The above is a short video with some clips from our boxing team training sessions. (I have one tiny cameo on the speed bag: I’d like to thank the Academy). There’s some nice sparring footage at the end — the guy with no shirt is Will, one of our pro boxers, working with some of the other guys on the team.
Probably one of the most-asked questions has to do with how I train. This post is a longish answer to a short question, and it doesn’t address the way I eat, but I’ll get to that in a future post.
How many hours?
I work out with my boxing team twice a week for two hours each time, and I work out on my own another four times a week for an hour. That’s about eight hours per week of hard workout time. You can certainly get in shape with much less, but 8 weekly hours of training is critical if your goal is to go a few good rounds. It’s amazing how much power and energy — not to mention mental fortitude and focus — it takes to box three rounds of three minutes each.
This is totally my own invention, so buyer beware. I try to focus on four areas in my training: Form, Aerobic, Strength, and Timing. I have specific goals in each area, and I do whatever it takes to meet those goals.
The thing that helps me most here is shooting video of myself, particularly in the ring or on the heavy bag. Then I can really see what my trainer is saying to me over and over and over again (sorry Bonnie) and practice to correct it. My current top goal here is to keep my guard up higher in the ring, rather than dropping my gloves when I throw punches or when I’m fatigued.
Boxing goes nowhere without great cardio or aerobic training. In fact our trainers will sometimes tell the guys to decrease weights in their strength training; you want to be powerful but also light and fast. We go through dead-rotten cardio workouts as a team; we do more of that than anything else. The win here is in interval training. Nobody cares if you can run five miles, what you need to be able to do is sprint hard for three minutes, recover in one minute, sprint three more minutes, recover, sprint three more. Everything is in in the standard boxing round of three minutes, and whatever you do cardio-wise, you need to be able to do it hard and fast for at least that long. I do intervals on jump rope, running, rowing, or elliptical every time I work out. When I do two sets of 15 cardio minutes in a single workout on my own, I try to do one near maximum heart rate (for me, about 180 bpm) and one at 60-80% of that rate. But when I train with the team I’ll do much more than that.
I do some arm, shoulder, chest, back and ab exercises in almost every workout, typically with light weights and high reps. I have my favorites but try to mix it up so that I get good overall strength. I’m not a huge “exercise toy” person, but our gym has several of the CrossFit tools (the long heavy rope, kettleballs, etc.) and we use them in team training. I don’t currently do many leg exercises other than my aerobic training, although I’ve been adding lunges recently because the coaches are calling for millions of them during training and my quads lock up if I haven’t been doing any. This equals misery for two days following, but I’m getting up on the curve.
This is primarily work I do on the speed bag, half bag, and double-end bag. Timing is area is where I suck the most, no lie. I couldn’t see a punch coming if I got four emails in advance. My trainer says this just takes long, long practice and experience in the ring. Meanwhile, watch me eat punches.
How do you have time for that??
Truthfully, boxing is the only “other” thing I do. I work full time and I’m a mom. Pink mold has a permanent home in my shower stall. About twice a month I attend late, late rock gigs after my kids are in bed, during which have a few drinks, sing my heart out, dance, and drag my sorry ass in at 3 am, hoping I’m not too tired to box the next day.