When you’re pressed for time in your fitness routine, boxing may offer a solution.

These heart-pumping activities not only burn a lot of calories and help you achieve the recommended 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise per week. You’ll also gain strength-training benefits, depending on your specific routine.

Boxing workouts can be done with or without a bag, and they can also incorporate free weights and other equipment.

Boxing routines are more than what you see on a televised match. While still based on martial arts-inspired movements, the variations in this exercise can offer challenges for all fitness levels.

Below are seven of the best boxing workouts to consider incorporating into your own exercise routine.

A basic boxing workout involves a combination of punches and kicks performed at a quick pace. But first, you have to learn these moves and get the hang of the proper techniques before you can pick up speed and endurance.

Check out the above video for beginner’s boxing tips and techniques.

Some of the basic boxing movements to learn include:

  • jabs
  • crosses
  • uppercuts
  • hooks
  • roundhouse kicks
  • front kicks
  • side kicks

As you get these movements down, you can build your way up to combinations that will also work your core with each twist, such as double hooks, jab cross intervals, and jab side kicks.

Once you’ve got the basic boxing moves down, you might consider getting a bag for your home, or perhaps join a class at your gym that uses a variety of bags for punches and kicks.

Adding a bag or two to your boxing routine adds more resistance, helping your burn even more calories. You’ll also strengthen your muscles, too.

See the above video if you’re interested in seeing what a boxing workout with bags looks like.

With an estimated average of 350 to 450 calories burned per hour, cardio boxing can be a great addition to your weight loss plan.

Since it takes 3,500 calories to lose one pound, you need to burn an additional 500 to 1,000 calories a day through diet and exercise to lose the recommended one to two pounds each week.

Doing boxing workouts a few times per week could very well help you achieve this goal.

If you’re carrying extra weight, you might be cautious about working out due to the excess pressure exercise can put on your knees.

Nevertheless, it’s still possible to get a good boxing workout in safely so you can lose weight and keep your workout low impact. This can involve lower kicks, slower jab-cross motions, and more.

Check out the video above to get started.

The best boxing workouts that are cardio-focused typically come in the form of high-intensity cardio kickboxing. You’ll learn the same basic boxing techniques, such as jabs and roundhouse kicks, but cardio routines tend to be faster paced.

You may have a brief period of “active” resting in between circuits, but you’re expected to work your hardest when the circuit starts back up so that your heart rate stays at an intense level.

Cardio kickboxing may be offered with or without bags at a gym. You can also check out this home cardio kickboxing workout in the video above.

As you become more accustomed to your boxing routine and are ready for another challenge, consider adding weights to your workout.

You can use light dumbbells for jabs and crosses. Other options include doing weighted exercises during your active rest periods, such as squats with dumbbells, kettlebell swings, and basic bicep curls.

Boxing workouts with weights offer strength-building opportunities without having to do a full separate workout from your cardio routine. Consider adding in a workout like the one above.

For overall muscle and bone conditioning, the general recommendation for adults is to do strength-training routines two times a week or more. Aside from the use of weights in boxing routines, you can focus on bodyweight activities as well as heavier bags in your workout.

Punches and kicks on the bag is also more effective for building strength compared with doing so in the air. The bag offers more resistance. Just be sure you use hand wraps to protect your wrists and to use proper-fitting boxing gloves.

A strengthening boxing workout can also incorporate bodyweight exercises, such as planks and pushups. Check out the 20-minute video above for a strength-building boxing routine that will also get you sweating.

Boxing footwork entails constant movement during your movements and in between your circuits. Footwork in an exercise routine builds agility and speed, which can help you in other activities outside of your workouts, such as walking and running.

Your basic stance in a boxing routine is in a “box” shape, which mimics what your stance would look like if you were in a real boxing ring. It’s also important to learn the basics of good boxing footwork so that you’re working your core muscles with every punch and kick, instead of your back.

For a full breakdown on do’s and don’ts in your own boxing footwork, check out the tutorial video above.

Boxing can be an effective routine that can produce quick results, but it isn’t wise to jump right into a high-intensity workout without getting down the basic moves first. You can find a wide variety of videos to watch at home that show you the right way to do your kicks and punches.

Overextending your arms and legs can lead to injury. You’ll also learn how to properly tighten your core muscles so that you protect your back. Check out this video on some of the most common boxing mistakes:

At the gym

If you have access to a gym or trainer, you may consider taking a formal class or a one-on-one session.

Be sure to work at your own pace — don’t feel pressured if others are kicking higher or are using weights. You want to work your way up until you get stronger so that an injury doesn’t leave you on the sidelines.

Also, be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re new to exercising. You may also want to get the OK from your doctor if you have any recent injuries, back problems, or cardiovascular disease.

Due to its cardiovascular and strength-training benefits, boxing exercises are beneficial for muscle building, weight loss, and overall cardiovascular conditioning. If you’re new to boxing (and exercise in general), it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a workout program.

No matter which boxing program you do choose, be sure you practice the movements slowly at first before working your way up to a nonstop routine. This way, you’ll get the most of out your workout while preventing injuries.

Be sure to warm up properly for at least five minutes beforehand, and allow your body to cool down after each boxing workout.