Recently athletes from all sports have begun to realize the importance of weight training. Athletes in all sports have the potential to enhance performance by supplementing their programs with weight training. So, why have boxers been reluctant to realize the importance of resistance training? Maybe it's because they will get too big, and slow or lose all of their flexibility. Let me share a few secrets with you. Functional muscle will make you faster.
Every movement you make is the result of a muscular contraction. Increasing the size of the functional unit of muscle tissue (myofibril hypertrophy) will result in faster more powerful movements. As far as getting big is concerned; this is not a simple task. People that become large from weight training put a great deal of effort in attaining maximum muscle mass. This requires large amounts of food and proper training and does not happen by accident. If getting big was as simple as just lifting weights everyone who spent endless hours in the gym would look like bodybuilders. On top of the dedication and hard work proper genetics must also be present to display high levels of muscularity and mass.
The proper training program for boxers emphasizes neural training and myofibril hypertrophy. This does not cause significant gains in muscle mass. (Boxers are not bodybuilders; therefore they should not train like bodybuilders). Weight training that involves full range movements has been shown to increase flexibility. Yes , there are people who weight train that are inflexible, but there are also people who have never seen a weight that are inflexible. Incorporate a proper stretching program with your weight training and your flexibility will probably increase. Boxers, don't get to carried away with being flexible. Boxing does not require a great deal of flexibility. Boxing does require adequate flexibility. Excessive flexibility is detrimental to force production (we will discuss this further in Part 2 of the article).
High reps and light weights are the chosen weight training method for most boxers. This is the complete opposite of what the weight training regimen should look like. High reps and light weight do little to improve absolute strength and speed-strength (we will discuss these motor qualities in detail in a moment). This too often used method of weight training is a form of muscular endurance training. Done on occasion this regimen would be fine.
When you hit heavy bags, run, jump rope, etc. you are performing muscular endurance work. When you step in the weight room it's time to switch modes. Boxing is a sport that requires the development of multiple motor qualities. Speed, strength, and endurance are all motor qualities that must be developed in boxers.
As we said earlier traditional boxing training develops muscular endurance, as well as coordination, and skill. The goal in the weight room is to increase absolute strength through the use of heavy weights, and to increase speed-strength by moving moderate weights at rapid speeds. The top priority in training to increase absolute strength, and speed-strength is the stimulation of fast-twitch muscle fibers. This is done through the methods we discussed earlier. Keep in mind high rep, light weight work does not recruit fast twitch fibers. This type of training recruits slow twitch fibers.
Force Production By Muscles
1) IntraMuscular Coordination.
Motor unit recruitment. All muscle fibers are grouped together as motor units. A motor unit is a nerve and all the muscle fibers innervated by the nerve. All the muscle fibers in a motor unit are the same type. If the fibers are slow twitch in a motor unit the unit is considered a low threshold unit. This unit requires light tension for recruitment. When the fibers are fast within the unit it is considered a high threshold unit. Heavy tension is required for the recruitment of high threshold Mu's. When a motor unit is sufficiently activated the entire pool of fibers contract. If the message from the nerve is too weak nothing happens. This is called the all or none principle. Increasing the number of units recruited greatly increases strength. Beginners usually have little success in recruiting numerous motor units. Advanced athletes have the capabilities of recruiting multiple Mu's, which increases force production.
2) Intramuscular Coordination.
Rate coding. The firing rate of motor units usually increases with training. This is called rate coding. When a muscle fiber is stimulated it twitches. With increasing nervous system stimulation the twitches begin to overlap. When this happens rate coding is in action, which causes increased force production. When intensity levels are between 50-80% of 1RM increased motor unit recruitment is the main contributor to strength increase. When the intensity level reaches between 80-100% of 1RM in a given movement, the main contributor to increasing force production is the increased firing rate of motor units. Calculater your 1RM, click here!
3) Intermuscular Coordination.
This refers to the bodies ability to maximize the synergist effects that varying muscles display in order to perform a movement.
