The One Exercise A Boxer HAS to do….

The majority of us who like to Box are Boxing as a hobby, we have jobs to attend and other things to do, as well as balancing a family and social life. This doesn’t leave much time to concentrate on many aspects of Boxing. When we are Boxing, we have to break it down further, technique work, sparring, jogging to name but three aspects. When we are faced with all of this, something has to give and often it is the strength and conditioning side to Boxing ie the weight training, we end up neglecting. In this article I am going to suggest one weight training exercise I believe you HAVE to do if you are Boxing, if you don’t have enough time to weight train and can only fit in one session per week or just 30mins per week, this is the weight training exercise I believe you should be doing above all others.

And the answer is…..The Deadlift.

The Deadlift is one of the main all round strength and power builders, helping to develop the posterior chain and additional areas of the body including quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, abdominals, forearm flexors and extensors, spinal erectors, rhomboids and trapezius.

Now I am going to go into why and the various ways you can do the Deadlift and incorporate into your routine.

Deadlifts – Why?

Strength – The Deadlift is one of the best, if not the best strength building exercise you can do, there is some debate to this as there is also the Squat, another great exercise, to take it further there is the Overhead Squat, and the Snatch Balance – all great exercises I would recommend for Boxers if you have enough time to work on them. But why am I not advising the Squat or Snatch Balance? The answer is simple, if you are training for Boxing or for a fight, you will be running multiple times per week, whether it is steady state jogging, hill sprints or interval sprints on top of sparring during the week, your legs will be fried and already getting a lot of work in. If you are adding Squats in on days you are not running, there’s a good chance it might impact your next running session or sparring session and for those of us who are not full time and don’t have dedicated coaches, it becomes harder to manage. The Deadlift will provide an excellent all round strength game whilst allowing a little more leeway for your legs to recover.

Power – This is a mix of strength and speed. So if you want to improve your power, you have to get stronger and when it comes to getting stronger, little is better than the Deadlift. It is a multi jointed compound movement which works the large muscles of the body which means you will become stronger overall. It is also the exercise most people can lift more weight than any other exercise they try.

The Kinetic Chain – This basically means that one movement at one joint effects another movement at another joint. The chain for boxing is the same principle – which is required for delivering punches, and the Deadlift involves lifting the weight from the floor so producing power from your legs which then transfers to your hips and core. And having strong hips and a strong core makes for a strong punch. For any of you martial art fans, you may well remember the classic Bruce Lee movie ‘The Way of the Dragon’ where in a scene round the back of the restaurant, Bruce Lee advises his friends to put your hip into the punch. Well, the Deadlift certainly will!

The Posterior Chain – Similar to the above point, but instead of giving punches, we’re going to discuss taking punches. Like it or not, if you are Boxing, whether its sparring or a competitive fight, you are going to get hit. Deadlift helps strengthen the posterior chain which helps you absorb punches better. Your traps will improve and in turn, having strong traps helps to support your neck and having a strong neck neck can significantly reduce the risk of concussions.
Deadlifts also help train the lower back, this helps the ‘bracing’ function of the abs meaning you can handle body shots much better.

Deadlifts – How To?

Above, we mentioned power is a mix of strength and speed. This means when training the Deadlift, we can’t just be going heavy with low reps – if you happen to be nearing a competitive fight, then do not lift heavy at all. Use the speed deadlift. The speed deadlift(and speed squat/bench) is something I have previously touched upon in my article how to punch harder part II, you can find the article here. And in this article I will advocate the Speed Deadlift if all you have time to do is the Deadlift so this is what you want to be focusing on if you only have the time to weight training once per week. I will also add if you want to mix it up and make things harder, add in Kettlebell swings as soon as you have finished your set of Deadlifts. This is because of the hip hinge provided by the Kettlebell swing, the hip hinge is another effective way of building lower body strength and explosiveness which of course translates well into throwing a punch due to the similarity of the movement and transfer of power.

How To Perform The Deadlift

  • To commence this movement stand in an upright position with your feet hip to shoulder width apart.
  • Ensure that you have a firm base and keep your knees slightly bent and maintain a tight core with your weight on your heels.
  • If using a platform, step on to the platform and place your feet flat on the floor with your feet underneath the bar.
  • To commence the lift, flex forward and squat down and place your hands on the bar at shoulder width apart with an overhand or mixed grip(generally I would advise the overhand grip or hook grip, one hand over and one hand under can place increased stress on the bicep).
  • Once in this position, keep your hips down and lock your arms keeping your head up.
  • Whilst keeping your core tight, initiate the lift by slowly standing up whilst keeping your weight on your heels.
  • Feel that you are pushing your heels through the floor contract your core and keep your back flat.
  • When at the top of the movement tense your gluteals and stand upright.
  • Do not lean back or turn the head when performing a deadlift.
  • When in the top position, start to lower the bar and break at the hips flexing forward and pushing the gluteals back.
  • Ensure that your back remains flat at all times.
  • Place the bar back and then repeat.
  • With speed training, you are generally looking to do between 5-8 sets but of only 2 reps in each set.

Speed training is a training technique that is utilized to maximally recruit high threshold motor units/fast twitch muscle fibers. This means decreasing the weight but increasing the speed at which you move the weight. There are differences of opinion on the % of weight to be used, but it all falls between 30-70% of your 1 rep max. For the purpose of this article we will use 30%. I would suggest sticking to between 30-50% of your 1 rep max for speed training. So if you are Deadlifting 100kg for 1 rep, you would start your speed training with 30kg. Once you become more experienced with speed training, by all means increase it to 40 or 50% of your 1 rep max. – See more at: http://fayzfitness.co.uk/how-to-punch-harder-part-ii-the-secret-of-speed-training/

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25th May 2017
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