LIKE every other sport boxing is now beginning to embrace the role that strength & conditioning has to offer. But what does a strength & conditioning coach actually do? As I’ve previously stated nothing can replace the skill of boxing, so how does using these methods increase your chances of success in the ring?
With the top fighters in the world now using S & C coaches, young prospect fighters are now following suit. This can only be a good thing as long as both the fighter and the S & C coach knows exactly what they are there to do. Below are some key points to consider.
Why Use Strength And Conditioning?
In the world of professional sport, within the rules, athletes are now seeking what is known as ‘the edge’. Sprinters are running faster than ever, racing car drivers are driving quicker, and in the competitive margins are smaller than they have ever been. Boxers are no different. A top level boxer needs the edge both physically and mentally. A good S & C programme could give that extra 1% that is the difference between them and their opponent.
How Strength & Conditioning Can Benefit A Fighter?
For some fighters, the benefits of S & C may seem fairly obvious. A fighter is always looking to KO their opponent. Therefore they need to be able to punch as hard and as fast in round 12 as they can in round 1. Exercises such as power squats, deadlifts and ballistic jumps are known to increase both the power and speed of a punch. Because of this they are vital to your exercise regime.
But lets remember, boxing is to hit and not get hit. So what about the defence of a fighter?
Statements about the role of training in order to develop increased punch resistance, for me are a very grey area. What is proven is that a high quality S & C and nutrition protocol can improve your cognitive functions. Therefore your ability react quicker to a punch thrown at you, to slip a punch, and to keep a cool head and make the right decisions while under pressure, can all be improved through your S & C training.
Ultimately the benefits of a high quality strength and conditioning programme are in the title. You will have better posture, increased flexibility, improved strength and power, have a lower chance of injury, and your mind and body will be in better condition for the duration of the fight.
The Key Elements To Strength And Conditioning For A Fighter
Some coaches believe that their role is simply to assist the training by pushing the fighter extremely hard.
In fact the four roles below, are more important.
Weight Management – Ensure that the weight is always being monitored. Boxing (along with many other sports) is a weight controlled sport. Therefore there is no point being fit and strong at a weight of 11 stone (154 lbs) when the target fighting weight is 10 stone (140 lbs). Equally a boxer does not want to be at their target weight two weeks before their fight.
Testing – Your coach must be performing regular testing on you. Health checks, as well as body fat calipers, strength testing, vo2 Max and Batak tests should all be a regular feature of the training camp.
Injury Prevention Strategy – The training camp places an enormous amount of stress and pressure on the muscles and joints of the boxer. A full mobility regime, as well as things such as self myofascial release are strategies that a boxer should be performing each day to reduce their risk of injury.
Recovery Strategy – A boxer trains brutally hard. Sparring (even light) is like nothing I have ever seen. The correct recovery strategy including nutrition, hydration, icing procedures and massage all need to be implemented. This allows the boxer to be ready for training tomorrow, and the day after.