maintain maximal or submaximal intensity.

Rope jumping is an exercise used for boxers movement. A session of 20-30 seconds or fast rope jumping will definitively improve it.

Jumping Rope Anaerobic Conditioning

Strong strikes can be trained on the bag. A boxer tries to obtain a one punch knockout via strong and powerful strikes.

Quick strikes are important to keep your boxer on distance, but combos can create a good opening and find the space for a knockout.

Mitts are the basics of clinch fighting and reaction. A mitt training can improve the specific performances of your boxer to the maximum limits.

Defense is a very important part of any boxer. Your fighter can have good slips, but bad counterpunches or blocking.

Sparring sessions are a combination of everything. Alongside fighter’s mentality and tactics, it shows how a fighter combines all the elements.

Core exercises and weights are also an undrainable source of anaerobic conditioning. If combined properly, your boxer can maintain a maximum intensity of workout with an ideal load.

An example of one-week training plan

Remember, a perfect anaerobic conditioning requires exercises lasting no longer than 3 minutes (one round), with sufficient breaks between the sets. If the weights are used, do not work with more than 60-70% of 1 repetition maximum (RM), so your boxer can perform the exercise for at least 30 seconds.

Let’s assume your boxer has the match in three weeks, and your goal is to improve anaerobic endurance and implement all of the benefits of anaerobic exercise together.

Before every training session, a warm up is a must. After every training, a stretching session has to be present – do not even think to train your boxer without this!


Each round should last for 3 minutes, a boxer works 6 rounds (a match simulation) with various exercises. One minute rest between the rounds, the goal is maximizing the anaerobic conditioning of your boxer in specific conditions.

1st Round

30 seconds strong strikes on the bag, 30 seconds cover up (coach attacks you and you protect yourself), 30 seconds movement (lower the intensity), 30 seconds pushups, 30 seconds squats, 30 seconds rope jumping

2nd Round

3 minutes of mitts, coach attacks or sets up a mitt for a strike or a combo

3rd Round

30 seconds sit-ups, 30 seconds supermans, 30 seconds rope jumping, 30 seconds movement (lower the pulse), one minute quick strikes on the bag (only left jab and right cross combinations).

4th Round = 1st Round

5th Round = 2nd Round

6th Round = 3rd Round


The concept of the training are sprints and the ability to quickly defend and send counterpunches. The most difficult type of anaerobic conditioning for boxing.

There are no rounds, the break between sets is 2 minutes. Perform six sets and remember, the number of sets should be close or even to the number of rounds.

The first part of the sets is always the same – a boxer lays on the stomach on the mat, stands up quickly and sprints 50 meters. A coach should hold the mitts for 60 seconds with different requests, which are followed by 30 pushups and 30 squats in the end.

1st Set – fast punches,

2ndSet – counterpunches,

3rd Set – strong hooks and uppercuts,

4th Set – blocking,

5th Set – three strikes and one avoidance (for example, left jab – right hook – left uppercut and ducking out to the left),

6th Set – covering up and counterpunch (a boxer receives 3 or more strikes on his guard and sets up a combo, a coach says the names of the strikes).


The training takes place in the gym.

The boxer does 12-15 repetitions of a specified exercise with desired weight on 60-70% of 1 RM. Then he does one minute of intense shadow boxing with a specific request (for example, hooks, uppercuts, jab, and cross…). Then he does 100 see-saws and 30 hand scissors. The rest between the rounds is two minutes, 6 rounds.


1st Round – bench press, two hooks

2nd Round – calf raises, four punches combo at free reign

3rd Round – deadlifts, jab, and cross

4th Round hack squats, two uppercuts

5th Round – wide grip lat pull-downs, right cross – left hook – right uppercut

6th Round – rear barbell raise, four punches body combo

Congrats champions! Now you know how to improve anaerobic conditioning. Enjoy the development of your boxing career and throwing strikes in the last round like Felix Trinidad!

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