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Workouts for Women

The Ring-Ready At-Home HIIT Boxing Workout

Go round for round to burn calories and body fat with this super-efficient 25-minute fighter’s routine.

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At some point, you grow tired of the same old cardio routines — treadmill, elliptical, running, boot camps, what have you — and need something a little different to mix things up. 

How about boxing? It’s more stimulating than most cardio machines, provides an incredible cardiovascular and conditioning workout, and can be done at home with no equipment.

The following routine was designed by Charlotte, North Carolina–based Adam Zart, a strength and conditioning coach and instructor at Dyme Boxing & Fitness and Hayastan MMA. Mimicking the format of an actual boxing match (three-minute rounds, one minute between each), this is a true fat-loss high-intensity interval training cardio session, with additional calisthenics included to tax both upper- and lower-body muscles and provide a nice “afterburn.” 

The workout is brief, fast-paced and highly taxing to the lungs, legs and shoulders — and never boring. Let’s get ready to rumble! 

Equipment Needed: Bodyweight only, plus a timer; jump rope and light dumbbells (to hold while punching) are optional.

Time Commitment: 24 minutes, including warm-up.

Warm-Up

Do the following exercises for 45 seconds each, one after the other without resting in between moves. Keep the intensity moderate. “This is the same warm-up I do for all my fighters,” Zart says.

Boxing Warm-Up Circuit
Jump Rope (or simulation)
Butt Kicks 
Jump Rope (or simulation)
High Knees
Jump Rope (or simulation)
4-Way Jumping Jacks

Workout

Instructions:

  • As listed below, you’ll repeat the exercises in each round twice (three minutes per round, same as an actual boxing match). As you repeat the workout, build up to where you can get through each pair of exercises three times without taking extra rest (other than the one-minute active rest between rounds). 
  • To make the workout more challenging, hold a pair of light dumbbells (3 to 10 pounds) while doing some or all of the punch combos. 
  • Proper fighter’s stance (for one-minute punch combinations): Stagger your feet about a foot’s length away from each other and spread about 2 inches apart. Imagine standing on the edges of a strip of painter’s tape running between your legs. If you’re right-handed, keep your right foot in back and your left foot in front. If you’re left-handed, place your left foot in back and your right foot in front. Raise your hands to the sides of your face covering your cheeks, not below your jaw.

Round 1

  • 1 minute: Jab/Cross/Anchor
  • 30 seconds: Fast Knees (in place) or Lateral Shuffles
  • 1 minute: Jab/Cross/Anchor
  • 30 seconds: Fast Knees (in place) or Lateral Shuffles

Do one minute of active rest: jump rope, jump-rope simulation, shadowbox or jog in place.

Round 2

  • 1 minute: Jab/Cross/Hook/Anchor
  • 30 seconds: Plyometric Knee Push-Ups or Hand Walkouts
  • 1 minute: Jab/Cross/Hook/Anchor
  • 30 seconds: Plyometric Knee Push-Ups or Hand Walkouts

Do one minute of active rest: jump rope, jump-rope simulation, shadowbox or jog in place.

Round 3

  • 1 minute: Upper Cut/Hook/Cross/Anchor/Anchor
  • 30 seconds: Plyometric Bodyweight Squats
  • 1 minute: Upper Cut/Hook/Cross/Anchor/Anchor
  • 30 seconds: Plyometric Bodyweight Squats

 

Exercise Instructions

See video instructions for each round below the following warm-up, including commentary from coach Adam Zart and demonstration by his wife, Tracy Zart.

Jump Rope or Jump-Rope Simulation (Warm-Up)

If you have a jump rope, do steady-paced “single-unders” for the duration. If you don’t have a rope, just simulate it by jumping a few inches off the floor while also mimicking the arm motion. 

Zart’s Commentary: “Here, we’re just getting the body warmed up, the heart rate increased, and the shoulders and calves ready for the boxing drills.”

Butt Kicks and High Knees (Warm-Up)

Both these exercises can be done in place. For butt kicks, bend your knee to lift your heel up to your butt, alternating your legs every other rep. For high knees, pull your knee up to at least waist height, again alternating sides every other rep.

