5 Best Abs Exercises for Boxers without Crunches or Machines

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Few parts of the body get more attention paid to them while training for boxing than the abs. For boxers, the abs are extremely important, and it's more than just looking good when you're in the ring. Your abs and your core muscles are a huge source of the power that you generate while throwing punches. Of course, they are also responsible for eating up all of those body punches and keeping you standing on your feet while somebody else is trying to chop you down.

Therefore, learning some of the best abs exercises for boxers is crucial, and it's time to get more creative than just your typical crunches. Crunches and weighted machines don't target your entire abdominal and core muscles, and some of these movements can either be uncomfortable or can lead to injury and unnecessary strain. Instead, start to incorporate these techniques and movements while you're training for boxing and you'll be on your way to a solid, ripped and powerful midsection. You'll never have to do an annoying crunch ever again... I promise!

Best Abs Exercises for Boxing - Never do a Crunch Again

1. Push-Up Planks: Push-up planks are definitely at the head of the list for the best abs exercises for boxers to complete, and these are easy to get used to. These are great for real, functional abdominal strength because your abs are meant to support and stabilize, and this is exactly what this exercise works on. Get into a standard push-up position, but instead of supporting your weight on your palms, lean on your elbows while keeping your body in a rigid, straight line. In that "up" position, clench your core muscles as tight as you can, and hold the pose for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat twice.

Variation: For added difficulty, there are a variety of other plank style exercises you can complete while training for boxing. For example, you can elevate your feet about two feet off the ground for a much harder version of the plank. You can also do a side plank, with your body perpendicular to the ground, only resting on one arm and alternating sides.

2. Hanging Leg Raises: Hanging leg raises might be my personal favorite amongst the best ab exercises that boxers can do for great, solid strength. Hang with your arms extended from a doorway chin up bar, using a normal pull-up grip. Keep your back straight and keep your head looking straight forward. Now bring your hips back so that you can bring your knees up towards your midsection, ending in a position where your shins are parallel to the floor. Be sure not to swing yourself or use momentum, and keep that back straight. Perform as many reps as possible, resting 60 seconds in between sets.

Variation: Once you've mastered the hanging leg raise, then try making it harder with hanging pikes. The same basic movement applies, but instead of raising your knees to your midsection and stopping, extend your legs straight up towards the ceiling in a "V" shape. Again, keep your back straight and your core tight as you complete the movement, and perform as many as possible in each set. You'll really feel this all up and down your abdominals for a great burn.

3. Lying Toe Touches: I'm always a big proponent of training for boxing with medicine balls and this is one of the best abs exercises with medicine balls that you can perform. Lie down on your back on the floor, with a medicine ball by your head. Raise your legs straight into the air and keep them in that position. Grab the medicine ball and hold it behind your head with your arms extended straight. Now raise the medicine ball and touch your toes with it, keeping your legs still, your arms straight and doing the reaching with your core. Lower and repeat, performing 12-20 repetitions per set.

4. Russian Twists: Here's another one of the best abs exercises for boxers that uses a medicine ball. Sit down with both of your feet on the floor and hold a medicine ball with both hands in your midsection. Lean back so your upper body is at about a 45 degree angle, and lift your feet a few inches off the ground. Twist your upper body to one side, and carry the medicine ball as far as you can without losing your balance. Then swing the ball back across your body and all the way to the other side, completing 20 turns in each direction per set. If you lose your balance or get tired, just regroup in a quick second and complete the set.

5. Bird Dogs: Bird dogs are similar to push-up planks because you'll be using your core muscles in the way they're designed - for support and stabilization. Get down on all fours, resting on your knees and palms, with your back straight and your head looking straight forward. Extend your left leg straight back and your right arm straight forward, locking each limb out and keeping your core as tight as possible. Hold the pose for 10 seconds, and then use the opposite limbs, right leg and left arm. Alternate sides for between 3-5 reps per side, rest for one minute, and complete another set or two. Another great abs exercise for boxers that really targets the entire midsection while providing functional strength.

When you stick with these 5 best abs exercises for boxers, you'll never have to worry about machines or crunches ever again, and you'll enjoy truly fantastic results with great a rock solid core and a chiseled, functionally strong midsection.

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