IT’S important a fighter does not peak too early in a training camp. You lay the foundations and each stage leads to the next. This S&C ‘camp’ will be split into four phases: strength, power – two areas we have covered before – conditioning and peak. You need to build strength to go into the power phase, then the power translates into the explosive conditioning work and peak exercises. Periodisation also breaks up training a fighter doesn’t plateau.
The strength phase is not as directly related to boxing movements as the others. We do this for three-four weeks, trying to gain strength, record the amounts lifted and build on that into the next stage. We split the strength phase into two workouts per week, an upper-body programme on a Tuesday and lower body on a Thursday. If you were doing your whole body twice a week, you may not fully recover between those days. Part of these workouts are tempo lifts – the numbers references are the amount of seconds you should spend on lifting and descending the weight. Tempo lifts develop slow-twitch muscle fibres which work for long period of time without getting tired – essential for boxing.
This time around, with my man Charlie Edwards otherwise engaged, I have been forced to demonstrate the exercises myself.
1. Ring chins 5 sets/5 reps/50 seconds’ rest
Start with an overhand grip, full extension on the arms, turning to an underhand grip as you pull up. Keep your elbows as close to your body as possible, and get your chin over the rings.
2. Dumbbell floor presses 4 sets/12 reps/40-50 seconds’ rest/2-2 tempo
Take a comfortable position on the floor, heels in towards you and knees bent. Keep your elbows tucked in, and naturally turn the dumbbells in a punching motion so they finish with your knuckles parallel to the ceiling.
3. Bar strict presses 5 sets/10 reps/40-60 seconds’ rest/2-2 tempo
The bar should start, with a narrow grip, under the chin, at the top of your chest, no bend in your legs. Press the bar overhead, until there is only a very slight bend in the elbow.
4. Seated dumbell Pendlay rows 4 sets/8 reps/50 seconds’ rest
Raise the incline bench up to a 45-degree angle when your arms are fully extended. Take a big drive up, keep your chin above the bench. Bring your elbows back until you feel a pinch in your upper back.
5. Weighted tricep dips 4 sets/10 reps/50 seconds’ rest
Start with fully extended arms, slowly go down, with your elbows moving behind, not to the side, until they are at 90 degrees, then a big drive up. The weight should be such that by the eighth-10th rep you are struggling.
6. Sled pull/rows 3 sets/40m reps/50 seconds’ rest
This builds fast-twitch fibres. Start in a 45-degree mid-squat position with arms extended, then pull elbows back until they are just past your sides.
7. Swiss ball shoulder rotations 4sets/10 reps per side/ 45 seconds’ rest
Choose a weight with which you can still perform the exercise with good form. It should be just your shoulder blades on the ball, hips up, glutes squeezed. Roll to one shoulder, back to the middle, then the other way, so the reps alternate between sides.
8. Swiss ball plank holds 3 sets/45-second reps/40-50 seconds’ rest
Keep your body tight and straight, just your elbows and forearms should be on the ball.
1. Goblet squats 5 sets/10 reps/40-50 seconds’ rest/2-2 Tempo
Place the dumbbell just under your chin, with your hands on the inside of it. Keep your elbows tight to your body, push your hips back – knees and toes should be turned out – and sit back onto your heels.
2. Split-leg raised kettlebell lunges 4 sets/eight reps per leg/50-60 seconds’ rest
Keep your hands close together and the kettlebells on the outside. Sink down so your back knee is almost on the floor. Your front knee should not go past the toe. Complete all reps of one leg before switching legs.
3. Stiff-leg deadlifts 4 sets/10reps/50-60 seconds’ rest
Position your legs hip-width apart. Push your bum as far back as you can and keep just a slight bend in the knee. The bar should move in a straight line, almost running along your legs. Bring it slowly back up.
4. Medicine ball single-leg stand-ups 3sets/12 reps each leg/50-60 seconds’ rest
The leg on the box should be at 90 degrees. Keep the medicine ball in a straight line in front of you, with a slight elbow bend. Stand up using the heel in the leg on the box. Complete all reps of one leg before switching legs.
5. Heavy sled pushes 4sets/40m reps/60 seconds’ rest
Dig your toes in and drive forward from heel to toe, keeping a constant tension in your legs. The light weight used in the image is for illustration only.