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How Muhammad Ali Trained to Become the Best Fighter of All-Time

Ali became the greatest fighter of all-time in part because of his devout training regimen. But his successes in the ring are also a product of mental discipline.

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see,” said the boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

The greatest fighter of all-time isn’t considered one of the most dominant figures in all of sports because of poetic sound bites; he backed-up his banter in the boxing ring in part because of his devout training regimen. Ali’s natural fighting ability was undeniable and uncanny, but his training tendencies enabled him to sustain a prolific boxing career that helped fuel unprecedented social impact. The original GOAT can’t ever be duplicated or overtaken, but his training regimen can be tried.

Training Like a Champion

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion,” said Ali. His devout training regimen at 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach, FL helped propel the original GOAT to boxing lore, but the power of his mind ultimately helped make him great. Ali’s methods trained the mental alongside the physical. He believed that his natural-born genetic abilities would not enable him to become the greatest of all-time on their own. He understood that challenges like distraction and doubt had the potential to counter his natural abilities. Ali trained like a champion to become the greatest fighter of all-time through unmatched discipline and ferocious vigor.

Ali’s Famous Workout

Ali’s famous 5th Street Gym workout began roughly seven miles outside the gym’s confines. According to Ali’s longtime trainer, Angelo Dundee, Ali would often run from his apartment in Miami to 5th Street Gym because he was unable to find a ride. His workout consisted of a mix of cardiovascular activity and core-strengthening exercise. Ali would perform a variety of sit-ups on a stretching table, including leg lifts and legs slightly raised. He would also perform multiple sets of reverse bicycle crunches. Ali also integrated jump rope into his workout regimen. He would jump rope back-and-forth and side-to-side. After completing multiple rounds of jump rope, Ali would shadow box in front of a mirror for several rounds, testing his endurance and mental fortitude.

Becoming the Greatest of All-Time

Ali didn’t simply become the greatest fighter in the history of boxing by performing multiple rounds of jump rope and reverse bicycle crunches; his determination to outlast his opponents and desire to become the best propelled him to greatness. Ali’s spiritual aptitude and sense of being is renowned beyond the world of sports. His ferocious discipline and persistence to overcome distraction and doubt enabled him to conquer his pain and punish his competition. Ali trained his body in the gym, gaining 30 pounds of rock-solid muscle over time, but he also trained his mind. Ali’s greatest weapon in the boxing ring might not have been his left hook, it might have been his mental discipline to become the greatest.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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