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How to Train like Anthony Joshua

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Image credit The Telegraph .

This Saturday Anthony Joshua and Charles Martin go head to head.

With a rise in fame – mainly due to the heavy fall of most of his opponents – footage of Anthony Joshua’s training and impressive feats of strength keep appearing online. As more of these videos pop up, one thing has become pretty clear – Anthony Joshua and current heavyweight champ Tyson Fury have very different training regimes. Whilst Joshua’s firing off kettlebell shot puts in the sand, Fury is performing tricep kick-backs with his Dad.

With a physique that wouldn’t go amiss on a bodybuilding stage, Joshua certainly has the form and the function to back up his impressive frame. Standing at 6 ft 6 inches tall, just over 17 stone in weight with 19 inch arms and a 36 inch waist, you can understand why people are paying as much attention to his frame as they are his performance in the ring.

Over the past few years, sites like YouTube have given us easy access to unique and sometimes downright bizarre training systems. So what exactly is going on?

By the end of this post you’ll (hopefully) have a better understanding of these training methodologies and their application into a routine to make you less of a pie-eating champ and more of a prize-fighting champ!


All great structures must start with a solid foundation. You can build a big, beautiful house but if the foundations are weak then cracks will no doubt appear. Your new house will crumble and you’ll have to start all over again. Nobody wants that!


What do I mean by movement? Let’s take a squat for example. You perform a squat and your knees do a little dance like the stanky leg. That’s obviously a bad movement. Add 100kg to your back and over time you’re just going to make your bad movement stronger, ultimately leading to injury.

Joshua will be at a certain point in his training and is more than likely still performing a number of correctional exercises – tight shoulders, poor flexibility, core function, muscle activations etc.

Sport itself isn’t great for balance, particularly if it involves a dominant side (which is pretty much every sport!) Boxers generally live with one leg forward throwing punches, footballers favour one leg, tennis players one arm and golfers will perform around 100 strokes per game all in the same direction. Over time this all adds up and will contribute to injury – something a professional athlete wants to avoid, especially in a career where time is limited, like boxing.

Once your body is moving as it was intended it’s time to start adding load!

Joshua’s training will be programmed to aid progression. Throughout the year, a typical plan for an athlete will contain strength, power, conditioning and sport specific periods.

We’ve all seen how powerful Joshua is. The question we’re trying to answer is how the hell did he get that thunderous right hand? Obviously he’s freakishly strong – that’s a given. However, there are plenty of people out there with benching serious weight who can only dream of knocking people out Joshua style. So what are we missing? POWER!


Remember the footage of Joshua shot-putting weights? It’s all well and good being able to bench 150kg, but due to the heavy load you’ll rarely see anybody throwing up the bar at the same speed as them throwing a punch.

But you’ll never be powerful without a solid strength foundation. Imagine Mr Bean throwing the same kettlebells – not going to happen as he doesn’t posses the strength let alone the power. The same is true for legs. Gain serious strength with an exercise like the barbell squat and translate that to jump squats, box jumps, sprints etc. to become more athletic.


One more piece of the puzzle to add – sport specific training. For Joshua, this will be in two forms.

The first is obvious – boxing.

He’ll spend a large amount of his time on the heavy bag, pads and sparring. No brainer. Remember – perfect practice makes perfect – nobody ever got great at running by cycling. Cross training is fantastic but should never replace the skill you are trying to develop.

The second – sport specific movements.

Strength training is very linear – you generally push something away or pull something towards yourself from a stable, static position. In boxing, every shot thrown involves rotation, so it makes sense to train this plane of motion. Cue Rocky IV – a training montage of wood chopping and sacks of rocks being hoisted by pulleys. Good old Rocky was on to something – working that strength and power through rotation. Sledgehammer hits, rotating cables presses and landmine presses will all simulate the actions needed to accomplish that sweet chin music!

Add all this together and you’ve got a formidable opponent.


A typical periodised plan for Joshua will have a strength phase, where the aim is to get as brutally strong as possible. A power phase, where he learns how to turn that new found strength into power. And finally a fight camp phase (typically 12 weeks) where the main focus will be conditioning (fitness) and skill work (boxing) whilst trying to keep the strength and power he gained before camp.

This cycle is repeated, making Anthony Joshua a very big and powerful force to be reckoned with.

This method can be applied to all sports. You could be the most skilful football player in the world but if you lack the power or strength to defend tackles then your skill is wasted. It’s true a more skilled player will have the edge over a less skilled but stronger player, but a strong, skilful player will have the edge over everyone.

By working through different aspects of training in a periodised method you’ll keep improving and – if you’re a professional boxer – knocking people out!

‘chat sh!t, get banged’ Anthony Joshua



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