by Coach Jarek Slagowski, Owner & Head Coach, Grind Boxing Gym
One of the most important attributes in the sport of boxing is endurance, aka stamina. It allows the boxer to carry other attributes — speed, plyometric power and technique — through all rounds, whether three rounds in Olympic-style or four to 12 in professional boxing.
The fastest or most powerful punch will not help a boxer when she or he is exhausted, especially in later rounds. Endurance workouts benefit both competitive and noncompetitive boxers.
To improve your endurance, you need to exercise your cardiovascular system to increase body oxygen intake. All muscles need oxygen to produce energy by breaking down glucose. The higher oxygen intake during exercise, the more oxygen muscles can absorb, which prevents you from getting tired quickly. Remember: An effective cardio workout is based on raising your heart rate. (Before starting boxing cardio training, see a doctor to ensure your heart is healthy enough).
There are two types of stamina exercises: general and special (specific to the particular sport). The best exercises for general stamina can be done outside of the gym such as running, bicycling, swimming, sprints (60 or 100 meter) and long sprints ( 400 or 600 meter).
Special boxing workouts in the gym must always be based on improving technique and attributes like your cardiovascular endurance.
There are many drills and exercises in a boxing workout that are fun and a great way to improve cardio — jumping rope with different pace and speed, shadow boxing with fast combinations, striking the speed bag while bouncing, and hitting the heavy bags with a variety of punches and combinations.
One of the best cardio drills is hitting target mitts (focus pads) with a training partner. Sparring sessions are the ultimate cardio workout.
Whether you box for fun or for competition, improving your cardio endurance through these exercises will help to keep your heart in good health. After all, the term “cardio” comes from the Greek word “kardia,” which means “heart.”