Manny Pacquiao’s Boxing Champ Workout

World famous boxing trainer Freddie Roach gives us the routine that’s preparing Manny Pacquiao to go toe-to-toe for the fourth time against Juan Manuel Marquez.

By Matt Caputo

Manny Pacquiao

Prior to his career as one of the elite boxing trainers of his time—working with fighters Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya—Freddie Roach was a tough professional fighter with over 50 bouts during his eight-year career. With a final record of 40-13, Roach never held a major title but he also was only knocked out three times.

“I tried to train hard for all my fights, especially the big fights, like with Camacho,” Roach says of his meeting with the late Hector “Macho” Camacho. “I sparred a lot of fast guys with good speed to prepare for him, but when the fight came they weren’t fast enough. He was the most talented fighter that I ever faced, reminds me of Manny Pacquiao.”

Even later in his career, Roach was known for being able to withstand a lot of combat in the ring. However, his solid conditioning couldn’t prevent the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Today, Roach says the exercise he gets training fighters and all the coordination work he does coaching boxers helps fight the disease’s progression.

“In my day, we didn’t have all these different strength and condition coaches. They’re the ones that are bringing steroids into our sport,” Roach says.

Lately, the focus of Roach’s energy has been preparing for the fourth meeting between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Although Pacquiao bested Marquez in two previous matches, the two fought to a draw in their first encounter in 2004 and to a close, controversial decision for “Pacman” in November 2011.

“Pac is in the best shape I’ve seen him in in a long time and he’s giving his sparring partners a lot of trouble, we had a few knockdowns. He works his ass off,” Roach says. “We sparred six days a week in my day; I only spar my fighters three days a week.”

Pacquiao’s workouts last about three hours per day, but he rarely does any weight training, which Roach feels slows down smaller fighters. For that reason, a boxer’s workout is reliant on a variety of calisthenics, with an emphasis on cardio. “When I trained Mickey Rourke to box, we did midnight runs because he is nocturnal, but as long as your body is on a schedule, exercises are going to work,” Roach says.


Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao

Freddie Roach’s Hard Day of Training

Start your day in the gym with a long run starting at about 6 AM and then follow Roach’s exercise routine.

5-Mile Run (Decreased distance with increased sparring)

Shadow Boxing (Build up a sweat before you get to boxing)

8 Rounds Heavy Bag (Important to hit the bag hard with proper punches)

3 Rounds on the Double-End Bag

3 Rounds of Jumping Rope

6-8 Rounds of Sparring Max (Pacquiao likes to spar 12 rounds)


Pacquiao-Marquez IV will air live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Dec. 8 on HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET.


6 Boxing drills for a knockout body

Jan 07, 2013 3:27 AM by Cary Williams-Nunez

Get fit with
boxing drills

Woman doing boxing drills

Using interval and circuit training, a boxing workout has long been one of the best ways to lose weight, tone up, gain strength physically and mentally, and keep the mind sharp.

By working in “rounds,” boxers work hard for a period of time and then take a short rest. This is known as more of an anaerobic workout, where your calorie burn continues after you have completed the workout. Even if you have never taken a boxing class, you can still incorporate boxing moves into your regular exercise routine and reap the benefits. Here are six fitness drills used in boxing training that don’t require you to know how to throw a “one-two” punch!

Set the timer

For these drills, you will need a timing instrument (i.e., oven clock, personal timer or cell phone). Set the device for two-minute workout intervals with a 30-second rest. If you want to be official about it, you can order a personal boxing timer from

Be consistent

Do these six drills as a single workout (repeat more than once as you get more fit), or incorporate individual drills into your own fitness routine.

Take a rest

Between the two-minute rounds when you are taking your 30-second breaks:

Relax your whole body and catch your breath.
Shake out your arms and shoulders.
Stretch your calves.
Get a quick drink of water.

Boxing drill No. 1: Skip rope

Skipping rope builds cardiovascular strength as well as the coordination, timing and rhythm needed in boxing, while working nearly every muscle in your body.

