Kettlebell Exercises for Boxing
Traditional weightlifting is typically ill-advised for boxers. This is due to a number of different factors, with the chief complaints being that it bulks you up, restricts your mobility and flexibility, and ruins your technique and stamina, not to mention potentially bulking you up out of a weight class.
However, strength training is still essential. One of the best tools or pieces of equipment to use then is the kettlebell. Kettlebells are a convenient, efficient and highly effective tool to have around.
With a single set of kettlebells, you can perform dozens of different exercises, and train your entire body. You don’t need a lot of money, a lot of space, or a lot of time, and you’ll experience a great deal of results without the typical drawbacks of weightlifting.
Why Kettlebells are So Beneficial for Boxing Strength Training
- Full Body Training: Kettlebells will enable you to get a full body strength workout in a short amount of time. All kettlebell exercises are compound movements, which means they incorporate multiple joints and therefore multiple muscle groups at the same time. A few standard kettlebell techniques can incorporate just about all of your body’s major muscles, enabling you to get full body training instead of a narrowly focused workout spent isolating single muscles.
- Cardio & Conditioning: A kettlebell training session will also place an emphasis on cardio and conditioning. Because they incorporate so many major muscle groups into each exercise, kettlebell techniques place a great deal of stress on your body – in a good way. Simply put, you have to work hard to properly complete kettlebell exercises, and bring your entire body into action at once. This will boost your conditioning and overall fitness a great deal at the same time that you’re building strength.
- Convenience: Kettlebells are very convenient for training at home. As mentioned, a single set of kettlebells will go a very long way for you, and you can design an entire workout based around them and them alone. You can complete entire training sessions in under 30 minutes, and you don’t need to spend a fortune on equipment, or use up a lot of space.
- Functional Strength: Guess what? All those biceps curls you perform in the gym while staring at yourself in the mirror – they mean absolutely zilch in a boxing ring, or a real fight for that matter. Kettlebell training on the other hand is going to provide you with real, functional strength. Kettlebells target the biggest and most important muscle groups of your body, with a strong emphasis on the base your power – your core muscles. In addition, the off-center balance of gravity and the types of exercises performed will incorporate many of the smaller stabilizing muscles that almost never get targeted otherwise.
- No Drawbacks: As mentioned already, training with kettlebells doesn’t have all of the drawbacks of traditional weightlifting for boxers. You won’t bulk up too much, but you will add real strength. You’ll train your entire body, not just the showy or “mirror” muscles, and you’ll work on other aspects of your fitness all at the same time.
—> Check out the rest of our boxing training section for more training tutorials, how-tos, tips, and everything you need to know to hit the gym.
Getting Started with Kettlebells
The first thing you’ll need to do is determine what weight of kettlebells to get. If you have access to some dumbbells, you can perform a simple test to give you an idea of what weight you might want to purchase.
Hold a dumbbell in one hand and lock it out straight over head. Hold the position for 10 seconds. If that’s challenging, but doable, then get the next lower kettlebell weight. So if you can do that with a 45-lb dumbbell, considering purchasing a set of 35-lb kettlebells.
3 Must-Do Kettlebell Exercises
There are dozens of different kettlebell techniques you can master, and which will pay dividends for boxers of all levels. You can also find a few mixed in with our collection of abs exercises for boxers. But here are a common but very effective kettlebell moves to begin learning:
- Turkish Get-Ups: Lie down straight on the floor, on your back, and place a kettlebell by one side of your body. Grab the kettlebell in one hand, and lift it straight overhead. Move from a lying down position into a sitting up position with the help of your other arm, and then get onto your feet so you’re positioned in the bottom phase of a squat. Proceed to stand straight up, pause, and then lower yourself back down to lying on your back. The key is to keep the kettlebell straight over your head the entire time, and to keep your core muscles tight the whole way through.
- Swings: Get situated with one kettlebell between your legs. Bend your knees and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Begin the exercise by swinging the kettlebell through and behind your legs, almost like hiking a football. Then swing the kettlebell forward and stand up in an explosive motion, extending your arms straight in front of your body to chest level. Can also be performed with one kettlebell in each hand.
- Clean & Presses: Kettlebells can be used for a great variation of clean and presses, which would normally be done with a barbell. Place two kettlebells in between your legs, and basically perform a kettlebell swing. However, don’t fully extend the swing in front of your body. Instead, raise the kettlebells and continue the motion by quickly standing on your toes, turning your wrists over and catching the kettlebells at shoulder level, and then pressing them overhead.
Hopefully you’ve learned a few good techniques and ideas, along with the fundamentals and benefits of kettlebell training for boxers. Now go ahead and start putting some of these tips to use and take your fitness to the next level.