Let 'Em Fly
Don't just pummel the bag. "A great boxer has to have focus, coordination, power, speed, and endurance," says Michael Olajide Jr., a former championship middleweight boxer. To help you hone your skills, we've tapped the country's top fighters to act as your cornermen. Hit these workouts to improve your staying power.
1. UFC Power Punches
Your coach: Frank Mir, Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight
Whether you're facing Wanderlei Silva in a cage match or a 75-pound bag in your basement, the same rules apply: "Once you're warmed up, you should be throwing each punch at full blast," says Mir, a former UFC heavyweight champ. He uses this demanding six-round routine to build mental and physical tenacity.
Grow your intensity: Clock each round at 3 minutes, resting 1 minute between rounds. With each round, you'll add one punch to your sequence.
Punches per round:
1. Warmup. Strike the bag at 50 percent with a variety of punches
2. Up your power to full strength and launch jabs
3. Jab, throw a cross, and repeat
4. Jab, cross, hook, repeat
5. Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, repeat
6. Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, body punch, repeat
2. LAPD Precision Punch
Your coach: Tim Collins, trainer, Los Angeles Police Dept. Arrest and Control
The perfect pop is built on posture and bone alignment, not fist strength. Use this routine to refine your form.
Set the stance: Leading with your nondominant leg, position your feet shoulder-width apart, with the toe of your dominant foot in line with the heel of your nondominant foot. Your head extends over your shoulders, and your shoulders over your hips. Your knees are slightly bent.
Throw the blow: Step forward with your lead foot and extend your nondominant arm so that your shoulder, elbow, wrist, and front two knuckles are in alignment. Your punch and your foot should land at the same time. Follow up with a cross, regaining with your rear foot the distance you took in your first step. Then come back to your original stance.
Connect the punches: Repeat the sequence, shadowboxing for 3 minutes. Then do another 3-minute round of the same sequence, this time on a heavy bag. That's 1 set. Complete 3 sets, building speed each time. "When you master the strike, it should feel like you're snapping your target with a wet towel," says Collins. Rest 1 minute between each exercise.
3. Middleweight Lightning Hands
Your coach: Michael Olajide Jr.
Shadowboxing allows you to rack up high reps without the resistance of a bag to slow your punches. "You'll tone your shoulders, back, and core, which will help you throw faster punches," Olajide says.
Hit on beat Play five songs that have strong rhythms and last 3 to 4 minutes each. On every fourth beat (count out loud to keep yourself on track), unleash one of the punch combinations below, and then bring your hands back to your starting stance before the next beat. The shifting tempo of some tracks may require you to punch continuously until the song slows.
Combos for each song:
1. Left jab, left jab, right cross
2. Right cross, left jab, right uppercut
3. Left body punch, right body punch, left uppercut
4. Right uppercut, right cross, left hook
5. Right cross, left hook, right hook
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Warm Up Like a Champ
Three-time welterweight champ Antonio "the Tijuana Tornado" Margarito shows you how to prime your muscles. Complete each motion 12 to 15 times for enhanced mobility.
Arm circles: Draw large circles with your arms, first in a forward motion, then backward.
Crossovers: Swing both arms out to your sides and then cross them in front of your chest.
Shoulder slumps: Tuck your chin toward your chest, drop your shoulders, and bring your chest slightly forward. Next, pull your shoulders back, raise your chin, and lift your chest while arching your back slightly.
Hip circles: With your hands on your hips, spread your feet beyond shoulder-width apart. Move your hips clockwise in a circle, then counterclockwise. Repeat with your arms extended out to your sides.
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