November 4, 2015
November 4, 2015
Deadlift

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BOXING is often deemed as the hardest and most gruelling sport in the world, and there is always an emphasis on a boxers fitness.

“Go the distance,” “no pain, no gain” are common phrases in boxing training and lead to a culture where endurance is the most important physical aspect.

This is can be true, however boxing is not like any other endurance event. Boxing is a sport of repeated explosive actions.

But how explosive are boxers?

Rate of force development (RFD) is simply how quick you can produce a large amount of force. This can be developed by getting quicker, but we need to be able to produce large amounts of force for high RFD.

You can name many boxers with great hand speed. But how many can we name that are strong?

The Evidence

In the labs at Sheffield Hallam University, we are able to compare physical characteristics of boxers to see the key contributors to boxing performance.

Leg strength and force production is assessed by counter-movement and squat jumps.

Results show that jump height is related to estimated punch force (medicine ball backhand punch throw distance). Meaning…

The higher you jump, the harder you can punch.

Results also show that jump height was related to age and body mass, but did not correlate to competitive experience.

Boxing-Science-Get-Stronger-Punch-Harder

What does this mean?

This means that lower limb force production is an important contributor to the knockout punch, but suggests that this is not developed by traditional boxing methods.

So, how does boxing compare to other sports?

The average jump height for an over 18 boxer is 39.9 cm, with the range being between 21.4-60 cm.

We compare the scores with benchmarks made by 18 year old tennis players that average at 45 cm, professional basketballers average at 49 cm and professional footballers average at 54.5 cm.

This shows that boxing is quite far behind other sports when it comes to jumping and producing leg strength.

Get Stronger Punch Harder

At Sheffield Hallam University, we use a range of strength and conditioning exercises to develop rate of force development. These include compound exercises, Olympic lifts, movement drills and speed training.

Results showed a 6% improvements in both counter-movement and squat jump height following a 10 week case study of 10 professional and amateur boxers. These results become more impressive when comparing it to body mass as both relative jump heights improved 9%.

Ever heard “I was weak at that lower weight”? Well, as our boxers move down in weight, they get stronger. This improves their pound for pound (P4P) force production.

What does this mean for punch force?

On the same testing day, we assessed medicine ball punch throw to estimate punching force. Following 10 weeks of training, throw distance improved by 10%.

Punch force increasing paired with a reduction in body mass means that there is an increase in estimated P4P punching force. Following 10 weeks training, P4P punching force improved by 13%.

This suggests that although you are reducing body mass when ‘making weight’, strength and conditioning training gets you stronger, jumping higher and hitting harder!

What does this mean for punch force?

On the same testing day, we assessed medicine ball punch throw to estimate punching force. Following 10 weeks of training, throw distance improved by 10%.

Punch force increasing paired with a reduction in body mass means that there is an increase in estimated P4P punching force. Following 10 weeks training, P4P punching force improved by 13%.

This suggests that although you are reducing body mass when ‘making weight’, strength and conditioning training gets you stronger, jumping higher and hitting harder!

Danny Wilson is a strength and conditioning coach at Sheffield Hallam University and the co-founder of www.boxingscience.co.uk