Boxing Abdominal Workout For Ripped And Powerful Abs
Boxing is one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet and as a result produces incredible athletes and physiques. While the physiques of boxers vary widely, one thing that is common among them is their thick abdominal muscles and super-strong core. Training the abs for boxers is an absolute must. Your abdominals and other cores muscles not only help you to throw punches but also protect you from body shots in the ring. Even if you aren’t a boxer, using a boxing abdominal workout is a great way to build a very impressive mid-section.
Functions Of The Abs
If you are going to put together an effective boxing abdominal workout, you need to know what your abs are actually doing. For this section, I will focus on the core muscles as a whole since it is important to train your core all the way around and not just solely your abdominal muscles at the front.
The “core” is generally used to refer to your trunk, which is made up of the following:
- Rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis, which are your ab muscles and are located to the front.
- Internal/external obliques and quadratus lumborum, which are the lateral stabilizer muscles and are located to the sides of your abs and spine.
- Erector spinae and multifidus, which are the muscles that support your lower back.
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The muscles that make up the core are capable of producing four main movements: flexion (bringing your rib cage toward your pelvis), extension (the opposite of flexion, bending your lower back backwards), lateral flexion (bending your trunk sideways, bringing your shoulder down towards the outside of your hip) and rotation (rotating around the axis of your trunk).
Each of these movements should be accounted for in a good boxing abdominal workout. However, boxers also need to consider dedicating a large part of their workouts to resisting each of those movements as well.
For example, resisting rotation or “anti-rotation” is important for controlling your torso as you throw powerful punches.
To give you one more idea of how this works, anti-lateral flexion is another key element to a workout program. By strengthening the muscles that resist the lateral flexion of your trunk, head movements and dodging opponent’s punches will become more efficient.
To sum it up briefly, a good boxing abdominal workout or a boxing core workout will need to consider exercises that strengthen the following movements:
- Trunk flexion and anti-flexion
- Lateral trunk flexion and anti-lateral flexion
- Trunk extension and anti-extension/bracing in a neutral spine position
- Trunk rotation and anti-rotation
If your core training takes care of each of those, you will be on your way to a set of abs any boxer would be proud of.
How Many Sets And Reps?
For some reason, people always seem to throw their traditional training knowledge out of the window when it comes to abdominal training. The common trend for ab work is to do a large number of sets of insanely high reps.
Seeing people in the gym performing sets of 50 up to 100 crunches is not unusual but it is also not very effective. There comes a point where you are doing so many reps that you are merely training your endurance within the specific exercise.
If you want to build bigger, stronger abdominal and core muscles, you need to train them in a way that aligns with that goal. Your abs should be treated in the same way that you would treat most of the other muscles in your body during strength training.
The only caveat would be that direct ab training tends to work best in slightly higher rep ranges. By slightly higher, I mean that sets of 3-6 probably aren’t going to see the best results.
Sticking to the 8-15 rep range will be your best bet and, in most cases, 3 sets of each exercise will be more than sufficient.
How Often Should You Train Abs?
Similar advice applies here to that which I just gave about the number of sets and reps; train your abs with the same frequency as your other muscles.
It has been shown that a training frequency of 2 times per week is better for muscle hypertrophy than training each muscle just once. This is because your muscles only take a maximum of 2-3 days to complete their recovery process. So, they are ready to be trained again after that time period.
Many people feel that 3 times per week may be favourable for some individuals but this isn’t confirmed. All in all, training your abs directly twice per week is likely to be sufficient, especially since your abdominals get worked indirectly during almost every other exercise.
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Boxing Abdominal Workout
Below is an effective, yet simple boxing abs routine that you can add to your training in the gym. I recommend performing it twice per week. It can be performed on its’ own day or tagged on to the end of your current workouts.
- Standing cable rope crunches – 3 sets of 8-12
- Pallof press – 2 sets of 10 reps each side
- Landmine rotations – 3 sets of 8-12
- Front plank hold – 3 sets for as long as you can with 30-60 secs rest between.
Standing Cable Crunches
- Attach a rope attachment to the highest point on a cable machine.
- Facing away from the weights stack, grab the rope and pull it into position so the rope is at the back of your neck and your hands are either side of your face.
- Take a few steps forward to create tension on the pulleys and perform the exercise by bending forward at your waist and bringing your rib cage towards your pelvis.
- Tense your abs hard and slowly return to the start position.
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- Set up to cable machine so the pulley is at around chest height and attach a single handle.
- Stand facing 90 degrees from the cable machine, the handle should be to the side of you.
- Grab the handle with both hands and bring it into the middle of your chest.
- Take a couple of sideways steps away from the machine to create some tension on the cables.
- Slowly press the handle directly out in front of you. Keep it in line with the middle of your chest. The machine will want to pull you to the side, you must brace your abs to resist the rotation.
- Slowly bring the handle back to your chest and repeat.
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- Place on end of a barbell in the corner or any other place where it can be anchored.
- Stand to face the corner/anchor point and grab the other end of the bar.
- Take a shoulder width stance with your feet and hold the end of the bar out in front with your arms straight.
- Keeping your arms straight, rotate your torso and bring the bar to one side and down towards your hip.
- Once you have reached as far as your trunk can rotate, reverse the movement and bring the barbell over to the other side.
Check out this video for a visual demo of this one:
Front Plank Hold
- Begin in a prone position on the floor.
- Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows directly below your shoulders.
- Bring your upper body and legs off of the ground by coming up onto your toes as you would for a push-up.
- Brace your abs and glutes to keep your body in a straight line.
Boxer Abs Training Final Thoughts
If you want a great set of abs then you should train them like people who have great abs. Boxers, particularly at lighter weights, are very well known for having great looking but also super strong abdominals.
Therefore, it makes sense to emulate the kind of abdominal and core training that a boxer would do. You can use the information above to create your own workouts or use the one provided if you want an effective abs routine to try now.
Speaking of trying it out, don’t forget to let me know how you found it in the comments section below. You can also share it with your friends on social media and challenge them to train their abs like a boxer as well!
Laine Norton is a strength training enthusiast, powerlifter and certified trainer. As a writer, over at Barbell Pursuits, he shares his experiences, advice and knowledge gained along his training journey to help others get strong too.