SOME people call it plyometrics but that is a word associated more often with jumping movements, so I term what I do, ‘Explosive training for boxing’. That’s what I do more than anything.
BASICALLY, with this type of training, we try to exert maximum force in a short amount of time. The goal is to increase strength at speed which produces more power. A lot of trainers focus on stamina and build that with work over three minutes – to replicate the length of rounds in boxing – or long runs. My boxers and athletes still do that stuff, but chuck in this kind of training two or three times a week. It’s essential for building power in my opinion. It triggers off the nervous system to do things faster.
WE do the explosive training usually either before or after the boxing training. If the boxer has done sparring, for instance, in the morning, we’ll do explosive training in the afternoon and vice versa. But if they’ve been doing 20-second flat-out bursts on the bag or on the pads with different combinations, followed by 10 seconds’ rest – Tabata training – then we’ll chuck in explosive exercises, like side-twist throws, at the end. After training, the session will be around half an hour, but if it’s a standalone session we’ll do around an hour.
I’VE done some of this training with Nathan Cleverly, and Gary Buckland has definitely improved with this, he’s getting more snap in his punches and becoming more explosive. I also work with Cardiff City and a couple of Welsh rugby internationals.
WE tend to do a lower-body exercise, followed by a full-body then an upper-body, then a core. We do 10 reps of each exercise (10 per side for the core work), only stopping in between to catch your breath, then have a proper rest of 45 seconds. We do the whole four-exercise circuit between 7-10 times in total.
1. BOUNDING (LOWER-BODY)
I PUT 10 hurdles down and ask my fighter to jump over them one after the other or I use five and they reverse back and jump over forwards and backwards five times each. You must keep the core tight, grip the floor with your feet. Standing on the spot, you leap over the hurdles with a tuck-jump motion. Bend the knees, fire through your toes and bound over with a soft landing, keeping your core engaged throughout. As soon as you land, you jump again; it’s quite high-intensity.
2. CLEAN AND PRESS (ALL-BODY)
WE use the Olympic bar and the aim is to lift as much as you can while still retaining good form by the end. We use 40-60kg normally. Keep your core tight throughout, your back and base strong. Move the weight as quickly as possible from the mid-thigh. Explode through the hips and then catch on the shoulders, and clean overhead. Keep the bar moving at all times, apart from a brief pause between reps. You’re using your full body and getting the power from gripping the floor, as you would when throwing a punch.
3. CLAP PRESS-UP (UPPER-BODY)
IT’S a normal press-up basically, two or three inches from the floor. You push your hands into the floor and then explode up from there, clap your hands and land back down in your starting position. Keep the time in contact with the ground to a minimum.
4. OBLIQUE MED BALL CATCH, TWIST, THROW (CORE)
THE only part of your body on the floor is your bum; your body is like a V-shape. The trainer should stand around two metres away. You catch the medicine ball thrown by the trainer – with soft elbows – twist to the side and touch the ball to the floor – I use a 3-5kg ball – and twist back up, chucking the ball back to the trainer as quick as possible. It’s all one movement and the trainer has to throw the ball back instantly too. After the 10 reps, have a brief rest, fill the lungs up, then do the other side. I think the twisting motion of this exercise helps with hooks, as it’s the same core movement.