As I write this blog I am struggling to lift my arms- yesterday I had a really tough second session with Team Complete Fitness Academy Head Coach Gerry Jackson. Check out a promo video of their facility here.
I’ve booked myself in for 10 Personal Training sessions with him in the lead up to the fight which is on April 2nd. Having been involved largely in Tennis since 2003 it has been refreshing to get involved in training for a different sport.
Boxers- fittest athlete of all sports?
Boxing often gets put in the category of ‘fitness sports.’ Perhaps it would be impossible to really make a case for one sport being the ultimate fitness sport. Pure endurance sports such as distance running fully tax the aerobic system but how can you not admire the power and fitness of a 17 stone rugby prop covering the pitch over 80 minutes. Or a tennis player who stays out there for 4 hours having covered a few kilometres worth of sprints and high intensity running.
It’s a good debate. All I can say is that I wasn’t fit going into the training and I’ve now got a really good motivator to get fit! Having to do three rounds of 3 minutes doesn’t seem like much. But after my second PT session he put me through one round of hell and said, “when you can do three rounds of that, you’re ready to fight!”
Tennis is really an alactic sport ”which involves mainly the CP energy supplying mechanism, and followed by short phases of low intensity activity or rest intervals, during which the aerobic processes ensures the restitution of the anaerobic source.” Verkoshansky, Special Strength Training pg 196.
Boxing is similar in that you also need this same alactic power. Therefore a big part of my weights training session is going to include a finisher with some work to improve my Maximal Anaerobic Power. Basically I’m going to shadow box with 0.5kg dumbbells in my hand 15-seconds maximal rate combinations x 6 reps per set with 2-minutes rest between reps and 2-3 sets. I want complete recovery so I can focus on getting as much out of myself in the 15-second bursts.
Boxing is 3 minutes of work but that work never involves complete rest. You might move away from your opponent momentarily to give you a second to catch your breath and drop your guard briefly to rest your shoulders. But really its all about being able to maintain a fairly high rate of work that undulates between higher and lower intensities without a break therefore you also need endurance.
Local Muscular Endurance
To improve my endurance I will also be doing a circuit instead of my sparing if for whatever reason I can’t train with Gerry. For example, Gerry is on holiday this week so I’ll be doing one of these on Monday and Wednesday.
Jump circuit (more emphasis on Power)
- Barbell squat Jumps for 8 reps
- A ten-fold jump from leg to leg for 2 repetitions
- Kettle bell squat jumps for 8-10 reps
- Double leg half squat jumps for 10-12 reps
- Jumps on a box 40-50cm high with a double leg take off jump for 4-6 repetitions
- Six-fold jumps (2 on left and then 2 on right-6 take offs on each leg) for 1 repetition.
Weights circuit (more emphasis on Strength) 30-60 sec on: 1-min off, with aim to get pulse down below 140 bpm in the 1-minute rest.
- Barbell squat
- Bench press
- Straight leg sit ups
- Bent arm chest flyes
- Barbell side bends
- Barbell pullovers
- Supinated grip bicep curls
- Barbell bent over row
- Barbell overhead press
No rest between exercises bodyweight circuit
- Press up- 20 reps
- Double leg jumps over 10 small hurdles
- Overhead medicine ball throws- 10 reps
- Leg circles lying on back- 10 reps to each side
- Single leg hops over 10 small hurdles- repeat on each leg
- Get ups- 10 reps
The main thing I have noticed that I don’t really train with tennis athletes is the demands of making high speed short contacts between opponents when striking. Throwing several high speed combinations in a row really taxes your speed strength. You also need a bit of explosive strength from the legs when moving the body in and out of the reach of your opponent.
Tennis uses a lot more reactive power using the fast stretch shortening cycle during footwork and more hip dominant explosive power during sprinting to wider balls.
Therefore my legs feel strong but my arms are absolutely wasted from all the punch combinations using speed strength i don’t really train.
My Boxing Training
In Tennis I guess I am guilty of sometimes holding the athletes hand through their training, although I have certainly got better in recent years.
Gerry was just like I expected- in session 1 he said go and warm-up and I’ll see you when you’re finished. He will expect you to take care of business yourself and won’t sit around to watch you do it.
- 100 skips
- 20 press ups
- 20 V sits
- 20 squats
Repeat x 5
I have to say I have a new appreciation for what Brendan Chaplin meant when he said you have to have a basic level of work capacity to get a full hour of training done. I wrote a blog about it here and here
Gerry’s warm-up is like a work capacity circuit, something that Brendan has been an advocate of for a long time, no doubt influenced by his own martial arts experience. Just doing that was very tough for me. It made me think that as much as I preach that getting stronger will also raise your work capacity anyway, there’s a big difference to lifting heavy weights and actually doing direct work capacity training.
In my second session Gerry’s greeting was, “glad to see you’ve got your running trainers. Go and run down to the bottom of the road and back.”
Again, just another example of how you’re building in more and more work capacity, because after my 6 minute run I had to do the warm-up circuit!!
In the first session we did 3-minutes on the bag x 3 with a 1-minute rest between. Gerry asked me to just do what I want to do and he will use that to evaluate my technique and make refines during our sessions together.
The main thing I was working on was coming towards and away from the bag. If you come out and then come back in you have more space and momentum to throw your punches. I also worked on recoiling the punch more quickly so you don’t just strike and then slowly bring it back.
I did this bag work on both my first and second session. On the second session Gerry asked me to do the final round using a combination of left jab- right cross- left hook- right cross.
In the first session and second session we did 3 x 3-minutes on the pads. The first session we focused on mainly single and double combinations, and a little bit of defensive work.
In the second session we did another two rounds of 3-minutes as per the first session. However, it was noticeably harder because he made me throw more combinations and also at the end of the second round made me do a jab finisher- doing singles, then doubles then triples all the way up to 10!! In the final round we did something that was one of the hardest things I have done.
Gerry called it the ”Cry Like a Baby round.” Basically in the final round Gerry would push me all around the outside of the ring and said I had to keep working the body and if I didn’t get a strike in, he would hit me.
Basically for 3 minutes I was just hanging on to the ropes and trying to move around but I couldn’t get any space at all and a few times he gave me a few strikes to the ribs which almost winded me.