This Boxing Champ Created a Full-Body Strength and Cardio Workout You Can Do at Home
If you're a fan of boxing classes, you may be missing the cathartic release of putting on a pair of gloves and punching something heavy if your studio is closed right now or you don't feel comfortable going. Luckily, you don't need any equipment (except maybe a mat and a towel) to get in a good boxing-inspired, full-body strength and cardio workout. Tommy Duquette, former US National Boxing Champion and cofounder and trainer at FightCamp, put this "fighter-focused" workout together for us. You'll work your core, get in some cardio, and do basic boxing moves in this 40-minute sweat sesh.
Before you get started on the workout, let's nail down some of the boxing lingo. You'll need to know the jab and cross, which are the two most commonly used punches in boxing, and how to do a boxer bounce. To determine your stance and which hands will throw which punch, you'll need to know your dominant hand. If you're right-handed, that typically means your dominant hand will be your right hand, and you should stand with your right leg behind you. Since this is the more powerful hand, it will be the one to throw the cross, which is a power punch. Your less-dominant hand and leg will be in front and be closest to the target — this hand is the one that will always throw the jab.
You'll also want to master the lead hook and the rear hook, which are a little trickier but offer more power. "A trick with the hooks to get a little bit more power is to open your arm up a little bit wider at the start of the motion, and then as you come across, engage that bicep and close up that angle to about 90 degrees," Duquette said. "This will add a whiplike motion to your hook, sort of like a second gear, and maximize the power generated." Here's how to perform those four punches:
How to Do Basic Punches and Stance in Boxing
If you are a total rookie or just want a refresher on the basic moves, read a breakdown of each movement below. If you've already nailed these, scroll ahead for a GIF of each movement in the workout.
- Boxer bounce: Square off in your stance with your less-dominant hand and leg leading and your dominant hand and leg in the rear. If you are right-handed, this means your left hand and leg will lead and be closest to the target, and your right hand will be in the rear. Bring both hands up to protect your face. "Pretend you are squaring off with an imaginary opponent," Duquette said. From there, bounce back and forth in your stance on the balls of your feet. "The boxer bounce is a very low-impact, sustainable move," he explained. "It is meant to be used as either a warmup move or as an active recovery exercise move in between other, more intense exercises." Scroll through to see the GIF of Duquette demonstrating a boxer bounce.
- Jab: Your rear hand should be up in front of your face to protect yourself defensively, and your lead hand, which will throw the punch, should start in front of your face with several inches of space in between the two. When you throw the jab, your lead hand should go in a straight line to the target and then straight back into the starting position by your face. You will want to make sure that you tuck your chin in your shoulder when throwing the jab and the cross to remain safe defensively.
- Cross: This punch is similar to the jab but is more of a power punch because it's thrown with your dominant hand. When you throw the cross, you want to throw it in a straight line from your face, to the target, then straight back. The trick to getting proper power on the cross is to transfer your bodyweight from rear to lead legs by engaging your core and rotating your hips. Pro tip is to make sure your back foot is pivoting to allow your hips to fully open.
- Lead hook: Start in a neutral stance with your weight evenly distributed. Transfer your weight to the front leg to prepare your body for the power behind the punch. Bring your hand slightly off your face, and use your legs and core to generate momentum through your hips, landing the punch level with your fist up and elbow pointing down. Pivoting your foot as you throw that punch will help you produce power and explode through your hips.
- Rear hook: The rear hook is going to have very similar mechanics to the lead hook, except it will come from the rear side so you will not have to transfer any weight prior to throwing the punch from the neutral stance.
At-Home Full-Body, No-Equipment Boxing Workout
Before starting the workout, make sure you get your body moving and blood flowing by warming up for a few minutes. We like this dynamic warmup. Don't forget your water bottle and towel, and perform the three-circuit workout with the instructions below for about 40 minutes of work. Scroll through to see demonstrations and instructions of each move, some of which you'll perform for 30 seconds or 45 seconds, depending on the circuit. Don't forget to cool down and stretch your muscles. Try this stretching sequence.
Circuit 1: Perform each move back to back. Run through this entire circuit twice for five minutes total.
