Boxing – How to Train to Prevent Fatigue

Two aspects of sports are qualitative and quantitative factors. Qualitative is how good are your techniques, how do you respond to real situations, what sort of tactics and strategies do you apply. Quantitative is something you measure such as how hard you can punch, how fast can you run, what is your anaerobic threshold, your VO2 max, your vertical jump height etc.

In boxing we usually don’t measure quantitative factors, instead we rely on our progress through training and sparring. In other words, you get a feel for when you are in shape through hard work and by following the prep plan laid out by your coach. However, you can take out some of the guess work of knowing your conditioning level by using a heart rate monitor, the only problem is that they are expensive. You can get a decent one for around $120, but if you can’t afford one right now then you may have to rely on checking your pulse manually. Either way you will at least need a digital watch where you can count minutes and seconds.

Here is one way to do a check of your fitness for boxing using run intervals, I would advise that you are already in decent shape and have been following a running program. Keep in mind, this is just one way to test your fitness for boxing, it’s not the only way. I could take an 800M college sprinter and he would have a lot of success with this exercise in no time even though he may not know shit about boxing. Use this as a supplementary test in addition to all your work:

Run for 5 mins at easy pace to warm up

Run for 3 mins hard with punching, you don’t have to punch on every single step but at least 70%-80% of the time, you are trying to get your heart rate above 170 beats per minute (bpm) by the first couple minutes. Within the last 30 seconds you should be pushing to get your heart rate above 180 bpm. Once three minutes is up walk at a moderate pace, watch your heart rate and see if you can get it down to 120 bpm or less by relaxing and breathing. If you can get it there then go again for a second round. The round where you struggle with recovery and can’t get your heart rate down to around the 120 bpm mark is where your current threshold is. It’s basically the round will most likely gas out in an all out fight.

If you are struggling to bring your heart rate down by the third or fourth interval then you need more work. You need to spend more time on run intervals, and all out full speed shadowbox and bagwork sessions where you push the intensity and speed up to your threshold. In other words you should be working so hard that you are begging for the bell to ring by the 4th round.

If you do not have a heart rate monitor then after 3 mins is up find your heart rate. Count how many beats you get in 10 seconds and multiply by six. If you get around 30 beats in that time then you have hit the approximate intensity for the test. The only problem with this method is that there is a lag, by the time you measure your heart rate manually you will have recovered a bit and it will have slowed down. Once a minute is up check your heart rate again for 10 seconds, you want to get to around 20 beats in that time.