How To Improve Core Strength


"I don't count the sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting because they're the only ones that count. That's what makes you a champion,” Muhammad Ali.

Core training has always been an essential aspect of a boxer’s preparation for a fight.

As well strengthening to torso area to be able to withstand body shots in a bout, it’s the core that helps to increase punching power and deliver more hurtful blows through the kinetic chain.

From Jack Dempsey to Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather Jr, all-time greats are known to have gone through rigorous daily ab workouts in order to prepare themselves for upcoming fights at the highest level.

BOXRAW outline six training drills for how to improve core strength and build up abs for boxing.

Leg Raises

A strong core is important for fighters stepping into the ring.

While modern Strength and Conditioning training has become popular among many fighters, it’s the old-school and fundamental ab workouts that remain hugely effective for all levels of competition in the ring. Utilise these as part of your own training with the amount of sets you feel comfortable with and gradually build them up as you progress.

The drill: Start off by finding a comfortable place to lie down on your back, whether it’s in the ring or using a matt at the gym or elsewhere. While on your back, lift both legs just above the ground and place your arms straight behind your lower back. First, lift your legs together in the air and lift your backside off the floor to extend your reach, then push both legs out in front of you without touching down.

Leg Raised Crunches

Fighters of all levels require a strong core.

Engaging the core and involving your legs helps to boost overall strength for both taking body punches and throwing shots of your own.

The drill: Raise both your legs together above the ground while placing your arms behind your back to hold your position (try this drill without using your arms to increase the intensity). Then bring both of your knees to your chest and push them back out for a full extension without touching down to the floor.

Toe Touches

Ab work is a crucial aspect of training for all boxers.

Core strength plays a vital role in fighters developing a snappier punch through rotation and proper technique, meaning skipping ab work will have a negative effect under the lights on fight night.

The drill: Raise both of your legs in the air as high as you can possible go and engage your core muscles. Begin by pushing both arms out as far as possible and use your abdominal muscles to reach up and touch your toes.

Hand Runs

Hand runs are another great way how to improve core strength.

Core workouts don’t always have to be done in one spot without movement; a cardio and fitness element can be introduced to add an extra level of intensity. Other parts of the body can be strengthened while building your core too, which helps for such a physically demanding sport.

The drill: Start off by getting yourself into a press-up position. Once you have a solid base, leave one leg at the back position while thrusting your other knee towards your chest. Then continue to switch your legs in this motion throughout the entirety of your chosen set to help strengthen your core, arms and provide extra overall conditioning.

Squat Thrusts

Adding some cardio work to core sets increase the intensity.

A fighter needs to build a strong core as their punching foundation and stability for absorbing shots from opponents effectively.

The drill: Once again, get yourself into a press-up position and keep your legs close together while holding a solid base. Begin by bringing both of your knees together to your chest so that you land in what looks similar to a squat position, then push them back to their original place behind you.

Bicycle Sit-Ups

Bicycle sit-ups are a beneficial variation of the usual ab routine.

Sit-ups are the most commonly used ab drill that can be used to help improve core strength. There are several variations of this for you to try and mix things up, including bicycle sit-ups in order to get all of your body moving.

The drill: Starting in a normal sit-up position, bring your left knee to your right elbow across your body to engage your core. Then work the opposite side by bringing your left elbow to your right knee and continue this for your chosen set. 


Drills: @igor_1vanchenko