Mike Tyson was my era. He defined heavyweight boxing in the 80’s and he was probably the last heavyweight champion of the world to be the most famous and recognisable sportsman on earth.

Throughout its history, certain men have arrived, raised the bar and re-written this most brutal of combat sports; Joe Louis 1930’s/40’s, Rocky Marciano 1950’s, Sonny Liston, Muhammed Ali 1960’s/70’s and then Tyson in the 1980’s.

train like tyson

That’s not to say there weren’t other giants of the sport, but these are men who stood apart.

Tyson was extraordinary. With the shuddering, bludgeoning, clubbing power to easily match any of the hardest hitters in history, he also had the speed and precision of the liveliest middleweight.

Allied to this was a ferocity and will to win that was truly scary even from a distance of 5,000 miles and through a TV screen. At his peak he wrought absolute havoc throughout the heavyweight division. He was World Champion at the age of 20 and it seemed inconceivable he could be beaten – he punched harder, moved faster, had more skills than others and could absorb whatever came his way.

He was to the boxing ring what the Great White Shark is to the ocean.

But all of this was not just the product of an extremely tough and brutal childhood, it was forged through incredible hard work, training discipline and towering respect and love for legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, who became 13 year old Tyson’s coach, guide, mentor, protector and father figure (the unraveling of Tyson’s life only happened after D’Amato died and his magnificent influence was replaced by the moral bankruptcy and insidious corrupting of Don King).

But we are not here to judge. This is about what it took Tyson, in terms of training, to become the devastating fighting machine that he was.

Interested in training like Tyson? 

So if you really want to train like the most dominant fighter in modern history, this is what you will have to do…

Sparring days

Mental focus and talking with trainer – 15 minutes

Loosen up / stretching – 15 minutes

Shadowboxing – 3 x 3 minute rounds

Speed bag – 10-15 minutes

Loosen up, walk around

Spar 12-15 rounds

Focus pads – 4 x 3 minute rounds

Warm down / Rub down

Strength work / Floor work

Core exercises – all to maximum intensity, Sit ups, crunches, leg raises.

Side to sides – 20 minutes

Push ups – 400 total

Squats – 400 total

Neck exercises – 6 minutes

Skipping – non stop 9 minutes

Warm down

Non Sparring Session

Stretching / Shadowboxing

Slip bag work – 9 minutes

Focus pads – 4 x 3 minute rounds

Heavy bag – 5 x 3 minutes

Speed bag – 10 minutes non-stop

Skipping – 9 minutes

Warm down / Rub down

Days started at 5am and also involved a 5-6 mile run.

Away from the gym

And everybody needs downtime, including ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’. So what did he do?

When Tyson wasn’t poring over books and footage of boxing archives (he is a genuine boxing history aficionado), he was looking after his pigeons. Yes, Mike Tyson was always a devoted pigeon fancier! What could be a better break from the violence of the ring and the intensity of the gym?

It takes commitment and dedication

At his extraordinary peak Mike Tyson was pretty much the perfect fighting machine, but it did not all just stem from inner fury, massive inherent strength and the hardest and most brutal of upbringings on Brooklyn’s roughest streets. It took huge dedication, time and application. 

To train like Tyson might not make you a boxing great, but it will certainly take your fitness, power and mobility to new levels!


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