If there’s one type of body that clients ask personal trainers to help them get more than any other, it’s a boxer’s physique. And that’s fine by me, because I’m a former pro myself. Let me be your cornerman for the next six weeks and you’ll see how a regimen of simple punches, light weights, and total intensity can build a knockout physique in as few as 30 minutes per session. It’s the exact same method I use to train Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and the Victoria’s Secret models, excerpted from my new book, Sleekify! train like a boxer to look like an idol.

How it works

Throwing a punch is actually more complicated than it seems. Rather than let you ingrain bad form and train improperly, I’m going to have you punch with a parallel (“pyramid”) stance. This will make the power come from your upper body, and it will challenge your core. The workout focuses on jabs and uppercuts done at three different speeds. We begin slowly, using light dumbbells for extra muscle stimulation. Then you’ll speed it up a little with heavier weights, and finally drop the weights entirely to practice real-time punches. Classic body-weight exercises make up the rest of the workout. The whole routine is organized by rounds, so you make the experience of training like a boxer as realistic as possible—except for the part where you’d get punched in the face.

Directions

Perform the first two exercises as a warmup. Complete exercises 3A–3D as a circuit (round). So, you’ll do one set of each in order without rest in between. Afterward, rest 30 seconds, and repeat for three total rounds. Then go on to 4A–4D and perform in the same fashion. You can repeat the workout up to four times per week.

1. Run in Place

Sets: 1
Reps: Run for 2 min. 
Rest: 0 sec.

Lightly jog in one spot, raising the alternate arm and leg together.

2. Jumping Jack

Sets: 1
Reps: 2 min.
Rest: 0 sec.

Stand with your arms at your sides and your legs straight with knees unlocked. Sweep your arms out from your
sides and overhead as you jump and spread your feet wider than shoulder width. Reverse the motion.

3A. Left Jab

Sets: 3
Reps: Punch for 60 sec.
Rest: 0 sec.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Square your shoulders to your hips and brace your abs. Hold your fists just under your chin. Throw a straight punch with your left hand. Repeat for 60 seconds. In the first round, use three-pound dumbbells and throw the punches slowly—take two seconds to extend your arm and two to bring it back. In the second round, use a five- to 10-pound weight and take one second to throw the punch. In the third set, don’t use weights and punch as fast as possible.

3B. Right Jab

Sets: 3
Reps: Punch for 60 sec.
Rest: 0 sec.

Perform as you did for the left jab.

3C. Jump Rope

Sets: 3
Reps: Jump for 120 sec., 60 sec., 60 sec. 
Rest: 0 sec.

Make sure you have a rope that extends up to your armpits when you stand on the middle of it. Hold the handles at hip level and jump with both feet. Go at a moderate pace for two minutes, then work at the fastest possible pace you can maintain for the remaining sets.

3D. Bodyweight Squat

Sets: 3
Reps: 30 
Rest: 30 sec. 

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and fists at chin level. Bend your hips back and squat down as low as you can. Take two seconds to lower yourself and two seconds to come back up, but do not lock your knees at the top.

4A. Left Uppercut

Sets: 3
Reps: Punch for 60 sec. 
Rest: 0 sec.

Stand as you did for the jabs with fists under your chin. Brace your abs. Tilt your upper body to the left side and then use your core to throw an upwardarcing punch. Perform three rounds as you did for the jabs—the first one is slow, the second moderate, and the third fast. Use dumbbells for the first two sets.

4B. Right Uppercut

Sets: 3
Reps: Punch for 60 sec. 
Rest: 0 sec.

Perform as you did for the left uppercut, but tilt to the right side. Steady. Can’t reach the floor? Place dumbbells on it and touch them to steady yourself as you  bend down.

4C. Jump Rope

Sets: 3
Reps: Jump for 60 sec., 120 sec., 120
Rest: 0 sec.

Go at a moderate pace for one minute, then work at the fastest pace you can maintain for the next two sets. Perform a basic jump for the first minute and spend the next two minutes using a running step raise one knee at a time in front of you as high as you can control so it looks like you’re running in place.

4D. Aero Fly

Sets: 3
Reps: 5 (each side)
Rest: 30 sec.

Stand on your right foot and bend the other leg slightly behind you. Bend over at the hips to touch the floor with both hands. You should look like a sprinter about to take off. Explosively extend your hips and right knee to jump into the air and raise your torso so it’s in line with your back leg. Reach your arms out to your sides. Land softly on the ball of your foot and go right back into the down position again to begin the next rep.