Fitness Training

Strength training for boxers – get the basics right

Manny Pacquiao
Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Danny Wilson explains the Boxing Science approach to strength training

STRENGTH and conditioning is becoming more and more popular for amateur and professional boxers. Whether train with accredited S&C coaches, personal trainers and boxing coaches, we are glad that boxers have started to realise the benefits of strength training.

But can you actually say this is strength training?

There are specific methods to improve strength training and, in turn, punching force. We look at the proven methods used to get fighters stronger, faster and punching harder at Boxing Science.

The Science Behind The Punch

Essentially, impulse is the amount of force developed in a short space of time. This is often called the rate of force development, important contributor to running, jumping and throwing performance, as well as … yeah you guessed it, PUNCH FORCE.

In boxing, it’s often the one who hits harder at a faster speed is often the winner, wouldn’t you agree? Well, impulse is a major contributor to that.

The common theme in boxing strength and conditioning training

Most of the boxing community that are involving S&C are reluctant to prescribe exercises with high weight load. Going from what we see in boxing gyms, and the posts on social media, most boxers perform body weight or low external load exercises for a large amount of repetitions or duration.

Sledgehammers, tyre flips, dumbbell punches. These types of exercises have their place in developing a boxer as long as they programmed in the systematic and deliberate process. However, these exercises are not likely to promote adaptations in impulse or strength.

Therefore, not likely to improve the force to your punches.

Building the Bombs

Common boxing S&C training methods are not associated with improvements in maximal force production, and in turn, speed. In ‘Pacman Speed’, we explained that developing each section of the force-velocity curve is important to create an explosive fighter. Training just a few areas of the curve will effect explosivity… We don’t want a ‘strong but slow’ or a ‘fast but weak’ fighter. We want a fighter who’s strong and fast.

Systematic and Deliberate Practice

Everything we do at Boxing Science is aimed to follow systematic and deliberate practice… But why?

Systematic – done or acting according to a fixed plan or system; methodical.

Deliberate –done consciously and intentionally.

This means that there is always a reason behind all our training methods, and we always have a plan to what it will progress to.

So when we say follow the force-velocity curve to improve punch force, it is not just simple ‘move weights quicker’, you need to approach it from different angles. There are many ways that we can train impulse, whether it is for upper, lower or whole body movements.

At Combat Conditioning, we start our athletes on the road to developing maximal strength – but we don’t expect people to start deadlifting as much as possible straight away. We structure our training programs with progressive exercises that develop the movement and strength foundations so maximal strength training is performed safely and effectively.

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