The maximum amount of muscoskeletal force that can be generated for one effort (1 RM). According to Tudor Bompa (Romanian strength coach) no visible increase in power takes place without a substantial gain in absolute strength. Absolute strength forms the foundation for increasing speed-strength.
Strength divided by time, or force x distance divided by time . In Charles Staley's book The Science of Martial Arts Training he lists 3 parts to speed-strength .
1) Starting Strength. The ability to turn on as many muscle fibers as possible at the beginning of a movement. (Examples: coming off the line in sprinting, the javelin throw , throwing a quick knockout punch).
2) Explosive Strength. The ability to leave on the muscle fibers once they are stimulated . Referred to as rate of force development (examples: 100m sprint, shot-put ).
3) Reactive Strength Or Reversible Strength. Refers to the bodies ability to store potential kinetic energy in the eccentric phase, and convert it to actual kinetic energy in the concentric phase. (Example: bending down at the knees and immediately jumping upwards , powermetric drills).
When developing programs for boxers, keep in mind each person is their own individual. Many strength coaches fail to appreciate this. The same program will not be appropriate for every boxer. The law of individuality should be recognized to maximize training results. Apply the priority principle (giving special attention to weak areas) when designing programs. In the second part of this article we will look at programs my boxers are currently using. Part 2 will be published next week .
"Supplement Timing Windows" are the precise moments for ingesting engineered foods and bioactive designer supplements, which correspond to a particular activity or time of day. This process aids, supports and enhances key biological activity that contributes to athletic performance.* Proper supplement timing is crucial for maximizing the body's response to a given exercise or stimulus. No matter what your goals are, ingesting engineered foods and bioactive designer supplements at specific times of the day in relation to any type of physical training can make a significant difference in physical performance, work capacity, endurance, strength, recovery and muscle growth. These performance enhancements allow you to reap optimal results from your training; be it in the gym, on the field, on the court, in the ring, or anywhere else you spend countless hours sacrificing your time, effort and intensity for your chosen sport or training regimen.
There are four critical "Supplement Timing Windows" - Pre-Training, N-Training, Post-Training, and Foundation Supplements. Sports nutrition scientists have been researching the Pre-Workout, During-Workout, Post-Workout, and Foundation Supplement Timing Windows for many years and with much success. However, the most overlooked and potentially the most important category for performance enhancement is the critical N-Training (during training) window, which, until now, has been neglected by the sports nutrition community.
Top 10: Add These Supplements Grow Like Never Before
The key to your fitness & health success as well as any athletic training is doing all you can do every day with consistency. If you’re on a hardcore training regimen and your nutrition program is supplying your body with all the necessary calories and nutrients, you’re in a position to get the most from your supplementation regimen. This can give you a significant edge. Bodybuilders often believe that the key to bodybuilding success is supplementation in the absence of one of the above constituents, but they’re missing the point. The best way to grow is to first take care of your training and nutrition, and then tackle supplementation for an additional edge.
When you implement a supplement plan with dedication, you’ll get far more from it. Read through our daily to-do list, and incorporate any, many or all of the recommendations. You may be surprised at how much better your muscle-building results are when you are committed.
1 | Whey To Start The Day
Take in a whey protein shake immediately after you wake up in the morning. You’ve been sleeping for as many as eight hours, so you have not been providing your body with aminos for muscle building, muscle maintenance and other body processes. Although sleep allows your body to grow and recover, it leads to a catabolic state in which your body breaks down muscle mass to get the necessary aminos for conversion into energy. Whey is among the fastest digesting proteins, and it will give your body amino acids for fuel and growth. This will prevent your body from turning to muscle for those amino acids. Jump-start growth from the very beginning of the day by taking in whey protein first thing in the morning, even before you shower or brush your teeth.
Mix whey protein with water for faster digestion. At this time of day, avoid consuming fats, complex carbs and fiber as these will only slow down digestion and absorption of protein, working against your goals.
Take in 30 to 50 grams (g) of whey protein upon waking.
