T Nation

Best Routine for Athletes


I'm a boxer, looking for a weight lifting routine to complement my training. I'm looking for minimum hypertrophy with maximum increases in limit and speed strength. I dont have access to bands, kettlebells, and all that, so something just simple and straight-forward. Here's a routine I've put together myself, but it seems to have much more volume than routines I see here.

Mon: Chest/Back

Bench Press: 4-6 sets - alternating rep schemes (1,6,1,6) (5,4,3,2,1) (7,5,3,7,5,3)
Incline Press: 2x6
Weighted Pullups:4x5
Bent Rows: 3x6
One Arm Rows: 3x8

Tuesday: Quads

Squats: Same as bench press, 4-6 sets, alternating rep schemes
leg presses:3x8
leg curls:3x10

Wed: off

Thursday: shoulders/tris
Standing front presses:3x6
Front raises:3x8
Lateral raises:2x8
Weighted dips:4x5

Friday:Hamstrings/Hips, Bis
Deadlifts:4 sets/alternating rep schemes
Stiff leg deads:2x7
Leg Curls:3x6
Barbell Curls:4x3
Inlince DB Curls:3x6

Does this look ok? can anyone recommend any changes/modifications or templates I should look at? Thanks in advance.

Bent Rows:3x


If your goals are minimum hypertrophy with maximum limit and speed strength, following a westside style workout would be your best bet since one day you are working max strength and the other you are working speed strength. I would say read Dave Tate's 8 Keys Articles and get started. You would probably want to work in some GPP stuff, depending on your current level of conditioning and how far out from a match you are. That is the cool thing about the westside style workout, you can manipulate it to fit your specific needs. Just follow the basics of having a max day and a speed day and you will be good to go.


The whole area of strength training for boxers has, I think, a lot of room for exploration. Maybe some of it is still the old dogma about weight lifting slowing you down. I've never been a boxer, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think you would do well to take a cue from elite sprinters with regard to your gym time...Even moreso than a sprinter, throughout your training, time spent playing your sport should dominate the training schedule...I have no idea what the breakdown is, in terms of fight-specific drills, but they come first. The goal with your weight training should be to build strength and explosiveness without making inroads in the quality of your sport specific training. This is one of the key reasons why, in the case of sprinters, Charlie Francis uses Olympic lifts and hybrids...these lifts accomplish a lot quickly, which means less time needs to be spent under the weights. So yes, with regards to your program, not only is the volume too high, there is a lot of fat to trim...there needs to be a boxing specific reason you are performing every lift on there...If it were up to me, I would focus on just a few lifts per session, starting with an olympic lift or hybrid...read the thread here where big martin discusses coach Kenn's tier system, or better yet, buy the Strength Coach's Playbook by Joe Kenn...probably some great ideas in there for you. If you're just gonna wing it, I'd say something like this would be best:

Saxon Sidebend

Hang Clean and Press
Chin/Dip Alternate Sets
3 x max reps

Snatch-grip Deadlift
Hanging Pike

I think something like this would be ideal...

Best of luck


I do a 3 day Westide-ish split, covering the 3 strength training methods they use. The things you want to use lifting for in boxing are 1) maintain hypertrophy when you havta cut weight 2) muscle unit recruitment, for relative power 3) speed strength, for...speed 4) power endurance, cause most of us don't win with 1 punch.

Day 1: I do both ME-U and ME-L movements for 3RMs (good mornings var's, deadlift var's, front squat, and incline/close grip/floor/overhead presses), rotating every 2 weeks. Its not a great idea given I'm tired as hell when I start the 2nd lift, but upper and lower maxes keep going up so whatever. A couple sets of rows and ext. rotators I'm out in an hour or so.

Day 2: I use the repetition method here, either using standard 5-8 reps/set or using a lot of eccentric/isometrics I found in CT's modern strength book. I try to use dumbells for upper body stuff, and always do at least 1 single-leg exercise. Again, an hour or so. I switch the exercises up every month.

Day 3: Both the DE-U and DE-L, along with lower-percentage olympic lifts and light ploys. Also a lot of weighted pullups and chins. I also do a pretty high volume of medicine ball work with very little rest for the endurance element, as they don't seem too draining on the CNS.

All in all, endurance, speed-strength, and limit strength keep going up, and I still have enough time for ring work and conditioning, so it works for me.


