Boxing For Weight Loss: Health Benefits And Best Workouts [UK] 2023

Kate Barrington

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

Boxing For Weight Loss
A boxing routine could help you lose weight by burning calories and fat as well as building muscle.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re not alone. In fact, roughly 50% of Americans report actively trying to lose weight. There are countless ways to lose weight, from fad diets to celebrity exercise programs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the same way for everyone – it may take some trial and error to find the calorie-burning exercises that actually work for your body and your goals. 

When it comes to losing weight, cutting calories isn’t the only thing to focus on – especially if you want to shed belly fat while maintaining lean muscle. The key is to find a fitness routine that burns calories while engaging your muscles and improving your stamina. Boxing for weight loss is a great option to consider if traditional workouts simply aren’t cutting it for you.

Does Boxing Help You Lose Weight?

Many people have begun boxing for weight loss at home as a way to burn calories, build muscle, and improve physical fitness levels without having to pay for expensive subscription programs or gym memberships. 

Whether you’re running, lifting weights, or boxing, weight loss is a balancing act. You need to balance the number of calories consumed against the number of calories burned on a daily basis. If you want to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit – you need to burn more calories[1] than you consume. 

Any form of physical activity has the potential to help you lose weight as long as you achieve a calorie deficit, but you may still find yourself asking: is boxing good for weight loss? Yes!

Though it can also be good for muscle building, boxing primarily involves cardiovascular exercise, making it effective as a weight-loss workout. It is typically considered a form of high-intensity interval training or HIIT, which has been shown to burn more fat[2] than other exercises like walking when performed for extended periods at low- to moderate intensity. 

What Is A Boxing Workout?

Boxing programs can be customized according to your fitness goals and preferences. These workouts can incorporate a variety of elements, including practiced movements, footwork drills, and punching drills. They can be done with or without equipment such as boxing gloves, speed bags, heavy bags, and focus mitts, and you can even find boxing workout games. 

A high-intensity workout for weight loss may incorporate additional conditioning exercises to increase calorie expenditure and help you burn more fat. Calisthenics and jumping rope, for example, are popular elements of boxing weight loss workouts. 

Health Benefits Of Boxing

While boxing has become incredibly popular as a workout routine, its benefits extend beyond burning fat and calories. Regularly visiting boxing gyms can positively impact stress levels, heart health, and even balance. Here are five ways boxing can benefit your entire body and your overall health. 

Lowers Stress

Exercise, in its many forms, has been well-studied as a method for reducing stress.[3] Boxing as a form of exercise, however, offers some unique benefits in this area. For example, programs that adhere to HIIT protocols have been shown[4] to improve mood and cognitive function. The act of punching a mitt or a bag can also have a cathartic effect in relieving stress or anger. 

Reduces Blood Pressure

Hypertension gives you a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.[5] Regular cardiovascular activity – especially HIIT training programs like boxing workouts – may help lower both your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In fact, some research[2] suggests boxing workouts may reduce blood pressure more significantly than moderate-intensity exercise.

Boosts Heart Health

In addition to lowering high blood pressure, cardio boxing can help improve your overall heart health. Because it is a form of high-intensity interval training, boxing puts your body and your heart through repeated bouts of intense activity. This improves your cardiovascular endurance and may decrease your risk[6] for serious heart problems like heart disease. 

Improves Balance

Boxing involves repeated punching and footwork drills which help with developing coordination and building strength. In fact, boxing has been used to help improve balance and muscle coordination in individuals recovering from stroke[7] and Parkinson’s disease.[8] 

Increases Strength And Stamina

More than just a cardio workout, the high-intensity nature of boxing makes it a full-body workout. Throwing punches works your upper body, while footwork drills work your lower body. Keeping your core muscles engaged is essential for a good workout, and the faster you move, the more intense the aerobic workout you’re going to get. 

6 Boxing Workouts For Weight Loss

If you are looking for a serious calorie burner, boxing is the exercise to choose! You can easily burn 400 calories in half an hour of boxing.

After jumping rope or jogging in place to warm up for about five minutes, try one of the following workouts to build your basic boxing techniques: 

Workout #1

  • 25 squats
  • 25 pushups
  • 50 crunches
  • 3 minutes of basic jab, cross, and hook punches
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Repeat five times
  • 3 minutes throwing punch combinations against a heavy bag
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Repeat five times

Workout #2

  • 30 each: jumping jacks, squats, pushups, lunges
  • 5 minutes of shadowboxing basic punches
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • 3 minutes of sidestep footwork drills
  • Alternate between 10 quick steps left then 10 quick steps right
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • 3 minutes of backward and forward step drills
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • 3 minutes of box step drills (six steps forward, six steps right, six steps backward, six steps left)

Workout #3

  • Jog for 15 minutes at a moderate pace
  • 3 minutes of shadow boxing alternating with 30 seconds of rest
  • Repeat five times
  • 3 minutes of punch combinations on a heavy bag
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Repeat three times
  • 3 minutes on a speed bag
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Repeat three times
  • 3 minutes alternating 10 pushups, and 10 jump squats
  • Repeat 3 times

Workout #4

  • Jump rope for 20 minutes, changing up your speed
  • One- minute shadow boxing single punches, focusing on speed
  • Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat 10 times
  • Perform 10 burpees
  • Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat 10 times
  • Jump rope for 10 minutes at a quick pace
  • Do as many pushups as you can in 1 minute

