Where to Find the Best Boxing Workout

Use a Home Boxing Workout, Studio Boxing Bootcamp, or a Boxing Gym to Get Fit

Woman boxing at the gym
Rob and Julia Campbell/Stocksy United  

Boxing is the hottest trend to hit the fitness scene since spinning. Boutique boxing boot camps are popping up in cities all over the country and online trainers are making it easier to do boxing workouts at home. But how do these workouts compare to the training done by the pros who fight in the ring? And if your goal is to get fit fast, where will you find the best boxing workout?

Boxing Workout Benefits

If you've haven't tried it yet, you might wonder why boxing is such a great workout. Especially if you are used to burning calories on a spinning bike, on an elliptical, or running on a treadmill, you may think that hitting things is counter-productive to good health and well-being. But experts say that a boxing workout provides unique benefits that other forms of exercise can't match.

Jeremiah Maestre is a trainer at Rumble Boxing in New York City. Rumble provides a high-intensity workout that combines boxing and strength training. Maestre says that the physical benefits are substantial when you start boxing, but the sport also provides mental benefits as well. 

"Boxing is a full body workout that targets the legs, core, back, and upper body.  What most people underestimate is the mental benefit. Boxing can be very therapeutic in so many ways.  You exert every ounce of energy onto a bag for multiple rounds and it provides a huge stress relief. And to get the most out of your technique during training you are forced to think about the present moment. You are pushed to take your mind off of stressful situations" 

Maestre goes on to say that there are different ways to go about finding the right boxing workout for you because different locations provide different types of services. "It all depends on what you are looking for," he says. 

Boxing Bootcamp vs. Boxing Gym: Which Is Better?

The best boxing workout for you depends on your goal. If your goal is improved fitness, weight loss, or having fun while burning calories then your best bet might be a boutique boxing-inspired workout studio like Rumble, Shadowbox or Prevail. These facilities offer boxing-style boot camps and a high-energy group fitness environment that will keep you motivated and inspired. Maestre also points out that these gyms are perfect for all levels. "There is something to gain for everybody," he says.

But if you want to train like a boxer who fights in the ring you may want to visit a local boxing gym. Both workouts provide benefits, but those benefits are slightly different. Maestre says that if someone came into Rumble and said his goal was to fight in the ring, he would recommend a more traditional method of training.

Mike Figueroa is an amateur boxer who is certified by NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) as an MMA conditioning specialist. He is also a USA Boxing certified boxing coach and an Everlast Fit boxing coach. He says that you'll get a great workout at a boutique studio, but they don't teach the same technique used by boxers who fight in the ring.

"Boxing-inspired bootcamp studios use boxing as a tool to give you an effective workout. But you don't necessarily learn to box. If you really want to train like a boxer, then you go to your local boxing gym."

He explains that if join a local boxing gym, like Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, you're generally assigned a coach who teaches the fundamentals that you use to fight in the ring. These include proper punch combinations, footwork, and proper alignment. He says that even some of the terminology varies from the gym to the studio. "Many boutique studios teach a "4" punch (or rear uppercut) that is very different from the "4" punch that is used in the ring."

But Figueroa also says that if you aren't actually going to fight, learning to fine-tune your punches like a pro boxer may detract from your workout if your goal is cardio fitness. He explains that it takes time to learn how to properly place your fist, your legs, and your body. That means you have to stop, talk to your coach, and repeat movements slowly. During this time, your heart rate is likely to drop and you may not get the instant workout benefit you desire. 

So what's the bottom line? The best boxing workout for you is going to depend on your level of commitment and your goals. If you want a quick workout to get in shape and have fun, then a boxing boot camp studio is best. There's no long-term commitment and you'll build strength and cardio fitness. But if you want to understand the art and science of boxing to build strength and fitness over time then visit your local boxing gym.

