In the all the glamour around technique, upper body power, and other “exciting” aspects of boxing, it can be easy to forget about fundamental conditioning including areas such as your core
Your core is incredibly important because it is called upon to perform almost every move you make while boxing. Not only does a strong core help absorb blows to the body, it helps with stability, rotational power, and movement.
What is The Core?
A common misconception is that the term “core” is synonymous with “abdominals.” While abdominals are a critical part of the core, the core is much more than just abs. The core spans from the chest to the hips and includes:
- The abdominals
- The obliques (sides)
- Hip flexors
- Lower back
- Glutes (buttocks)
11 Best Core Exercises for Boxing
Crunches are the most basic boxing ab exercise out there. In addition to they typical crunch there are also many variations. Variation is good in your workouts, because it causes muscle confusion and ensure your training does not plateau.
Types of crunches:
- Lay with legs flat on the ground. Hands over your chest or behind your head. Use your abdominals to “crunch” your upper body towards the sky.
- Crunches with knees bent.
- Crunches with legs in the air bent.
- Crunches with legs vertical in the air.
Try performing these crunches in a pyramid workout. For example, do 20 crunches flat, 20 knees bent, 20 legs up, 20 legs vertical, 20 legs up, 20 knees bent, 20 flat.
Situps are performed like a crunch, but you bring your upper body all the way up to your knees. This uses your hip flexors in addition to your abdominals. Situps should be performed with your knees bent and feet place on the ground.
To target your obliques, put your hands behind your head with your elbows apart wide. As you approach the top of your situp, twist your torso one direction so that an elbow touches the opposite knee. Alternate directions.
3. Side Jackknifes
Lay on your side with legs on top of one another, slightly forward and with knees slightly bent. Keep your lower arm on the ground in front of you for balance. Simultaneously raise your upper leg, and crunch towards the sky (sideways).
Repeat on both sides.
4. Flutter Kicks
Flutter kicks focus on your lower abs. Use your abs to keep your shoulders and head hovering off of the floor. Hold your legs 6-12 inches above the floor and kick them in alternating, short, quick movements as if you are swimming.
5. Leg Spreaders
Similar to flutter kicks, but this time you hover your legs 6-12 inches off the ground, and then repeatedly spread your legs apart and back together. This works great when performed back to back or alternating with flutter kicks.
6. Bicycle with Elbows
Lay with feet and upper body hovering off of the ground. Place your hands behind your head with elbows spread wide. Rotate your legs as if pedaling a bicycle. When each knee comes up, simultaneously twist your torso so that the opposite elbow twists towards your knee.
7. Leg Raises or Reverse Crunch
Lay on your back with your legs hovering 6 inches off the ground. Use your abs to pull your legs vertical while keeping them straight. When vertical, use your abs to thrust your hips a few inches skyward and then return to the ground. Lower your legs back to 6 inches and repeat.
While performing this exercise it is important not to let your body rock and let momentum move your legs and hips. If necessary perform the exercise slowly to ensure your abs are doing all the work.
8. Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are great to perform after or alternating with leg raises. They can also be combined with leg raises and performed at the top of each leg raise.
Lay flat with your legs straight and pointed at the sky. Twisting your abs, lower your legs to one side, stopping them 6-12 inches off the ground. Raise your legs back to vertical and repeat in alternating directions.
9. Jackknifes or V-Ups
Lay with your arms straight above your head and legs flat. Simultaneously lift your legs and perform a situp/crunch while keeping both legs and arms straight (forming a V shape). Your arms should stretch towards your raised legs and then bother are simultaneously lowered.
One of our favorite, but also one of the most challenging ab exercises.
Assume a situp position. Raise your upper body 45 degrees off the ground, with your hands hovering in front of your stomach. Raise your legs off the ground, but keep them in a bent position.
From this position, twist your abs and bring your hands to the ground on the left of your hips, and then to the right up your hips as if you are dropping something in baskets to either side of your body. This will be a rapid motion that will make it hard to remain balanced and it is okay if your legs move slightly.
Assume a pushup position, but rather than placing your hands on the ground, place both your forearms on the ground with hands together and elbows slightly apart. Your core should remain rigid. Hold this position for a set amount of time.
To work your obliques, lay sideways with only the side of your lower foot touching the ground, and the forearm of your lower arm on the ground beneath you. Your forearm should be perpendicular to your body.
The 6-pack Look
The 6-pack look that everyone raves about is not achieved through mere core exercise. Core exercises will indeed increase and strengthen your abdominal muscles, but a 6-pack is only achieved through an effective cardio regimen in addition to a proper diet.
The 6-pack look however, is not something you should be preoccupied with, as we are working on our core for function, and not for aesthetics. A boxer works his core in order to be able to win fights, not just too look good shirtless. The good news is that if you follow a proper boxing training regiment, you WILL look in shape anyway.
Frequency of Core Workouts
A boxer’s core muscles should be specifically worked out at least 3-4 a week. Many boxers insist on working their core every single morning or night. Because many typically boxing workouts incorporate core training to some degree, this is not always required.