10 Bodyweight Exercises to Help You Become Unstoppable

Boxers spend long hours in the gym, using a wide range of training equipment. Sometimes, we just cannot get to the gym. There should be no excuse for a contender who is serious about their progress to miss a workout session. Even without the help of boxing facilities, a boxer can perform many beneficial bodyweight exercises wherever they may find themselves.


Bodyweight Exercises and How They Impact Performance

Bodyweight exercises are merely exercises which use your body’s weight (and gravity) as the resistance you need as opposed to using various forms of weights or machines. Here are ten bodyweight exercises that can help boxers on the go:


Upper Body Bodyweight Exercises


1.    PUSH-UPS

Description:

The classic push up usually needs no introduction, but there are some variations to make it easier or harder. 

  1. Get in a plank position with hands shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Tuck your elbows and lower yourself down to the floor.
  3. Push yourself up into the starting position. Maintain a firm core and straight back.

Modified:

With your knees on the ground and your toes elevated, lower your torso to the ground and back up using your arms.

Challenge:

Lift one leg or one arm up while performing push-ups.

Benefits:

Push-ups work your chest, back, core and arm muscles, particularly triceps. Be careful not to place your weight on your wrists as this can cause injury and strain.


2.    PULL-UPS

Description:

This exercise uses your body weight as resistance. However, the move will require some sort of secure mechanism from which you can hang, such as a door frame, wall, or pull up bar.

1.    Using a firm forward grip, arms just past shoulder-width, grab ahold of the bar or frame overhead.

2.    Tighten your back and pull yourself up as forcefully as you can until your chin is over the bar.

3.    Lower yourself and straighten your arms to complete the motion.

Modified:

Use a kipping swing or stand on a resistance band, tied to the top of the bar to help alleviate some of the weight and difficulty until you develop enough strength.

Challenge:  

Add resistance by holding a dumbbell between your feet.

Benefits:

This exercise develops complete upper body strength as it challenges the muscle groups responsible for both pulling and pushing movements. It also develops coordination, timing and balance.


Lower Body Bodyweight Exercises


3.     SQUAT

Description:

  1. Place legs hip-width apart. 
  2. With your chest up, hinge your hips to squat down as if sitting down in a chair.
  3. Return to standing.

Modified:

Use a box to sit down on until you develop enough balance and strength to complete the movement unassisted and to depth.

Challenge:

Pistol Squat-  Raise one leg at a time out in front of you, parallel to the ground. You can use a chair or wall for balance but ensure you do not place your weight on it.

Benefits:

This exercise strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. It also develops balance and concentration. Remember to keep your back straight and put your weight on your heels.


4.    JUMP LUNGES

Description:

1.    Bend one knee in front of you and plant your foot firmly on the floor. Your other leg will extend behind you, knee touching the ground. Ensure that your front leg is far enough in front of you so that your back is straight and your knee does not extend over your toes.

2.    From this position, jump up and switch legs in mid-air so that you land with legs in opposite positions.

3.    Repeat as quickly as possible, while still maintaining form.

Modified:

Regular lunges or 360 lunges, (without the jump) are suitable for those with knee issues.

Challenge:

Add resistance, by holding dumbbells or placing a sandbag on your shoulders as you jump.

Benefits:

This combines cardiovascular exercise and strengthening of entire leg, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. To prevent injury, maintain form. Start very slowly and try to land softly. Proceed with extra caution if your knees are more prone to injury.


Core Strengthening Bodyweight Exercises


5.  L-SIT

Description:

1.       Sit on the ground with your legs extended out in front of you and your hands at your sides.

2.       From here, lift your entire body off the ground, supporting yourself on your hands. Alternatively, you can use overhead rings or a bar to pull yourself off the ground.

3.       Hold this position for as long as you can and gently lower yourself onto the ground.

Modified:

Place your legs on a block or a stack of books to relieve the weight placed on hands and torso.

Challenge:

Add resistance by placing a weight on your lap.

