Endurance should be at the root of any conditioning boxing program. If you don’t plan ahead and take the time to strengthen your energy systems, you will gas out during a fight. Unless you are a wonder of nature. And yes, those lucky guys exits.
If you can not breath, you can not fight. When fatigue sets in there is not much can do to keep going. Unless you had prepared your body and mind to deal with it. This takes time and planning.
You are strong, you are fast and explosive, you have an iron chin. But if you don’t have endurance you are playing a lost game.
Is endurance underrated in boxing?
By now you should know that resistance to fatigue is key to any top performance boxer. The capacity to keep great speed and high intensity round after round is what differentiates a world class elite boxer from the rest of the pack.
When supply of energy goes down fatigue goes up.
To compensate fatigue boxers have to increase their potential to produce energy.
In a boxing match, the athletes should be able to perform fast movements time after time without slowing down.
Speed and endurance are sustained by different energy systems. But without endurance you won’t be able to maintain speed. Therefore if you want to keep your speed level, you have to work on our endurance.
Energy systems and their role in boxing endurance
The aerobic system: Carbohydrates and fats are used as a source of energy. Aerobic processes develop gradually, reaching their maximum few minutes after the beginning of the activity.
Aerobic energy guarantees a longer activity duration.
The aerobic energy level depends on cardiovascular system oxygen transportation ability and the muscular cells capacity to use it.
Contrary to popular believe, different studies have shown that the aerobic system provides a great percentage of ATP even in short duration exercise.
When your objective is to improve endurance this is the primary system you should work on. Strengthening an athlete cardiovascular system will improve his resistance to fatigue.
Keep in mind that there is always a trade off, the improvement of an energy system will tax another. Even when they work in concurrence, we can’t improve all at the same time.
Don’t work on different systems in the same day!
Aerobic conditioning should be adapted to the characteristics of boxing.
A good indicator of great aerobic conditioning is heart rate. A resting heart rate around 50 and heart rate recovery that goes down to 120 -130 between rounds are both indicators of a well conditioned boxer.
The anaerobic lactic system (anaerobic glycolisis): Manufactures ATP-CP from glucose and glycogen stored in muscles. Due to the lack of oxygen, glucose is partially synthesized in ATP-CP, producing lactic acid as by-product.
Glycolisis is engaged when ATP is required at a greater speed than provided by the aerobic system.
Lactic acid start to accumulate in our muscles when we start working at about 80% of our maximum heart rate.
In a non conditioned boxer pain appears in a short time, making him unable to lift his arms to throw effective punches. He needs to improve his tolerance to lactic acid. What is known as lactic acid threshold.
Training in a continuous fashion during 25 minutes at 85% of maximum heart rate will increase body acid lactic threshold. Allowing to use more energy from this system when needed.
The anaerobic a-lactic system: The phosphagen system supplies energy during a short period of time. Uses the ATP-CP stored in the muscles. It doesn’t require oxygen and doesn’t produce lactic acid.
The alactic system is capable of producing a vast amount of energy but for a short period of time.
A strong alactic system results in explosive power. Knock out punch.
Boxing endurance must be specific to boxing modality
Boxing is considered a combined sport (aciclyc and cyclic) according to Verjoshanky.
Boxers are required to perform actions of different intensity level in a state of compensated fatigue.
To be able to do so, boxers use energy from all energy systems. Aerobic and anaerobic. Therefore boxers must develop aerobic and anaerobic capacity to increase their resistance to fatigue.
There are differences in the involvement of the energy system between professional and amateur boxing. Training should be planned for the specific demands of each one.
As time engaged in the activity continues the higher the involvement of the aerobic system.
Our bodies respond to stress, given adequate progressive loads and time, with adaptation. This we have to take into consideration when planning our work loads.
Presupposing you are a competitive boxer. Your main goal is to be in optimal condition at fight time.
Therefore you or your coach have to plan your workouts. Loads should be increased progressively, allowing recovery time for super compensation to occur. Otherwise you are doomed for disaster.
How to increase resistance to fatigue in boxing. Simplified
I hear often that boxing is mainly an anaerobic activity and boxers should not perform long distance running. This is just simply B.S.
Aerobic capacity should be the base of any conditioning in any combat sport. It strengthen the heart! That by itself is a good enough reason to work on it.
The heart is the motor that keeps our bodies running.
First step to increase endurance is to work on cardiovascular conditioning. Doing so will improve the heart ability to pump oxygenated blood.
Think of your heart pumping gas motor. The more powerful the motor the more gas it pumps.
This is mainly done with long distance running and high volume low intensity training, keeping heart rate between 130-150 b.p.m.
Second you need to improve the capacity of muscular cells maximize the output from the gas your motor provides. This is done working during intense short intervals 10-15 seconds followed by longer non intense rest intervals 20-30 seconds where action continues at slower pace.
Third thing is to work on is the specific resistance to the activity.
To develop resistance to fatigue working while tired is the most intense stimulus to produce adaptation.
In boxing the closes thing to it, is sparring. Bag and mitt work can also be used for this purpose. Go at the highest pace you can sustain during rounds.
Remember when planning your workouts that high intensity training will increase your performance faster than low intensity high volume but it will make you plateau sooner. So be smart and plan your training sessions accordingly.