There’s this pervasive belief that boxing and strength training go together like oil and water—best never to be mixed. Trainers often reason that lifting weights will only cause boxers to bulk up, decreasing their agility in the ring. And in a sport where speed is paramount, every bit of bulk makes an athlete easier to out-maneuver and out-punch.

But does strength training really deserve the bad rap it has among boxers? In this newsroom post, E-Sports International explains how incorporating strength work into your training program can actually make you a better boxer.

Strength Training ≠ Bodybuilding


While lifting weights is inextricably linked to bodybuilding, people often forget (or don’t know) that bodybuilders utilize a carefully designed workout regimen that prioritizes building bulk over developing athleticism.

Boxers, on the other hand, can take advantage of strength training to improve functional performance like punching power, speed, and coordination. Needless to say, while strength training and bodybuilding both involve lifting weights, the end result all boils down to training the right muscles.

A Matter of Muscles

At its core, boxing is about two things: power and speed. However, weak muscles can’t throw powerful punches or unleash flurries of quick jabs. To deliver both, you need to train certain types of muscle fibers: specifically, the fast-twitch ones.

Here’s a little primer on muscles: All muscles are grouped into motor units, and motor units are either slow twitch (designed for endurance) or fast twitch (short, powerful bursts of motion). Lifting light weights will only recruit slow-twitch units; lifting heavy weights, however, will activate both your slow- and fast-twitch units.

In other words, if you’re going to lift, you have to lift heavy to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible—and develop your power and speed more efficiently.

Get Training!

What types of strength training will benefit a boxer like you? Below are just some exercises that are great complements to your boxing workout:

1. Dumbbell Punches and Uppercuts


These exercises are great because they mimic the same motions you do inside the ring. Just grab a pair of moderate weight dumbbells and punch away!

2. Shoulder Presses


Strong shoulders play a big role not just in throwing powerful punches but also in helping you keep your guard up.

3. Bench Presses


The bench press simulates the pushing motion of punches and helps develop strength in your chest, shoulders, arm and neck.

4. Deadlifts


Deadlifts strengthen your posterior chain, which is recruited when you execute explosive movements like punches.

5. Cable Rotations


This will help strengthen your core and develop the rotational muscles in your hips, pelvis, and spine–useful for dodging punches.

While sparring sessions are still the best way to develop your boxing skills, including strength training in your regimen will help make you a better-rounded fighter.  For more information on top-notch strength training equipment, check out Technogym’s Purestrength line here.

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