Have you ever watched a boxing match in awe of the speed that the punches fly? In the top tiers of boxing, Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts, it isn’t strength that is the most feared attribute of many fighters, but sheer explosive power and speed.
If you’re struggling to improve your fighting technique, changing your training regime to better emphasise explosive power and speed will help you to win fights, exert far more control over your opponents, and dominate all of your in-ring encounters.
Use strength-building weight training movements
Many fighters make the mistake of avoiding heavy weight training in exchange for a lighter, more endurance-focused regime. The downsides of this are many, and one of the most well-known is a lack of explosive power during a fight. When you throw a punch, kick, or go for a takedown during a fight, it’s your body’s largest muscle groups that are propelling you forward. The quadriceps, hamstrings, and obliques all contribute to a punch – it isn’t just the arms, as many people think.
By focusing your training around explosive strength-building movements like the clean and press, the deadlift, and the lunge, you can build full-body strength that’s useful for moving faster in the ring.
Practice jumps, sprints, and other conditioning drills
It’s not enough to simply lift weights a few times a week. Great fighters focus not on their strength alone, but on practical ways to apply that strength. One of the greatest ways to assess your progress from weight training is to practice training drills. Use jumping platforms to assess your vertical leap, weight training endurance tests to observe your ability to stay fit and agile throughout a fight; and sprints to assess your explosive strength and speed. These tests will help you keep track of your best attributes while also contributing to your in-ring fighting abilities.
Consider going down a weight class
We’ve been raised to believe that the only fighters that matter are those fighting in the heaviest weight divisions. From Iron Mike to Kimbo Slice, the biggest names in fighting often happen to be the biggest fighters on the scene. That doesn’t mean that they’re the best, however. If you find yourself slowed down in the ring due to your body composition, consider dropping down a weight class to enjoy a leaner, more fast-paced fight experience.
Improve your cardiovascular fitness
A lot of fighters are incredibly agile during their first and second rounds, but grow weak and sluggish as their fights go on. One of the best ways to maintain your speed during a fight is to improve your cardiovascular fitness, so that you don’t feel tired. The last thing you need is to show your opponent that you are getting tired. This weakness will lose you the fight and they will prey on it.
By dedicating one hour of training every day to your cardiovascular health, you can maintain your speed for much longer during a fight. Focus on moderate-intensity runs, full-body cardio activities like rowing, and even training drills such as jumping rope/skipping to improve your in-fight cardiovascular performance and truly go the distance. Remember, cardio workouts don’t necessarily mean long distance at a low intensity. You can raise your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular fitness with intense, interval-focused training. Try using the treadmill, bicycle or alternatively, three-minute long high-intensity sparring.
About the Author: Richard Talbot writes for the Fightshop.com, an online retailer that specializes in boxing and MMA equipment. Visit their website to learn more about martial arts techniques.
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