Manny Pacquaio was without a doubt one of the most talented and exciting fighters since he made his mark in the sport. The Filipino has always been known for his blistering speed and exciting style which made everyone want to watch him!
But, as much as he was, of course, talented, Pacquiao worked extremely hard behind the scenes to get him in the best possible shape. With over 70 bouts throughout his career, winning twelve major world titles, and the fact he fought into his 40s. It required a lot of sacrifice and hard work in the gym.
In this article, I’ll break down for you some of Manny Pacquaio’s training methods which got him in top physical condition and developed his blistering speed and power.
This should hopefully give you some ideas in terms of how you can train like Manny Pacquiao in some of your own workouts.
Paquiao Training Routine
But first up let’s go over his actual training routine before I go onto the specifics of what Pacquiao works on.
This is what a daily typical training camp would look like for PacMan below. First things first and during the peak of his camp. He trained six days a week, with double sessions on three days morning and the afternoon. (No doubt he did more double sessions when he was younger). Also, consider he would have to do senator duties while on training camp as he got older.
|Sunrise (6-7am)||Morning run, Sprints & S&C|
|8am – 12pm||Breakfast, Morning nap/rest|
|1pm – 3pm||Sparring, Boxing equipment and drills, body weight S&C|
|3:30pm – 4:30pm||Post workout meal|
|6pm – 10pm||Relax/Recovery, Dinner and in bed by 10pm|
As you can tell from the above, the Filipino had an intense schedule on double training days which included cardio, strength and conditioning, and boxing training.
Let’s now go into the specifics of each of these.
Running and cardio
Now before Pacquiao headed to the boxing gym, one of the first things he would actually do is to go out on his morning runs. It has been said he aims to do around 10 miles every morning 4-5 days a week in his training camp. However, this would reduce the distance as more sparring happened and as his fight got closer.
As PacMan usually trained in L.A. he tended to run up a lot of the rolling hills for added resistance. (He also did the same when in the Philippines) You will often see Pacquaio running with a massive entourage (see above) and inspired people who love to just get a glimpse of him!
Pacquaio was seen to do hill sprints, which in turn helped contribute to explosive power and speed. This is because it helps increase the pool of muscle fibers available to you, while also adding more muscle tension. Meaning it will help you become faster.
The other aspect is of course stamina, which is vital at the elite level of boxing, especially if you are going to fight 12 rounds. This is a key principle for many of the top champions as they need to be able to sustain prolonged physical and mental strength throughout the fight.
At the end of his runs, Pacquaio was often seen doing some shadow boxing, ab exercises and stretching at the end.
Check out my article on why running is important for boxing here.
Old School Boxing Training
Believe it or not, but the majority of Manny Pacquaio’s training was of course very old school in nature. The Filipino would use all the traditional boxing equipment you see in any gym. However, the one main difference for me is that he is always thinking about speed, movement and power while using the equipment. This will include:
Mitt work – Pacquaio was also a very competent combination puncher which most speedy boxers are known for. The mitt work played a key part in his training, helping to develop his punch variation, speed and power.
Heavy Bag – The heavy bag helped the Filipino work on his power shots and combinations. But from my observations watching him using it. He is very proactive, making sure he was always moving just like he does when we saw him sparring or in the ring.
Double End Bag – Using this made sure to keep Manny sharp in terms of reflexes, punch timing and hand-eye coordination. Especially when his focus was on using his speed!
Speed Bag – Similar to the double-end bag in terms of helping speed and timing, it also helped to condition the Filipino’s shoulder muscles. He would also continue bouncing while doing this to continually work on the fast twitches and cardio for his legs.
Jump Rope – Finally, Manny would usually do a bit of jump rope before the main workout or as a warm-down after his other training.
As you can see from the above it is all very traditional boxing training and equipment for the most part. It just shows you how sticking to the typical practices can be very beneficial in your development.
Strategy and Sparring
Now as much as all the above will helped Manny Pacquaio get in great condition to fight. The real work happened when he was sparring. With his trainer Freddie Roach, this was where they could apply their strategy and tactics for an upcoming fight.
The fact Pacquaio also trained out of the Wild Card Boxing Gym in L.A. meant he would have his top pick of some of the most hungry and talented fighters in California. This then required Pacquaio to be at the top of his game, which is ideal preparation by the time it comes to fight under the lights.
