“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.” - Muhammad Ali

When doing a sport like boxing at a high level, you’re going to have to train a lot and improve your physique. Your goal will be to improve techniques such as punching, dodging, kicking (for the variations that allow it), increase your endurance, and push yourself.

The boxer Roberto Duran had the longest boxing career ever boxing for 33 years between the ages of 16 and 50 from 1968 to 2001.

A lot of boxers would love to make a career out of it so let’s have a look at how you can do it.

Choose Your Favourite Boxing Discipline

There are several types of combat sports and martial arts. Even when it comes to boxing you could choose traditional boxing, Thai boxing, kick-boxing, or savate.

Which type of boxing should you do?
There are several types of boxing and you need to choose the one you enjoy the most. (Source: Claudio_Scott)

In any case, you’ll learn how to take care of yourself. However, even an adept boxer needs to be careful when attacked as excessive use of force could land them in a lot of trouble. If you use excessive force on an attacker, you can be found guilty and not the attacker.

In any case, you still need to choose which type of boxing you’d like to do. You may want to consider attending a trial session or a free session for a few different types of boxing. You might also want to check when the lessons are scheduled. Go and find out which ones you like the most.

Savate, or French boxing, is different from traditional boxing as you’re allowed to kick your opponent. Kick-boxing includes aspects of Asian martial arts (such as Thai boxing and Taekwondo) and allows kicks, punches, and knees. Thai boxing allows any type of attack as long as you don’t hit your opponent in the genitals.

Some types of boxing have a more aesthetic nature to them (kick-boxing and Thai boxing) whereas the European variations of boxing tend to have a greater emphasis on striking your opponent.

Find out more about becoming a professional boxer.

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How Much Should a Boxer Train?

This is one of the most common questions asked by aspiring boxers.

How long do boxers train for?
You might be surprised at how much boxers train. (Source: fancycrave1)

Most competitors train for between 3 and 5 hours a day five times a week. This means that you only have two days off a week from training.

Typical training may include:

  • Jogging and squats: 30 to 60 minutes
  • Warm-ups: 30 minutes
  • Punching bag exercises: 30 to 60 minutes
  • Technical exercises: 30 minutes
  • Sparring: 30 minutes
  • Strength training: 60 minutes
  • Stretches and cool down: 30 minutes

This is a total of five hours across the day. You need to know that the human body can’t be at the top of its game the whole time. After intense exercise, your muscles fill with lactic acid as the result of a chemical reaction, which can hinder your performance.

This is what we call the anaerobic threshold (AT). This is the point where your body switches from aerobic exercise to anaerobic exercise. Your body can only perform anaerobically for a limited amount of time, which means you need to ensure you still have something left in the tank of your other exercises. Coaches and trainers definitely won’t make you go beyond what you’re capable of as this drastically increases your risk of injury.

It’s important to train as part of a team. With others around you, you’ll be able to find your rhythm, learn your limits, and be able to work on your endurance. Training on your own will only work if you know all the exercises off by heart.

Find out more about starting a professional boxing career.

The Equipment Needed for Boxing Training

Boxing doesn’t need a lot of equipment. However, you’ll probably need the following:

  • Boxing gloves.
  • Hand wrap.
  • Mouthguards.
  • Cups.
  • Shin guards.
  • Skipping rope.
  • Boxing shoes (not in Muay Thai and kickboxing).
  • Boxing helmet.
What equipment do boxers need?
In almost every boxing discipline, you'll need some gloves. (Source: AberroCreative)

In boxing clubs, men and women can work on their reflexes, defence, and tactics, too. Knowing where to attack and the different types of attack (hook, jab, cross, uppercut, low kick, high kick, middle kick, etc) is essential. Experienced boxers will know exactly what they need to bring with them for each type of training.

Find out more about the pros and cons of going pro.

How to Deal with Your Opponent’s Attacks

When you join a boxing club or prepare for a fight, you may start to worry. Especially if you’re facing off against an opponent who may be stronger than you. In professional boxing, there’s no body protection. You need to keep your guard up, dodge attacks, and deal with the attacks that land. You don’t want to become a human punching bag, after all.

How can you become a champion if you can’t take a hit?

The fear of being hit is something every fighter has to get over. After all, it’s natural to not want to be hurt. You need to anticipate attacks and dodge them. Similarly, your natural reaction is to lower your head and close your eyes, which means you won’t be able to see any of the following attacks  This is a vicious cycle as the fear of getting hit will cause you to get hit and before you know it, you’ll be down.

Don’t start by fighting a boxer who’s much bigger, heavier, and stronger than you! Your sparring partner will help you get over the fear of being hit. It’s recommended that you spar with somebody with a similar level to you so that you get used to being hit. This will give you time to train yourself to react appropriately.

This type of training can also help you work on your footwork, movement, and breathing. Heavy defeats can also leave you with a fear of being hit. Your training needs to progressively build towards getting over this.

Muscle Building Exercises for Boxers

At the end of most boxing training sessions, you often have push-ups, burpees, or sit-ups to do. Here’s some advice for getting them right.

How do boxers improve their physique?
To be ready for fights, you need to improve your physique and build muscle. (Source: christopherwchiu)

Push-Ups for Boxers

You need to have your back and shoulders straight. Don’t lift your hips. Your body, from your head to your toes, needs to form a straight line. Your legs, toes, and heels need to be locked. Your hands can’t be too far up past your shoulders. The gap between your hands needs to be a little wider than your shoulders.

There are two types of push-ups: those for your pectorals, with your hands apart and your elbows facing outwards, and those for your triceps, with your hands closer together and your elbows by your side as you go down.

Your head needs to line up with your spinal column.

Sit-Ups for Boxers

Sit-ups work on the central part of your torso, which is essential if you want to box well. This can help you not only throw better punches but also take punches more effectively. There are a few ways to work on your abs.

For example, sit down on a comfortable and stable surface. Bend your knees (a partner can hold your feet) and start sitting up and breathing out as you do. Generally, your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle with your feet flat on the floor. Finally, your hands shouldn’t have much impact on your exercise. You can place them either behind your head, across your torso, etc., but make sure they aren’t helping you raise your shoulders off the ground.

There you have it! You now know more about training to become a professional boxer... Now for the hard part.

Whether you're looking for boxing classes, boxing workouts, or boxing tutorials, consider looking to boxing gyms, leisure centres, or get help from one of the many talented tutors and coaches on Superprof. Before you pick your private tutor, there are several things that you'll need to carefully think about. Firstly, no two tutors are alike and you need to pick the one that'll help you to get the most out of your training and set on you on the path to glory. Secondly, there are three main types of tutorial available from the tutors on Superprof, face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials, and you need to pick the one that's right for you.

Face-to-face tutorials are between you and your tutor or coach. They'll work alongside you, tailor the sessions to you and your goals, and give you their undivided attention. They'll often also work outside of your sessions on planning and preparing your training.

Online tutorials tend to be cheaper than face-to-face tutorials since the tutor doesn't have to travel to each of their students or clients and can schedule more tutorials per week.

Finally, group tutorials have the coach teaching several clients at once. Unlike the other two types of tutoring, however, you won't have your coach's undivided attention.

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Krishna