2 | Multiply Gains With A Multi
Twenty minutes later, you’ve taken your shower and dressed. Now, it’s time for breakfast. You’ve given your body an instant hit of fast-digesting protein. Next, you should consume a whole-food meal that includes slow-burning fuel. Eat a breakfast consisting mainly of protein (such as eggs and breakfast meat) and complex carbs (such as oatmeal or whole-grain toast). A piece or two of fruit is good at this time, as well. The fructose in fruit will directly replenish the glycogen stores in your liver, which will turn off the catabolic processes and help you get into an anabolic mode quicker. In addition, take a multivitamin/multimineral pill or pack.
It’s beneficial to take a multi with breakfast for two reasons: one, it’s easier to digest and process these nutrients when consumed with a whole-food meal; two, you provide your body with these nutrients at the very start of the day so that they can begin supporting muscle growth and enhancing immunity.
Eat a breakfast comprising protein, fruit and complex carbs, and take multivitamins/multiminerals.
3 | Fiber Up
You can also elect to take a fiber supplement with breakfast. Fiber provides a host of bodybuilding benefits, including digestion improvement and absorption of nutrients and amino acids. Fiber also slows digestion, helping your body to process protein more slowly to give you more bang for your buck. It’s not critical to take fiber with breakfast, but doing so will help slow the release of amino acids so that they will remain available in the bloodstream until the next meal. At any rate, fiber should be taken with whole-food meals (or a protein shake before bedtime) to most effectively slow the release of aminos. To boost fiber intake take another dose of a fiber supplement just before going to bed.
Doing so with or right before your last protein shake of the day will not only boost your overall fiber intake, but it will also slow down digestion of the protein supplement. This will help keep aminos circulating in your bloodstream longer, helping to protect hard-earned muscle mass from overnight breakdown.
Take a fiber supplement with at least 3 g of fiber at breakfast. Take another 3 g of fiber with or just before your last protein shake of the day.
4 | Crank Up The Caffeine
Caffeine is one of the most basic and most effective sports supplements. In that case, it’s not surprising that it’s also one of the best bodybuilding supplements. Caffeine is an excellent option, no matter what phase of the bodybuilding season you’re in. It’s great for growth because it can help boost training intensity and focus. It’s also beneficial when you’re trying to shed bodyfat because it helps your body remove fat from storage and use it as energy. Of course, too much caffeine can make you jittery and can keep you from sleeping. For best results, supplement with caffeine once or twice a day, preferably early in the day.
Drink one or two cups of coffee or take 200-400 mg of a supplemental form, especially before exercise. To combat fatigue, take 200 mg as needed. For fat loss, go with 100-300 mg every four hours.
5 | Create More Muscle With Creatine
The benefits of creatine are well established. Taking creatine before and after a workout can provide numerous bodybuilding benefits. First, creatine can help drive water into muscles, helping them to be temporarily stronger. When you train with more weight (and reps), you stimulate more muscle growth. Second, after a workout, creatine can help drive nutrients into muscle mass to better facilitate recovery. In addition, newer research is demonstrating that creatine offers antioxidantlike protection and can boost the benefits of cardiovascular training. For all these reasons, creatine is the number-one bodybuilding supplement.
Take 2-3 g of creatine with a whey protein shake before you work out, and take 2-3 g of creatine (for a total of about 5 g) with a whey protein shake afterward.
6 | Grow With Glutamine
Along with creatine, glutamine is one of the best bodybuilding supplements on the market. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, and as such it’s used for myriad physiological processes. Among these, glutamine offers the following advantages for bodybuilders: it improves digestion, enhances immunity and promotes recovery. Glutamine also provides energy by supplying muscles with important metabolic intermediates. In addition, it aids in the production of bicarbonate, which buffers fatigue-producing chemicals formed during intense exercise. Glutamine helps muscles to load up better with glycogen after exercise. These reasons make it important to take the supplement both before and after exercise. Your body can manufacture this amino from other aminos in your body, but to do so, it pulls them from storage, breaking down muscle mass in the process. Supplementing with glutamine gives your body what it needs without tearing apart the muscles you’ve worked so hard to build.
