If you want to be a better fighter, the first step is to build your endurance. Fatigue can be a crippling impediment to your physical performance during a fight, but building endurance is more than just physical. To increase your fighting endurance, you need to address both the physical and mental aspects involved.
First, let’s talk about building up your physicality. To do that, you need to take a multi-faceted approach, addressing factors that include:
- Cardiovascular Endurance: Working on your cardio should be your first step in building your endurance. The physical movements used in boxing require the use of your muscles, which need oxygen to break down the sugar in your bloodstream and create energy. In addition, effective cardio raises your heart rate, so exercises like running, swimming, biking, and skipping rope are all excellent options for fighters. In addition, Boxing itself offers good cardio exercise as you hit the bag, spar, and move your body repeatedly.
- Muscle Conditioning: To endure the repetitive stress of a fight, your muscles must be well-conditioned. Strong legs move you around the ring, a strong core generates power, and strong arms and shoulders throw hundreds of high-speed punches. Boxing is a total body exercise and requires power, speed, and endurance in addition to raw strength. To condition your muscles for fighting, interval training is effective. Work the leg muscles with running, skipping rope, squats, arms with bag work, speed bag, shadowboxing, push-ups, and sit-ups and crunches for the core. Remember to balance your muscles as you work out.
- Muscle Memory: The neurological aspect of fighting endurance is that the more times you practice a movement, the easier and more natural it becomes. Practice movements that simulate fighting, like punches, shadowboxing, and actual fighting to build your muscle memory. Shadowboxing is the best exercise for building muscle memory because it can be done for hours and used as your warm-up and warm-down. While sparring can show you what needs work, shadowboxing can help you develop the correct movements.
- Technique: To reach the highest levels of boxing, you need to learn the proper technique. Effective technique makes you a more efficient fighter, expending less energy and effort for the same results. To improve your fighting technique, get a coach or trainer, and learn from someone who has more experience than you do. Ask questions, listen to the answers, and don’t be afraid to try new things.
The mental aspects of fighting endurance are two-fold. First, as you’re working on your body, you also need to work on:
- Mental Relaxation: Fighting endurance requires you to be able to relax and stay calm, even when you’re losing a fight. Panicking wastes energy, so you have to learn how to calm your mind during a fight. To do this, respect your limitations and don’t push yourself into sparring situations you can’t handle. Slow down, looking around and absorbing your surroundings, and don’t push yourself over your limit. Make the conscious decision to accept that you’re a work in progress, and learn to enjoy the fight.
- Attitude: Fatigue has something to do with the way you think, and if you have the wrong approach to fighting, you may tire easily. Instead of thinking about the limits of your energy, focus on using the energy you have more effectively. Concentrate on endurance instead of conservation.
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