When we talk about fitness for boxing, we primarily consider stamina. Stamina is a series of physical and mental capabilities that allows a boxer to last longer and maintain a high intensity. These capabilities include cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and mental fortitude.
This article, Fitness for Boxing, is about stamina but understand that strength training and mobility should be apart of any athletes workout.
Before programming, we must understand our best options.
Improving Cardiac Output, Muscular Endurance and Recovery
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves a short burst of exercise (30 seconds maximum) followed by a recovery period (10 seconds to one minute). These small training intervals may be performed for several sets.
HIIT is effective for achieving better cardiac output, improving muscular endurance and enhancing recovery.
A 50/50 protocol such as 30 seconds of exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest is one of the most effective protocols for lowering body fat but for the purpose of improving fitness for boxing, there are two HIIT protocols I would recommend.
- Tabata- 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat eight times.
- My brutal option- 30 seconds of exercise followed by 15 seconds of rest. Repeat five times.
The two methods are effective for improving the following capabilities:
Cardiac Output- Cardiac output refers to the amount of blood one can flush around the body in a single heart beat. This is important as it indicates effective transportation of oxygen. Therefore, the specific training protocol must consciously make the heart beat hard.
Muscular Endurance- Muscular endurance is the muscles ability to go about prolonged intensity. This is subject to glycogen storage, lactate tolerance and the number of capillaries.
Recovery is indicated by the time it takes for ones heart rate to go back to its resting level. The less time it takes, the more efficient the athlete is at recovering.
Notice that the HITT protocol is very explosive and is therefore very specific in the development in fitness for boxers.
Improving VO2 Max
VO2 Max is the amount of oxygen the lungs are capable of absorbing. Good cardiac output coupled with a high VO2 Max indicates great oxygen transportation.
A good once per week protocol would be a 5 minutes effort followed by a 5 minute active recovery for 4 sets.
Let’s use the bike as an example…
The effort will ask the athlete to travel as far as he or she can in 5 minutes. The active recovery simply involves a gentle cycle that keeps the body moving.
Improving Mental Fortitude
As far as the development of mental fortitude goes, a long run is ideal. The intensity does not need to be high but it is recommended that the athlete runs for at least 30 minutes.
Programming Fitness for Boxers
The HITT protocol is a great finisher to eight to twelve sparing rounds. The total length of that particular session should not last more than one hour. Three sessions like this per week will drastically improve the athletes energy in the ring.
The VO2 Max session is highly intense and should therefore not be coupled with any other form of exercise unless it involves flexibility and massage. Only perform this type of workout once per week and keep a day of rest either side.
Take a long run once per week but keep it leisurely. Put on your favourite music, don’t track your mileage but ensure you measure the 40 minutes.
I’ve thrown a few methodologies at you today. However, I have yet to recommend an effective piece of equipment. Nothing beats the Air Dyne.
I’d be the first to admit that it looks like a simple spin bike with arms. However, after trying out this brutal piece of machinery, I’ve learnt to appreciate that harder the one peddles, the more difficult it is to fight against the brutal air resistance. The Air Dyne is recommended globally but the worlds greatest strength and conditioning coaches. You can’t go wrong!