Skip rope drill:

Keep upper body relaxed while jumping a quarter-inch off the ground.
The rope touches the ground just in front of the tips of your toes.
Maintain a slight bend in your knees.
Let your wrists do the work and keep your forearms horizontal to the floor.
Keep elbows close to your sides.
If you trip up, get right back in your rhythm.
Boxing drill No. 2: Torso twist with medicine ball

A standing side-twist with a medicine ball strengthens the core muscles while twisting your body in boxing to make punches more effective.

Torso twist drill:

Note: If you bend your knees a little more in a squat position, you will also work your quads and glutes as you work your shoulders and obliques.
Depending on your fitness level, use a 5- to 15-pound medicine ball. Hold the medicine ball with both of your hands directly in front of you, keeping your arms straight.
Stand with your back against the wall, legs slightly bent. Twist at the waist to the left, tapping the ball on the wall, then twist to the right. When you twist to the right, pivot your left foot and vice versa. Continue for two minutes.
Boxing drill No. 3: Knees up

This knees-up drill will improve cardiovascular endurance as well as strengthen lower abs and help develop the coordination needed to match hands with feet in boxing.

Knees-up drill:

Standing on the floor, bring one knee, then the other, up to your waist, attempting to reach chest-high. All the while, move steadily forward around the floor in a circle, forward and backward or simply in place, depending on your space.
Hands are held in “hands-up” position until 30 seconds before your rest period, then you “punch up,” throwing punches directly above your head and bringing knees up at a much faster pace until the timer goes off for your rest period.
Boxing drill No. 4: Jump squats

Jump squats are effective in strengthening the legs and core for defensive boxing moves such as the bob and weave.

Jump squats drill:

Start in standing position with feet facing forward and shoulder-width apart, then drop into a squat position and immediately push back up into a jump; try to jump at least 1 foot off the ground.
As you return to the ground, immediately drop back into the squat position, making sure knees don’t go past toes, then repeat the sequence.
You may swing your arms to give your body momentum.
This is an excellent anaerobic exercise that works your cardiovascular system and strengthens your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and even abs and back.
If you get too tired before the two-minute timer goes off, continue with regular squats until your rest period.
Boxing drill No. 5: Mini push-ups

Mini boxer push-ups strengthen triceps, deltoids and back, all of which are used to “turn over” your punches in boxing.

Mini push-ups drill:

Lie face-down on the floor, placing hands palm down right next to the shoulders. Keep elbows in and arms touching the sides of your body. Push your entire body up, then lower. Just rise only 6 inches off of the ground.
Raise your entire body all at the same time, without arching your back. It is important to keep your arms in tight and close to the body.
You can do these on your knees to start and work your way up to doing the push-ups on your feet.
If your arms get too fatigued before the timer goes off, straighten your arms completely and hold your body up until you are ready to start the push-ups again.
Boxing drill No. 6: Core strengthener

This drill requires lying your stomach over a basketball. This exercise will strengthen your abs, obliques and back muscles, and teach you to keep your core constantly tight. This will keep you from getting the air knocked out of you if you are caught with a body blow!

Core strengthener drill:

Lie face-down on a basketball, with your stomach (between hips and ribcage) positioned on the basketball.
Spread your arms and legs wide, straight out, then roll your body from side to side (left and right) on the ball, keeping knees and elbows off the ground.
The trick is to keep your abdominals as tight as possible.
Incorporate this workout into your regular exercise routine and consider taking a boxing class. Boxing shreds calories, improves your cardio health and makes you a lean, mean fighting machine.

More on boxing and interval training

Kick-butt cardio workouts
Boxing workouts for women
Get lean, mean results with boxing


How to Box | ExpertBoxing

Boxing workouts and training routines to develop your fight conditioning and fighting muscles. This category includes short workouts and exercises as well as full weekly boxing routines.
Old School Boxing Training with FRANK DUNLAP

February 1, 2014 by Johnny N Boxing Training, Boxing Workouts 53 Comments

old school boxing training

I met Frank Dunlap 6 months ago when he first wrote to me after reading through my website, ExpertBoxing. He was a fan of the website and a former boxer himself, a multiple-time Golden Glove regional and state boxing champion in the welterweight division back in the 50?s.

He was also a very successful boxing coach, leading his amateur boxing team to winning every regional boxing tournament for 3 years during the 70?s, amassing an impressive win percentage of 70.6% in nearly 1,000 fights!

