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Stronglifts and boxing [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Dec 26, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Stronglifts and boxing

Stronglifts and boxing


Stronglifts can be combined with boxing to develop strength but might not be the optimal choice. Starting strength or Olympic lifting might be better choices depending on your level of fitness and proneness to injury. 

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What is your goal


Why are you looking into combining Stronglifts and boxing? Are you a beginner who is into fighting? Are you a veteran boxer who wants to pack a punch? Whatever it is it is important that you know what your goal is in fitness. The clearer the goals and the more detailed the plan to achieve them, the more likely you will get it done. There are three main areas in fitness


  • Looks 
  • Performance 
  • Health


Looks are all about a six pack and big muscles. Or whatever magazine front cover you fancy. To keep up with the Hollywood movie stars you need a very strict diet and train for hypertrophy. You will probably not even look at alcohol except spirits. No pasta, sugar or potatoes allowed. That’s what it takes to get that six pack.


If you are into performance you might not be as strict on your diet. If you want to knock out the Klitschko brothers you need some steam. Won’t happen if you don’t anything. To be the best you need to train hard. You need to be strong, fast and aware of your surroundings. Duck at the right time. Hit with force. 


The last point is health. If you like Stronglifts and boxing this might not be your main concern. Yoga and a clean diet are usually the way to success here. Nothing very strict. Just avoid poisoning yourself. 


Whatever rocks your boat prioritize the areas of looks, performance, and health against each other. Not all programs cover these three areas equally. Maximum performance usually comes with higher health risks. Maximum looks usually come at the expense of lower energy levels. Maximum health comes at the expense of intensity and results.




Stronglifts is one of the most popular lifting programs out there. It is geared towards beginners who want to gain in size and strength at the same time. You will train three times a week and have four days off.


Stronglifts uses linear progressive overload to make you stronger. This means the weight you lift increases in the same increments from workout to workout. Given that you complete 5 sets of five repetitions for the exercise. The only exception is the deadlift which is programmed with 1x5 reps. 


On Stronglifts you will do the following exercises 



You will squat each workout. All other exercises will be rotated between workouts. 


The biggest advantages of Stronglifts are its simplicity and low entry point. You will always know how to progress and whether you have done well on a particular workout. You do not need to test a one repetition maximum to start with Stronglifts. This is good for beginners who might be tempted to do something stupid otherwise. Maximum loads and inexperience do not go well together. 


The biggest disadvantages of Stronglifts are its lack is specificity and marketing. Stronglifts treats everybody the same. This makes it especially poor when you are a physical outlier. If you are extraordinarily small and weak get a different program. If you are extraordinarily big and strong get a different program. The other downside is that the Stronglifts marketing sets unrealistic expectations in terms of muscle growth and getting ripped. The driving factor for these results is not training but diet. Stronglifts leaves beginners with too little detail on this point and therefore disappointed. This is a shame as otherwise, it is a solid program. 


If you want more detail on Stronglifts you can read my ten-month review of the program




Boxing has become more trendy with the surge of MMA. You can think what you want about adults beating each other up in public while people bet on it. Boxing is intense, burns fat and develops discipline. 


Going for ten rounds or even half requires endurance. Boxing training addresses aspects of coordination, strategy, and skill. 


The main advantages of boxing are its appeal to overall fitness and development of mental toughness. There are few sports in which you have to be so alert and fit at the same time. Marathon runners might have more endurance but spectators do not throw stones at them while making the rounds. It takes determination to keep going when someone keeps hitting you in the head. 


The biggest disadvantages of boxing are its high potential for injury and social environment. Unfortunately, there is a part of boxing and martial arts which attracts scum bags. There are many athletes who are nowhere near shady businesses. Still, there is an undesirable undercurrent that you won’t find in Golf or polo. Getting continuously punched in the head also does not help to retire with all your marbles intact.


 I admire boxers. I couldn’t do it and enjoyed the few training sessions I had a lot.


Can you combine Stronglifts and boxing 


You certainly can. The question is whether Stronglifts is the optimal choice. My take on this is those beginning boxers should make a choice between starting strength and Stronglifts


Boxers who are more about strength and knockouts will probably go into Stronglifts instead of starting strength. Stronglifts leans a little more towards powerlifting and maximum strength. The difference is subtle, but it is there. 


Beginner Boxers who are more into speed and explosiveness will use starting strength. Your development will be very similar to Stronglifts with exception of the clean. This will set you up to get into Olympic lifting.


Very fit boxers who have the basics of barbell work down can decide whether they want to go into the Westside method or Olympic lifting. My take on this is that with proper instructions to minimize injury risk go for Olympic lifting for boxing. If you are clumsy and injury prone stick to Westside. 


One thing to mention is that the speed of the punches you throw has a bigger influence on the impact on your opponent than your maximum strength. Think of powerlifting like a truck pulling a heavy load slowly but steadily. Olympic powerlifting is like a Ferrari that accelerates with full speed to hit a wall. The latter is a lot more likely to create a meaningful punch. 


Further reading 



Topics: Lift stronger, Stronglifts 5x5, Fitness, Strength