Anthony Joshua is a man mountain of a heavyweight champion, standing at 6’6 and weighing in at 17 stone, he is made of supreme muscle and mettle. It takes a monumental amount of work to maintain. Sometimes, his workout days will last 14 hours and consist of three gym sessions. Gruelling.
However, it’s not just constant lifting of weights in the gym. Of course, that’s part of it, but for the elite, it’s so much more - different techniques, different thinking. Only this week, Joshua shared a video of himself hammering a huge tyre with a metal pole - it looked absolutely knackering but for AJ, it’s just part of the day job.
Here, we look at some of the other ways he stays ahead of the game with a fitness regime like no other.
The ‘Re-Up And Shoot’ Wall Blasts
This is a real upper body workout AJ undertakes which improves his already powerful punching prowess. Launching a medicine ball at the gym wall, he aims to do as many throws as possible in 30 seconds. Dubbing it the ‘re-up and shoot’, Joshua stands only a few feet away from the target and catapults the 11-pound weight at the target - standing at a slight angle, the twist of his body also boosts his core - which allows him to simulate punches and garner the power and swing needed for his next hammer blow.
“It helps build up that muscle memory that you can put that much speed and force through your body without getting injured,” he told Men’s Health. This is one exercise which will help you get a sweat on pretty swiftly.
The Mike Tyson-Inspired Neck Roll
If you’re going to be guided by the techniques of another boxer, it’s a good idea to follow the lead of one of the all-time greats and that’s what AJ has done with the neck roll, inspired by Mike Tyson.
The extreme workout, made famous by Tyson 30 years ago, will solidify the nape for sure though looks absurdly gruelling from the position taken to the movement involved. Champions do what they gotta do.
First undertaking the exercise ahead of his fight with Alexander Povetkin in 2018, AJ hosists himself, arcing his body and, with the top of his head touching the floor, rocks his neck back and forth by rolling his crown along to his forehead. Not only does it increase strength and help handle powerful strikes but it is also said to reduce the risk of concussion.
The Brazilian Secret
It’s not just legendary fighters that inspire AJ’s exercise routine, he also utilises the skills of football’s best, Brazil. Just like those on the beaches of Copacabana in Rio De Janeiro, he takes to the sand but there’s no time for fun in the sun. It’s time to work.
“I often go down to a sandpit and do a lot of boxing movements in the sand. It’s very heavy on the legs and it’s similar to how the Brazilians learn to play football,” he told LifeBeyondSport. “If you look at top players like Pele and Ronaldinho, their secret was to play football in the sand because it builds up the strength and stability and balance in the legs. It really helps with my explosive agility too.”
The Run And Rest Cardio Countdowns
Of course, Joshua’s fighting capabilities depend on immense strength but he also needs staying power to deal with the possibility of a rigorous, intense battle for twelve rounds. So he runs, and he runs hard, the intensity and reps similar to a bout in the ring, while cycling does the trick too. Starting nice and early, getting up and out at 6.30 in the morning, AJ trains before breakfast in order to burn fat.
“Every fight is based on three-minute rounds with one-minute rests so I head down to a 400m track and complete a 900m run within three minutes, followed by one minute rest,” he revealed to LifeBeyondSport. “I’ll do that up to eight times to help simulate the demands of a fight.”
The Mental Workout
Joshua also uses his physical exercise to strengthen his thinking. Of course weight training is vital to boost his muscles and overall fitness, but underwater? That’s another thing altogether. Pushing a weight plate nearly 100 feet at the bottom of the pool is strenuous and daunting even, just like those pivotal moments on fight night and AJ uses the difficulty of the routine to his advantage.
“I’m making it difficult to keep under water, so it’s building up a mentality that even when it gets tough, you have to stay underwater and I’m going to push that weight across,” he told Men’s Health. Not coming up for air once until he’s completed his objective, it gives him the staying power to stick at it, no matter if the going gets tough.