On 31st March, world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua will face off against Joseph Parker at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, in a hotly anticipated clash of titans.
Watching Joshua fight is pretty incredible -- his speed, power and athleticism are all incredibly inspiring. So, if you’re watching him fight and wondering how you can improve your boxing technique to match his, the answer is simple: you have to train like him.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of exercises that will help you refine your skills so you can show off your boxing chops in the ring like the main man himself.
FOCUS ON YOUR LOWER-BODY MUSCLE GROUPS FIRST
Focusing on punching power alone and neglecting your core strength will get you nowhere in the boxing ring. It’s important to work on your core and lower-body strength when training to build a strong foundation, on top of which all your firepower can be built.
We’re talking glutes, abs and back.
With that in mind, here’s a selection of exercises you can do to boost your core and leg strength to improve your agility and stamina in the ring.
Keeping your body still and straight for long periods of time helps build isometric strength by engaging a wide range of muscle groups, including your back, arms, glutes and hamstrings. Lying face-down, prop up your body on your elbows and toes, ensuring your stomach doesn’t touch the floor. You can tilt your pelvis back to straighten your back and engage your abs more. Hold this as long as you can: if you’ve never done planks before, you should aim for 30 seconds. Try to increase that time over multiple sessions to really help grow that core strength.
- BARBELL SQUAT
Barbell squats work your thighs, abs, glutes and back. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a barbell across your shoulders with your chest up and your head facing forward. Slowly lower yourself into a squat by sitting back and flexing your knees. Aim to get low enough so that your thighs are below or at least parallel to the floor. Thrust your hips forward as you rise, squeezing the glutes hard. Start with light weights that you’re confident with and always train with a PT or a training partner.
Deadlifts are ideal for working your glutes, hamstrings and lower back. If you’re new to deadlifting, start with a weight you’re comfortable with and always ensure you have a training partner with you. Once in position, push your hips forward and squeeze your glutes to generate the right kind of lifting power to get the barbell up to your hips. It’s important to keep your lower back straight.
PRIME FOR POWER
Want that killer left hook? Once you’ve built up your core and leg strength, it’s time to work on your power, concentrating on arms and shoulders.
- BATTLE ROPES
Battle ropes are effective at reducing strength imbalances in your body by working each arm independently. They play a big role in Joshua’s own workouts: there are dozens of videos of him on social media waging war on these at a pace few other athletes could match. Battle Ropes don’t just work your arms; they also help increase your heart rate for a great cardio workout.
- MEDICINE BALL THROWS
The demand that medicine ball throws place on your triceps and shoulders helps you generate some explosive power when throwing a punch. Throw a medicine ball against a solid wall with one arm, then swap over to the other arm. These throws can also help condition your body to follow through with a punch, adding extra power from other muscle groups.
- CABLE PUSHES
Cable pushes allow you to mime boxing while adding resistance to each arm to help push you harder, without the impact of a punching bag. Adjust a cable rack and grasp a cable handle in one hand. Stand with one leg forward and push the cable forward. Resist the pull-back to return it slowly to where you started. This works your chest, shoulders and triceps to help better distribute the power for your punches.
PROGRESS WITH CLASSES
Though some people might prefer to exercise alone, it can limit how far you’re able to push yourself. Supplement your training routine with the right classes to help take your training to the next level.
Put everything you’ve learned into practice by regularly sparring with real opponents. Our SPARR classes allow you to spot the areas you need to improve, with experienced trainers coaching you to help rapidly improve your technique. These classes also give you first-hand experience of what it would be like in the ring.
Your ability to last in the ring will be determined by how many punches you can avoid. Boost your footwork with our high-intensity agility class. This will help you move around your opponents quickly so you can focus more of your energy on landing that perfect hook.
Core group training will help you to build a strong, controlled core and will teach you to use your bodyweight to your advantage. You’ll work with a partner to help push one another and boost your full-body fitness so you can go the distance.
GET THE RIGHT GEAR
Using the right kit for your boxing training can give you the edge over your competitors and help you to push yourself further.
Anthony Joshua has recently collaborated with Under Armour to create some truly innovative boxing and training gear: the UA VANISH RANGE. Here are a few of our top picks.
When you’re building your agility, you need trousers that can support you. Under Armour’s Vanish Pants are designed to be as light as possible, helping you -- in the famous words of Muhammad Ali -- “float like a butterfly” for longer. They’re also made with HeatGear® fabric to keep your cool and comfortable.
How do you stay cool when you’re throwing rapid jabs and uppercuts? The ¾-length Vanish Sleeve top is Under Armour’s answer. It’s made with sweat-wicking fabric to keep you dry, reducing any friction that might impact your punching power. Its construction also allows for four-way movement, so get creative with those dodges!
Maybe you want to go full Rocky with some outdoor training but can’t face the British weather. Don’t worry -- with this stylish popover, you can stay warm and agile. The Microthread technology allows for faster drying and absorbs sweat so you can feel fresh while you train. Plus, 4-way stretch construction gives you greater flexibility to perform all your exercises with maximum power and agility.
Now you have everything you need to bring out your inner boxing champion. If you need any more boxing gear -- or are just looking for an upgrade -- take a look at our fantastic range of boxing training gear and accessories.