I figured this was a man with a wealth of information (in everything, not only boxing) and boy was I right. I spoke with him on the phone for several hours and learned all about his inspiring life. He had served in the military during the Korean War. He was a schoolteacher, a principal, a Frito-Lay delivery man, a business-owner and a school bus driver, and also a Golden Glove boxing coach. And at one time, became the local medicine man for a small village in Alaska.

He shared his boxing stories about competing in the Golden Gloves and also having trained great fighters. He once trained the Norris brothers when they were about 10 years old— (Terry Norris and Orlin Norris, boxing champions in the 90?s). He talked about meeting his childhood idol, the legendary Rocky Marciano. There were bits and pieces of practical old school boxing knowledge in every memory and of course…an amazing life story.

It is with great honor and admiration that I share Frank’s personal life story.


Guide to Shadow Boxing

November 8, 2013 by Johnny N

shadow boxing

What is shadow boxing?
Why do pro boxers shadowbox so much?
More importantly, how could YOU be shadow boxing differently to improve your fighting abilities?

Shadow boxing is not just punching by yourself.

Shadow boxing is one of the oldest, most pure, and versatile exercises for improving many aspects of your fighting ability.

Learn how to shadowbox to become a natural fighter.

What is Shadow Boxing?

Shadow boxing is when a boxer or fighter moves around by himself throwing punches at the air. Shadowboxing is a popular exercise for fighters to hone their fighting techniques, condition their muscles, warm-up or warm down during their workouts, or even to mentally prepare themselves before a fight. Done properly and with the right goals in mind, shadow boxing can improve your boxing technique, stregnth, power, speed, endurance, rhythm, footwork, offense and defense, and overall fighting abilities.

What are the benefits of shadow boxing?

Shadow boxing is incredibly versatile because of its freestyle nature and simplicity. You can practice anything you want without any distraction (of a bag moving around, or an opponent trying to hit you), and take instant feedback from a mirror, coach, or camera. You don’t need any equipment or anybody. Shadowboxing is quite harmless as you aren’t punished for making mistakes. All you need is an imagination and you can practice virtually any movement you want.

The drawback to shadow boxing may be that it isn’t always realistic of a real fight. There is nobody for you to adjust to. Even if you’re fighting an imaginary opponent, there’s a good chance this imaginary opponent is moving the way you would move and with too much predictability. Fighting a real opponent is always harder because he’s unpredictable and requires you to change your thoughts and react on the fly.

Most boxers aren’t shadowboxing enough

The reason why I say this is because most fighters don’t have good movement. They may have good power and good speed but their movement isn’t natural and isn’t relaxed. As athletically impressive as they may be, it simply doesn’t look coordinated. I see a guy huffing and puffing, sweating and grunting, simply to move his own body.

You should not be getting tired when you shadowbox!

Shadow boxing is all the movement. There are no distractions about having a target in front of you to punch or an opponent in front of you to make you uncomfortable. The main focus of shadow boxing is to get used to boxing movements. Nothing else!

Before you try throwing a thousand punches on the heavy bag, you should first do it in shadow boxing. Your arms need to get used to the movement. There are so many guys with weak back muscles because they’re so used to punching at the heavy bag every day. The thing is the heavy bag bounces you hand back at you so your recovery muscles aren’t being trained. And then when you fight a live opponent, your arms get tired quickly when you miss punches.

I’ve also noticed a lacking of “calmness” from boxers that don’t shadowbox enough. There’s something different about a fighter that shadowboxes regularly. He looks very comfortable moving around and throwing punches, as if that’s his default movement…it’s as natural as breathing for him.

On the other hand, a fighter that doesn’t shadowbox always looks like he has to be “switched on” to fight mode. This is a guy who needs to be pumped up before he gets in the ring. And then he gets in there and he appears to be a bit too much “ON”. He’s moving around too much, he’s all over the place. He’s too excited, too anxious, perhaps even too nervous. It’s clear that it isn’t natural for him to be fighting. And sure enough he eventually gets “switched off” in the ring. He gets tired and he gets beat down and then he goes into panic mode because fighting is fun but it isn’t yet natural for him.