Another aspect of his strategy was hit team would cater to each opponent. Pacqauio’s coach said this when facing Mayweather:
“With Floyd Mayweather, it was a lot more leg work because we think we’re going to be chasing him and using a bunch of angles, so Manny needs to be super-explosive off his legs. Legs are where your power comes from.”
I think this is always a refreshing thing to hear from a coach trying to change up training in accordance to who you will be fighting. It’s no wonder the 8 weight world champion has been able to perform and compete against each fighter so effectively.
Check out Pacquaio Sparring at Wild Card Gym below:
Strength and Conditioning
Now the other important aspect of Manny Paquaio’s training was of course his strength and conditioning. For the most part, he rarely uses any weight training, and it’s believed Freddie Roach thinks this would slow him down.
However, Pacquaio’s former S&C coach Justine Fortune had some interesting things to say about this area when talking to Boxing News:
Boxing’s pretty boring, it’s the same stuff – bag work, mitt work. We do a lot of lower-body and upper-body plyometric work because they’re explosive exercises and they use fast twitch fibers. We do jumps, floor ladder work, and for the upper body, a lot of ball work (medicine ball) and basically speed-pushing work.Justine Fortune, Pacquaio’s Strength and Conditioning Coach
The Plyometric aspect of his training was a fantastic way for Pacquaio to use speed and power through different movements to build up his muscles. These are very explosive exercises, in short intervals with only 60-second rest between each set. These include things like jump splits, medicine ball throws, plyometric push-ups, box jumps and squat jumps.
Check out my top exercises for punch power here.
Another big part of Pacquaio’s strength and conditioning routine is of course his core strength. A lot of the power he generated was through having a strong core and it has been said he did up to 2000 abs reps in one day! Here is a list of some of the ab exercises I have seen him do in his training sessions. Why not try 500 reps with these ab exercises involved below?
- Ab Crunches
- Bicycle crunches
- Leg Scissor kicks
- Floor Wipers
- Russian Twists
- Side crunches
Another thing Pacquaio would use was Thai sticks, which was a technique Freddie Roach picked up from a fellow coach who was in Thailand. The smacking of the stick helps to numb the nerves in your core and arms. It basically is a great method to use before fight night, as by the time it comes he is getting hit in his arms or body, and his pain resistance will be much higher.
After his intense training session throughout the week, Pacquaio’s diet and recovery were absolutely key if he wanted to perform at the highest level. However, the 8 weight division world champion was very old school in his methods.
He did not take up the things like an ice bath or cryotherapy which has been proven to help with muscle recovery. He instead opts for a warm bath with salts instead or even a massage.
Check out my articles on recovery for boxers below for more on this area:
- Rest Day For Boxing | What Should You Do?
- 10 Effective Tips To Help Muscle Recovery After Boxing Training
- 16 Best Recovery Tips and Ideas After Boxing Training
Diet and Nutrition
As Pacquiao is very old school in his recovery methods, his diet and nutrition are in fact vital in his overall recovery and performance in his training camps. Pacquaio has been said to be able to burn up to 2500-3000 calories in one day’s training. He needs to be able to eat a lot to withstand that type of training.
It’s been rumored he can eat up to 7000 calories in one day which is just ridiculous. Even his S&C has said he is a ‘freak’ because of this. The reason apparently is that his metabolism is so naturally good and so he doesn’t completely burn or lose the muscle he has gained, but instead, it was the additional fat he built up.
Looking online at a recent interview with Manny Pacquaio, he said he tends to have Pinoy-based food (Filipino), which includes some of the following:
- White rice
- Steak Kebab
- Eggplant Omelet
- Tinonlank Maok
When you look at Manny Pacquiao’s training it is no wonder he had such incredible success over the years as a top world boxing champion.
The thing I liked about Pacquiao’s training for the most part is that it was in fact very old school in terms of boxing training. That is probably the way it should be. The reason he does so well in my opinion, is that he focuses intently on being powerful and quick regardless of the training he is doing. His discipline is also up there with one of the best I have ever seen and it’s no surprise he was still fighting into his early 40s.
If you enjoyed this make sure to check out my training reaction video on Pacquiao below (before Errol Spence was replaced). Or you can read my other training regime articles on the following boxers:
Thanks for reading!
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