Fitness Training

Why knockout kings need strength and conditioning

Even the biggest punchers need strength and conditioning, writes Boxing Science's Danny Wilson

Dependent on ability and length of bout, boxers can throw between 100’s or even 1000’s of punches in a single contest. Carl Froch threw a massive 1034 shots when he faced Mikkel Kesslerfor the 2nd time in 2013, 135 of these were deemed as ‘Power Punches’ (Compubox 2013).

This shows that boxers are required to perform repeated explosive actions over an extended period of time to be successful.

Rounds 10-12 are often defined as the championship rounds, where a fight can either be won or lost. So wouldn’t you want to be hitting as hard in these rounds as you were in the first?

In this article we will explain the benefits of strength and conditioning on improving the ability of punching harder for longer.

Take Your Power To The Later Rounds…

There is limited data on strength training and the ability to punch harder for longer, however we can use findings from other athlete populations and adapt it to boxing.

There is an abundance of research suggesting that strength training can lead to improved endurance capacity in top-level endurance athletes.

The enhancement in endurance capacity appears to involve training-induced increases in the proportion of type IIA muscle fibers, maximal muscle force and rate of force development (read more here).

Good for boxers: Having the fitness in the later rounds so you can stay focused on the game plan, concentrated during combinations and energy to throw powerful shots.

It’s hard to mix the two

Training for strength and aerobic fitness can be difficult as the training types conflict. A reduction in strength adaptations could result from neuromuscular fatigue limiting the maximal muscle force that can be produced. A converse reduction in aerobic capacity from concurrent strength and aerobic endurance training has been reported.

But we need to train both to be fitter, faster and stronger in the ring.

To make sure we are ticking all the boxes, we strategically use Concurrent Training.

Concurrent Training

There has been a lot of research supporting the benefits of concurrent training. This is the combination of strength and endurance training within the same training phase. Concurrent training has seen improvements on muscle strength, muscle endurance, and maximal aerobic capacity.

These findings suggest that when performed strategically with athletes, concurrent strength and aerobic endurance training has complimentary effects, rather than contradictory.

Practical Applications

This is like opening a can of worms as there are many things to consider from a generic view, but everything needs to be tailored to the individuals needs. What is their current training status? When and how often do they compete? What is their training schedule?

Here are a few general tips when structuring concurrent training plans.

  • A range of tests should be set to determine an athletes strength diagnostics, aerobic and anaerobic capacities.
  • Low rep ranges during strength training to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.
  • Target your HIIT training to develop aerobic capacity to reduce lactic acid accumulation.
  • Structure strength and aerobic training on different days, as well as progressive overload and de-load weeks.

Low load mobility / strength circuits performed at slow tempo, this promotes muscle protein synthesis to maintain muscle mass.

For more information on Boxing Science training programmes click HERE.

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