It should come as no surprise that boxing ab exercises are among the best you can do. Boxers have some of the strongest and most durable midsections of any athlete, and this is because they need to generate maximum power from the core to deliver knockout blows. They also need to be able to sustain the damage they get from being repeatedly punched in the midsection. You don’t have to be a pugilist to benefit, though. Check out seven boxing ab exercises below you can work into your program today.
“1-2” Punching Situp
One of the most old school boxing ab exercises out there, which you’ve probably seen in the Rocky movies. Simply perform a normal situp, but at the top, perform a “1-2” combination of a left straight (or a left jab) and a right cross. This will not only add extra work to the movement, but add a slight twisting element to what is normally a linear movement. Make it more difficult by doing it on an incline or “roman chair” situp bench. Do 3-4 sets of 15-25 reps. You can also swap the left/right combination every rep or few reps.
Start off in a traditional plank position with your feet on the floor, body horizontal, and resting on your elbows. Lean and rotate slightly to your right as you bring you left arm off the floor so that you can put your left hand on the floor instead. Think as if you wanted to get into push up position.
Repeat by leaning and slightly rotating to the left in order to place your right hand on the floor. Once you’re in the top position of a push up, return to the starting position with your left side, then your right. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps per side.
If you’ve ever watched footage of Floyd Mayweather, Jr in training camp, you’ve seen him do these. You’ll need a partner to hold your feet or something solid to anchor them under. Either way, lie flat on your back with your feet anchored and your knees bent. Perform a normal situp, but at the top, keep the momentum going such that you free squat yourself into a fully standing position. Lower yourself back to the squatted position, then finish by lying back flat again. Do 2-3 sets of 20 reps.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and torso leaned back roughly 45 degrees. Twist each direction, focusing on using the core. Not keeping a strong mind-muscle connection could result in your torso staying relatively stationary while just your shoulders twist back and forth, putting the emphasis on the lats. You should feel it through the abs / obliques and holding a medicine ball can increase the intensity of the movement. Do 4-5 sets of 15-20 reps each direction.
Medicine Ball Ab Throws
This is one of the most old school boxing ab exercises out there, though it’s something you rarely see done today. And it has to be done with extreme caution so as to not only be performed correctly, but not get injured. To do this, you’ll need a partner and a medicine ball. However, the ball needs to have a soft cover. The “hard” kind that bounce (think like a heavy basketball) won’t work as they can hurt when you catch it.
Standing 2-3 feet away from your partner. Have your partner “chest pass” the medicine ball (imagine passing a basketball) toward your midsection. They should throw it with a little force, but not too hard. You need to let the ball hit you in the abs, bracing your entire core before impact. You can use your hands to ensure you don’t drop the medicine ball, but not actively catch it. It’s your abs and core that’s stopping the medicine ball.
The idea is that you’re toughening up your middle so as to be able to sustain taking body shots from your opponent in the ring. This is why you need to tense your ab muscles and let your midsection absorb the impact of the ball. This can be a very hard exercise, so be sure to ease your way into it. Do only 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Medicine Ball Rotation Passes
This is another one of the old school boxing ab exercises to build rotational stability and improve punching power. You’ll need a partner and a medicine ball again, though this time, it doesn’t matter what sort of medicine ball you have.
Stand back-to-back with your partner while you hold the medicine ball in front of you. Twist to your left as they twist to their right so you can hand it to them. They immediately twist from their right all the way to their left, as you twist from your left all the way to your right. At this point, they hand the ball back to you. Keep passing (handing) it back and forth to one another, as quickly and smoothly as possible. Do 2-3 sets of 25-30 reps each direction.
While this might not be one of the traditional boxing ab exercises, it’s been associated with boxers since the 1980s when Sylvester Stallone did them in one his training montages for Rocky IV. These work the entire core and lats as well as the abs. If you can do them, you’ll not only have a tough midsection, but be able to show off to your buddies.
Lie back on a free bench, grabbing the bench with your hands just beside or behind your head. Bring your entire body off the ground, pulling yourself into a vertical position, resting only on your shoulders. Lower your body slowly as far as you can, contracting your abs hard to keep you from falling all the way down. Once you’ve lowered as far as you can go, pull yourself back to the starting position.
One tip for this is to concentrate on keeping your hips “forward” as you lower yourself. Too often people lower their butt, keeping their feet roughly at the same point in mid-air, bending at the hips. You want your torso and legs to stay in line as much as possible. Since this is such a difficult exercise, lower reps tend to be a better fit. Do 4-6 sets of 4-8 reps.
Core workouts don’t have to be just mindless situps or endless crunches. Utilizing boxing ab exercises can not only help you build a more durable midsection, but a tighter core. You’ll have strong abs, be able to generate rotational power, and even be able to sustain blows to the torso. Plus, you’ll know that not only do you look good in the mirror, it can take “in ring” punishment the other lifters at your gym can’t handle.