Boxer bounce: 30 seconds
Power 180: 30 seconds
Mountain climber: 30 seconds
Squat 3, squat 4: 30 seconds
Squat jump: 30 seconds
After completing circuit 1, rest for one minute before moving on to circuit 2.
Circuit 2: Run through this entire circuit four times total, taking a 15-second rest between each exercise. If you need more rest, feel free to take it. The entire circuit should be 16 minutes total.
Sit-up 1-2: 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest
Mountain climber: 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest
Windshield wiper: 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest
Plank around the world: 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest
After completing circuit 2, rest for one minute before moving on to circuit 3.
Circuit 3: Run through this entire circuit four times total, taking a 15-second rest between each exercise. If you need more rest, feel free to take it. The entire circuit should be 16 minutes total.
Fast feet 1-2: 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest
Squat 3, squat 4: 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest
Plank punch: 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest
Side plank hip-up (alternate sides each round): 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest
- Alternate weight from your back leg to your front leg in a swift jumping motion, keeping your feet low to the ground and your hands covering your face near your jaw area.
- Start by standing in place, and begin slowly jogging in place like you're performing high knees.
- Start slowly and continuously throw a jab and cross while your feet are moving; match the moment your right foot lands with the moment your right punch lands in the air with your arm fully extended. Repeat on the left side.
- Once you find your rhythm, pick up the pace until you feel like you're running in place while continuously throwing a jab and cross.
- Start in a traditional plank: shoulders over hands and weight on just your toes.
- With your core engaged, bring your right knee forward under your chest, with your toes just off the ground. Return to your basic plank. Switch legs, bringing your left knee forward.
- Keep switching legs, and begin to pick up the pace until it feels a little like running in place in a plank position.
Plank Around the World
- Start in an elbow plank: forearms flat on the floor with your arms bent and your elbows directly beneath your shoulders.
- With control, lift your right hand off the ground, then return to the ground while holding the elbow plank. Repeat with your left hand.
- With control, lift your left leg off the ground while holding the elbow plank. Repeat with your right leg.
- Continue in that order: right hand, left hand, left leg, right leg.
- Keep your hips straight, and try not to rotate your body as you lift your limbs.
- Begin by holding a traditional plank: shoulders over hands and weight on just your toes.
- Alternate punching with your left and right arm. Make sure your hips don't move at all during this sequence.
- Start in a traditional squatted position.
- With control, lower into a squat, then explosively jump up as you simultaneously use your core to turn your body 180 degrees to the left.
- Lower into a squat, then explosively jump up as you turn your body 180 degrees to the left, returning to the starting position.
- Throw a lead hook and a rear hook, rotating through your hips and keeping your core tight with each punch. This counts as one rep.
- Repeat on the opposite side, and continue to alternate, rotating between each direction.
Side Plank Hip-Up
- Begin in a side elbow plank on your left side with straight legs and your feet stacked.
- Inhale, and lower your pelvis to the floor, so your left hip hovers just off the floor.
- Exhale, and press up through your left waist to lift your pelvis and return to side plank. Pull your left shoulder blade down your back to stabilize your shoulder.
- This completes one rep. Alternate sides each round.
- Start by lying down in a sit-up position with your hands covering your face.
- With control, explosively lift your body up off the ground and throw a straight jab, followed by a straight cross at the end of the motion.
- With control, come slowly back to lying on your back.
- This completes one full sit-up 1-2.
- Start standing, then lower down into a squat.
- As you come up out of the squat, throw a lead hook or rear hook. Alternate between movements.
- Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lower down into a squat, engage your core, and with control, jump up explosively.
- As you're in the air, bring your knees to your chest.
- When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Make sure you land with your entire foot on the ground. Be sure to land as quietly as possible, which requires control.
- Lie down on your back with your arms extended out like you're in a "T" position, palms and arms pushed actively into the ground to stabilize your shoulders and spine.
- Straighten your legs, and flex your feet. In a slow and controlled motion, lift your feet and legs up, then lower your feet and legs to the left side. As much as possible, maintain a 90-degree angle at the hip throughout the movement. Your spine will lift slightly off the ground as you turn, but try to press it into the ground as long as possible.
- Engage your abs to lift your legs back to the starting position.
- Repeat, lowering to the right side. This completes one rep.