I’m an amateur boxer. I was wondering which would be more effective. Sprints or long runs. I’ve heard arguments for both but I was hoping to hear it from the experts themselves.

Unfortunately the answer isn’t simple. Sprint training and long runs can have the same effect on your fitness. There’s a lot of solid research to suggest this.

But the answer depends on a few things:

1)     What do you feel you’re good at? Are you a high intensity boxer? Or are you more endurance based?

2)     Where are you in your training phase? Or development as a boxer. If you’re at the beginning of camp, in general it’s a good idea to train using longer intervals and work your way down to shorter intervals.

When we work with boxers we test them to see what they’re good at and then we can work out how to train them. Without knowing a lot about you it’s difficult to give a concrete answer.

Personally, I wouldn’t prescribe long slow runs. The longest sessions we do are 8 min intervals at an effort of 9/10. We’d aim to do that 4 times. That requires some training though so we’d start with 4 min intervals repeated 4 times at 9/10 effort.

Sprint training needs to be separated from sprint interval training. Sprint training is max effort with full recovery between runs. Sprint interval training is near max effort with short recovery. Sprint interval training is preferred for boxers. At the longer end of the spectrum that might be 30s efforts with 30s recovery in reps of 8-10, with 4 sets. At the shorter end it might be 6 seconds effort with 20 seconds recovery 8 – 10 times, for 4 sets.

In a week for an active amateur fighter such as myself how many times is it ideal to train to keep myself physically in great shape? I currently train twice or sometimes three times in the week at the gym. It’s open four times in the week. Then I do some roadwork on weekends and rest up. I was hoping you could give an ideal regime for an active amateur fighter.

It’s not all about what you do, it’s how you do it. The questions become – what do you do in your sessions? How intense are they? What sessions do you recover best from? What’s the hardest to recover from?

When you have an idea of that you can start to juggle around your training to suit your needs. What’s clear from the research is that you need to vary your training between easy, moderate and hard each day.

This way you will ensure you get the most out of your sessions, perform well in the hard sessions, and have the easy sessions in place for effective recovery.

Challenge the body, let it recover and you will progress.

I would say that training three times a week and then a road running session (4 training sessions) a week (without knowing how intense they are), is a little on the low side. I’d aim to train each day, with hard days followed by a recovery/easy day.

I try and get down to the boxing gym as much as I can Monday-Friday so my only other time free to work-out is on weekday mornings and on weekends. I was wondering if your experts have any advice on what would I should be doing outside these sessions i.e. on weekday mornings and weekends? I know a lot of people like to run quite long distances most days but I question how beneficial this can be to performance in the shorter amateur format.

See the answers to the two questions above.

Boxing specific activity should be accompanied with both conditioning and resistance training activity to overload different types of fitness needed for boxing.

At Sheffield Hallam University we have links with many amateur boxing clubs, with junior, youth and elite fighters training with us 2-4 times a week. Many amateur clubs still do not get these opportunities, so this is setting our boxers apart from the rest.

Although Amateur boxing is a shorter format in comparison to the professional ranks, it is often performed at a higher intensity. So an Amateur boxer needs to have well developed aerobic and anaerobic systems, this can be improved by HIIT and repeated sprint training.

Whats the best way to go about increasing accuracy and speed when it comes to left hook/jab?

This is something to ask your boxing coach. They are in a better position to give advice on technical improvements and present in your sessions to make sure it is practised well.

To offer some S&C support with this, the hook is very dependent on rotational force from the core. So Rotational Medicine Ball Throws and Landmine Rotations are pretty good. Check out a short video here.

For the jab, we use landmine punch exercise variations for different types of punches or combinations. This can be adapted for the jab. Most jabs connect when the arm is outstretched, so doing a lot of pressing and shoulder strengthening exercises will help.

I have a question regarding injuries in boxing. How do you prevent wrist injuries especially on heavy bag? How do you heal such injuries?

See above the answer on the jab. The wrist maybe suffering due to poor shoulder and arm strength. You can do wrist and forearm strengthening work, either through grip work or wrist flexion/extension.

Your injuries need to be diagnosed by a physiotherapist, however forearms can often feel sore after a heavy bag workout. Try doing some soft tissue release methods for the forearms to release tension and reduce soreness.

A final note, make sure your hands are well wrapped before using the heavy bag to prevent injury.


Danny Wilson and Alan Ruddock are the co-founders of www.boxingscience.co.uk

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