Workout #5

  • Jog or jump rope at a quick pace for 3 minutes
  • Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat four times
  • 3 minutes of shadowboxing basic punch combinations
  • 30 seconds of pushups – no rest
  • Repeat four times
  • 3 minutes each of 6 heavy bag drills
    1. Jabs only
    2. Jab-jab-cross
    3. Jab-cross-hook
    4. Any combination
    5. Any combination, moving 180 degrees around the bag between sets
    6. Non-stop punching focusing on form at 60% power

Workout #6

  • 25 each: bicycle crunches, pushups, jump squats
  • 2 minutes on a speed bag
  • Rest for 20 seconds then repeat five times
  • 3 minutes of punch combinations, bobbing, and weaving between each combination 
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Repeat four times 
  • 3 minutes of punch combinations on the heavy bag, moving 180 degrees around the bag between each set
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Repeat four times 

How To Get Started With Boxing Workouts

The first step in performing a martial art like boxing is to learn proper form. No matter what type of exercise you’re doing, maintaining proper form as you throw punches will reduce your risk of injury. 

Start by practicing your stance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and move your nondominant foot slightly forward and your dominant foot slightly back. Balance your weight on the balls of your feet, keeping your knees loose and soft. Keeping your elbows close to your sides, bring your dominant fist up, so your index finger is resting right next to your chin. Your non-dominant fist should be held right around cheek height.

Once you’ve mastered proper stance and form, the next step is to learn the three basic punches. Taking a boxing class or watching a boxing exercise video can help if you’re having trouble visualizing the form. 

Jab

boxing for weight loss

Start in your regular boxing stance with the index finger of your dominant fist resting lightly against your chin. Throw your non-dominant fist straight ahead. Remember that the jab punch is used to set up other throws and defensive movements, so it isn’t meant to be a power punch. 

Cross

boxing for weight loss

Like the jab, the cross punch is thrown straight but with more power behind it. Throw the punch with your rear dominant fist, using your legs and hips to generate the force. Remember that the jab is thrown from the fist closest to your target and the cross from the fist furthest away.

Hook

boxing for weight loss

This punch can be performed with either hand, but it’s best to use your non-dominant or lead fist. The goal of this punch is to come at the target from the side. Moving from your legs and hips for power, throw the punch out from your shoulder then turn your fist in toward the target halfway through. 

Summary

By burning calories and building muscle, a boxing routine could help you lose weight fast by burning calories, building muscle, and shedding body fat. It’s easy to customize your boxing routine with an endless array of punch combinations, drills, and conditioning exercises. 

While boxing exercises are a great way to burn calories, you may still need a little help to meet your weight loss goals more quicker. Adding a stimulant-free fat burner to your routine may help boost your metabolism to increase your calorie burn while simultaneously suppressing your appetite to help you consume fewer calories.

Whether you add fat burners to your routine or not, consult a healthcare professional before starting your weight loss journey to see if a boxing fitness program is the right fit for you.


+ 8 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Kim, J.Y. (2021). Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome, [online] 30(1), pp.20–31. doi:https://doi.org/10.7570/jomes20065.
  2. Cheema, B.S., Davies, T.B., Stewart, M., Papalia, S. and Atlantis, E. (2015). The feasibility and effectiveness of high-intensity boxing training versus moderate-intensity brisk walking in adults with abdominal obesity: a pilot study. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, [online] 7(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/2052-1847-7-3.
  3. Lewis, B.A., Schuver, K., Dunsiger, S., Samson, L., Frayeh, A.L., Terrell, C.A., Ciccolo, J.T., Fischer, J. and Avery, M.D. (2021). Randomized trial examining the effect of exercise and wellness interventions on preventing postpartum depression and perceived stress. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, [online] 21(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-021-04257-8.
  4. Borrega-Mouquinho, Y., Sánchez-Gómez, J., Fuentes-García, J.P., Collado-Mateo, D. and Villafaina, S. (2021). Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training and Moderate-Intensity Training on Stress, Depression, Anxiety, and Resilience in Healthy Adults During Coronavirus Disease 2019 Confinement: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Frontiers in Psychology, [online] 12. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.643069.
  5. Gąsecki, D., Kwarciany, M., Kowalczyk, K., Narkiewicz, K. and Karaszewski, B. (2020). Blood Pressure Management in Acute Ischemic Stroke. Current Hypertension Reports, [online] 23(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11906-020-01120-7.
  6. Su, L., Fu, J., Sun, S., Zhao, G., Cheng, W., Dou, C. and Quan, M. (2019). Effects of HIIT and MICT on cardiovascular risk factors in adults with overweight and/or obesity: A meta-analysis. PLOS ONE, [online] 14(1), p.e0210644. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210644.
  7. Kerdsawatmongkon, J., Nualnetr, N., Isariyapan, O., Kitreerawutiwong, N. and Srisoparb, W. (2023). Effects of Home-Based Boxing Training on Trunk Performance, Balance, and Enjoyment of Patients With Chronic Stroke. Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine. [online] doi:https://doi.org/10.5535/arm.22127.
  8. Horbinski, C., Zumpf, K.B., McCortney, K. and Eoannou, D. (2021). Longitudinal Study of Boxing Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease, Including Adverse Impacts of the COVID-19 Lockdown. [online] doi:https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-355283/v1.
Kate Barrington

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — she also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to her work as a ghostwriter and author, Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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