Boxing requires speed, strength and endurance.
ESPN rates boxing as the toughest sport in the world. The physical demands of boxing ask the body to maintain a high level of speed, strength and endurance that can only be achieved with the right kind of training. Combining weight training with your regular boxing conditioning can optimize your performance on all levels.
Speed and Strength
Keep in mind that strength training doesn't necessarily equate to mass building. Speed and endurance strength can make your punches faster and harder, while absolute - or maximal - strength training provides a solid base. Speed strength is developed through plyometric drills and exercises. Plyometric exercises train muscles to generate the most amount of force possible in the shortest amount of time. Plyometrics -- such as medicine ball chest passes, cable punches and tire flips -- train your punching muscles to load as much potential energy as possible at the start of a movement and then unleash maximum force at maximum speed. But developing absolute strength is essential for successful development of speed strength. No amount of power or force can be generated without a basic groundwork of strength. However, absolute strength is secondary to speed strength for boxing and should be trained occasionally as a supplement to speed and endurance training.
Muscles to Target
A good punch starts all the way down at the toes. Since punching power is generated from the legs and unleashed through the arm, multiple muscles in the upper and lower body need to be strength trained regularly for speed, strength and endurance. Work your shoulders, chest, lats and upper back to develop upper-body strength for punching, blocking, slipping and rolling. Train your quads, hamstrings and calves to allow for constant foot movement and to develop a solid base for delivering your strikes. Also, focus on solid development of your entire core. Hip rotation and core strength are key for delivering strong punches, absorbing punches and effectively defending yourself.
Your choice of exercises for a particular body part may depend on whether your focus for that session is absolute strength or speed strength. Exercises like over-head presses, military presses, incline bench presses, squats and deadlifts are better for working with maximal weights for testing absolute strength. However, plyometrics and speed training can include one-arm cleans with low weight done at a fast pace, reverse medicine ball throws, lat pull downs, pull-ups, rope whips with battle ropes and medicine ball reverse crunches.
Putting It All Together
A large amount of muscle endurance training happens naturally during your regular boxing workouts. The training routine of heavy bag work, mitt work, shadow boxing and sparring all continuously work the muscles used in punching and blocking at high repetition. Low weight and high repetition is a standard formula for strength endurance training, and this target training occurs automatically over the course of a boxing workout. Combine your standard boxing conditioning routine with strength training two days a week for a well-rounded program that covers strength, speed and endurance. Be sure to give yourself at least 48 hours rest between strength training specific body parts to ensure proper recovery.