Take 5-10 g of glutamine before training and the same amount afterward. Add glutamine to whey shakes or drink it with water at other times of the day. Build up the dosage slowly, and keep your total daily dose under 40 g.
7 | Whey To Work Out
One of the best things for your body is a whey protein shake before and after you work out. This is the time of day when bodybuilders put the heaviest nutritional demand upon their bodies, and whey protein helps to add more muscle mass. If you drink a whey protein shake before training, it typically won’t negatively affect your workout because whey is easy to digest. It will also provide aminos to your body to help recover and build muscle mass. Another shake right after you work out will kick the recovery and growth processes into high gear. Take both with fast-digesting carbs (like sugars, such as dextrose, maltodextrin or Vitargo). These drive protein (and the creatine you’ll also have around that time) into your muscles and help restock glycogen stores that were burned up while training.
Pretraining, drink 20 to 40 g of whey protein with 40 to 80 g of simple carbs. Posttraining, drink the same. You can add glutamine and creatine to the mix, as described previously.
8 | Boost Antioxidants
When you train hard or put your body under other types of strain, you create harmful free radicals. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E can combat free radicals and help keep your muscles growing. Your multi most likely already contains these basic nutrients, but having a second dose later in the day is a great way to ensure the availability of the vitamins for bodybuilding benefits. So, include an additional dose of these antioxidants with dinner (or with your postworkout whey shake) as they are most effective when taken in conjunction with calories.
Consume 500 mg of vitamin C and 400 IU of vitamin E with a large whole-food dinner or postworkout with a shake.
9 | Get Z’s With Zinc And Magnesium
Bodybuilders and other athletes are notoriously deficient in zinc and magnesium. The demands of training increase the body’s need for these minerals. In addition, minerals tend to be lost through sweat, creating an even greater deficit. Taking a zinc and magnesium formulation such as ZMA can help overcome the effects of overtraining and can increase anabolic hormone levels, including free testosterone and insulinlike growth factor-1. Those hormones may otherwise be suppressed in hard-training athletes. ZMA can also improve the quality of sleep (thus, additionally aiding recovery). Keep in mind that ZMA works most effectively on an empty stomach, especially in the absence of calcium. If need be, you can take it with a protein shake, but you’ll get much better results if you can take ZMA a half-hour or so before the shake.
Supplement with ZMA on an empty stomach about a half-hour before your last protein shake of the day. Follow label instructions. Most products provide 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium and about 11 mg of vitamin [B.sub.6].
10 | The Case For Casein
Casein protein, like whey protein, is a fraction of milk protein. Unlike whey, case in protein is slowly digested. Consume a fast-digesting protein around your workout and when you first get up, but emphasize slow-digesting proteins at other times of day. Probably the most important time to take in a slow-digesting protein is just before bedtime, as you may go eight or more hours without eating. The longer you can keep amino acids in your bloodstream, the less likely your body is to tap into your muscle mass for its amino needs. You can also use casein as a meal replacement when you can’t get in a whole-food meal, but you’re looking to provide your body with a slow and steady source of aminos.
Take in 30 to 50 g of casein protein with or without carbs just before bedtime. Those trying to shed bodyfat should avoid carbs; those trying to add size should consume carbs (up to 50 g).
Follow this timeline of supplementation, train hard and smart, rest & recover so that progress will be guaranteed on a day-to-day basis.
Take in a whey protein shake immediately after you wake up in the morning. You’ve been sleeping for as many as eight hours, so you have not been providing your body with aminos for muscle building, muscle maintenance and other body processes. Although sleep allows your body to grow and recover, it leads to a catabolic state in which your body breaks down muscle mass to get the necessary aminos for conversion into energy.
Whey is among the fastest digesting proteins, and it will give your body amino acids for fuel and growth. This will prevent your body from turning to muscle for those amino acids. Jump-start growth from the very beginning of the day by taking in whey protein first thing in the morning, even before you shower or brush your teeth.
Mix whey protein with water for faster digestion. At this time of day, avoid consuming fats, complex carbs and fiber as these will only slow down digestion and absorption of protein, working against your goals.
