Old School Boxing Workout

Old School Boxing Workout.


Let’s go back to the ‘old school’ with this conditioning workout from 121personaltraining.

In the good old days, there was no talk of energy systems, anaerobic thresholds, or stressing the central nervous system.

It was all about strength-endurance, with the emphasis firmly on the endurance side of things.

Boxers trained long and hard, two or three times a day, six days a week.

The coaches didn’t need laptops, training apps or heart rate monitors – just a stop watch to time the rounds and a bucket and sponge to wipe up the blood, sweat and tears.

The boxing coach Enzo Calzaghe used an old school boxing workout to condition his son Joe.

From childhood, Enzo had Joe doing long sessions involving skipping, shadow boxing, hill running and road work, bag and pad work, sparring and floor exercises.

When Joe Calzage did press ups or sit ups, he didn’t do twenty and then stop.

He did them non stop for three rounds of two minutes with a minutes rest between rounds – this recreates the physical conditions of a 3×2 minute amateur bout.

When Joe turned professional, he performed these exercises for three minutes at a time, to reflect the longer rounds of the professional game.

All the ‘experts’ and sports scientists told Enzo that this was an inefficient way to train boxers, but he shrugged off the criticism and stuck with his old school boxing workout.

Enzo had the last laugh and vindication of his conditioning methods though.

His son Joe Calzaghe retired as the undefeated world super-middleweight and light-heavyweight champion, and had arguably the best punching output and overall stamina of any fighter in boxing history.


Try this old school boxing workout to supplement your existing boxing training.

Use a stopwatch – or even better a timer like the ‘Gymboss’ to time your work periods.

Work through three rounds of two minutes per exercise, and rest for a minute between each round and each exercise.

If you have to stop during an exercise, then dig deep and try to start working again right through to the end of the time period.

Don’t expect to survive a tough round of boxing against a vicious opponent, if you can’t survive a round of crunches!


Here’s the workout:

Exercise 1 – skipping 3×2 minutes (focus on being light footed and on coordinating your arm speed with the speed of your legs).

Exercise 2 – shadow boxing 3×2 minutes (focus on head movement, footwork and guard as you throw your combinations).

Exercise 3 – bag work 3×2 minutes (focus on maintaining realistic punching power levels and fight tempo).

Pad work is a great substitute for (or addition to!) bag work if you have someone there to hold the mitts for you.

Exercise 4 – bodyweight squats?3×2 minutes (focus on keeping your guard up boxing style, with your eyes looking up, chin tucked in and back straight).

Exercise 5 – pressups 3×2 minutes (focus on ‘surviving the round’ and be prepared to drop into box press ups as your muscles fatigue).

Exercise 6 – sit ups?3×2 minutes (focus on explosive movements as you sit upwards and on controlled movements as you lower yourself back down).


The whole workout should take around 55 minutes – try to work through as many movements, combinations or reps as you can in each individual round.

Try to avoid gulping in air and get used to taking short, sharp, cyclical breaths instead – breathing with an open mouth is a surefire way for a boxer to end up with a broken jaw!

Good luck with this old school boxing workout!


Contact us at 121personaltraining.com if you are based in SW London and would like to start boxing training for fitness or weight loss; or if you need help preparing for a white collar boxing event.




121personaltraining.com – old school boxing workout – personal training, boxing and yoga in southfields.

Written by 

Sam is a Premier Diploma qualified personal trainer in SW London and is the founder of 121personaltraining.com

2 thoughts on “Old School Boxing Workout

  1. This is really awesome and makes sense since there have been a lot of elite world class fighters who credit their physical prowess to hard core simple training . Example khabib nurmagamadov, who is an undefeated lightweight champion in mma and herschel walker who is one of the most badass sportsman of our time.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the article, and both the guys you mentioned are certainly great athletes with serious ‘old school’ work ethics.

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