I currently train 4 boxers; 1 golden glove champion the rest are pros. Boxers are outdated in the way they approach training and nutrition. First build a solid foundation of strength if you?re a newbie or intermediate a Pendulum peridization approach would fit the bill nicely. Also optimize your recovery abilities by using contrast showers GPP and other methods. Improve your conditioning by utilizing interval runs Read CT?s running man article for ideas. Good luck, hope this helps.


As a boxer I would assume you want to have as powerful a punch as possible. How do you know that you need to increase both limit and speed strength? A focus more on one or the other will yield greater results. An increase in limit strength won't always come with an increase in speed-strength- it depends on the person.


in my humble opion. u should do 2 days a weak of explosive olimpic style training and good mornings. and lots of obliq work. its where all ur b punching power comes from. and if u can get access to it try using a hand bike. its like a stationary bike for ur hands and time urself and see how fast u can go at the hardest resistand over 3 and a half min intervials for hoever many ronuds u have
then keep trying to cover mor distance in the same time. that way u r develo[ing the explosive in close tyson like punch but if u have to u can throw punches in bunches non stop for whole rounds
once u rdoing close to or more that 3/4 mile at 60 rpm on the hand bike with the resistance for 3 1/2 miles
u will dominate in the ring
then if all else falls u can beat his arms limp and tire him out and still his heart....the ko tiime


when you say Pendulum approach, are you reffering to CT's articles? I've been lifting for 9 years now, so I'm not exactly a beginner, I'm just looking to tweak my program. What do you think of the Tsunami Program, maybe with a speed bench day thrown in?


Your present program is a bodybuilding split. This is not your best option. I would say 2 training sessions in the weight room/week are all you need. Your focus should be bringing up your weaknesses. Don't build too much strength if you are strong enough. In boxing, hand speed rules. If muscle strength is sufficient, then work on the non-contractile tissues(tendons/fascia) for the best gains. Also be sure to focus extra attention on the antagonists of the sport. Most people spend so much time on the muscles responsible for punching(agonists), yet working the opposing muscles will create stability to prevent injuries.


I'm a fighter and what's worked well for me is a more total body approach, centered around deads, squats, bench/dips, and bent rows/chin ups.

I would LOVE to do Oly lifts, but don't have the facilities. I could probably manage sneaking in a high rep oly lift routine, but nothing heavy.

One reason total body has worked better for me than a more traditional weightlifting split, is that it balances out soreness. I've gotta hit weights and fighting workouts on the same days and can't really afford to take it easy on the muscle group I worked that day.

Also, legs and core muscles are WAY more important for throwing punches than upper body.

I freely admit that the other guys on here probably know a lot more about the weight room than I do (though I'm working on it); so take their advice on weights.

I'm not too bad at endurance and cardio. For cardio and skills stuff, check out stick grappler's website:
Scrapper's workouts and Takus Intervals are some of the best stuff I've ever used for high intensity interval work.

Good luck. let us know how it goes.
I'm hoping to fight muay thai rules this summer and san da rules in september.


I would agree with the full body lifts. Check out CT's article on money exercises. I would recommend full contact twists for your obliques.

Headbutt, what are the rules you are fighting with? Are knees to the head allowed or just to the body?


knees to the body, no elbows.
It's like our sanshou/sanda rules but with fewer take downs.
We're not all liberal with our contact sports like you brits, i hear at an amateur level u guys have knees to the head and elbows.... lucky dawg! :stuck_out_tongue:


It great to watch. Not so great when on the receiving end of knee to head (i had a lump on my chin for ages) and i don't really fight although i think i might in the future. I really need to work on my strength, speed and conditioning especially midsection, thighs and shins. Basically i need to work on everything :slightly_smiling:

It makes sense to not have elbows to the head since there are less cuts and so less stopages. I guess us Brits are just blood thirsty, well i am anyway :slightly_smiling:

One thing is crazy about some thai rules. I think in some you can knee to the body and put elbows in to the head(no knees to head :frowning: jumping knee is my fave technique) but for safety no spinning backfists!!!

Good luck with your training.

Little Ron


elbows but no spinning backfists?
that's nuts!

My biggest problem in my first fight was vision (couldn't see without contacts).

I'd also dropped a TON of weight to make the weight class (187).

Compared to now, my strength was down DRASTICALLY, even my endurance as well; because I was overtrained, under rested and under fed.

I don't really want to be a heavyweight; I'm only 5'10 (around 178cm).

I think light heavy (under 198lb - 85 or 90kg, i forget) is the place I should probably shoot for.

But I don't know how to get my weight even that low again without doing something that would put me in a similar state of exhaustion and weakness.

Tempted to just keep getting as strong as I can and be a Mark Hunt style heavy.