How Important Is Leg Strength in Boxing?

The right training program can make the difference between your first amateur win and your first amateur concussion. Successful boxers pay significant attention to developing leg strength. Strong legs not only translate into punching power, but also contribute to the footwork and endurance you’ll need to survive several rounds in the ring.
When a boxer throws a punch, it is not only upper body strength but also leg strength that determines how much power the punch will pack. According to Johnny Nguyen of, stepping forward and springing off your foot will give your punches more power. This is especially true of uppercuts, which depend on the strength of your calves, glutes, quads and hamstrings for explosive power.
Boxers need to dodge, bob and weave to keep their opponent guessing and to find placement for their punches. Side stepping, pivoting, bobbing and dancing around your opponent all require strong and agile legs, as does the ability to maintain balance after taking a punch. On, former amateur boxer Fran Sands writes that strong flexible legs are essential for weaving and throwing both inside and outside rolling punches.
A boxer must have adequate leg strength to last more than a couple of rounds in the ring. Boxing trainer Ross Enemalt estimates that up to 80 percent of a boxing match is anaerobic activity. The intense bursts of energy required in boxing demand that a boxer have a great deal of muscular endurance in all of the muscle systems used in boxing, including the legs.
Because leg strength is so important in boxing, your training regimen should include exercises to strengthen the legs. Running strengthens your legs and increases aerobic endurance. Skipping and jumping rope also condition leg muscles. Adding exercises like step-ups — which use a box or platform and dumbbells — to your normal routine will help to strengthen your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Personal trainer Dave Robson recommends leg hops with dumbbells as another way to build both leg strength and balance.

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