Workout 101: A Guy’s Guide to Boxing

Workout 101: A Guy’s Guide to Boxing

Queue the training montage
boxing guide for guys

By Megan Collins | Last Updated: Jul 23 2019 | 7 min read

When it comes to confidence, there’s plenty of places a guy can start. For some, it begins with a wardrobe overhaul. For others, it’s tackling a new fitness routine. At SG HQ, we’ve found some guys are reluctant (but curious!) about gym classes. If that’s you, check out #SGapproved fitness activities in our Workout 101 series. On deck? A beginner’s boxing guide for guys…


Michael B. Jordan pulled on gloves for the Rocky-reboot Creed. Before that, Jake Gyllenhaal climbed in the ring for South Paw. Which can only mean one thing. Boxing is back.

But it’s not just Hollywood bringing on this workout renaissance. Boxing has been on the rise in gyms across the country, and old-school training facilities are getting new converts daily.

That should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen what boxing can do for your body (here at SG HQ, we might have that Creed movie poster taped up in the office..) Can you say traps, delts, and pecs?

Interested in getting your own boxer’s body?

Check out this boxing guide for guys before slipping into your wraps:

boxing guide for guys

What is boxing

Boxing is a martial art and combat sport, though most amateur training classes don’t involve person-to-person contact. Classes are generally structured to accommodate noobs, but the regimens taught are similar to those with which elite, internationally acclaimed athletes are trained.

Makes sense. What better way to get into shape than to work out like an athlete with a title to defend?

Drill-based classes incorporate total body conditioning for a workout that will make you sweat, and make you think. “Boxing increases agility, balance and coordination, as well as providing increased power, speed and endurance,” says owner/instructor Michelle Berke and intructor, Joseph Stritmater of Kickbox Haus.

You can expect to learn footwork, boxing technique, and what it feels like to move and box like a fighter. Many classes also involve shadowboxing, pad work, and heavy bag work.

Guy-to-girl boxing class ratio

Depends where you go, but most classes there will be some ladies looking to get their bob-and-weave on. And the crowd varies; you’ll see surprisingly dainty chicks who saw Gigi Hadid throwing punches on Instagram, and Ronda Rousey wannabes tearing it up in the ring. 

boxing guide for guys
SG’s Megan Collins is ready to get in the ring

Guys run the gamut from meatheads that look like they were born in the ring, and average Joes looking to improve their strength and speed, or maybe just put their head down and punch the sh*t out of a bag for an hour after leaving their emotionally draining finance job.

What we’re saying is, you’re not going to feel out of place, unless you go to a facility so no-frills that you’re literally training next to the next Rocky, leaving you embarrassed to have trouble with a 1-2-3 (jab-cross-hook) combo.

What to wear to boxing class

Until you get super-serious with your boxing routine, you can keep things simple with your workout wear. A sleeveless shirt will ensure you’re not feeling

boxing guide for guys
2XU XCTRL compression-lined shorts, $75

If you’re more comfortable with a compression lining to your workout wear, this pair should do the trick.

workout headbands for guys
Nike elastic headbands, $15 for 6

As Boxing Insider points out, “Another thing to remember is that if you have long hair you will want to pull it up out of your face. This goes for men and women. In boxing, you should always keep your chin tucked. If your hair is down, it will all fall right into your face, blocking your vision.”

Boxing Guide for Guys: Choreography complexity?

We’re not going to lie, learning the moves in boxing is not easy.

Apart from the occasional hip-hop dance class, nothing makes us feel like we’ve got two left feet AND two left arms like a boxing class can.

Boxing requires not just physical strength but mental acumen – it takes practice to find yourself in that elusive middle ground of turning your mind off and simply following along the teacher’s instructions and actually, you know, getting it right.

…Which is exactly what makes it so fun when you do start nailing your combos and footwork. So don’t get discouraged if you’re just starting out. You can – literally – only get better.

Check out these gifs to get you started in your boxing training:


burpees gif

Jab-Cross-Upper Cut-Upper Cut Combo

cross punch gif

Cross Punch Abdominals


Knuckle Push-Ups

knuckle push up gif
Gifs by: Joel Castillo of | shot at Nike+ 45 Grand training studio in NYC


You will work up a sweat. “Boxing is a great cardio workout,” says Nike trainer Rachel Nicks. “It’s one of my favorite ways to get the heart rate up and burn calories, since it challenges your coordination and works your core.” So yeah, bring a towel.

How hard is boxing, really

If we haven’t scared you enough yet, we’re just going to say it: boxing is pretty hard.

From learning to properly wrap your hands (surprisingly hard!) to feeling comfortable with the combinations (not-so-surprisingly hard!) to landing punch after punch for an hour on the bag, you’ll definitely feel it the next day.

But gaining the physique of a fighter could make it all worth it, for a guy with the dedication required to see results. Boxing builds sinewy muscles, with shoulders and backs that are just aching to be touched (no, really, you will be dying for a good massage the day after a workout).

The flip side of all that struggle is that you notice improvements quickly. You’ll gain strength, muscle mass, and agility fast when you commit to a boxing regimen. You’ll also get cool scars on your knuckles from where you’ve been wailing on the bag.


If you’re ready to overhaul not just your workout routine but your wardrobe, too, Style Girlfriend can help! Let a member of Team SG put together a personalized shopping plan just for you, your budget, and your body type.

I started Style Girlfriend to help guys look, feel, and act their best.