Speed ​​& Strength Resistance In Combat Sports

By the healthiergang writer Gabriele Galasso, Functional Training instructor and K1 competitive athlete.

Speed ​​& Strength Resistance

Combat sports are currently one of the best "road test”For the various types of athletic preparations, especially after the modern clearance of functional training.

This factor is mainly due to the fact that while there is a part of ring sports closely linked to tradition and old methods (especially in the field of amateur boxing, where in several gyms the old masters still see in the weights an enemy who does " slow down ”the boxer), there is also an increasingly emerging part linked to sports such as MMA or those of striking (such as K1) populated by younger technicians and open to new theories.



Speed ​​& Strength Resistance In Combat Sports

First of all, two definitions need to be "sketched out":

- specific conditioning: type of conditioning that partially or completely re-proposes technical gestures and / or match situations (for example a football goalkeeper who trains by performing a plyometric leap at the end of which he will have to block a ball kicked by his coach);

- non-specific conditioning: type of conditioning that seeks the improvement of conditional skills through training sessions not related to the sport to which it is aimed in terms of technical gesture (for example, a boxer will never find himself in the situation of having to take an uphill sprint, but not for this , this exercise will have to be eliminated from its non-specific preparation).

This article only wants to deal with the specific aspect of training for resistance to strength and speed, with particular regard to combat sports.


Resistance can be divided in various ways; the subdivision that we are now interested in is that between resistance to force and resistance to speed, which can be simplistically defined as:


- Resistance to force: ability to resist static or dynamic stress for as long as possible.

- Speed ​​resistance: ability to perform a technical gesture at speeds close to the maximum for as long as possible.

In reality these skills can be trained in both specific and non-specific ways, but the purpose of this article is only the first of these two methods.

Overload: Yes, But Which One?

To train these two types of resistance, it is useful, if not essential, to use an overload: many masters, especially from the old school, were used to the use of 1-2 kg dumbbells, for these types of exercises, however, the opinions on the effectiveness of these tools are very conflicting.

From a certain point of view, the athlete during the match uses boxing gloves weighing 10 ounces (which can go as high as 14 ounces during sparring sessions), and overload like the one under consideration may seem useful at first.

However there is to consider who you are talking about specific conditioning and a weight of 2kg (about 10 times higher than 10 ounces) risks ruining the technical gesture and making it not very close to reality, not to mention the fact that while the fighter is trying to express his power in the frontal direction, the overload is carrying out your function is down, so you are not actually opposing in the same direction that you are doing work. Furthermore, blows thrown at high speed with this type of instrument risk being harmful to the joints in the medium / long term.


For this reason, perhaps the most suitable tool for the development of these skills is to be found in the use of rubber bands, with various resistances: fixed to the wall, than to the athlete's body, they exert a force contrary to the fist in the exact opposite direction or almost, thus allowing a better effectiveness.


It is therefore possible to make a further discrimination of the rubber bands:

- Wall mounting

- Fixing to the body

As for the fastening to the body, it has the advantage of being able to have a resistance always in solidarity with the fighter that therefore you will be able to move freely around the ring, however the “kinetic chain” discourse is no longer valid as the elastic bypasses the entire previous part of its anchor point.

Let's take the example of a boxer who has to throw a punch and has a rubber band attached to a belt tied at the waist: the kinetic chain that starts from the foot and ends with the extension of the arm, is not entirely affected by the elastic as from the foot to the waist, the resistance of the elastic does not exist.

Vice versa considering the fixing to the wall we have the pro of train the entire kinetic chain, with the cons that our range of motion will be limited to that part of the gym where I have fixed the heads of the bands.


Ok, And Now Which One Do I Choose?

Having examined these aspects, it can therefore be said that it would be good to take them into consideration both fixings, and perform the workouts using these two types of overload by carefully evaluating the pros and cons listed (for example if we have to train the explosiveness of the fist we will use the wall version, so as to perform the complete gesture, vice versa if we have to perform shadow rounds boxing and we need to move around the ring we will use the version fixed to the body).

Specific Workout Routines

For strength endurance training, routines can be used that include a large volume of blows, exploded with timing and conditions similar to reality.


Strength resistance

An example would be to run a routine like this:

Preparation for an amateur boxing match 3 rounds of 3 minutes

You decide to work on one more recovery than you have to face, keeping the same work and rest times (3 minutes of work, 1 minute of rest)

1. General warm-up (both articular when still and cardiovascular).

2. Perform 3 rounds of shadow boxing to complete the warm-up phase.

3. Elastic on the wall: (execution of 4 rounds of 3 minutes in turn divided into 20 ”of work and 10” of active rest).

The shots must be taken with a medium-high pace and trying to keep the technical gesture as clean as possible.

4. Body elastic: (after resting 5 minutes from the previous phase).

Perform 4 more shadow boxing shots moving around the ring with the elastic shown in the previous paragraph that joins one foot to the other. Focus in particular on footwork and not on fists as the trained part in this case is precisely the resistance to movement of the legs.

5. Cool down phase with stretching and breathing.

Speed ​​resistance

For strength endurance training, routines can be used that include a reduced volume of blows, fired with maximum concentration and speed.

An example would be to run a routine like this:

Preparation for an amateur boxing match 3 rounds of 3 minutes

You decide to work on one more recovery than you have to face, keeping the same work and rest times (3 minutes of work, 1 minute of rest)

1. General warm-up (both articular when still and cardiovascular).

2. Perform 3 rounds of shadow boxing to complete the warm-up phase.

3. Elastic on the wall: (execution of 4 rounds of 3 minutes each divided into 10 ”of work and 15” of rest).

The shots must be taken with a very high pace trying to keep the speed always at the maximum even at the expense of technical cleanliness.

4. Body elastic: (after resting 5 minutes from the previous phase).

Perform 4 more shadow boxing shots moving around the ring using a simple elastic band held by the heads and passed behind the back at the height of the dorsal. Moving around the ring we will try to bring very sudden attacks at intervals as regular as possible, looking for the combination of speed of step and speed of the blow.

5. Cool down phase with stretching and breathing.

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