If you are low on time or just want to get your workout over and done with, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great option. HIIT can be applied to any form of exercise. Today we are going to look at HIIT boxing.
In this guide we’re diving into the amazingly effective world of HIIT boxing at home. You’ll learn if it’s any good, what it will and won’t do for you, and also get some tips to stay safe and avoid injury.
It does not matter whether you want to get in the ring or not, boxing training is a full-body workout that builds speed, strength and stamina. In this post, we are going to explain the many benefits of boxing training and give you an easy 25-minute HIIT workout to follow at home.
5 main reasons everyone should be doing HIIT boxing at home
I’ll cover HIIT boxing in depth in this guide but here’s the quick overview of what you’ll get out of this home exercise.
- It can help lose weight fast – Even a relatively short session of HIIT boxing will see off a good number of calories (see below) you can punch your way to a better shape.
- It respects your time – Like the assault bike, rowing machine or Ski-erg, a little HIIT boxing goes a long way. Whether you’ve got 5, 10 or 25 minutes to work out, you can get a lot done and feel out of breath in a short time.
- You don’t need any equipment – Hanging punch bags, although worthwhile, can be a nightmare and takes up a lot of space. As long as you’ve got a few spare feet in your home, and ideally a nice solid floor, you’re good to go with HIIT boxing.
- Good all-over body toning – You rarely see a fat boxer. In fact, pro boxers have arguably some of the best physiques in the biz. While you might never want to step into the ring, a good boxing routine will tone just about every muscle you can think of.
- They don’t call it fighting fit for nothing – If I’m being honest, there aren’t many forms of exercise I’d rate higher than some form of martial arts if you’re looking to get a good level of fitness. You can start slow, with a short workout time and build up as you go too. So it’s ideal for beginners or seasoned HIIT’ers.
Is HIIT boxing a good way to lose weight?
Boxing training is a cardio exercise that also conditions the muscles. If you want to lose weight, then boxing is a great option. A 30-minute training session will see a 125lb person burn 270 calories, a 155lb person burn 324 calories, and a 185lb person burns 378 calories. This makes it equivalent to other top tier cardio exercises, including running, spinning, and rowing.
Boxing and martial arts are one of the toughest workouts I’ve had and have proved to be really good at burning calories and helping me lose weight. Of course I do get more hungry after those workouts so diet, as always, plays a huge role in whether or not you can lose some extra pounds doing a boxing routine.
In general, everyone will find this kind of exercise a super-sweaty one if done properly and one that will help keep down weight and hit your targets.
Will HIIT boxing build your muscles?
The good news is that HIIT boxing works pretty much every muscle group in your body. In addition to its calorie-busting ability, boxing engages all the muscles in the body. As it is a bodyweight exercise, it will not build bulk muscle – for that, you will need to strength train using weights – but it will build your slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibres. These are necessary for endurance muscle and power.
The more you train, the longer you will be able to go for and the faster your throws and retracts will be.
Turning now to the specific muscle groups engaged during boxing training, the biceps, triceps, deltoids, and pec muscles are heavily worked during sparring because these are responsible for delivering power to each blow and for quickly pulling back your arm.
The abs are also engaged during this motion, as the body twists to allow for the full extension of the spar, then returns to the defensive position. Finally, the glutes, hips, calves, hamstrings and quadriceps are all used to facilitate each punch through the convection of power.
What’s a good home HIIT boxing workout?
A simple 25-minute workout
A HIIT workout is typically structured so that you go all out for short bursts and then take an active recovery, before pushing yourself all over again. To get the full benefit of the session, you need to put your all into every exercise block, so you have to hold yourself accountable throughout.
The following 25-minute workout can be done at home without boxing-specific equipment. If you enjoy this form of training, then you could consider getting a punching bag or a sparring partner…and some gloves! If you want a real challenge in your home gym, look into water punch bags, if you’ve not heard of them.
During each round, the aim is to do each move as many times as possible within the timeframe while maintaining proper form. To challenge yourself, incorporate light dumbbells into the sparring rounds.
5-minute warm-up: 1 minute of jogging on the spot with high knees, moving your arms as you do so. 1 minute of jumping jacks. 1 minute of using a skipping rope. 1 minute of side lunges (aka lateral lunges), alternating legs after 30 seconds. 1 minute of squat jumps.
Round 1: 1 minute of push-ups. 1 minute of the plank. 1 minute of crunches. 1 minute of push-ups, bringing your hand to the opposite shoulder on the ascent. 1-minute recovery.
Round 2: Stand with your feet apart with the right foot in front of the left. The toes of the left foot should be lined up to the back heel of the right. If you are left-handed, lead with your left foot. With your shoulders tight and hunched up, hold your fists up, close to your body. To jab, punch forward with your right hand, lengthening the body as you do so and twisting with your hips.
Then, pivot with the left leg to bring the hips forwards. This is where the power of your next punch is generated. Driving forward with the left fist, simultaneously bring back your right fist and hold it close to your face.
Repeat this jab and cross move for 2.5 minutes.
Round 3: Pivot forward and rotate the hips. With your arm bent at the elbow, punch forward. Bring your arm back to your chest, then pivot forward using the opposite side, again remembering to rotate the hips, and repeat the motion using the opposite fist.
Repeat this hook move for 2.5 minutes.
Round 4: Hold one fist up near your face and one down by your side, at hip height. Rotating inwards, drive your punch upwards. Repeat the motion using the opposite side.
Repeat this uppercut move for 2.5 minutes.
Round 5: Repeat round 2.
Round 6: 1 minute of kettlebell swings. 1 minute of push-ups, bringing your hand to the opposite shoulder on the ascent. 1 minute of goblet squats. 1 minute of crunches. 1 minute of weighted lunges.
Cool down and stretch.
Is HIIT boxing good for self defence?
The short answer is no. Despite some of the nonsense you might read about this kind of workout being good in self defence, HIIT likely won’t help you much when it comes to a real fight. Punching the air is one thing, a live opponent is something else. For self defence, you’ll need a different set of skills and training.
If you’re looking to get better at self defence, you should look at getting some proper boxing training at a qualified gym. Here, you’ll be able to work with a range of boxing equipment and, more importantly, sparring partners.
You’ll also work on proper drills such as counters and defensive work that will make a difference to your chances in a fight.
With a lot of hard work, drilling and also getting used to physical contact during sparring, anyone can improve their self defence skills.
There are a number of martial arts you could consider if you’re interested in self defence such as:
- Jiu Jitsu
- Kick boxing
Final tip – don’t skip the warm up before you box
I’ve spent probably years of my life in martial arts gyms and loved every minute (well, apart from the time I got my nose broke – ouch!) But one thing that they all emphasise is warming up before you throw a single punch. And even now, I find this to be equally as important.
Because of the intense nature of boxing, these sudden, explosive movements, it’s really easy to get a twinge in your back or other muscles that signify you’ve pulled something. I’ve done this too many times and it’s simple to avoid.
Spend a few minutes at home doing this prior to your boxing workout
- Rotate your shoulders forwards in a circular motion 15 times, then back the other way.
- Swing your arms around in large circles to loosen up your shoulders more.
- Roll your hips around in one direction then swap and to the other way.
- Twist at your waist back and forth
- Do some light jogging
- Bring your arms together as if you’re hugging your chest, then gently swing them back and open up your chest and back muscles.
I’ve found this simple workout gets rid of any injuries you might get doing the boxing drills.