Before we discuss specific training regimens I would like to address a few subjects that are relevant to boxers.
The primary energetic pathway utilized in boxing is the glycolytic pathway of muscular energetics. This is part of the anaerobic system. Boxing is not a predominately aerobic sport. There is no need to run 5 miles everyday. Done on occasion this would be fine. In general running 1-2 miles 3-5 days per week is recommended. Sprinting is beneficial for athletes involved in boxing. Sprinting at moderate or low intensities can be performed 2 days per week. While sprinting at high intensities is performed once per week.
The purpose of plyometric drills is to enhance reactive strength (as discussed in part 1). Fatigue should be avoided when performing plyometrics. Before beginning an athlete on a plyometric (powermetric) program make sure the athlete has sufficient muscularity and conditioning. Plyometrics can be stressful to the connective tissue, nervous system, and muscles. Begin programs with light intensity plyos and advance to higher intensities.
Allow adequate recovery time between sets. If speed of movement declines terminate the movement. Stop plyometric activity 1-2 weeks before competition.
The abdominals include the rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, and internal and external obliques. The main function of the rectus abdominus is flexion of the trunk. This happens when the distance between the sternum and the pelvis decrease. Keep in mind sit-ups and hanging leg raises provide minimal stimulus to the rectus abdominus. These exercises are primarily hip flexor movements. The middle layer of the abdominals is called the external and internal obliques.
Their main function is rotation and flexion of the trunk. Performing side bends does not work the obliques. This exercise stimulates the side flexors. The transverse abdominus is the deepest layer of the abdominal wall. This is primarily a respiratory muscle. This is a deep lying muscle that has no visual effect. Training this muscle for appearance purposes is a waste of time. I can do 100 crunches. I have great ab strength. Doing 100 crunches is not an accurate indicator of ab strength.
Performing multiple repetitions is strictly endurance training. To test ab strength try this test. Lay on a decline bench and place 35lbs. behind your head. Now begin to perform crunches. This would be an example of strength training for the abs. When your abdominal strength increases your overall strength will usually improve. Perform ab training 2-4 days per week.
Include one strength training session per week. Before designing training programs for individuals there are things you should know. I administer a questionnaire to the athletes before I design their programs. Questions include things like current training program, experience, nutritional profile, medical problems, etc... I also perform a length assessment which measures flexibility.
Muscles need adequate length to perform optimally. When a muscle is too short the actin-myosin overlap is too great which limits force production. The optimal overlap between myosin-actin filaments is approximately 50%. Short muscles also contribute to postural problems, and insufficient movement patterns. I would recommend contract-relax stretching to increase range of motion. A muscle can also be too flexible which results in reduced force output.
Excessive flexibility means the myosin-actin strands are too far apart. If you suffer from excessive flexibility avoid stretching that particular joint or muscle. You will find with the assessment each individual is different. Our main goal is to develop the athletes weak spots and develop muscle balance and neuromuscular efficiency.
The following program is for an experienced athlete who has a sufficient strength and conditioning base. This program is not recommended for an athlete who is inexperienced.
Week 1 - Speed Strength / Absolute Strength
Week 2 - Speed Strength / Absolute Strength
Week 3 - Absolute Strength / Speed Strength
Week 4 - Hypertrophy
Week 5 - Speed Strength / Absolute Strength ( introduction to plyometrics )
Week 6 - Speed Strength / Absolute Strength
Week 7 - Absolute Strength
Week 8 - Speed Strength
Week 9 - Speed Strength
Week 10 - Maintenance phase
Week 11 - Maintenance phase
Week 12 - Taper phase
Weight training is performed 2 days per week. The working weights for the exercises are very conservative in the beginning. When working on a new exercise proper technique must precede strenuous lifting. Speed-strength work is performed before Absolute strength training. The first week we perform pause speed squats with bands. Bands apply accommodating resistance to the exercise. A percentage equaling 50% of the 1RM is used in week one for the speed squats. This is done for 5 sets of 2 reps, with bar speed being the primary objective.
Following the speed squats, squats are performed without bands. This movement is followed by 4-5 accessory movements. This workout is performed on Tuesday. Exercises performed on this day are beneficial to the trunk and the lower body. Thursday we work on the upper body. Our first exercise will be the pause speed bench with bands. The percentages are the same as we used for the speed squats. The guidelines are the same as the ones we followed on Tuesday.
The general guidelines are the same as week one. The percentage on pause speed squats and pause speed bench will be 52.5% of 1RM.
This week squats and bench presses are performed before speed work. By following this method the emphasis is placed on Absolute strength. When following this method Speed-strength is sometimes enhanced due to increased neural firing. The percentage used for speed exercises in week 3 is 55%.
No squats or bench presses are performed this week. A hypertrophy workout is performed using a slow rep speed. The number of exercises is increased in comparison to the previous weeks. Rep ranges will be between 8-12 reps.
Speed strength training precedes Absolute strength training. The percentage raises to 57.5% in the speed exercises. A variation of accessory movements is used. This variation could mean changing the order of exercises, or changing the selection.
The workout is the same as week 5 with percentages increasing to 60%.
This week we train Absolute strength. We do not train speed strength this week. We perform a 2-3 rep max on bench and squats. On the accessory movements we perform a 5 rep max. We perform one set per exercise.
This week we train for Speed strength. There is no absolute strength training. Our training percentages will be 65% of 1RM. We do not use bands this week. Keep in mind speed of movement is out primary concern. If bar speed decreases terminate the movement or reduce the weight.
The same guidelines are followed as in the previous week. Percentages raise to 70% of 1RM. No bands are used.
This week begins the maintenance phase. The workout is the same as last week with the exception of the volume. Reduce the volume to half of what it was in week nine.
Same as week 10
This is the week of the competition. The taper phase is utilized. No weight training this week. Performance of light skill training is advised.
Note: plyometrics can be introduced in week 5. Follow the guidelines presented earlier in regards to plyometric training. Do not perform plyos week 11 or 12.)
By following the guidelines and principles presented in this article your power and speed in the ring will increase.
Hale , J (2000) Optimum Physique .
Staley , C . (1999) The Science of Martial Arts Training . Multi-Media Books