Ab Training

I hear all the time professtional boxers state how they do 1000-1500 situps per day to build up their abs. I know that from every article and from stuff on these forums that heavy ab training is the way to go. So if this is the case, then why do so many professional athletes still train that way?

In the case of a boxer, abdominal strength endurance is pretty sport-specific. After all, where do you think the majority of body blows land? These guys aren’t training to look purty. They also use weight, including medicine ball work, for functional abs.

  1. Most high level athletes succeed despite their training, not because of it.

  2. Heavy weights are great for building strength and looks and should be part of your program. However keep in mind that a boxer has to maintain that abdominal contraction for 10+ rounds. In which case high rep endurance work is not entirely out of place.


Haven’t you americans heard of the wheel??? It is THE MOST effective exercise for the abs!! Doing 100’s of variations of weighted/unweighted situps is a waste of time.

Bus Driver-

Two points. 1) There is no one most effective exercise for the abs. 2) We were specifically discussing the abdominal work of boxers who do indeed benefit from high endurance work for the abs as well as high intensity work.

the wheel may help build isometric strength in the abs, but it is by no means the best method for ab training. Often when people talk in absolutes they are just showing their ignorance

The way most amateur boxers train (and I’m just using “amateurs” since that’s all I see in the gyms), would make you cringe if you saw them.

At least I do. It’s as Sturat said: “Most high level athletes succeed despite their training, not because of it.”

But let me tell you a effective ab training session, or at least one that is effective for obliques: hitting the heavy bag or into focus pads or sparring. My abs are always sore after a heavy bag session. Always.

That should give you an idea of where or why boxers have that gleaming midsection. And also keep in mind all that conditioning work, via HIIT.

You’re right, At my thai/kickboxing gym we’re made to do sit ups but although we do a high amoung per session (around200-500 situps) I can tell u very few of the guys have mass on their abs, most guys are cut and can take a good shot to the stomach. The problem with Sports like this is that alot of old school methods are still employed and unlike BB where you guys are constantly looking at the latest research, Boxing coaches seem to be very much stuck in their ways about training methods which is a real shame.
At my last gym, I was told that to loose weight i should eat an 80% carb diet and consume mostly fruit bread and pasta!
Since leaving that bastard i’ve been following dont diet diet and am getting cut up and stronger so really, although boxers do alot of work, they could certainly work alot smarter.

But to be fair alot of the new age of Martial athletes (K-1, pride, UFC etc) are employing the most uptodate training methods out there.

The main thing to keep in mind when considering any athlete’s training program is who the athlete is getting it from.

Coaches who establish conditioning programs generally do a horrible job with regards to volume, exercise selection and progression. That’s why we have strength coaches.

So if a boxer is doing 1000’s of sit-ups a day, that doesn’t mean King, Poliquin or any other strength and conditioning specialist would have them train that way if they were responsible for their training.

Anyone who has experience with athletes should be able to attest to the fact that coaches can be the most detrimental variable when condition athletes.

Yes i totally agree with you on the last point. My last coach wanted me to train with a broken wrist and fight with a broken wrist because he wanted to save face and not pull out one of his fighters… Notice he was my LAST coach lol

I wasn’t trying to come off as saying the wheel is the only way to train, I was simply trying to explain that it relly isn’t used nearly as often as it should be, if ever.

And when you put it that way, you’re likely to find a lot more agreement here. There are quite a few exercises that are underused in the gym.

The reason why I asked the question is because you hear a lot of boxers saying they trained hard doing 1500 situps and 1000 pushups to prepare for their fight. To me that just doesn’t seem like an optimal training method. But then again, I’m sure there are many fighters who still use 5 miles runs as their main conditioning tool.

“Doing 100’s of variations of weighted/unweighted situps is a waste of time.”

So that means you should do situps?

"1) Most high level athletes succeed despite their training, not because of it. "

Absolutely hilarious. If only professional athletes would stop overtraining! lol

My two cents on the pushup thingie: Pavel Tsatsouline wrote an article a while back based on pushups, to train for 100. In a side note, he mentioned that boxers, who do tons of pushups, have a lot of consequential endurance in their shoulders. And according to Pavel, this allows them to keep their guard up the full twelve rounds and maintain punch technique, since their shoulders aren’t tightened up.

Just because a method is old, traditional and proven to be ineffective for one facet of conditioning does not mean it doesn’t have other sports-specific benefits.