Oleksandr Usyk's Old School & Brutal Training Techniques

Oleksandr Usyk's Old School & Brutal Training Techniques

Oleksandr Usyk’s famous victory over Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia has underlined his boxing skill, fitness and mental resilience.

It was a spectacular performance that had many commentators and fans touting the Ukrainian heavyweight as the pound-for-pound number one.

Despite his obvious class, Usyk tends to cut a humble and relaxed figure in the build-up to his fights.

But don’t be fooled by his playful demeanour. Usyk takes an incredibly serious approach to his training camps, getting up at 4.45am and working out three times per day.

Here’s a look at some of the key parts of his training.


Usyk is coached by Anatoly Lomachenko, the father of fellow Ukrainian fighter Vasyl Lomachenko, who is a big fan of using swimming to develop stamina.

One of Usyk’s biggest strengths is his endurance. He’s able to bring a huge amount of energy and movement into the ring and sustain it into the championship rounds of a fight. That is built through spending hours in the swimming pool - as much as five hours at a time according to British boxer Derek Chisora.

Chisora said previously, “I was just about to leave the Russian bathhouse that I go to when I am tired and hurt from training.

“The owner told me to wait because he had a surprise. I sat down and all I heard was 'Derek, Deeeerrrrrek', just like he kept saying during the build-up to our fight.

“I started talking and laughing with him and I told him he looked tired. He then told me he had just finished swimming for five hours.

“I told him he was lying, he couldn't swim for five hours,” he added. “But his trainer told me it was true and then showed me a video of him in this huge Olympic pool just going up and down for five hours.”

Sand Sprints

Often pictured in sunny locations working out on sand, Usyk uses the surface to practice short sharp sprints.

This gives him a different aerobic stimulus to the constant nature of steady-state swimming and running, while also helping to develop the leg power he needs to generate force into his punches.

There’s also a benefit to training on a soft surface because it reduces the impact on the body, putting him at a lower risk of injury.


Usyk is a big fan of CrossFit and incorporates a variety of exercises into his programme.

In particular, he likes using a sledge hammer workout and can often be seen in videos pummeling a tire with a giant hammer.

Usyk has been quoted previously saying: “I tried these different kinds of things – such as weight lifting etc. But what I really like is CrossFit.

“I'm so into it. I feel splendid when working out and I think that the approach is important as well. I like the way that it has been developed by my trainer.”

Cognitive Testing

Often praised for his boxing IQ and razor-sharp reactions, it’s perhaps no surprise that Usyk incorporates mental training into his schedule.

One method Usyk uses is playing on a giant Schulte table, which is a grid filled with randomly arranged characters. Practising with one helps to improve speed reading, but also peripheral vision, attention and visual perception.