WHAT TO TAKE:
Take in 30 to 50 grams (g) of whey protein upon waking.
“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”- Bertie C. Forbes...........
Man! Does that just get you fired up to be successful, to simple be the best you can be? It does for me, wow! Last Sunday I turned 40 years old, as I do every morning of my birthday I train with the intensity & fire needed for me be my best. A way to start my next year off on a positive note. I am looking forward to my fitness as I begin the next decade of my life.
I plan on exploring & writing about your health & training as you reach your forties and how you must adapt and re-educate yourself in your nutrition & training strategies to continue to be successful in your training. I am asked "How to I get in shape" Simple bro! Show up & work...Push some heavy weight to exhaust the muscle, find the burn, keep the burn going, go home and replenish your depleted nutrition, rest to recover, then do it over again. Formula for a champion baby.
People ask me: “Am I overtraining?” “Am I undertraining?”
Here’s how to tell: First, be sure to use a heart rate monitor while you’re training. This simple, inexpensive device can tell you whether or not you’re in your optimal training zone.
Second, measure your exercise intensity by “rate of exertion.” I use a simple 1-to-10 scale. If you’re running for your life down an alley while being chased by a pack of wild dogs, that’s a 10. If you’re lying on the couch, drinking a beer, and watching biggest loser, that’s a 1. Obviously, you don’t want to be at a 1 or at a 10. You want to be somewhere between a 6 and an 8. An 8 represents a level of effort that feels like you’re working as hard as you can and still hanging in there without stopping or pausing.
On some days, you may only be able to reach a 4. Maybe the previous night you didn’t get enough sleep, or you didn’t have enough time to properly fuel yourself. Even the temperature in the room or outdoors can affect your intensity. I don’t box as well when the temperature drops to 40 degrees outside my whole body feels mummified in the ring. But at least I’m at the gym, despite the conditions, and doing my best.
Intensity is finding your fire and working out as hard as you can, based on where you are today, without sacrificing correct exercise form. Intensity is a moving target, too. It changes from day to day, and there are so many variables outside your control. It’s your job to show up, and that’s within your control.
Karen from Ohio asks AbFitt: What type of cardio will best result in defining my Ab's.
The cardio you do.
Whether it be running, cycling, swimming, elliptical, jumping jacks, complexes with an Olympic barbell, skip rope ...they all burn fat & calories resulting in less body fat & better abdominal definition.
So, the "best" cardio is relative to you, and it ultimately comes down to what you enjoy doing the most. Since you need to do cardio consistently to get the best fat loss results, there's no point in doing something you hate --- because the more you hate it, the more you will make excuses not to do it.
My preference is boxing or skipping rope. Why? Am I a masochist? Maybe, but that's beside the point. For me, boxing is meditative & instinctive. I always feel energized afterward. Best of all, I get to do it at my home gym or a professional boxing club. Time away from your traditional facility's.
I can anticipate your next question. How should you do cardio? Low-intensity? high intensity? intervals? ... I don't think it matters. I've tried everything, and I can't say which style or method of cardio is better. Which brings me back to my main thesis: *** Do what you enjoy. *** For me it is high/low intensity in short burst's. definitely no muscle burning steady state cardio.
What's more important is that you do what you enjoy regularly. By regularly, I mean 5 times a week, or more. If you're new to cardio, start at twice a week and build up from there.
Another question: When should you do cardio? Before weights? after? eight hours apart? twelve hours? ... You can probably guess my answer. When you want to. As long as you're actually doing cardio, I don't think it matters when you do it. So just figure out what time you like best. For me, I like training weights in the evening or early afternoon, and then boxing or other interval type cardio sessions on alternate days. Spring/summer/fall. Winter I usually stick to the gyms due to the extreme winter's in the northeast.
I'm out of questions. If you have any more, feel free to ask AbFitt at AbFitt@mail.com
During a intense training session several actions occur:
1. The body utilizes nutrients at a far greater amount than at rest. The majority of the fuel during training is confiscated from a carbohydrate stored in the muscle called glycogen. Low glycogen leads to muscle loss. Thus, glycogen must be restored.
