Boxing Strength Exercises: Mastering the Pull Up and Chin Up


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Fighters in training often struggle with the best ways to build muscle for boxing. Strength exercises for boxing have to be different than strength exercises for other athletes. In boxing, a fighter's flexibility and lean muscle mass are extremely important, whereas you don't want to just pack on tons of extra muscle.

One of the best strength training exercises for boxing is the pull up, and it's close cousin, the chin up. Both of these are body weight exercises, meaning you aren't relying on extra weights or machines, you are building strength through working out with your own body weight. This applies great to boxing, and will help you add tons of functional strength to use in the ring, without bulking you up too much or slowing you down.

Difference Between Pull Ups and Chin Ups

Let's get this out of the way first, what's the difference between a pull up and a chin up? A pull up is done with your palms facing away from your body. That means you're looking at the back of your hands as you grip the pull up bar. Doing a pull up is probably the single best way to strength train for your upper and middle back. Pull ups also incorporate the forearms, triceps and biceps.

Chin ups are done with your hands facing the opposite direction, with the palms facing towards you. Chin ups are easier to perform than pull ups, because of how you are gripping the bar. By gripping with your palms facing you, you end up using your biceps a lot more. Your back is still the primary target, but your biceps aren't far behind.

Using Pull Ups and Chin Ups for Boxing Strength Training

There are lots of ways to incorporate pull ups and chin ups for boxing strength training. And the benefits are clear: much stronger back, arms, grip and core, without bulking up and limiting your range of motion, your speed or your fluidity.

First you have to test yourself to see how many pull ups and chin ups you can perform, or if you can perform any. You also need to know the proper way to do a pull up and a chin up. Position yourself under a pull up bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.

Start hanging from the bar, so your arms are fully extended. Pull yourself so your chin is completely over the bar, squeezing with your back muscles as you exert yourself. Pause for a brief second and then slowly yourself back down so your arms are completely extended. Do not cheat by lowering yourself halfway, unless you are purposely burning yourself out to failure.

Different Ways to Use Pull Ups and Chin Ups for Boxing Strength Training

Now, can you perform one complete pull up or chin up? If not, then you have to train yourself by completing half pull ups or half chin ups. To do these, you jump up so that your starting position is with your chin above the bar. Then lower yourself down, taking 5 seconds to completely extend your arms. Repeat this several times in a row, then rest for one minute, before repeating two more sets. This will build up your strength and soon you will be able to start completing full repetitions.

Once you can complete at least 5 chin ups, it's time to move to more advanced training techniques. You can either perform these routines before your boxing workout, on separate days or as part of a larger strength training routine.

Routine 1: Perform a set of pull ups to failure. Immediately after your last completed rep, switch to a chin up grip, and perform chin ups until failure. Rest one minute and repeat twice.

Routine 2: Perform a total of 25 chin ups. If you can do 5 chin ups your first set, you might believe you can finish this in 5 sets. But as you begin getting tired, you won't be able to maximize your reps each time. Keep track of how many sets it takes you to complete the 25 reps, and work on lowering that number. Perform twice a week. If you can do this in 2 sets, perform the same routine with pull ups, or switch the number to 40.

Routine 3: Perform a set of pull ups until failure. Immediately begin performing push ups, complete one set until failure. Rest 60 seconds and repeat two more times. Perform two more super-sets, this time starting with chin ups and finishing with push ups.

Routine 4: Shadowbox for three minutes. During your 60 second rest period, perform as many pull ups as you can. Repeat for three total rounds.

Pull ups and chin ups are two of the best strength training exercises for boxing workouts. They are guaranteed to increase your strength, yet because they are body weight exercises, you won't unnecessarily bulk up.



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5 comments.

  1. […] Bodyweight exercises will add real strength to your body without adding excess muscle mass. Pull-ups and chin-ups are great bodyweight exercises, as are pushups, all sit-ups variations and […]

  2. This was very helpful and I like the 4 Routines very much. I will be doing feet elavated push-ups and will be using my pull-up bar which I have on my door frame.

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