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The Rocky Workout: Get Fit Like a Champ

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  • ‘Gonna fly now’

    ‘Gonna fly now’

    Sylvester Stallone, the actor who portrays Rocky Balboa in the “Rocky” movie series takes a method actor’s approach to his characters, regularly performing workouts typical of professional boxers. Boxers’ workouts are great fitness regimens.

    Click through the slideshow to learn how to train like Stallone. 

  • Old-time boxing workouts

    Old-time boxing workouts

    In 1899, the boxer Jim Jeffries had one goal to beat Bob Fitzsimmons in the battle for the title of heavyweight champion. Jeffries ran 14 miles each morning, alternating between a steady speed and a 100-yard dash. Afternoon activities included:

    • using a handball
    • punching the bag
    • jumping rope
    • tossing around an 18-pound medicine ball

    Jeffries achieved his goal in the 11th round.

  • The Greatest

    The Greatest

    Other boxers, such as Muhammad Ali, used similar training methods but added abdominal exercises like the bicycle maneuver, situps with a medicine ball, and leg raises. Incorporate a modified version of the typical boxing workout to take your training to the next level.

  • Interval training

    Interval training

    When Jeffries interspersed the 100-yard dash into his endurance run, he was practicing what exercise physiologists call “red line zone training.” This type of workout temporarily brings you to 90 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate, which is above the target heart rate zone identified by the American Heart Association. While you can only maintain this intensity for a very short period, adding red zone intervals trains your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for speed, and helps you manage lactic acid levels, allowing your to work out at a higher intensity for longer periods.

  • Jumping rope

    Jumping rope

    Jumping rope is an old-school workout that adheres to modern fitness principles. While its aerobic and coordination benefits are obvious, it’s also a core training exercise.

    A stable upper torso and optimal postural alignment is essential for having the foot coordination necessary for jumping rope. Your core muscles stabilize your spine and support proper posture. According to the Jump Rope Institute, 10 minutes of continuous jumping rope can provide equal benefits to a 30-minute run.

  • Medicine ball training

    Medicine ball training

    According to the American College of Sports Medicine, people of all ages can use medicine ball training to develop agility and balance. Adding a weighted medicine ball to your workouts also enhances strength, coordination, and reaction time. Perform 12 repetitions of this sequence, three times per week:

    1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a 10-pound medicine ball with both hands.
    2. Toss the ball into the air.
    3. Catch it on a rebound, and land in a squat.
  • The bicycle maneuver

    The bicycle maneuver

    The bicycle maneuver targets muscle fibers in your core. It was a staple in Ali’s workout. Here are the steps:

    1. Lie on your back with your legs extended 45 degrees and your hands behind your head.
    2. Bend your right knee and rotate your upper torso so that your left shoulder moves toward your right hip.
    3. Keep your legs and torso lifted, and repeat the movement on the opposite side.

    Keep your lower back flat on the floor and don’t pull on your head while you do this exercise.

  • Training for life

    Training for life

    Training like a boxer beats boredom and workout burnout, but these advanced training methods require proper form. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, and only perform as many repetitions as you can without compromising your form.

    With a little practice, you may soon find yourself feeling like you’re “gonna fly now,” just like Rocky!