Boxing Abdominal Workout Routine
Unconventional Ab Exercises to Help Boxers and Fighters take Punches to the Stomach

Athletes are often doing unconventional ab exercises in the hopes that they will give them an edge when it comes to competition, and I think that doing unconventional exercises can give you a mental and physical edge.

As an athlete, when you can do things that no one else can it really pumps up your confidence, and all athletes know there is a big mental piece to winning. It's hard to win anything when your confidence is low. If you've put in all the work before your competition, you go into it believing that you are the best you can be.

Another challenge in sports is the unpredictability of them. This is where unconventional abdominal or core exercises come into play and benefit boxers or other athletes. If you are a boxer, football player, wrestler, or compete in any other sport that requires reaction to the unknown your body must be prepared to move in every direction under any circumstance.

The other day, a guy in the gym asked me if there were any ab exercises that could help him take body shots while boxing or doing mma. He told me that he was watching Rocky and wondered if there was any benefit to having someone punch your stomach when you're doing crunches.

I thought about it for a minute and then came up with a few ideas for him to try. He loved the boxing ab workout that I gave him and said his abs were so sore for 2 days after.

Below are the exercises I showed him.

Unconventional Ab Exercises and Boxing Ab Workout

Let me explain a little of my rationale for coming up with these exercises. Obviously, when taking a punch to the stomach your abdominals have to tighten up isometrically and absorb the force and stop the abdominal wall from caving in. So what better way to train the abdominals from caving in than loading them with direct resistance during your ab workout.

The 4 unconventional ab exercises all involve placing weights directly on the stomach. It takes a little rigging and maneuvering to get comfortable but once you get the weight in the right place you'll get a great ab workout.

Ab Exercise #1: Crunches with Weights on the Stomach

You can add weight with plates or dumbbells. Depending on your size and the shape of the plates or dumbbells, one may feel more comfortable than the other.

Try the first set with a 20-30 pound dumbbell. Place the dumbbell vertically right over your belly button. Use one hand to steady the dumbbell and perform 25-50 crunches.

If you use a plate you will likely need a fulcrum to get the full effect. Try starting with a 10 pound plate over your belly button and add another 10 or 25 pound plate on top of that.

For all of these exercises you want to have more pressure near the center of the stomach and belly button. If you just use a big 45 pound plate the weight will be distributed evenly over the whole surface of the weight. So the plate directly on the stomach should be pretty small. Actually, when I do crunches with resistance directly on my abs, I use a 4x6 paperback book over my belly button and add 1 or 2 25 pound plates on top of that.

Ab Exercise #2: Leg Raises with Weights on the Stomach

Once you understand the concept it's pretty easy to figure out additional exercises. For leg raises, you position the weights over the belly button the same way you did for crunches. You'll get a deeper burn in the abdominals when you do leg raises with a dumbbell on your belly button. Perform 15-25 leg raises.

Ab Exercise #3: Oblique Crunches with Weights on the Stomach

This exercise is similar to regular crunches, except you focus on one side at a time. Do 15-25 repetitions to the left, and then rest and do 15 reps to the right.

Ab Exercise #4: Flutter Kicks with Weights on the Stomach

Again, this should be straight forward. Hold a dumbbell or plate over your belly button and perform 15-25 flutter kicks on each leg. Build up to 25-50 reps on each leg.

Do this workout in circuit fashion resting 30-45 seconds between exercises. Begin with crunches, then leg raises, then oblique crunches, and finish the circuit with flutter kicks. Repeat the circuit 1-2 times for a total of 8-12 sets for the workout.

Unconventional Ab Exercises: Conclusion

Obviously, these are all unconventional ab exercises, so I don't recommend them for the average person. If you want to try them to experiment, start slow and always listen to your body.

If you are a boxer or fighter you can strengthen your core in many different ways and traditional ab exercises can also help boxers and fighters. Read the page on ab exercises for boxers or visit the picture directory of abdominal exercises to see pictures of all the ab exercises on this site.

Yours in Health,
Charles Inniss Physical Therapist/ Personal Trainer

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