In today’s blog, I want to cover one of my favorite boxing formats, The 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 drill. This workout not only incorporates a deceptively challenging cardio component, but participants will also improve core integration with their boxing technique. I’m a huge fan of Personal Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors running “Cardio Boxing” type classes. These workouts are safe, fun, effective and have so many different fitness benefits.

When I’m running a boxing class, the structure of the session looks something like this: 

  • Warm-up (10 mins)
  • Drill #1 (10 mins)
  • Drill #2 (10 mins)
  • Drill #3 (10 mins)
  • Drill #4 (10 mins)
  • Cool Down (10 mins)


The 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 drill is just one 10-minute drill that can be incorporated into a cardio boxing class in many different ways. The following approaches are all options

  • A group fitness class where participants are paired up, one person with boxing gloves and the other with focus pads
  • A group fitness class where each participant has access to a boxing bag
  • A personal training session, where the trainer is holding the focus pads and the client is boxing


The 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 Drill Breakdown

This is a three-round drill, with each round lasting for 60 seconds with a 20-second break. 

Round 1: (60 seconds)

4 straights, 4 uppercuts, 4 hooks, 4 shuttle runs

Repeat for 60 seconds

20-second break 


Round 2: (60 seconds)

4 straights, 4 uppercuts, 4 hooks, 4 shuttle runs, 4 sit up and punch

Repeat for 60 seconds

20-second break


Round 3: (60 seconds)

4 straights, 4 uppercuts, 4 hooks, 4 shuttle runs, 4 sit up and punch, 4 plank and punch

Repeat for 60 seconds

60-second break, which gives enough time for the Boxer and Pad Holder switch roles and then repeat the drill. 


Variations / Options

Realistically you could use any exercises you want in this drill. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be a boxing drill. The 4 x 4 x 4 x4 drill could simply be 

4 squats, 4 push-ups, 4 sit-ups, 4 shuttle runs


If we are running a boxing session, it makes sense to make the first round all punches. You can then add on any exercises you wish for rounds 2 and 3 e.g push-ups, lunges, squats, burpees, etc.

I personally like to add the “sit up and punch” and “plank and punch” because it gets the participants in different positions and places emphasis on core strength. Participants are no longer just standing for the whole drill, they are also getting onto the ground, getting into a supine position, getting into a prone position, and then standing back up again. Just be keep an eye on participants for poor reactions to changes in blood pressure from getting up and down quickly, such as dizziness or nausea.


In a full cardio boxing workout, the 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 drill is only one option. You would want another three drills in your workout.

Options could include

If you’d like further your education as a Fitness Professional you may want to check out our Personal Trainer CEU Courses or our Bootcamp Workout Ideas.

Jono Petrohilos

Jono is the Co Founder and Director at Fitness Education Online, one of the largest providers of online CEC courses for Fitness Professionals. Jono has been in the industry since 2009 and also a best selling author, a podcast host and a winner of the Fitness Australia Educator of The Year Award.. Fitness Education Online also have one of the largest Facebook Groups in the world for Fitness Professionals with over 15,000 members click here to join.