Fighters are well known for their conditioning and when it comes to cardio there are plenty of options. Two of the most popular ways for boxers to condition themselves is with running and skipping.
Jogging and skipping have gone hand in hand with boxing for over 100 years and if we always think that fighters should use boxing and skipping as part of a training routine that incorporates many different forms of cardio and exercises to ensure that the body is ready for anything they might face in the ring. Boxing is one of the most demanding sports in the world and we want to train our aerobic and anaerobic systems in as many effective ways as possible to become better athletes and improve our all round conditioning.
Introduction To The Aerobic And Anaerobic Conditioning Systems
Aerobic fitness means ‘With Oxygen’ and it refers to exercises where the body continual takes in oxygen like long steady paced runs, cycles or even walks. It allows fighters to be fresh for long periods of time like 12 rounds of boxing
Anaerobic means ‘Without Oxygen’ and it can be thought of as sprints, swimming full speed or throwing a 12 punch combo. Anaerobic represent explosive bursts of action usually followed by a period of inaction
Boxing uses both conditioning systems heavily so we want to blast them in as many different ways as possible.
Why Do Boxers Do Long Steady State Runs
Long, steady state jogging is perfect for tapping into the bodies aerobic conditioning system and strengthening it and allowing a fighter to stay fresh as the fight wears on.
Most pros will run everyday and it is seen as an absolute key to fighting by almost everyone.
Running will also build the legs which the boxer will have to use extensively to move around the ring.
Long steady state runs are perfect for conditioning the Quads Hamstrings, Glutes and Calves which are used heavily in boxing with a fighters footwork having a huge bearing on their overall success in the ring.
Why Skipping Is Important For Boxers
We have gone through why skipping is so important for boxing in this article. Skipping allows to develop the coordination between our hands and our feet and it also perfect for working on movement in the ring.
Skipping has many uses and benefits for boxing but the ring movement and improving our footwork and foot speed in the ring are among the most important.
If you are a beginner to boxing and still finding your way around the ring, skipping is probably a better use of your time than running as it coordinates the movement between the hands and feet and simulates what its like to move around the ring more realistically.
Increasing The Pace And Working The Anaerobic System
It’s easy to add intensity to both running and skipping and this is the perfect opportunity to work the Anaerobic system. This is sprinting and hill sprints for running and it is increasing the tempo of skipping and lifting the knees as you sprint as fast as you can depraving the body of oxygen.
Boxing and skipping are so popular for boxing because you can work both conditioning systems which are both crucial for performing inside the ring.
High Intensity Interval Training
This was a fitness buzz or fad from about tens years ago that has stood the test of time and is a great way to burn more calories and reduce body fat. HIIT involves periods of intense work like 10 second sprints or 10 seconds as fast as you can on the rope and using an active recovery period of 30 seconds where you continue to jog slowly or skip slowly followed by another 10 seconds of intense exercise tapping into the anaerobic conditioning system.
You can incorporate HIIT into your routines and see if it is something you get the benefit out of as it is certainly a good way to train for boxing.
Other Reasons Why Skipping Is Good For Boxing
Perfect Warm Up
A fighter enters the gym cold and they want to get warm before they start to train to avoid the risk of injury. Skipping is an easy way to warm up gradually before shadow boxing, hitting the bags or hitting the pads. You can increase the intensity gradual to get the heart rate up and ready for to train.
Its Progressive and Enjoyable
The more you practice the better you get and the more techniques you can add to your workouts from double to triple unders. Its just like boxing where the more you train the better you get.
Skipping Builds The Shoulders & Arm Endurance
Skipping uses the arms and shoulders which is great for building the endurance in the ring adding another benefit to an already great exercise. Arm endurance is crucial for fighting and very often with skipping, the arms will get tired before the legs so to do longer rounds of skipping can build endurance in the arms.
Other Benefits Of Running
Running not only builds the aerobic system but is also a great way to get out of the gym, clear your head and get some miles in.
Running Builds Overall Toughness and Discipline
Running is tough, especially if you live in a cold climate and you have to run on an empty stomach on a cold and wet morning. That not only builds the bodies but it also builds mental toughness along with offering top class conditioning.
If you can get on your fitness watch and try to beast your time every Sunday or you want to extend the route or increase the pace, running can be very good for stress and most people will actually grow to like it.
Conclusion: Which Is Better For Boxing
Skipping Is More Important For Beginners
To learn the foot and hand coordination is more important for people getting into boxing. You have to know the basics before you can become a master and footwork is going to be the first thing you need to learn in boxing. The second thing you learn is how to throw a punch. Skipping coordinates to movements of hands and feet in a very similar way to boxing making it a great exercise for beginners.
Skipping is also excellent for cardio conditioning and anaerobic conditioning so skipping is always going to be extremely important to fighters at all levels by allowing them to stay light on their toes.
As You Get Better Running Becomes More Important
If you are going to be sparring, having amateur fights or going on to box professionally, you will want that steady pace aerobic cardio of jogging and you will want to stretch out your fast twitch muscle fibres with sprints before you are jumping in the ring. This will help you to last 3,6,9 or 12 rounds every time with only a short break in between.
Do Both As Much As You Can
For almost everyone in boxing it will be better to run and to skip if you can. Go running 1-3 times per week and skip 1-3 times a week for 3, 3 minute rounds before you start you workout to get a good sweat on.
FAQ Questions On Running For boxing
How Much Should I Run For Boxing
This will vary greatly from person to person but generally 1-3 runs of 5km to 10km should suit most boxers and even amateur fighters. Pro’s fighting in longer bouts should run 3-5 times a week and incorporate sprints and hill sprints into their work outs as well.
How Important Is Running For Boxing
Running is crucial for getting into fighting shape, it builds conditioning, stamina, endurance and discipline and it is great for building aerobic capacity. Check out our article on the importance of running for boxing here:
Why Do Boxers Run So Early In The Morning
Boxers like to run early in the morning as they often like to run on an empty stomach to burn as much fat as possible if they are trying to make a certain weight or even if not.
They also like to run early in the morning as it will allow them to recover for another session in the afternoon or even two more sessions if you are Floyd Mayweather.
FAQs About Skipping For Boxing
How Long Should You Skip For In Boxing?
If you are warming up for a boxing workout with skipping, we would recommend 3 * 2 Minute rounds or 3 * 3 minute rounds. This will get you used to working solidly for 3 minutes and then resting for a minute to mirror a fight.
You can also increase the pace gradually to get your heart rate up and get you ready for your full workout.
Can Skipping Give You Abs?
Skipping can help to get you Abs but your diet and overall training will be the most important thing to consider. If you are eating crap all the time and only skipping for 10 minutes, it wont give you Abs.
Skipping can help in giving you Abs because when you raise your knees high in skipping, you are really hitting the mid-section and this can definitely help to tone you stomach and help to build and show the abs if you have a low enough body fat percentage.
Does Skipping Improve Footwork for boxing?
Yes, skipping is great for improving footwork as you have to constantly be moving and making sure your feet are in the correct position at all times. It also builds coordination between the hands and feet that will allow you to glide around the ring effortlessly.
Skipping is also progressive so as you get better you can add new tricks to your routine and your footwork should continue to get better as you push ahead.
Skipping and running are both very important for a fighters conditioning, stamina, endurance, mental strength and discipline.
We would encourage boxers and amateurs alike to practice running and skipping as part of their routine and if you are serious about fighting, you should make these are two components of fight training that you master.