Shadow boxing is the practice of committing repetitive boxing movement to muscle memory. Forget about power, or speed, or endurance, strategy, flashy moves, etc. It’s simply the raw exercise of moving your body like a boxer. You might be too tired to spar or hit the heavy bag but you can always have energy to practice moving. It’s this constant practice of developing this coordination that truly makes you a boxer and makes you a natural. It’s this supreme ability to move your body that develops naturalness, allows you to relax, to be efficient, to be balanced, to feel comfortable in your own body.

How to Shadowbox Properly

1. You need a goal

The goal is not to showoff for everyone else in the gym, throwing as many punches as you can, and jerking your head back and forth. That’s a terrible goal and if anything, only leads to you getting tired in under 5 minutes. Which is pretty sad if you’re getting tired fighting the air.

Common reasons for shadow boxing:

Warm-up – Move around. Use your legs, move your head, relax the shoulders, throw some punches, move move move. Shake your limbs out. Repeat! Breathe and put some purpose to your movements. Breaking a sweat is OK if your goal is to warm-up. You want to put your body into motion.
Technique – Are you working on a certain punch? Or a defensive move? Go slow, take your time, and check out your form in your mirror. Instead of working on the entire movement, maybe you can pick out 1 or 2 key points to focus on. Once that part feels right, you can move on to another detail or try the movement in it’s entirety. Repetition is important but only after you know for sure that you’re practicing the right thing. This is where having a coach helps.
Coordination – Being able to do a move perfectly doesn’t mean you can do a move NATURALLY. Perhaps you’ve got your jab technique down right but can’t seem to land it in a real fight. You can improve this by throwing jabs from different situations. Instead of always setting yourself up in the same stance, you can try throwing the jab from different stances. Also try moving around and throwing the jab at different points in your footwork. Instead of trying to force the jab out, try to find a way for your body to allow a movement to feel natural.
Rhythm – Sometimes singular movements feel good but you lack the flow during a fight. You can work on your rhythm while shadowboxing by making many movements. 3-4 punches, 3-4 slips, 3-4 steps, repeat. Here you’re working on rhythm so it’s ok to minimize the movements to help you find a natural “fighting dance” rhythm in your body, rather then fully extending all your punches and putting 100% power on every movement. Develop some rhythm by focusing on the SHAKE-SHAKE-SHAKE!
Strategy – Shadowboxing is perfect for working on key strategic moments during a fight. Maybe you’ve got a bad habit of always running away. Or maybe you’re working slipping the right hand to land the left hook to the body. Or maybe you just got out of a sparring match where a guy kept landing his jab. Shadoboxing with a strategic mindset is great for developing new strategies to beat opponents and then developing NEW HABITS to fulfill these strategies. It’s all muscle memory.
Warm-down – Move slowly, relax, breathe. Reflect on the sparring you just had earlier in the day. Think about different techniques or movement strategies that could have helped you and work on them. You’ve already done the hard work for the day. This is your time to enjoy the moment rather than to squeeze one last workout out of your body.

The worst thing you can do for developing technique
is try to work on everything all at once.

2. You need to execute

I’d say my biggest complaint about shadowboxing is not so much that boxers are doing it wrong but rather that they’re not doing it enough. If you’re a serious fighter, you should be shadowboxing a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Pros will do more like an hour. That shouldn’t be hard at all considering you already use shadowboxing for warm-up/warm-down and also when developing new techniques.

A general shadow boxing workout would be about 15 minutes of shadowboxing. You do it straight through, no rest. Keep your body moving and your muscles warm. If you’re getting tired too easily, simply slow it down. Shadowboxing can be done anywhere anytime. You should never have any excuse for sitting down and doing nothing at the gym. You can shadowbox, even as you’re watching a sparring match, or waiting in line for the bag, or talking to a friend. Shadowboxing can be your default “rest workout”.

When to shadowbox during your workout:

Warm-up – use shadowboxing to get warm and start loosening up your joints.
Technique Drills – use shadowboxing to work on new moves like punches, defensive techniques, or footwork.
Conditioning – use shadowboxing to condition your hand and leg endurance. Work on the common repetitive movements that you use during a fight.
Warm-down – use shadowboxing to close out your day and loosen whatever muscles that may have tightened from your workout. Take one last look at your technique in the mirror to recap on the techniques you’ve learned that day.

