In Part 1 of this series, I discussed where to start with a beginner’s strength training programme – if you missed it, you can read it again by clicking HERE.


In this article, I will tell you what to do once technique has been mastered…


Where to begin in a boxing strength training programme: Part 2 – Linear Progression


Initially, the boxer will build some strength as a result of mastering technique, despite the fact they are using very light weights.


This is simply because they’re learning how to co-ordinate their muscles more efficiently (a term called ‘intramuscular coordination’), however, as soon as they have grasped correct technique, they will need to start increasing the amount of weight that they lift should they wish to continue to make strength gains.


Something that all boxers, coaches and people who lift weights in general must understand is the principle of overload, which states that, in order to build strength, you must give the body a reason to do so i.e you must lift more weight.



Doing the same weights over and over again will NOT stimulate strength gains once lifting technique has been mastered.


A ‘linear progression’ model is the best place for boxer to start and simply refers to them adding weight every single time they train – strength is built in a linear fashion.


This is how it might look over 6 weeks of training for the squat, training twice a week:


Week 1: Technique Focus
Session 1

Learn the squat movement pattern (bodyweight) and, if possible, identify the most appropriate squat variation

Session 2

Refresher of the squat movement pattern, perform up to 5 sets of 5 reps in the squat variation that was determined in the previous session (empty bar only)


Week 2: Technique Focus/Linear Progression

From this point, the boxer stays with an empty bar until technique has been mastered, at which point they can start adding weight.

Session 1

Set 1: 20kg (empty bar) x 5 reps

Set 2: 25kg x 5

Set 3: 35kg x 5

Set 4: 40kg x 5

Set 5: 45kg x 5

Session 2

Set 1: 45kg x 5

Set 2: 47.5kg x 5

Set 3: 50kg x 5

Set 4: 50kg x 5

Set 5: 50kg x 5


Week 3

Session 1

Set 1: 55kg x 5

Set 2: 55kg x 5

Set 3: 55kg x 5

Session 2

Set 1: 60kg x 5

Set 2: 60kg x 5

Set 3: 60kg x 5


Week 4

Session 1

Set 1: 62.5kg x 5

Set 2: 62.5kg x 5

Set 3: 62.5kg x 5

Session 2

Set 1: 65kg x 5

Set 2: 65kg x 5

Set 3: 65kg x 5


Week 5

Session 1

Set 1: 67.5kg x 5

Set 2: 67.5kg x 4

Set 3: 67.5kg x 4

Session 2

Set 1: 67.5kg x 5

Set 2: 67.5kg x 5

Set 3: 67.5kg x 5


Week 6

Session 1

Set 1: 70kg x 5

Set 2: 70kg x 4

Set 3: 70kg x 3

Session 2

Set 1: 70kg x 5

Set 2: 70kg x 5

Set 3: 70kg x 5



  • The same model can be applied to any main exercise (squat, deadlift, bench press etc.)


  • 5 sets are used initially, since the boxer may not feel as if the weight is very heavy, so weight can be added on each set. When the boxer has found an ‘ideal’ working weight that can be performed for straight sets i.e. kept the same on every set, then the total number of sets drops to 3 – doing more than this may be a bit too stressful on the body and require longer recovery time


  • If the boxer’s progress gets worse from one session to the next, then it suggests that they are either overtrained or under-recovered – they either need to scale back their training slightly (or switch to a different programme) or review their recovery i.e. nutrition, sleep, hydration etc.


  • The above is an example only and will NOT be the same for all boxers. For example, a heavyweight boxer (with more muscle) may be able to make much faster progress and be lifting more weight by the end of the 6 weeks, whereas a bantamweight (much less muscle) is likely to have a lower average working weight


  • When the boxer cannot complete 3 sets of 5 reps in one session, which will eventually happen, then the weight DOES NOT increase in the next session – they must be capable of completing all the reps before the weight is increased


  • When they cannot make progress from one session to the next, then a new programme is required. They are still likely to be using a linear progression model, but may simply need to change up the number of reps and sets in order to continue making progress

Next time…

In Part 3, I will discuss a suitable approach for a boxer who already possesses naturally high levels of strength… 


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