Two time heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua, is without a doubt one of the most well prepared athletes on the planet right now.
When we look at Anthony Joshua’s supreme adonis like physique and size, we don’t consider all the training and graft he puts in to get there.
In this blog I will look at some of Joshua’s training routines including boxing drills, strength and conditioning and nutrition. This should give you a better idea of the process of Joshua training to get him to the end result.
You can watch my video version or continue reading below:
Anthony Joshua’s Training Routine
Now before I go into the details on the specifics of what Joshua works on, it is important to identify his training routine.
I have gathered information from interviews with the GQ, Men’s Health and watching multiple training videos and fight documentaries to see what he does. It has been widely said in the past Joshua was influenced and inspired by Wladimir Klitschko. As he used to partake in his training camps when he first came onto the scene.
Now remember it’s important to note that Joshua is a full time fighter, so you won’t be able to implement all of this within your own routine, but you can definitely take some of this. Check out below:
|6.30 – 10am||Wake up, light breakfast|
|1.30pm||Strength and Conditioning and Boxing Training|
|5.30pm||Sparring and Boxing Training|
|8:00pm-10pm||Post workout meal, rest and sleep|
As you can tell from the above, the British heavyweight has an intense schedule where he trains three times a day, including cardio, strength and conditioning and boxing training.
I imagine towards the end of camp his sparring and strength conditioning sessions would drop off to help reduce the chance of injury and fatigue.
Interestingly Johusa has made it clear about the importance of cardio in the morning to help with fat loss. He said to the Journal: “I implement a fasted cardio before breakfast to build my fitness and burn fat.”
Another aspect he has brought into his training is the fact he doesn’t get up at 5am-6am to go out running straight away, which many boxers implement. Instead he has taken inspiration from the likes of Manny Paquiao and Floyd Mayweather, who would wait till they are well rested first before going out on their morning run. The gold medallist said:
“Some fighters get up at 5.00am, which is all good but sometimes I don’t leave the gym until late at night so I need rest. I’m training hard so I need rest to attack the day properly.”
I’ve also noticed in the Joshua camp how they will also implement explosive sprint training. Check out my video below to see Joshua doing some of these sprints in action. He also often seen using the exercise bike to help cardio too, so he is not always running.
Strength and Conditioning
Now this is an area where I feel Joshua actually gets a hard time for which, I wouldn’t necessarily say he should.
This is a statement that gets thrown around about the Olympic gold medallist, that he is just a bodybuilder who boxes which I completely disagree with.
Strength and conditioning is a huge part of heavyweight boxing, where you need to be physically strong and sometimes, big as possible. We did see in his first fight against Andy Ruiz, that he potentially over emphasised this area in training. But once again people forget he was meant to be fighting Jermell Miller, to probably withstand his size. He made up for it in the second fight by bringing in a more balanced approach which will do him better in the long run in my opinion.
You can read my article on if weight lifting is good or bad for boxing here.
Now getting back to Joshua’s S&C training he pretty much targets all areas of his body. The heavyweight champ will however do boxing specific movements which is what I recommend to all fighters doing strength and conditioning exercises. This in turn is what helps him to generate much of his explosive punch power.
A lot of the power generated is in fact from your lower body. But instead of doing exercises to build up muscle size Joshua is doing exercises to help with power. So by the time he enters the ring he can better transfer his overall power in his punches. Here are some exercises he like to implement with his trainer:
- Seated leg press with resistance bands
- Barbell Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts
- Trap Bar Deadlifts
- Hip bridge thrusts
- Barbell Squats
Having good overall upper body strength is key for all boxers as this is the area you need to build up the most as you will be punching, moving, twisting and turning. With the majority of your upper body muscles being used while boxing, this is an area Joshua has perfected as a big heavyweight.
The good thing I like to see is that Joshua does in fact do a lot of boxing specific movements, all with the intention to improve power with lots of rotational movements (like a punch) . This includes
- Medicine Ball Wall Throws
- Landmine press
- Plyometric push ups
- Cable Machine/resistance bands rotations
- Dumbbell Press
For the heavyweight boxer and unified world champion, Joshua definitely lives up to his title with Adonis like core. But how does Joshua actually get these abs? Well it’s a combination of all his training, but the additional core exercises which helps to chisel them.
Having a strong core is also key for the Brit to generate his knockout power. A lot the exercises I’ve seen him do include a lot of rotational movements.
Neck strength training
For heavyweight boxing, neck strength training is absolutely vital and that is something even Joshua has identified. Having been inspired by the likes Mike Tyson, Joshua has adapted his training and used these neck exercises in his
“To me, Mike Tyson was the founder of neck strength in boxing…As a heavyweight boxer, you need extremely strong neck muscles, so I train regularly with a neck harness.”
This includes exercises such as neck rolls, neck harness and kettlebell towel-Hang Neck Ups.
Additional strength training
On top of all this strength and conditioning, Joshua will experiment and try out new training techniques all the time. He’s often seen to be using heavy battle ropes to help mimic the high intensity on the ring which is something I recommend to any boxer to try out.
