The days of training a fighter - as a slow long distance runner are over and should be buried. Unfortunately, the time-honored tradition of long distance running and fear of weights is still practiced with many-a-times revered as the True Way to Train a Fighter.
When, I was brought into the sport in 1990 - it was a hard challenge to convince Boxing Greats such as Al "Ice" Cole and the athletes at the infamous Triple Threat Gym, of Newark New Jersey that their physical conditioning program needed a change.
| Al "Ice" Cole
Al Cole is a boxer. Nicknamed "Ice", Cole was a force in the cruiserweight division prior to moving up to the heavyweight division and fading to a journeyman.
Today, times are starting to change and with that so are the thoughts on "How a Boxer Needs to Be Conditioned". Recently, I worked with Jameel "Big Time" Mccline for his March 8 bout versus John Ruiz. My responsibilities were limited to the physical conditioning and nutritional component of Jameel's training, which had to be integrated into his boxing drills and sparring.
Boxers require speed, agility, power, explosive bursts, and high levels of anaerobic endurance in order to compete at high level - which in this case was a 12-Round Fight. The program I designed for Jameel was a 9-Week periodization program that had to reflect all of these important elements.
The conditioning program described below is the exact program that Jameel used for his fight. The highlights of the program consisted of a 30-pound weight loss, 10% reduction in overall body fat, full-range and mobility (which, was lost after his Torn Petal Tendon Injury) and a most importantly his ability to efficiently use oxygen. Thus, which was realized with his improvement in recovery between rounds.
The 9-Week Macro-Cycle was broken down into Three Mesocycles, each being three weeks in duration. I developed each three week period with a specific training goal, which ultimately created a building block for the subsequent next phase of training.
The following lists the training goals for each part of the cycle:
- Improve overall conditioning: both anaerobic and aerobic
- Decrease fat accumulation from layoff: weight loss and fat reduction
- Increase lean muscle mass: lowering body fat percentage
- Increase workout platform: 2 training sessions per day
- Introduction: Unstable Training Surfaces (Sand, Plyometrics, Uni-Lateral Exercises)
- Incorporated Sprint: Interval Training (3:1 Work to Rest Recovery)
- Increase Explosive Training
- Increase Sport Specific Drill Training
- Shock Body Drills
- Decrease Weight Room Activity Training
- Increase Anaerobic Threshold
- Decrease Training Sessions: 1 Training Session Per Day
- Maintenance: Last Two Weeks - Discontinue all weight room activities
- Peak: Week Leading to Fight
Jameel's Training Program:
Weeks 1-3 Mesocycle
Morning: Treadmill (3:1 Runs) - Jameel Performed 8-10 3-Minute
Sprints on the Tread (8-12 Speed, with a 10-15 Incline). Then, rested for 1 Minute
Tuesday & Thursday:
- Deadlifts: High Intensity
- Squats: High Intensity (Each Set is followed by a series of quick feet drills)
- Seated Rows: High Intensity
- Lateral Pulldowns: High Intensity: We placed a towel on the bar to increase his wrist and forearm strength. (each set is followed by a game similar to tug a war)
- Uni-Lateral Incline Press: High Intensity (each set is followed by a series of push offs: we have the boxer stand in a half squat position holding the Olympic bar at chest level. Then, the boxer pushes and pulls the bar as fast as possible for 30 seconds)
- Seated Arnold Press: High Intensity: in-between each set, we have the boxer perform a series of manual resistance exercises
- Manual Resistance Tricep Pushdown: High Intensity (followed by a series of fast-high tension cord-standing bicep curls: These are performed for 30 seconds)
- All Manual Resistance: Followed by Neck Stretches and Isometric Holds
- We carry the philosophy of a 2:1 work ratio-for, every 2 abdominal repetitions that we perform; we have the boxer perform 1 lower back repetition
Stretching/Dynamic Cool-Down/Ice Bath
We ran a 2-Day a week training program, which closely resembles a split routine. We generally weight trained on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings. Ultimately, this depended on Jameel's recuperative abilities and sparring sessions.
Jameel began each weight program with 5 to 7 Dynamic Track and Field Drills: (i.e., High Knees, Butt Kicks). Performing them each for 2 sets of 30 seconds.
After Each Weight Training Program: Jameel Soaked Down with a 15-Minute Ice Whirlpool-which helped improve the recovery process.
- Morning Sand Work: We have the boxer perform Light Skipping and plyometric drills
- Dynamic Warm-up: 5 to 7 Drills (i.e., high knees and butt kickers)
- 5-50% Short Sprint: up to 25 Yards
- 4-6 600 Meter Sprints: with a 2:1 work Ratio. Directly after each sprint, we have the fighter perform either 30 Seconds of Jump Rope or 30 seconds of Agility Ladder Drills. Then, it's back to the next set.
- 1/4 Mile Cool-Down Jog
- Dynamic Cool-Down: 5 Drills
- Ice-Bath: 15 Minutes
Morning Track Work:
- This morning we will start off with a light walk on the treadmill, which will be followed by a series of heavy stretching exercise.
It is important to note that each day is subject to change, due to recovery and sparring times. We encourage that the athlete or individual interested in this program to understand that this was designed for a World Class Athlete-who incorporated proper nutrition, rest and recovery.