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A Weight Training Program for Boxing

Build Muscle, Strength and Power

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Updated September 01, 2011

Successful boxing requires a combination of speed, power, strength and endurance -- and bulk is certainly an advantage, depending on weight classification.

Weight training or resistance training, used intelligently, can promote and enhance these athletic characteristics. Because all athletes have individual needs, a generic program like this that follow will need to be modified for style, age, goals, facilities available and so on. However, here's a weights program, starting out, that you can use to set yourself up for boxing competition.

General Preparation

The general preparation phase should provide all-round muscle and strength conditioning. If you prepare on a seasonal basis, this would be used in the early pre-season. If you do not have 'seasons,' then just progress through the training phases in sequence.

As a general rule, and for all the following programs, don't do the workouts prior to a fight training session. Do them later in the day after ring work, or well before, or on a separate day if possible. You need to be fresh for ring work. Nothing you do should limit your ability to practise technical boxing skills, in the environment in which you would normally compete.

Frequency - 2 to 3 sessions per week for 8 to 10 weeks
Type - general conditioning
Exercises - 9 exercises, 3 sets of 10 to 12, plus warm-up and cool-down in the Basic Strength and Muscle program. (I favor the Romanian type deadlift rather than full deadlift in this program.)
Rest between sets - 30-90 seconds

Specific Preparation

In this phase, you will focus more on the development of strength and power. This is the period, later pre-season, leading up to the start of competition.

Frequency - 2 to 3 session per week, 4 to 6 weeks
Type - strength and power
Exercises - 5 sets of 6: Romanian deadlift, incline bench press, hang power clean, pullups, squats -- plus combo crunches at 3 sets of 10 to 12
Rest between sets - 3-5 minutes, crunches, 1-2 minutes

Competition Phase

The aim of this phase is the maintenance of strength and power. Ring training and competition should dominate. Prior to the start of competition, take 7-10 days break from heavy weights work at the end of Specific Preparation while maintaining your ring work. Weight training in the competition phase should play essentially a maintenance role.

Frequency - 1 to 2 sessions per week
Type - power; lighter loads and faster execution than in the specific preparation phase
Exercises - 3 sets of 10, rapid concentric movement, 40% to 60% of 1RM. Squats, hang clean, Romanian deadlift. Crunches.
Rest between sets - 1-2 minutes

Aerobic Conditioning

Boxing over 12 rounds requires stamina and aerobic fitness. Most boxers run for this type of fitness. A regular 'roadwork' run is a crucial training element for increasing aerobic fitness and endurance, especially for those who fight over 12 rounds. Distance run should be between 6 and 8 kilometres at moderate pace for four or five days each week. Longer training should be avoided to minimize muscle loss and conversion of fiber type from fast to slow.

Circuit training in the gym will also provide aerobic conditioning.

Summary

  • Be sure to warm up prior to weight training.
  • Don't train through serious injuries, acute or chronic.
  • Don't sacrifice a ring session for a weights session -- unless you're treating or recovering from an injury with weights work.
  • If you have a knowledgeable coach, be guided by him or her regarding the details of your program.
  • Take at least a few weeks off at the end of the season to recover after a hard season of training and competing.
  • If you're new to weight training, read up on the fundamentals before you start.

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