How many times have you been leaving the boxing gym and said, “Oh man, I forgot my himantes,” as you head out of the gym? Hopefully, never.
Himantes were the equivalent of gloves in Ancient Greek boxing. Fighters wore leather straps over their hands, wrapping strips of oxhide across the knuckles while leaving fingers free. These crude hand wraps protected one’s knuckles from abrasion and increased the effectiveness of strikes. That’s all well and good, but they provided practically no protection from impact force. Thankfully they bear next to zero resemblance to today’s high-tech products.
Details matter. How many times have you heard a parent, teacher, boss, or coach utter some variation of that during your formative years? How many times have you found it to be true? “A Lot” is probably the answer to both questions, and elite athletes often have to be super focused on the details to succeed.
Former NBA star Bill Bradley offers one of the best examplesof this phenomenon. While home training in Missouri one summer, Bradley noticed many of his jump shots were sailing just a tad long. He eventually insisted the basket he was practicing on was not the regulation ten-feet tall. Turns out, he was right. It was shorter by an inch.
NOTE: This article was edited on 2/18/19 to include more information about Velocity Based Training (VBT) and common devices used to measure movement speed for use with VBT.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while then you know that boxing training constitutes more than just physical strength. We’ve discussed speed, movement, endurance, and mental preparation.
Now, we’re going to take a look at the science that supports the training that goes into boxing. If you understand the physical principles involved, then you will be able to better identify ways to maximize strength, speed, and your overall boxing prowess every time you put on your headgear and step into the ring.
GUEST POST: To talk to you this week, we reached out to a local expert on the topic of using foam rollers and massage balls to recover after a fight or workout. Foam rolling and other forms of trigger point therapy are growing in popularity throughout the sports world. As Dr. Love shows, they are incredibly effective for treating some of the unique stresses of boxing and mma. You can reach Dr. Love at Love Chiropractic, the practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Adam Love.
When you’re in the ring or shadowboxing, maintaining a proper fighting stance keeps you ready to react, allows for fluidity of movement, and maximizes proper transference of force. However, holding that body position can also lead to fatigue and tightness in muscles throughout the body, especially in the legs and shoulders. After a hard workout or an intense competition, this tightness and fatigue can turn to pain or reduced mobility if left un-addressed.
To help reverse these issues, athletes in many sports have turned to foam-rolling and other forms self-myofascial release. In fact, focusing on release of trigger points or adhesions (small areas of tension in the muscle or fascia surrounding the muscle that impede smooth movement) has been shown to be incredibly important to reducing muscle soreness, improving flexibility and enhancing range of motion following exercise—especially high intensity workouts. An October 2018 study just showed that self-myofascial release is beneficial in reducing fatigue-induced losses of power and velocity.