Weight control, use of free weights and a boxer’s quickness


Boxer versus Brawler, left to right, Vitali Klitschko, Chris Arreola, Joseph Nelson, USMC, Rodolfo Castillo, USN, Ramon Diaz, USIAA, Ryan Kalowsek, USMC.

Since boxers are always worrying about their weight, I thought it would be good to pass along an interesting discussion I became involved in. This impromptu, forthright discussion between friends led to my discovery of Plyometrics. Perhaps you already knew about this type of exercise, but it was news to me.

M. Anderson: Since New Year I have implemented weights quite heavily into my training. I have also been focusing on my core more than ever. A lot of Boxers at my club do not do any weights. I am a road runner and felt the weights have increased my power and strength. As I am Marathon Training I’m doing 10-14 miles a day, swim twice and a long cycle as well as twice Boxing/Sparring at the club.


What do you think about weights? I don’t seem to have lost any speed or agility from the weights however my chest and arm sizes have gone up as well as my weight. Do you think the extra weights will make it more difficult to fight? I am currently pretty trim. I’m not Hulk Hogan or anything, but a few people have commented on my size. I think this is because I took Creatine for a month to help build up my legs for the longer runs.

M. Fernandez: Weights can be good as long as you are not doing power lifting. Do light weights with more reps, this will give you the lean muscle. Most boxers do not do weights because big muscles don’t allow you the final snap in a punch that is part of the power source. Make sure you stretch and use light weights and you’ll be fine.

E. Van Der Helm: Doing weights is what I am doing all my fighting career. I train with big weights only 6 to 8 reps. I train mostly explosive work outs. I think it gives me an advantage over my opponent. It makes me faster in the first few meters. That way I can fight at a different distance than most. So, no stretching for me and low in the reps. I hit harder and faster. Only problem is you have to learn to move without losing energy. This way of training makes your endurance go down. I would not go swimming it makes you slow and if you are trim maybe its time to move up to a higher weight level.

M. Silberberg: It’s according to how you feel. What works for one fighter doesn’t necessarily work for another. I don’t use weights. I feel like I am a better puncher without them. I get a lot of leverage on my punches and can really wing as long as I am loose. I do not feel the same using weights. I spoke to other fighters who say weights are great. Gives them more confidence.

B. Kull: I am 42 and have been training/fighting since I was 15. I have always lifted weights to boost my punching power. I have found it is not the weights that increase or decrease your quickness but the type of lifting and exercises you do. I do very little free weights and a great deal of “Nautilus” type lifting. Not only can I adjust my fighting style based upon how I train but the weights – notably add lean muscle and make it easier for me to gain or lose weight if needed.

M. Fernandez: I think Mike and Brock make some great points. It’s up to the person training but I’ve learned heavy weights and big muscle can limit your power. Power comes from the twist of your hips and the final snap of your punch. Big muscle limits the snap at the end so to Brock’s point lean muscle seems to be better. I’m not a doctor and don’t claim to be, so I’d love to hear from others. Technique is just as important.

J. Sawyer: Manny is right when he says technique is just as important as power, as technique wins fights. However I have been lifting weights for 20 years and I must say that unless you are a genetic freak then it is difficult to put on lots of weight by just lifting weights. If you are eating a calorie controlled diet and doing the cardio work stated above, then you will make good strength gains for your Boxing.

M. Fernandez: John, you’re right. It’s a matter of understanding your body and what works for you. That’s what’s so great about discussions like this.

Mark A.: I’d follow Manny’s advice, the muscle you want is lean muscle allowing you to throw faster and more effective punches, no need to build up like a muscle man to box. I myself do multiple rep’s with 5 to 15 pound weights.

J. Wyatt: With boxing being so competitive, it’s a matter of realizing which of the body types best suits you. The short stocky type, ala Mike Tyson, with the dynamite punch, or the more methodical Paul Williams type with his advantage of having the longer arm reach. Are you going to be fighting in close with power or outside with accuracy and speed. The ideal of course is to have that happy medium like a Joe Calzaghe. I know boxers that have too much muscle and lack the hand speed. And you have the great boxers who have absolutely no chance of knocking somebody out. To be a great boxer, it’s that happy medium that you have to strive for.

T. J. Zhu, CRPC: I’m a little late to comment on this but I would steer clear of big weights. As a fighter, you have to concentrate on what type of muscles you are trying to build. There are two types, fast twitch and slow twitch. As a fighter you need to focus on fast twitch muscles. Your goal should not be to look like Hulk Hogan, but to develop your muscles so they can operate like a whip (always relaxed, and when tightened, they snap). Any strength training you do (which you should always incorporate into your work outs) should be around Plyometrics, and even better if you can do it after your endurance training or after long workouts. Your muscles for some reason always remember what you did last. So incorporating Plyometrics at the end of your cardio or bag work will almost trick your muscles to build fast twitch fibers. Also, I don’t think you need to worry about it, but be careful about swimming too much. Road work is far more important because a boxer needs his legs!

Plyometrics circuit

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