Boxing is different from other sports in that actual competition is very limited and the majority of the athlete's time is spent on training. The objective for the boxer is to be in peak physical condition when it is time to compete. Olympic boxers must possess a number of athletic skills to be competitive. They must develop both the aerobic and anaerobic fitness, as well as reflexes and flexibility, during training.
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Aerobic endurance is essential to lasting in the ring. Olympic bouts consists of four rounds -- each two minutes long with only one minute of rest between rounds. Aerobic conditioning should include plenty of distance runs. Aim to complete three to four long runs per week, averaging at least five miles per run. To help encourage good breathing technique when boxing, incorporate swimming into your weekly training routine. Vary your swimming stroke throughout your workout to train various muscles while simultaneously developing your cardiovascular fitness. Finally, nearly every boxer masters the art of jumping rope. Not only is jumping rope an ideal aerobic activity, but it also enhances your quickness and reflexes.
Anaerobic training primarily consists of strength development and conditioning. This means hitting the weights. Plan on strength training at least four to five days a week, with each workout lasting about two to three hours. Some boxers may dedicate twice as much time to strength training. A boxer cannot overlook any body part when lifting weights. Developing the arms, shoulders and chest are critically important, as they provide most of the power when throwing punches. The core must be strong to resist punches and help stabilize your body as you throw punches. The legs must be strong enough to help you remain standing when your opponent lands a punch.
A boxer's remarkable reflexes sets him apart from other athletes. Boxers must be able to avoid an oncoming punch and throw a counterpunch within fractions of a second. To develop such fast reflexes, regularly perform exercises that aim to improve your reaction time. Boxers undergo heavy bag work, mitt drills, slip rope drills and contact drills. Jumping rope is one of the most traditional and effective exercises that develops your coordination, balance and reflexes. Another staple exercise is punching a speed bag in rhythm at a fast pace. The speed bag trains your timing and hand-eye coordination. Lastly, sparring exercises allow you to test and improve your reflexes against a training partner who moves and punches at random.
Boxing competitively is nearly impossible if you are not flexible. Your body undergoes a rigorous flexibility test during a bout, and your muscles must be warmed up and stretched properly before you fight. Simply stretching before a fight is not enough. Stretching must be an essential part of your overall training to acclimate your muscles to the various large range-of-motion maneuvers boxing entails. Never stretch cold muscles, as this increases risk for injury. Perform a light and short aerobic warmup, then begin stretching your upper and lower body.