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Boxing Weight Training
Weight Training for Boxers The Myths

Myth 1: Weight training decreases flexibility.

It has been assumed that weight training results in athletes being "muscle bound" and less flexible. However, muscle hypertrophy (enlargement) does not compromise the ability of muscle fiber to stretch . Hypertrophy is independent of flexibility, and large muscles are physiologically as flexible as small muscles.

While most boxing coaches are concerned about decreased flexibility and limited range of motion (ROM), it is highly unlikely that boxers will achieve muscle hypertrophy to the point of altering the pennation angle and decreasing the ROM. Weight training exercises done with proper form, through full ROM, do not decrease flexibility.

Myth 2: Weight training leads to weight gain.

Weight training can affect overall weight, but more important, it has a desirable effect on body composition by decreasing fat and increasing muscle. Though muscle weighs more than fat, dietary changes can compensate for any small gain in weight.

In addition to the positive effect on body composition, the benefits of strength training and other methods of conditioning include substantial neural adaptations. These occur without any major increase in muscle fiber size and most likely do not result in weight gain.

Myth 3: Weight training slows you down.

Since boxers desire speed, they often avoid weight training, unaware of the research showing that such training improves the speed of the boxing punch Studies have shown increased velocity of punches following a 6-month period of weight training exercise. The results of these studies suggest that appropriate training increase the speed boxing punch.

Myth 4: If boxers weight train, they should train with low loads, high reps, and short rest intervals.

This myth stems from the belief that strength training with high loads and few repetitions will make you muscle bound, you'll gain weight, and that boxing is an aerobic sport requiring short rest intervals. Actually, boxers should train with high loads and low repetitions.

High load training promotes significant gains in strength and power due to its recruitment of Type 2-B muscle fiber and forceful contractions. Although the contraction is slower, it offers a better training stimulus due to the rate and frequency of neural activity firing). In addition, high load training does no compromise; it may enhance the athlete's local muscular endurance.

As for the myth about the short rest intervals, a work-to-rest ration of 1:1 stresses the aerobic energy system. So, 30 to 60 seconds rest with 8 to 12 reps represents approximately a 1:1 work to rest ratio. For athletes interested in hypertrophy, local muscular endurance, and aerobic endurance, this type of training is useful.

Myth 5: Most of the power from the boxing punch comes from the chest and arms.

The most visible aspect of boxing is the punch. Its mechanism of action includes the obvious movements of the upper extremity as well as the not so obvious movements of the trunk and lower extremity. In fact, these less obvious movements of the trunk and lower extremity as well as the not so obvious movements contribute greatly to power production in the boxing punch.

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