Strength Exercises for Boxing: Deficit Split Squat

Goblet Deficit Split Squat

Danny Wilson shares a useful strength exercise that can help a boxer develop lower body strength, hip mobility and core stability. 

Strength Exercises for Boxing is a new feature for Boxing Science. We will be providing, describing and analysing some really useful exercises that can liven up a training session or program.

These will be mainly assistance exercises to add to the program, to help develop boxers strength, mobility, co-ordination and balance.

We start the series we will get the glutes firing with the Goblet Deficit Split Squat.

Deficit Split Squat

This move is a knee-dominant uni-lateral exercise, brilliant in improving hip stability and single-leg strength by developing the quadriceps and glutes.

With the front foot raised on the box you can get lower than you normally would in a standard split squat, this will increase glute activation.

The movement is performed at a controlled pace, with a slight bob/pause at the bottom to increase the time under tension. The deficit will increase the challenge on hip mobility and frontal plane stability.

Why is this Important for Boxers?

Gill SL Squat

We have tested and screened over 100 boxers, one of these tests is the single leg squat to stand test (picture above – Jordan Gill May 2015 – November 2015 progress).

What we find from these tests is boxers are naturally imbalanced between left and right legs. This is due to their Boxing stance requiring different actions for each leg.

When testing the single leg squat, most boxers fail to perform this with correct technique or comfort. The Deficit Split Squat helps build uni-lateral strength.

Boxers struggle with tight hips, therefore struggle to squat below parallel. This effects strength and activation of the glutes. The Deficit Split Squat makes it easier for the athlete get their hips lower and fire up their glutes.

Read Move Better Jab Harder to find out more. 

Start Position

Both feet are hip width apart, evenly spread length ways around one pace out from the hips

Front foot flat on the box with heel planted and the knee slightly bent. The back foot on the floor with the heel raised pointing straight forward.

Hold the dumbbell or kettlebell near your chin, with elbows tucked in, shoulders back and chest out to maintain a straight back.



Lower down at a controlled tempo (2-3 seconds). Hips travel down in a straight line and maintain a straight back.

Weight is controlled between both legs, however you absorb most of your weight through your front heel.

Make sure the front leg bends to approximately 90 degrees, hips just below knee level, and your knee is tracking the toes without overhanging.

The weight on your back leg is predominantly on your toes, allowing your heel to lift. The knee bends and should be just behind and under the hip. Ensure you are squeezing the glutes to push the hips forward and remain stable.


Perform a short pause or slight bob at the bottom. This will increase the time under tension. This should last no longer than a second and the bob should not pass 1/4 of the ascent. Following the slight bob, return to the bottom position before the ascent.

Drive forcefully through the front foot until leg is relatively straight.

Maintain tension of the gluteal muscles of the hind leg to maintain hip stability.

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Danny Wilson co-founded Boxing Science in 2014 following building the successful Boxing program at Sheffield Hallam University where he has coached over 100 amateur and professional boxers as a strength and conditioning coach. He has also helped prepare Kell Brook for his mega-fight with Gennady Golovkin, and his Ingle Gym stablemates including Kid Galahad, Jordan Gill and Kyle Yousaf.

Away from Boxing, Danny is currently the Yorkshire regional strength and conditioning coach for England Golf and has experiences in youth and professional standards across a range of sports.

Danny is a United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association accredited strength and conditioning coach and has a Master of Science degree in Sport Science at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. For his final research project Danny profiled the physiological characteristics of amateur boxers and will share some of the novel findings on Boxing Science. Danny will be contributing to the Strength and Conditioning section by writing about the science behind the punch, training methods, working with junior athletes and case studies.