Call it endurance, call it stamina—whatever you call it, you need to have it if you want to be a better fighter.

Fighting is often seen as an explosive sport and the crowds are always looking for that knock-out blow that sends the opponent to the ground. However, fights are really won through the ability to perform consistently throughout the duration of the bout. You need to be able to deliver powerful blows and block as many strikes as possible as the rounds in the fight count on.

This is where endurance and stamina come in. High levels of stamina allow a fighter to focus on their skills when in the ring rather than focusing on breathing as they get more and more tired.

Here’s what you need to do to become a more resilient fighter that packs more power into every round and stays the distance.

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There are two types of endurance conditioning, and you need to focus equally on both if you want to improve your fighting. These are:


This is also known as cardiovascular training. It’s all about improving how your heart pumps blood through your body so that you can get oxygen to your muscles. The more oxygen flowing through your body during a fight, the faster your reflexes and the more powerful your hits.


Anaerobic endurance is generally more focused on strength and muscle training. In anaerobic training, your muscles are taught how to work even when there is little extra oxygen coming in and your lactic acid levels are high. Being able to still hit hard when you’re tired is vital if you want to win fights, especially longer bouts.


There are a number of ways that you can increase your endurance and build your body strength. These are some of the best exercises to try:


This is exactly what it sounds like—bursts of high-intensity activity that alternate with a low-intensity exercise that’s easier on the body. The key is to keep working out but alternating the intensity. Your body thinks it’s getting a rest, but it’s still moving and working. This is ideal training for a fighter.

Interval training sessions don’t have to be very long. You can throw a lot into a 20-minute session and gain some major benefits.

There are many ways to do interval training. You can try something like a two, four, or four breakdowns. Four runs of four minutes, with a one-minute break in between each of the four minutes. You do two exercises in each of the four minutes—a high-intensity exercise for 40 seconds and a low-intensity exercise for 20 seconds, and repeat four times. One set of four minutes will look like this:

  • Jump squats for 40 seconds
  • Hold a squat for 20 seconds
  • Repeat x3

After that, you’ll take a one-minute rest and then move on to the next set with two different exercises.


Running is an excellent way to increase your stamina for fighting. It builds muscle strength in your legs and it improves your cardiovascular capabilities. If you want to get even more out of running, then doing sprints or hill reps is the way to go. This works in much the same way as interval training, but instead of working out in the gym, you’re out on the road.

Hill reps in particular are great because the strength you need to tackle the inclines helps you to build strong leg muscles for more powerful kicks. However, any kind of running reps will give you the boost you need to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Doing this kind of training for a short amount of time can have the same impact on burning calories as running at a slower pace for an hour.

After you’ve warmed up, pick how you’re going to get your sprints in. You can go for a specific distance or time with each sprint. For example, if you’re running along the street, you can sprint for the space between two lamp posts and then jog for the same distance. Alternatively, you can sprint for a minute and then jog for 30 seconds or a minute.


Core strength is a vital part of endurance training. If your core isn’t strong, you’ll find that you waste too much energy holding yourself up when you get tired, rather than being able to focus on the fight. This is where Pilates and other core training can be your best friend.

It’s important to focus on your midsection, which is made up of your abdominals and back muscles. This will help your posture, too. In turn, this will make it easier to breathe when you get tired because you’ll be less likely to hunch over and compress your lungs.


You can’t do much better than swimming training if you want to improve your stamina. You get an all-over workout and you improve your cardiovascular efforts at the same time. On top of that, the training has no impact on your joints so can offer a welcome rest in between fighting training.

One of the most important benefits of swimming is that it teaches you incredible breath control. With your head under water half the time or more, you’re forced to breathe at regular intervals, even as you get tired.

Swimming also helps with muscle strength, core strength, and flexibility. With each stroke through the water, you’re twisting your body at angles you don’t get with other training options like running. This is good for fighting, as having a greater range of movement makes it easier for you to block or move out of the way of punches or kicks.


With the rise in numbers of boxers and MMA fighters entering the ring, it’s more important than ever to focus on every aspect of your training—not just fighting. If you want to outlast your opponent, you need a competitive advantage.

Cross-training helps your body to recover quicker and keeps your workouts interesting. When you include endurance training in your regime, you’ll find that you improve in all areas—especially in your ability to stay sharp as the fight goes on.


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