As a boxer or trainer you may have heard of interval training. It’s a type of training, typically used for sprinters, long-distance runners, rowers, cyclists and others that need extended or explosive lung and cardiovascular power. Interval training alternates between high intensity and low intensity use of the same exercise during a workout. Interval training increases cardiovascular strength, speeds up fat and calorie loss, and can be used in nearly any type of exercise a boxer does. It’s basically training in a more efficient and especially more effective way. Used by top athletes in a wide variety of sports, it’s time that boxing started using this method more consistently.
The most important benefit of interval training is the added lung and cardiovascular capacity it provides. Boxing is a sport in which, like the other sports which use interval training, has varying intensity throughout the event. As the rounds progress, and depending on how the opponent is reacting, a boxer either picks up the pace, slows activity down, or sets into a medium pace. Interval training provides that boxer who is boxing at a comfortable pace to pick up the pace instantly, for longer periods of time if need be, and not get winded or, at least, get less winded. In training, the boxer will be able to train harder, longer, and recover easier and sooner. The lower intensity part of the exercise (called the rest period, though the boxer is not resting, just going slower) is the key to interval training. It’s this part of the exercise that prepares the body to most efficiently process the lactic acid build-up that is responsible for muscle and cardiovascular fatigue. The inability of the body to process lactic acid more efficiently is why boxers, especially beginners, feel like there wearing sixteen pound gloves and not sixteen ounces after a couple of rounds of boxing.
Interval training is also the best type of training to burn fat and calories. A boxer should always be in shape and close to fighting weight to begin with, but if not, interval training is the answer. Interval training burns more fat and more calories for the same reason that a car uses more gas and oil driving down a city street, as opposed to a freeway. Unlike driving down a freeway, a car in the city has to constantly stop, go, speed up, and slow down. That’s why a car always gets more mpg on the freeway than city driving. That’s what interval training does. It makes the body speed up, slow down, cruise, speed up, and start all over again, in a very challenging, calorie burning, fat melting, lung and heart pounding kind of way.
For interval training, the boxer should use about a 1:4 ratio and the high-intensity part should last between 10 and 15 seconds, while the low intensity part should be about one minute. It should be done after the regular workout, and about every other day.
Some interval training exercises to apply in the gym:
1. Heavy Bag: Punching the heavy bag non-stop at 50% capacity for one minute, then immediately 100% capacity (full speed and power) non-stop for 15 seconds. Repeat 5X.
2. Jumping Rope: 1 minute at basic speed, then immediately 15 seconds at 100% speed. Repeat process for 15 minutes.
3. Jogging/Sprinting: 1 minute jog, followed by a 15-second sprint (should be a little more than 100 yards,or a quarter of a basic track).