Learning How to Box at Home

"Going to a boxing gym is intimidating" admits Figueroa.  For that reason, many home exercisers use YouTube and other websites to learn how to box. But a home boxing workout has a few pitfalls if your ultimate goal is to box like a pro.

"First of all", says Figueroa, "you should hire a coach because you need someone to hit. People like to punch things and that's what your coach is for—it's the old school boxing method. But when it comes to contact, there needs to be a professional there."  He says that without proper instruction about form you can easily get injured hitting your opponent or even a punching bag. 

Josh Martinez agrees. Martinez is a certified personal trainer, USA boxing coach, an amateur boxer, and a boxing trainer at Everybody Fights in New York City where he teaches boxing fundamentals, conditioning, and sparring classes. He founded The Martinez Method, a unique type of fitness program that utilizes the fundamentals of a fighting discipline while adding movements that target lean muscle growth. 

He says that to find the right boxing coach, you should consider four factors. 

  1. Credentials. A good coach should have experience, not just a fighter, but as a coach. They should also have a history of long-term happy clients. Ask for references. 
  2. Program. Evaluate the workout program before you invest. Make sure that the plan is well designed. Ask yourself: Does it work for my goals? Does it provide a realistic timeline?
  3. Personality. Interview the coach before you commit to working with him or her. Think about whether or not this is someone you can trust. Ask yourself: do I respect them and will they respect me?
  4. Safety. Your coach should have your best intentions in mind and should be able to provide credentials to reassure you that he/she is qualified to make healthy and smart decisions for you. 

If you don't have the time or the resources to hire a coach, you can still do a boxing workout at home. As an alternative to traditional boxing with impact, says Figueroa, some home exercisers use shadowboxing to get a good workout. When you shadow box there is no contact, but you still get the benefit of a cardio workout. 

At-Home Shadow Boxing Workout 

This home boxing workout, designed by Mike Figueroa, is best for exercisers who are at least moderately fit. Beginners can use a shorter home boxing workout or work with a trainer until they are strong enough to exercise solo.

At-Home Shadow Boxing Workout

  • Warm up for three minutes. Jump rope if you have one, but if not, imagine you're holding one. Jump for two minutes then rest for 30 - 60 seconds. Repeat twice for a total of three sets.

After the warm-up, you'll complete four rounds of shadow boxing drills.

  • Round One: Right/Left Punch Combination. Start off with a right/left combination repeating it four times. Then squat two times to regroup, catch your breath, and regain a proper boxing stance. Continue with this punch/squat combination for two minutes.
  • Rest for one minute.
  • Round Two: Upper Cut Combination. Complete an uppercut with your left and then your right, repeating four times. Then squat three times to regroup, catch your breath, and adjust your boxing stance. Continue this combination for two minutes.
  • Rest for one minute.
  • Round Three: Right/Left Punch Combination. Repeat the same combination from round one, focusing on improving speed and form throughout the drill. Continue with this punch/squat combination for two minutes.
  • Rest for one minute.
  • Round Four: Left/Right Combination: For the last round you'll combine a variation of round one with round four.Throw a left/right combination four times followed by an uppercut combination four times, then squat four times to reset. Continue for two minutes.
  • Rest for one minute.

When the shadow boxing workout is complete, keep moving to allow your body to recover properly.

  • Cool down. Walk or jog slowly to decrease your heart rate and slow your breathing. Take at least two minutes to return your body to a more relaxed state. Finish the workout with full body stretches and 3-4 deep breaths.  

As an alternative to this workout, many boxing aficionados also use online workouts to get ideas for sessions. Figueroa recommends YouTube videos by Everlast Master Instructor, Jeff Hunter, or online shadowboxing videos that provide instruction about both the mental and physical aspects of the sport.

A Word From Verywell

Taking advantage of new fitness trends is a great way to keep your body in shape and your mind motivated. You'll avoid burnout and also gain mental benefits when you change up your training and force your body to move in challenging new ways. Trying new experiences, like boxing, can be intimidating, but the benefits make taking the risk well worth it.