What type of general training should I employ for a client looking to improve his boxing performance?
Great to hear you are taking on this challenge! Working with a professional boxer will be a great experience. Weight training can be very beneficial to a boxer’s workouts. Below you find general PERFORMANCE guidelines. After your review, ask yourself the following questions as they will allow you to become more specific.
- How long before his next fight?
- What is his past resistance training experience?
To start, we have to first make sure he has the stabilization strength needed to maintain the intensity and volume of his training program. I would recommend a couple of weeks of training at a slow tempo (four second eccentric, two second isometric and two second concentric) and higher repetitions (15-25). This will help to build stabilization strength and endurance in those muscles that work best with time under tension.
After we have built the stabilization strength, we can now move forward and focus on strength gains and then on to power. I would recommend a strength exercise (exercise that is performed for one to five repetitions at a two second eccentric, one second isometric and one second concentric) followed immediately by a power exercise (exercise that is performed as explosive as possible). These exercises should mimic each other as close as possible. For example, when working "chest," first perform an exercise where the boxer can safely perform the exercise for five repetitions such as a lying dumbbell press on a bench. Immediately follow that up with some medicine ball chest passes with rotation as fast as possible to develop that explosive strength and prepare the nervous system to react as fast as possible.
I recommend you only train your boxer’s body one time per week in this manner, for this is very intense and your client will need plenty of recuperation time. If you want to train each body part more than once, just cycle in that higher repetition, slower tempo type of stabilization training to help prevent over-training.
About your cardio question: Try cutting your client’s rest periods down significantly (next to none). This will give his cardiorespiratory system a big challenge. Depending on his training and recuperation, you can recommend cardio done on its own on his off days or after his strength training.