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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
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
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
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