Benefits:

This exercise strengthens abs as well as the entire upper body. It also develops balance and coordination. This exercise can be harsh on the wrists, especially if you are heavier. Proceed with caution.


6.   PLANK

Description:

1.  Get down into pushup position, keeping your legs close together without touching, your arms shoulder-width apart, and your back in a straight line.  Ensure that your torso and your glutes do not drop below your shoulders.

2. Hold this position for as long as you can. About 60 seconds is ideal.

Modified:

Place your knees on the ground, and raise your feet.

Challenge:

Raise one arm or one leg.  If you really need an extra challenge, you can even do both, alternating raising left arm with your right leg and vice versa.

Benefits:

This exercise strengthens the entire core. If you’re shaking, you’re doing it right. This can be harsh on the joints in the arm and ankles so process with caution and use the modified version if you have joint problems.


Compound Bodyweight Exercises


7.    BURPEES

Description:

1.       From a standing position, squat down quickly into a crouched position, emulating a  frog.

2.       Place hands on the ground in front of you and then jump your feet back behind you until you are in a push-up position. Do a push-up.

3.       Reverse these movements. From the push-up position, jump/walk back into crouching position and then back up. You can even jump up back into a standing position.

Modified:

Walk into position, instead of jumping. Perform a modified push-up if needed.

Challenge:

You can perform a one-handed or clap push-up or wear a weighted vest or even both.

Benefits:

This is a full body exercise for strength, endurance, cardio fitness and it helps boxers develop explosive movement. Again, maintain form and work at your own pace to avoid injury and strain, especially to your wrists and knees


Cardio Bodyweight Sprints


8.      JUMPING KNEE UPS

Description:

  1. Squat down and jump straight up, as high as you can.

  2. As you jump, lift your knees to your chest and lower to land.

  3. Repeat as many times as possible, while maintaining form.

Modified:

Squat and Jump as two separate movements, remove the leg tuck during the jump. You can also use a bar for extra support.

Challenge:

Add resistance with a sandbag or hold dumbbells.

Benefits:

This works the lower body and core, and builds explosive movement. This can be harsh on knees so remember to start slowly to master form and to land carefully.


9.    JUMPING JACKS

Description:

This classic will get your blood flowing!

1.    Standing, jump and open legs apart, with arms extended overhead and out.

2.    Jump feet back together and bring arms together simultaneously.

Modified:

To alleviate the impact on knees and ankles, you can remove the jump and instead, walk side to side briskly.

Challenge:

X-Jump-- Jump up as high as you can and spread legs in the air, forming an X-shape with your body. Land carefully into a squat and repeat rapidly.

Benefits:

Jumping jacks are simple cardio and a complete body exercise. This can be harsh on ankles and knees for some.


10.    RUNNING KNEE HIGHS

Description:

1. Run on the spot, as quickly as possible, lifting knees to chest.

Modified:

March briskly or reduce intensity.

Challenge:

Run forward while doing high knees.

Benefits:

It is a simple yet great cardio, leg and core exercise.


Circuit Training

Circuit training is a method of exercise that uses brief and-- usually-- high-intensity intervals of varying exercises, with little to no rest in between. A complete circuit is all of the prescribed exercises performed back to back.


Benefits of Circuit Training For Boxers

Circuit training may be intense, but the benefits make it well worth it. Circuit training has been shown to:

·         Burn more calories.

·         Work many muscle groups in one workout.

·         Improve strength, endurance, cardiovascular performance.


Build Your Own Circuit

There are many great circuit workouts available online, but you can also devise your own using your favorite bodyweight exercises as listed above.

Step 1: Select your interval time limits.

Step 2: Select an upper-body exercise, and then a lower body exercise.

Step 3: Select a compound exercise.

Step 4: Select a sprint for 1 minute.

Step 5: Rest for 1 minute.

Step 6: Repeat as many times as desired.


Successful Boxers Are Resourceful

Boxers have to be resourceful when facilities and travel options are limited. We also have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and learn to be more self-reliant. At Gloveworx, we are all about finding new and improved methods of training that can accommodate everyone!

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