2. Training creates microscopic tears in the muscle tissue referred to as micro trauma. All tissue in the human body is made of amino acids. (Stick a bunch of amino acids together and you get PROTEIN). Therefore, ingesting protein after the training session is critical.
3. Cortisol levels steadily increase during the training session and post workout. Cortisol is a hormone which signals various biochemical processes in the body. Some of the them are beneficial to physical achievement while others are not. An increase in cortisol post workout is not beneficial and greater results will occur by temporarily lowering it.
What's the answer?
Consume a fast digesting shake that replenishes carbohydrate stores, repairs damaged tissue and lowers cortisol levels within 5 minutes of the last rep of the last set.
Now that you know the rules and have a basic understanding of the body’s post workout priority here are a few formulas that deliver the goods.
Example: Note (this is just one of many)
1-3 scoops of whey protien
15-30 grams Glutamine (Amino Acid that when taken in higher doses replenishes glycogen stores without increasing hormones that promote fat gain)
1-2 scoops Greens-X (concentrated green plant extract that is an alkaline substance which blunts cortisol levels)
Don't fear the rope. This fighter favorite scorches calories and blasts your calves, forearms and shoulders
Other than boxing gyms, the jump rope is almost as unpopular as the pull-up bar in most fitness facilities and for about the same reason—because you can look like a total ass if you never do it. That's too bad because the jump rope, like the pull-up bar, offers a host of benefits that people have chosen to ignore for fear of looking stupid. In addition to melting away bodyfat at record rates, the jump rope helps you build those stubborn calves while also putting a hurting on several other muscle groups.
Yes, the main muscles that you're working are your calves but you activate a lot more muscle than you may think. You're also using your shoulders—particularly your rear delts—as well as your abs, quads, hamstrings. Pretty much every muscle is firing when doing this exercise to keep your body stable.
Need more incentive for learning how to work the rope like a pro boxer? Consider that jumping rope at a moderate pace will burn approximately 16 calories per minute for a 200-pound man. Work that into 10 three-minute rounds and you're looking at 480 calories during your session. The one-minute rest periods characteristic of boxing routines provide somewhat of an interval effect, giving you an even greater calorie burn long after your final skip. ( for advanced individuals rest only 30 sec ).
LET'S GET TO IT
Starting slow is says the best way to start getting the most out of the jump rope.
This takes a lot of coordination so don't think you can just get in there and be like Rocky. Try to start just by swinging the rope over your body, aiming to just jump the rope once. After you do this and understand how the rope reacts you are ready to kick it up."
Listening to the rope. Don't rotate with your arms. Use your wrists and let the rope glide around you. Don't fight it. I listen to the rope, too, and jump when I hear the sound. My feet barely come off the ground—just enough to let the rope slide under and I'm always on the balls of my feet.
Once you nail the cadence of the simple skip, try alternating feet. Bounce slightly side to side or front to back with each revolution of the rope. Eventually, you can graduate to double-unders, where the rope passes under your feet twice with each jump.
Let us not forget the "cool" factor. While the rest of the crowd herds itself to Treadmill Lane for its cardio, you can be in front of the mirror with your iPod cranked up practicing a skill while getting a workout.
No one learns overnight so keep at it and before you know it you will be ripping it up.
NOTE:JOIN A BOXING GYM
There's nothing more cathartic than whaling away on a heavy bag after a long day at the office. But a crisply-landed jab-cross-hook combo does way more than just relieve stress. Train like a fighter and benefit with the same lean ripped look.
Boxing gyms, which offer hour-long, group instructional classes, can burn anywhere from 400-750 calories in an hour. Boxing-related activities, such as jumping rope, medicine ball work and plyometrics can also help you tap into muscle fibers you forgot you had. Plus, you get to learn a skill. Sure beats the treadmill. Two of our fave boxing dives are the Allentown PA boxing club and Gleason's in Brooklyn (www.gleasonsgym.net).