Another advanced sport science method which Joshua uses is using VO2 Max Testing while doing exercises such as on the bike or doing tire axe swings. This basically makes you have to work harder as it limits oxygen, which your muscles need to perform.
For more exercise ideas, I recommend you check out my exercises to increase punch power article here.
Now for Anthony Joshua’s actual boxing training for the most part. Is actually quite old school when it comes to this type of training, but with a few additional things to keep it interesting.
Sparring is one of the key things for Joshua as he prepares for his fights. Much like Klitschko did when he trained with him, he will bring in multiple training and sparring partners according to the opponent he is facing.
Another important aspect of this is he still trains at Team GB Boxing, where he gets the opportunity to spar up and coming British heavyweights who are hungry to impress meaning he has to keep sharp and at the top of his game.
The cornerstone of any boxing champion is using the heavy bag and it is no difference for Anthony Joshua. Not only does this help with conditioning, but also helps to work on his punch combinations and power shots.
Shadow boxing is obviously a vital aspect of developing your punch combinations and skillset. But Joshua does things slightly differently as he has taken influence from Brazilian footballers who train on the beaches by shadow boxing in sand.
This helps to add another dimension to his training as shadow boxing in the sand helps cardio, leg strength talking to Men’s Health he said:
“I think Brazilian footballers are much better in the world because they probably play football in the sand, so they tend to build up strength on an uneven surface…So, if you make things difficult in practice, it becomes easier in the ring. That is really difficult when your feet are in the sand. It’s making things difficult, but learning how to adapt.”
The heavyweight champion will usually do 5 rounds of shadow boxing in the sand and due to the unpredictable manner of the sand beneath him it acts very similar to the sport of boxing where anything can happen in an instant.
Finally to develop his skill set he will often be seen on the pad with his lead trainer Rob McCracken, but talented Spanish trainer Angel Fernandez who will do more complex pad and boxing drills.
This helps to develop Joshua’s punch combinations, defensive movements, footwork and power punches which are obviously all so key in boxing.
Check out Anthony Joshua typical training day below:
Nutrition and recovery
Now if you haven’t guess already, the Olympic Gold medallist does a lot of training! For him to perform at this highest level day in and out, the nutritional intake and his recovery are absolutely key.
There are many reports of different methods Joshua takes when it comes to his nutrition. From eating a whole chicken at Nandos, to trying out a Vegan diet and foods. No doubt I expect that he and his team have probably experimented throughout his whole career with nutrition to get the best results. From looking at interviews online and watching some videos on Youtube. This is what typical day of food intake looks like for Joshua:
Pre breakfast – Fruit (berries), 1L of water
Breakfast – Rice, chicken, vegetables, and sweet potatoes
Lunch – Two large chicken breasts with green vegetables, sweet potato or brown/wholemeal pasta
Snacks – Yogurt, meringues, homemade protein bars and shakes
Dinner – Red meat or Fish such as steak or salmon. Along with carbohydrates including pasta, whole grain rice or quinoa, and vegetables
Recovery and rest
In terms of his recovery, there are multiple things Joshua will use to help further. But one of his main methods is simply sleeping and relaxing, not doing too much of anything in the evening. The heavyweight trains 6 days a week at some point so he instead tries to take a full day off.
Check out the articles on what boxers should do on rest day here for more on what Joshua does on recovery day.
He also showed himself getting massage, ice baths, using massage guns and even getting acupuncture to help accelerate the recovery process so he can come back refreshed the next day for another tough day of training!
I recommend you check out the following article for muscle recovery:
- 16 Best Recovery Tips and Ideas After Boxing Training
- 10 Effective Tips To Help Muscle Recovery After Boxing Training
- Rest Day For Boxing | What Should You Do?
As you can tell from all the above, Joshua certainly lives the boxer lifestyle and you can’t deny that he cuts any corners when it comes to his training. When you look at Joshua’s record and opponent he’s faced, you can’t deny that all this training has played a part in him becoming a two time heavyweight champion.
The fact he trains so much, shows and proves to me how serious and dedicated he is to the sport of boxing which I have nothing but respect for. If you are looking to improve your S&C side I do recommend you try out some of these exercises mentioned above.
Now as much as all this training is amazing, it’s important for me to note that he is not just ‘bodybuilder’ and I recommend you read my Anthony Joshua boxing style analysis breakdown to find out more about his actual boxing ability! I do like that as much as the Brit experiments in other areas he still follows the old school boxing methods.
Or check out some other relevant articles further below.
Thanks for reading!
- Top 10 Exercises To Improve Hand Speed For Boxing
- 10 Exercises To Improve Your Reflexes For Boxing
- Shadow Boxing Exercises For Home Or The Gym
- 10 Exercises To Increase Your Punch Power For Boxing
- Simple Boxing Workout Routines For Home
- 6 Key Boxing Defensive Techniques – Hit And Don’t Get Hit
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