Different shadow boxing workouts:

Alone with your thoughts – Shadowbox anywhere, anytime when you’re alone. Try using a mirror and see what happens when you change different things. Or try shadowboxing in a ring when it’s not in use and get yourself used to moving around on the canvas and touching up against the ropes.
With a slip rope or slip bag – Shadowbox as you practice your slipping, bobbing and weaving, and head movement techniques.
Around a heavy bag – Push a heavy bag so it swings and then move around with it as you throw punches but don’t connect so it stays moving. It’s always good to have a moving object to your senses alert.
With a partner – Don’t shadowbox alone. Have a friend shadowboxing with you so it’s like you’re fighting each other except you keep a distance so no punches connect. This is a great way to ensure that you’re keeping senses alert and not developing lazy eyes or bad movement habits that don’t help you in a fight.
With a coach – Shadowbox under the supervision of a boxing coach and take in the feedback. Adjust on the spot and see what happens. You can also have him move around you and hold his arm out or throw slow motion punches for you to practice working from different situations. If I know my fighters will face a southpaw in their fight, I’ll stand in a southpaw stance in front of them with my right arm extend to get them used to moving around the southpaw’s jab.

3. You need feedback

This is one of the biggest reasons for training in a gym and having a boxing trainer. You need a way to know if what you’re doing is helpful. You need a way to critique yourself and look for opportunities to improve. It is very hard to improve if the only feedback you get comes from yourself.

How to get feedback while shadow boxing:

HAVE A TRAINER – have a trainer oversee your movements and make little suggestions here and there. There really is no substitute for having the resource of someone more experienced than you. Even if you don’t have a mirror, you could have a fellow boxer (preferably one more experienced) take a look and adjust what he sees.
USE A MIRROR – look at your form in the mirror and see if you can find areas for improvement. It also helps to compare your form to other boxers in the gym. See how certain aspects of their technique look different from yours.
PAY ATTENTION TO HOW YOU FEEL – if something feels too difficult, you’re probably doing it wrong. Your shoulders shouldn’t be hurting during the hook. Your back shouldn’t be aching when you slip. You shouldn’t be falling off balance when you move around. If you’re getting tired shadowboxing, how can you expect yourself to have much endurance during a high-stress fight with an opponent?

4. You need to think

This should be a rule that you apply to every minute of your training. Don’t ever let the brain go dead. THINK! Be alert. See if you can notice your own vulnerabilities before your opponents do.

What to think about while shadow boxing:

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? – What are you focusing on? If it’s speed, then work speed. If it’s strategy, then work strategy. Pick one thing and focus on it. One thing at a time.
WHERE IS THE PROBLEM? – This is the hardest part of learning. It’s very hard to improve if you don’t know what the problem is. Again, this is why you need to work with trainers, coaches, and people more experienced than yourself.
TRY SOMETHING NEW – Instead of throwing the same jab everyday, trying finding new ways to change it up. At first you try throwing it from different positions. Then maybe you can try it with a different emphasis on the muscles used (shoulders vs lats). Maybe you can try it with your weight more over your front foot or your back foot or in between. Maybe you try it with a 1 inch step, and a 3 inch step. Applying this theory in every way to every technique will get you very far! Paying attention to the more experienced fighters can give you a clue as to where to vary your technique.

Common questions about shadow boxing:

Can I shadowbox with weights or gloves on? – I do not recommend it. It distracts from the purity of the shadowboxing exercise. If you want to add resistance, it becomes resistance training. And even then the weights do not help your punching speed/power very much because they apply force in the direction of gravity rather than the direction that your punch travels. It might be a good conditioning exercise and even then, the pros that shadowbox with weights do it at a VERY SLOW speed. High speed shadow boxing with weights may damage your joints!
Should I shadowbox as a southpaw? – No it’s not necessary. Maybe every now and then you can mess around as a southpaw but it’s not necessary as part of your regular boxing training. In my opinion, if you want to try something new, weird, or different…you should try something new from your regular stance. That would make more sense to me than using a switch stance and doing the same thing you’ve always done.