Importance of monitoring boxers with Velocity Based Training

By Valerio Esposito

Importance of monitoring boxers with Velocity Based Training

Introduction

The main objective in boxing is to hit the opponent in a clear and evident way, avoiding the counter-attack, thus accumulating points.

During each round, boxers aim to knock out their opponent, touching the optimal target zone to win the fight. Since the knockout is a constant goal, boxers must increase the impact of the punch and, therefore, the power of the knockout. (Cheraghi et al., 2014; Chaabene et al., 2015; Loturco et al., 2016)

Punching force and velocity are, therefore, major determinants of performance in boxing, with higher maximum values generally reported for higher-level boxers. (Smith et al., 2000)

Starting from this assumption, in this series of articles we will focus on the role and training of the neuromuscular system, in particular on the different expressions of force that can be useful to boxers to improve the impact force of the punches and how the GymAware FLEX can be a very useful tool for achieving successful performances.

How can the GymAware FLEX intervene in the training of boxers?

GymAware FLEX unit allows you to use and monitor a diverse set of methods to improve the physical preparation of athletes, which can be applied in all phases, thus representing an important complementary tool for achieving various objectives.

The first thing that connects FLEX to boxing is the improvement of the athlete’s intent during the execution of exercises, which not only motivates the athlete, but also improves their performance through direct feedback. In my opinion, the key to using FLEX lies in creating a culture of progress and competition, and this pushes athletes to surpass their previous best results.

Furthermore, FLEX offers a multifaceted approach to training, allowing athletes to adapt and research the intensity of each execution and therefore focus on improving speed and power.

The key motor skill: strength

Muscle strength is defined as the ability to exert force over external resistance (Stone, 1993). Depending on the demands of a sport, an athlete may need to manipulate their own body mass against gravity (e.g. sprinting, gymnastics, etc.), both their own body mass and that of an opponent (e.g. boxing, rugby, wrestling , etc.), or an external object (e.g. football, weightlifting, etc.). Ultimately, the force exerted will change or tend to change the motion of a body in space. This concept is based on Newton’s second law (i.e. the law of acceleration) whereby the force (f) is equal to the product of the mass (m) and the acceleration (a).

Based on this principle, the acceleration of a given mass is directly proportional to and in the same direction as the applied force. Therefore, it appears that muscular strength is the main factor in producing effective and efficient movement of an athlete’s body or an external object. It is no coincidence, according to Vittori, that basic motor capacity is strength.

“Strength, in fact, in its many forms of expression, is the only physical quality that the human body possesses, all the others are a consequence of the application of force” (C. Vittori)

So speed and resistance are reiterations of strength over time or an expression of strength in a very short time. This is an important point to start from.

It is clear that perhaps the main objective of all sports is the improvement of the strength of their athletes and what can be achieved by training this aspect is to make it usable as much as possible for the technical gesture that the athlete then has to carry out. This does not mean that in some moments of programming the training cannot have more general aspects, but clearly, within it, a large part must have the objective of having a large transference directly with the sporting gesture. To achieve this objective, however, it is essential to have a vast knowledge of the biological principles that regulate neuromuscular aspects in order to be able to choose between the numerous training methods.

At the same time there are specific components that are different from sport to sport, and require targeted interventions. To be able to do this it is necessary to know in an equally in-depth way the characteristics of the performance model of the sport being trained.

I underline this concept because in recent years training methods have been borrowed from other sports. For example, some believed that using bodybuilders’ training methods could make athletes stronger, or using Olympic weightlifting exercises could make athletes more explosive and more powerful.

This way of reasoning is incorrect because athletes of various disciplines have completely different needs from those of a bodybuilder, a sprinter or a weightlifter.

For example, if we analyze a jerk, the movement is bipedal, monoplanar and there are no twists and rotations. On the contrary, in boxing it is true that the situations are bipedal, but they are asymmetrical and there are torsional movements, rotations and often even multiplanar actions. Furthermore, as we will see in subsequent articles in which the technical gesture is analysed, in addition to the vertical component of force, there is a very important horizontal component of force. Weightlifting exercises only have a vertical component of strength and therefore, all these characteristics suggest that we can take inspiration from some principles or some training methods of other sports, but we cannot think of copying them entirely, precisely because sports have different specific characteristics. We need to modify these proposals in order to adapt them to the needs of our athletes.

But let’s go step by step because we cannot talk about this topic without connecting it to the physics that will often be referred to in these articles.

Physics is the mother of mechanics which, in turn, is divided into Statics and Dynamics. Within Dynamics we have two areas: Kinetics and Kinematics

Kinetics describes the cause of movement, while kinematics is the movement itself. They are 2 aspects that are connected to each other but which have very different meanings and are evaluated differently.

figure 2 - Importance of monitoring boxers with Velocity Based Training

Equally fundamental is knowing the mechanisms of strength as there are various factors that offer the athlete the possibility of producing increasingly higher strength and speed. these factors can be summarized in:

  1. Structural
  2. Nervous (excitatory-inhibitory)
  3. Reflexes (stretch-shortening cycle)
Importance of monitoring boxers with Velocity Based Training

Of these three families, the most important aspects for increasing strength are the neurogenic ones: intramuscular coordination (recruitment of multiple motor units, synchronization and increase in stimulus frequency), intermuscular coordination and reflex aspects.

We will see these aspects in detail in my next article for the GymAware blog.

Download: How to get started with velocity based training [use case]

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Valerio Esposito

Strength & Conditioning Coach FIGC, FPI, CONI
degree and Master Degree  in sports sciences

Teacher Trainer in Training Methodology CONI, FPI

Bronze Palm for Technical Merit