Commando Boxing

8 Boxing Training Myths


I was in the gym the other day and I overhead a guy telling his friend that the best thing for a boxer is LSD (long, slow, distance) roadwork.

That kind of thinking along with a few other 1950's training methodologies are what keep boxing training in the stone ages compared to how other sports train.

Alrighty let's clear a few things up right now:

Myth 1: Long Slow Distance (LSD) Roadwork is Good for a Boxer

It won't hurt, but it isn't going to make you the most effective boxer. LSD running targets the body's aerobic system and it has its place, but let's face it - boxers are not marathon runners. We are not looking to develop the long thin muscles found on distance runners. You know, the people who look so skinny and frail that you could blow them over. (Not saying they aren't great athletes, just saying I do not desire their physique at all.)

The energy systems used in boxing are primarily anaerobic, short burst energy systems 70-80% of the time. The aerobic energy system plays its part in keeping the boxer going during the rounds in between bouts of intense activity and while you are running around trying to catch your breath or sitting in the corner recovering between rounds. Aerobic activity is good for burning extra fat though and boxing roadwork serves a purpose, so don't give up on it entirely which brings me to...

Myth 2: Moderate Intensity Cardio For an Hour is the Best Way to Burn Fat

Yes, you will burn fat, but you will burn just as much in a shorter time with a higher intensity workout. All things being equal, if you run at a moderate pace for an hour or a high intensity pace for an hour, you will burn more calories at the high intensity pace. Problem is that you probably can't keep up the high intensity pace for an hour. So does that reason that it's better to do a moderate intensity workout?

Not really because even though you can only work out for a shorter time, the higher intensity causes your body to keep burning calories after your workout is complete where the moderate pace doesn't stimulate the same kind of calorie burning reaction. Remedy? Work hard.

Myth 3: You can get a six pack set of abs by doing a thousand crunches a day

I think everyone has heard this. Simple and to the point - if you have fat covering your abs, no one is going to see them no matter how big they are. You have to remove the fat. You have to decrease your body fat percentage.

Myth 4: Weight training will: (take your pick)

  • Make you slower;
  • Tighten your muscles and make you prone to fatigue;
  • Decrease flexibility; or
  • Only be beneficial with light weights and high reps.

Okay, take the example of two boxers in the ring. They both have the same skills, the same speed, the same everything, except Boxer A is stronger than Boxer B. Who is going to win? For you dummies - Boxer A will win. Weight training makes you stronger. It provides the raw material to make your punches stronger. The proper weight training gives you more explosive movements. It will make you faster....not slower.

Weightlifting is anaerobic in nature, just like boxing. See a parallel here? Your muscles will be stronger, not tightened and tired. It is likely you will be able to move your muscle through a more increased range of motion because you practice doing that while lifting weights especially if you also incorporate flexibility and mobility training into your routine. There is nothing supporting the theory that strength training will decrease flexibility.

Light weights and high reps put you more in the aerobic range of training. You want to be in the ballistic, explosive, anaerobic area. That is done by lifting heavy or medium heavy with explosive ballistic movements. Do not be afraid of muscle. Look at Tyson, one of the greatest boxers of all time in his prime regardless of his actions outside the ring. Is he afraid to put on a few pounds of muscle?

Myth 5: Eating food after 8pm turns to fat

Guess what, at 8:01pm your body does not shut off.  It still chugs away burning calories to keep itself running and it does it all night long. Your metabolism may slow somewhat but with a regular exercise and training program in place your body becomes very efficient at burning calories - even after 8pm.

Myth 6: You Can't Teach Punching Power

Punching power comes from technique and techniques are learned.  True, some people have natural ability and some people are even stronger than other people.  In 1955, Rocky Marciano had his punch measured at a USA military installation probably on a ballistic pendulum. It showed him punching with a force of 925 foot pounds (overhand right -- the same punch that nearly tore Jersey Joe Walcott's head off in their 1952 championship match).

If the myth is true then explain to me how someone with no boxing experience can walk into a gym and be taught, over time, to throw a knockout punch.  That is the very definition of learning punching power if you ask me.  Punching power is not arm strength. It comes from the legs, hips, the torso and the upper body.  If, through practice, one can teach all of those systems to work together at the optimum level, then there is no doubt about it, punching power will be increased.

Myth 7: All Female Boxers are Masculine and Angry

Um, no.  I know a couple that are just the opposite.  I'm sure you guys can post links to a few pics as well.  Enough said.

Myth 8:  Fat, but fit, is OK

This should ruffle a feather or two.  I've read many, many posts on the various boxing boards around the net, that you don't need washboard abs or to look like Tyson in order to be fit and fight optimally. Some have even said that extra fat is desirable.  Someone please enlighten me as to why that is so.

Fat doesn't do anything but keep you warm in the winter.  If you have the opportunity to replace a pound of fat with a pound of muscle, why the hell wouldn't you.  Muscle is useful.  It makes you stronger and punch harder.  It helps your speed and your confidence.  Fat hangs there looking soft.  Nice.

I'm sure you can list off a hundred boxers with high body fat percentages that still fight well.  Imagine how well they would fight without the fat...  An article on CNN details a study about how carrying extra fat still makes you unhealthy.  Just having it on your body is not a good thing.  As far as I'm concerned, fat and fit do not belong in the same sentence (except for the good fats your body requires)

Put an end to the lunacy and an end to the myths. Did I miss any?

About the Author Coach Aaron

Coach Aaron founded Commando Boxing in 2003. When he's not boxing, he's running ultramarathons or using data science/blockchains to create mixed reality HoloLens applications.