Zart’s Commentary: “Do the butt kicks and high knees with a fast pace, but you’re still just warming up, so don’t go super hard here.”

4-Way Jumping Jacks (Warm-Up)

Standard jumping jack + jumping jack into a right-foot forward lunge + standard jumping jack + jumping jack into a left-foot forward lunge. That’s one rep. 

Zart’s Commentary: “On the lunge, you don’t have to do full range of motion where the back knee touches the floor. It’s more of a plyometric lunge, going down only halfway or so.”

Round 1

Jab/Cross/Anchor

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Throw a jab with your front hand, then a cross with your back one. After the cross is thrown, your head should be over your front leg. To anchor, lower your weight over your front leg. Once you have lowered yourself about 6 inches, rotate your body over to your rear leg and stand up. Turn your feet 45 degrees and repeat. Do this combo repeatedly — jab, cross, anchor, rotate — for one minute. 

Zart’s Commentary: “The beginning of the anchoring motion is like a single-leg squat on the front leg. All and all, you’re essentially making a ‘U’ or ‘anchor’ shape with the movement of your head.”

Fast Knees (in place) or Lateral Shuffles

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For fast knees, squat down into roughly a half-squat position, then rapidly chop your feet while staying in the down position. Keep your hands up in front of your shoulders. For lateral shuffles, do the same thing while moving laterally back and forth (if you have the space available). 

Zart’s Commentary: “With these, you’re really trying to stay low while doing the fast knees or shuffles to keep tension on the legs.”

Round 2

Jab/Cross/Hook/Anchor 

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This is the same combo as Round 1, plus an added punch (hook). After the cross, throw a hook with the front hand, keeping your elbow bent and arm parallel with the floor. 

After the hook, lower yourself over the rear leg and stand up on the front leg for the anchor portion.

Zart’s Commentary: “You’re still doing the 45-degree turn after each combo. I like the turn because it gives you something different to look at for each set of punches, plus it forces you to fix your feet each time to stay in balance.”

Plyometric Knee Push-Up or Hand Walkout 

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For plyometric knee push-ups, lower until your chest touches down, then explode up so your hands leave the floor just briefly. For walkouts, start in a standing “touching toes” position (bent over at the waist), and walk your hands out in front of you on the floor to lower down into a push-up position. Walk your hands back to your feet to return to the start position. 

Zart’s Commentary: “With plyometric push-ups, you don’t have to get much height. This is a quick motion — you’re getting right back down and right back up. Even with my advanced fighters, I have them do this move on their knees because it keeps the form more controlled and you can get a lot faster with it. The hand walkouts are more of a time-under-tension [TUT] exercise because you constantly have that weight on your shoulders. With these 30-second intervals between rounds, you’re putting emphasis on the muscle groups you’re using — in this case, the shoulders. With boxing, there’s a lot of shoulder, neck and upper-trap work. That’s really important because boxers are holding their arms up for extended periods of time and boxing gloves are heavier than, say, MMA gloves.”

Round 3

Upper Cut/Hook/Cross/Anchor/Anchor

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From a fighter’s stance, squat down and come back up, throwing an upper cut in a twisting motion with your rear hand as you come up. Once the upper cut is thrown, your head should be over your front leg. From here, throw a hook punch with your front hand, then a cross with your rear. Anchor twice — once to the rear, then to the front — and reset. 

Zart’s Commentary: “This is the most advanced punch combo of the workout, but the only new thing you’re adding from the others is an upper cut. And with the upper cut, all the power comes from the legs, so it’s mostly an explosive squatting motion. Keep your arm in close to your body; don’t let it swing out.”

Plyometric Bodyweight Squat 

 

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Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, drop down into a full squat, then explode out of it to leave the floor. Keep your hands up in front of your chin throughout. 

Zart’s Commentary: “Go as deep as you can at the bottom of the squat, but don’t worry about how high you’re getting at the top. Just let your feet leave the ground a little bit. This is exactly the kind of explosive lower-body motion you want on your upper cut. You’re trying to really build that quick response in the muscle fibers.”