Ask the Coach:
Q: I used to do boxing training a
few years back - not for competition,
but the gym I went to was a
fantastic, "real sweat & blood" kind
of place where you could train for
competition or just for yourself. I
trained pretty hard and I loved every
minute of it - the cardio, the
speed, the precision and control,
the power. I've been out of it since
then but dream of it every day.
Unfortunately, my body isn't great
anymore - only 35, but I developed
some arthritis in my hip and
my lower back from the training
and some martial arts, plus I have
chondromalacia in the knee. So if I
try to do any type of minor or intensive
workout it hurts like hell after.
I know I'll never be able to work the
bag like I used to, but anything is
better than nothing. What can I do
to start again? What resources can
I use to build myself a routine that
fits what my body can handle, even
if I have to start slow for a while
and build up? Please help me get
back to my passion!!!
- Aaron Bessoff
A: You are absolutely correct – staying active is the key. First you want to get your muscles
Andy & Jamie Dumas
and core in top shape. By strengthening the muscles around the knee and ankle, the joints will be protected and the muscle tissue will do the work. Start slowly building the muscles in your thighs, (mostly the quadriceps muscles) and the muscles around the ankle joints, (lower leg). Because you are concerned with grinding in the knee joint, keep the range of motion to a minimum. When performing squats, only squat ¼ of the way, hold that position to fatigue the muscle and slowly return to start position. Work your right leg independent of your left. (The muscles in your stronger leg will over compensate for the weak right leg muscles and they will never improve in strength.) You may also want to invest in a knee brace or wrap to add more support to the knee joint and prevent any unwanted movement in that joint.
Keeping the core muscles in your body strong will assist in supporting the lower back and hip areas. Such exercises as the plank and crunches with a rotation will work these muscles. Stretches for all muscles are important. Well conditioned, flexible muscles assist in the execution of proper functional movement. To work the upper body and get a great cardio workout, try using a krankcycle. The muscles in the arms and upper back are worked, building strength for hard punches and your back, hip and knees will not be compromised. Of course, the speed bag provides a great upper body workout as well. When boxing, focus on your punches, keeping the lower body stationary, Add some foot work in, but only after you have gained more strength in your right leg. Start slow – 20 minutes 3 x' per week and build up to an hour over three to six months with the boxing training. Strengthen your leg and core on your off days.
- Andy & Jamie