Training for boxing has undergone some major changes throughout the years. Prior to the 1980s, many trainers refused to let their fighters lift weights in an attempt to get stronger because the trainers feared it would make the fighters "musclebound" and that their punching would slow down because they would build heavy, muscular arms. While those ideas have all but disappeared, boxers have to concentrate on speed and technique, and building punching power through weight training is just one aspect of preparing for boxing.
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Know Your Needs
Each boxer has different needs while training. Some punchers are naturally strong and are very dangerous when they get in tight quarters and throw punches. Those same fighters tire as the boxing match moves into the late stages. Other fighters box well and know how to move. They have the endurance to make this style work, but they often get muscled around by opponents when they try to fight on the interior. The boxer who has endurance and technique may need extra work when it comes to strength training and lifting, while the stronger boxer may need more conditioning work. According to boxing trainer Ross Enamait, fighters have to determine what training tools best suit their needs. Strength training helps all fighters, but in particular those who need to develop greater power more than those who have natural strength.
There are several weight training exercisers boxers execute to build strength and punching power. These include arm curls, bench presses, leg presses, leg curls and lunges. Boxers may develop more strength and power by lifting to failure -- the maximum amount they can lift. However, this technique is not for beginners because it can lead to injuries when the muscles are not prepared to lift to that level.
Boxers should not sacrifice training in the ring for weightlifting. It often is best to get your training work in before you start lifting weights. For example, many boxers get their road work -- running 3 to 5 miles -- in during the morning before heading to the gym for a training session. That training session includes rope jumping, hitting the speed bag, shadow boxing, hitting the heavy bag and then sparring with an opponent. After the boxing work is complete, the fighter does weight training exercises to increase strength and endurance.
The point of lifting weights for a boxer is to build explosive punching power and increase the speed that punches can be thrown. It is not to build bigger and more impressive muscles. Boxers have no business trying to become bodybuilders. Enamait says that a bodybuilder's training routine does not work on power, speed or endurance. It is only to build symmetrical muscles, something that is of no concern to boxing judges and how they score a fight.