The last couple of years have not been kind to Anthony Joshua.
He went into 2019 as an undefeated champion, the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight champion. He had slowly been collecting belts for four years and was billed as one of the best fighters on the planet. His June 2019 defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr. sent shockwaves through the division, but he bounced back in style and appeared to be back on form. However, a potential unification fight against Tyson Fury disappeared in September as Ukrainian fighter Oleksander Usyk defeated him.
Quite where Joshua goes from here is anyone’s guess; he’ll fancy a rematch with Usyk, still hoping for the big fight with Fury. The promotion for that bout has been boiling for a while, even with no date set; Essentially Sports explains how Fury has previously branded Joshua a bodybuilder and rubbished beliefs the Watford-born fighter could lay a glove on him. Pundits and bookmakers tend to agree; there’s a market for the fight despite no date being set, and in the latest odds with Coral, Joshua is rated as an outsider to defeat Fury in the future. He’s also rated as an underdog in any rematch with Usyk, meaning his only favourable bout might be with fellow Brit Dillian Whyte, who he beat back in 2015.
Whatever his future, the bodybuilder tag is, to some extent, accurate. As boxers must, Joshua puts in the hard graft in the gym, but he looks in better physical shape than Fury. That’s not what boxing is about, but it is to Joshua’s credit. Here are some of the exercises he does, in case you want to train like Joshua.
The Bench Press
The bench press is a big component in punching power and works the shoulders, triceps, and chest. It’s best to work five sets of five reps to get maximum strength benefits and build that punch up. Joshua is known to press 140kg for five good reps and has even gone to 160kg ahead of a fight. It was still not enough to put the big Ukrainian Usyk on the floor though.
A good deadlift works many muscle groups, including glutes, hamstring, lower back and forearms. It’s a good exercise for working overall strength, the sort of workout needed by an Olympic heavyweight champion. Joshua can deadlift 270kgs for five sets of five reps, which is a huge amount of strength. There’s little surprise he’s got 22 of his 24 wins by knockout.
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts
This is getting technical, but the single-leg deadlift is great for balance. It doesn’t only build strength but helps to stabilise the core, which is great in-ring. You must get this right, as it could be damaging if the technique is wrong. You start as you would a regular deadlift, but have one foot off the ground, straight behind you at 90 degrees. You begin the lift but pivot your body, so as the weight lifts, your foot comes down and touches the ground, leaving you in a regular deadlift position. “Why can you squat 200kg on two legs, but if I took one of your legs away, you could only do 20kg?” said Joshua of the exercise. “It’s about building up individual balance. You do it leaning forward because it builds up your core, but I can’t neglect my hamstrings, my lower back.”