Five things a boxer should be incorporating into their training regime…..that they probably aren’t
By Neil Perkins
They say youth is wasted on the young and I like many wish I had my time again. I let my mind wander during a ‘Yoga Flow’ class at Yoga Haven and forgot how good Yoga was and more importantly why more people who exercise a lot (upwards of 4 sessions per week) should incorporate it to their training regime. As an amateur boxer I accrued a pretty impressive 18 wins out of 21 contests. My physical conditioning played a big part in this and Ashtanga Yoga under the guidance or Robin Aurrora was one of the things that I thank for keeping my core strong, me injury free and functional strength. This was something looking back played a big part in my success, yet this style of training is rarely implemented by combat athletes. Here are five things that boxers should be incorporating into their regime…that they probably aren’t.
As mentioned above Yoga was one of the things I thank for my early success. It kept me injury free, subtle and strong. A good Yoga instructor will teach their students how to think about movement and body mechanics, this can be transferred well to the delivery of punches and combinations – punches are mechanical movements, not muscular actions. The dynamics of punch are a synchronised action of leg extension, hip rotation, body rotation and arm extension. There is a lot of movement in there and the flexibility of the hip flexors and hamstrings will help the body in its ability to rotate the core and deliver power. The best thing about yoga is the thought time and mental focus – Yoga outweighs running for this and gives the boxer time to plan a fight in their mind. For the recreational athlete, this focus and ‘away’ time from the stress of life offers great value added.
Kettlebells are the king of conditioning. The basic kettlebell movement is the kettlebell swing. A posterior chain activator that encourages the hips to thrust forward quickly and aggressively. This short and explosive action mimics the short and explosive hip movements used to deliver punches. It teaches the body how to fire the biggest muscle on your body in the gluteus maximus (your backside) and deliver it through the hips in explosive power. Kettlebells are predominately posterior changed derived exercises, so they work all the muscle down the back side of the body. This engagement of the posterior chain (back) opens the shoulders and hip flexors that traditionally many of us suffer whilst hunched over a desk all day. The big plus of kettlebells is their ability to work the body unilaterally – each side of the body at a time. This not only gets great core engagement but works multiple planes of movement so ironing out weak points in functional strength movements like traditional squats and deadlifts. Kettlebells have the ability to fire muscles again and again under fatigue whilst maintaining form. The kettlebells is the king for power endurance.
3. Olympic Weightlifting
Functional strength is a buzz word for Strength & Conditioning coaches. Olympic weightlifting harnesses power from the floor through the core to extension of the arms in a synchronised movement to generate explosive power. I can not think of a more productive training mode for developing raw power. Sometimes skill emphasis is a big problem as is flexibility. Skill emphasis can be resolved by booking a good S&C coach and flexibility my incorporating things like yoga!
4. Good Nutrition and a healthy relationship with food
This is still a problem with many boxers. The weight making aspect of the sport in conjunction with poor education with nutrition leads to a very unhealthy relationship cycling between eating crap in large quantities during off-season and starving body in season. Boxers would be better advised to eat a diet high of nutrient dense food year round that either swam in the sea, ran on the land or grew out of the ground.
Rest is important as training. Again the cycle between boom and bust associated with the sport very often leads to overtraining, mostly as a consequence of poor weight management.