Speed is considered one of the four basic human motor characteristics. And this characteristic is particularly important for boxers and Muay Thai fighters.
Speed is the ability to move a certain distance in a minimum amount of time. This characteristic mainly depends on how the nervous system and neuromuscular coordination work. Speed is usually acquired at a genetic level. However, speed ability can also be improved through training. Moreover, speed training is recommended for all athletes without exception, regardless of their genetic predisposition.
What are the benefits of speed?
First of all, a quick strike is difficult to see and therefore difficult to defend against. In boxing it is these types of blows that are dangerous. Usually they end up in a knockdown or even knockout.
Speaking about speed, it is worth mentioning two other motor skills - agility and coordination. These characteristics ensure maneuverability of a fighter.
When designing a speed training program you should limit strength exercises with maximal and almost maximal weights. These restrictions should last until the fighter achieves the desired effect. Maximum weight training has a negative effect on speed development. It is also important to remember that speed training should be done regularly. However, the training cycle should not be too long.
Types of speed training
The following exercises can be used to develop speed:
Reaction training. Two important aspects such as defence and attack depend on a fighter's reaction. The most popular reaction exercise involves the use of a reflex, baseball or tennis ball. This involves the coach throwing a small ball to a fighter to either catch or hit. This type of exercise helps to develop the nerve connections between the eye and the hand. Thanks to this the fighter can react faster to opponents' attacks and dynamically changing situation.
Breathing training. Breathing plays a crucial role in any sport. In boxing it must be combined with the rhythm of blows. Every punch is an exhalation. The faster the punches, the faster the breathing.
Shadow Boxing. This is one of the most popular and effective exercises in the boxing world. Shadow boxing develops the ability to land faster blows and helps to train different defensive options. Additionally, fighting an imaginary opponent allows you to effectively combine attacking and defensive actions.
Resistance band. Resistance bands have been used in boxing for decades. They are designed to create resistance to working muscles. Using special rubbers, a fighter can significantly increase the speed of his blows.
Physiometric exercises. The task of physiometric exercises is to form explosive power. In other words, these exercises help to ensure that muscles of a boxer develop maximal strength in a short time. As a result, a high level of explosive power has a positive effect on a fighter's speed. Such exercises also help to improve agility and coordination. It remains to be added that coordination ladders, training ropes and barriers are used for physio exercises.
Sprint Intervals. This type of conditioning is known as Sprint Interval Training and is designed to rapidly deplete energy sources available to the muscle cell in order to stimulate a range of intracellular responses that improve a muscles ability to utilise oxygen.
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