Muhammad Ali had a legendary training regimen, helping him develop some of the hardest hits as a legendary boxer. The heavy bag worked on Ali's explosive punch power.
Muhammad Ali is considered by many to be the greatest pound for pound boxer of all time. Ali had it all. The 3X Heavyweight Champ was quick, fast, agile, strong, powerful, and could take hit after hit and keep boxing (as was exemplified in the rope-a-dope against George Foreman). Ali is famous for his pre-game hype and pulled off some of the greatest upsets in the history of boxing (downing Liston in the 1st and beating Foreman at The Rumble in the Jungle). Ali fought in what many boxing enthusiasts call the toughest boxing era ever. Ali was named “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and was ranked the best heavyweight ever by Ring Magazine in 1998 and the 2nd best boxer ever by ESPN.com (only behind 173 win Sugar Ray Robinson).
Muhammad Ali created perhaps one of the most functional physiques of all time through his explosive strength, power, speed, and stamina. He was one of the best fighters that has ever strapped on gloves only because he trained like one of the best. Maybe if you follow the routine you too can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
Ali started his day off with early morning runs at 5:30 AM. He would stretch beforehand and then would run 6 miles a day in army type-boots in under 40 minutes. Ali made sure he ate a wholesome breakfast, eating all natural foods while drinking orange juice and plenty of water. After he ran, he would perform some exercises, stretch, and then go back home to get washed up. Ali then went to the gym at 12:30 PM for three hours. After the gym, he would get a massage rub down and then get washed up. Then he would talk with the TV people, go out and enjoy himself, and then eat dinner. Ali said in his book, “I always ate good: chicken, steaks, green beans, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, juice and water.” After dinner, he would go for a walk and relax by watching TV.
He made sure he trained six days a week with one off day a week where he’d relax and ease his body and mind. As you can see, Ali really went super hard when it came to his training. Training places heavy demands on not only your muscles but also your heart and internal organs. Think about how hard Ali trained in a given day. He did this six days a week, only giving himself one day of rest. You should give yourself at least two days of rest a week from training to ensure that you aren’t overtraining. Ali was a top professional athlete and must consistently train to keep his body in top shape. He also needed to stay sharp when it came to his boxing so six days a week worked for him. However, for most people, 4-5 days a week is plenty.
Check out the routine below for what Ali did during his training while in the gym for three hours. He didn’t perform weighted workouts as he felt it would slow him down, yet he had a very ripped physique. This just goes to show you that you can build muscle by doing calisthenic exercises and hitting the heavy bag. As long as there is some sort of resistance being placed on the muscle, your body will grow.
You can watch his full training regimen here. It’s truly legendary!
– Side to sides
– Torso swivels
– Jumping around on toes to limber up (15 minutes in total)
Shadow boxing: 5 X 3 minutes rounds, working on footwork and speed punching (30 second break in between rounds)
Heavy bag: 6 X 3 minute rounds, working on combinations and stamina (30 second break in between rounds)
Sparring: Built up sparring as camp progressed
Floor exercises: – 15 minutes (300 in total) – bicycle crunches, sit-ups with medicine ball, leg raises
Speed Bag: 9 minutes (1 minute break)
Skipping: 20 minutes (Ali always moved around while skipping, never staying in the same spot)
Shadow boxing: 1 minute, walking around with light shadow boxing
Adapted from a compilation of YouTube clips, documentaries, forums, interviews and/or features