The coming 12 months in boxing will see some of the country’s top fighters in action. George Groves takes on Chris Eubank Jr in February. Kell Brook looks to rebound from two title-fight defeats a month later, the on-off Tony Bellew v David Haye rematch is set for May and Anthony Joshua will continue his quest to unify the world heavyweight title with a shot at Joseph Parker or Deontay Wilder, or a tussle with Tyson Fury. You might not be quite ready to take on the big boys, but you can still shake off the ring rust and get yourself in fighting shape with this medicine ball boxing workout.
Warm up with two three-minute rounds of skipping or a five-minute jog. If you find skipping tricky, start with the foot movement, ie jumping on the spot and then bring the rope in once you’re in rhythm. Then do three minutes of shadow boxing, emphasising technique and moving your feet as a unit – foot in the direction you’re going moves first, then the other follows to come back to your boxing stance.
Perform 10 reps of each exercise with minimal rest between, then take a minute to recover after the circuit, before repeating. If you’re working out with a partner, you can do three or four one-minute rounds of pad/technique work before warming down. If you’re on your own, do a third circuit.
Medicine ball squat push
Clasp a medicine ball to your chest, keep your back straight and as upright as possible, then push your hips back and squat down till your thighs are parallel with the floor. Explode up from the ground and push the medicine ball away (either to a partner a few feet away or into a wall). Catch/pick up and repeat.
Get into a lunge stance – take a big step forward and bend the front leg, keeping the back knee off the floor. Hold the medicine ball out with straight arms. Now push up and switch places with your feet in mid-air, rotating the upper body to move the ball to the outside of your front leg. Alternate.
Medicine ball burpees
Stand up with the medicine ball above your head. Place the ball on the floor in front with your hands on top, explosively push the legs back so you make a plank shape, jump the knees back to your hands, explode up, pushing the ball above your head and repeat.
Medicine ball rotations
Stand left side-on to a wall or your partner and hold the medicine ball with straight arms at your right hip. Forcibly rotate to the left and let the ball go. If using the wall, catch, reset to right and explode back to left. If using a partner, catch the return pass, control the momentum back to your start position then quickly repeat the movement.
Medicine ball jab
Adopt your boxing stance, forming an L-shape with your feet, back heel up, knees soft, weight evenly spread across your legs, right knuckles glued to your right cheek (unless you’re a southpaw!). With your front hand, straighten the arm from the shoulder, to push the ball away. Catch the return from your partner or pick up the ball and repeat.
Medicine ball cross
From the same stance, glue your left knuckles to your cheek and rapidly extend the right arm as the right hip comes through and the back toes rotate (think stubbing out a cigarette) and push the ball away. Catch the return/pick up the ball and repeat.
Medicine ball slam
Raise the ball above your head, instantly drop your hips into a low squat and slam the ball into the floor as hard as you can. Be careful if using a bouncy medicine ball that it doesn’t rebound into your face. Pick up ball, return to starting position and slam again.
Medicine ball plyometric push-up
Adopt a plank position with the ball under one hand. Lower into a push-up and explode back up, rolling the ball across to the other hand then lowering into another push-up. Repeat.
Medicine ball crunch to throw
Lay on your back, plant your feet on the floor (toes against a wall if you’re not working with a partner), take the medicine ball back over your head. Perform a crunch, throwing the ball as you get to the top of the movement, catch it back from the wall or your partner and control it back to starting point. Repeat.
Focus on moving your feet as a unit, keeping your weight evenly spread and throw simple combinations into the pads. Include defensive work, like upper body rotations to slip jabs and crosses and make sure you mirror the person with the pads – if they move forward, you should move back etc.
Again, ensuring you’re concentrating on footwork and technique, move around the area you’re training in, slowly and methodically shadow, throwing light punches, using pivots, squats and head movement. Be sure to perform your usual stretching routine afterwards, paying special attention to chest and shoulders.
Coach at Cricklewood Boxing Club in London, Colin is a former England international at American football and learned to box under ex-England amateur boxing captain and former European champion Errol Christie.