June 2004
Andy and JamieWelcome to this installment of Balazs Boxing's newsletter. In this issue, Andy and Jamie, offer advice on how running can be added to improve basic fitness to significantly advance performance in the boxing ring. They continue the discussion on flexibility and address specific techniques for stretching. Finally, they address one reader's concern about reducing body fat and improving endurance.

The Balazs Team


Boxing Drill #8: Benefits of Roadwork - i.e. Running for Aerobic Conditioning
A proper running program will enhance the conditioning that you get from other forms of boxing training such as sparring, working various bags, target mitts and skipping.

A boxer's training regimen is one of the most demanding exercise routines and involves all aspects of physical fitness. Roadwork conditions the aerobic system, increasing the ability of the heart and lungs to deliver oxygen to the working muscles. Roadwork is specific for each individual and you will find your preferred routes, time of day, speed and tempo.

Effective running technique:

  • The head stays upright with the chin in a neutral position.
  • The shoulders are relaxed, down and back.
  • Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and hold the hands partially open or in a relaxed fist. Arms swing straight, forward and back. Minimize your arms crossing the body.
  • The hips tip upwards, with the torso or core muscles held tight giving support to the lower back.
  • The knee should move as horizontally as possible; avoid excessive up-and-down movement.
  • For proper foot plant, let your foot fall directly below your knee, and then swing it forward.
  • Minimize the contact time your foot has with the ground. Strive for a quick turnover.

Begin a running program starting at an easy pace for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Train with very little intensity and increase the distance you run by not more than 5% a week.

As you become more adapted to the distance and pace of the roadwork, your fitness level will improve. More demands can then be placed on the body during training in order to develop an even higher level of fitness.

Andy and Jamie's Health and Fitness Tip: Flexibility 2: Stretching Techniques
Daily stretching promotes the proper alignment of the muscle tissue, lengthening out muscles that are tight, inflexible and overused. As the range of motion is increased at the joint area, performance can be optimized and the risk of injury is greatly reduced.

A pre-activity stretch or warm-up stretch is aimed at taking the muscle and joints through a full range of motion imitating the movements of the activity to follow. This stretch can be held for 10 to 15 seconds, reducing muscle tightness and warming up the muscle tissue for activity. The purpose is not to increase the muscle in total length.

The post-activity stretch is aimed at relaxing the muscle and lengthening the working muscles to normal length after the activity. Slow static stretching is effective in reducing the localized muscle soreness after exercising.

This stretch is held for 30 to 40 seconds, holding the stretch at a point where tension is felt, relaxing and then moving a fraction further into the stretch.

Remember that stretching is non-competitive and should be performed in a relaxed environment. Do not over stretch or bounce into a stretch. Using force will not increase your flexibility. It is far better to under stretch than over stretch a muscle. Try to find the point where you feel the stretch and able to relax at the same time. Relaxation of the muscle tissue and performing the stretches on a regular basis are the two most important factors in improving your flexibility.

Ask the Trainer:
"I am a kick boxer and I will be fighting in hard contact competition this coming July and November. I need to reduce overall body fat and increase endurance. I weight lift three times a week and train in kickboxing two times a week. I watch what I eat. You mention running the treadmill for at lease thirty minutes. Are there any other excises that a person like myself going into hard contact competition can do to reduce overall body fat and increase endurance? And, how often should I do them?"

In addition to your coach's training schedule, countless types of cardio training will increase your endurance in the ring and consequently reduce overall body fat. Here are some of the best activities. Roadwork, at least three times per week, at a minimum of 30 minutes increasing to 50 minutes. Skipping for 15 - 20 minutes 3 to 5 times per week. Riding a stationary bike with increasing interval tension for 30 minutes 3 times per week and/or incorporating sprint workouts on the heavy bag...3-5 Sprints of 20 to 30 second sessions at the end of your heavy bag workout. All of these activities will challenge and condition the heart muscle and reduce body fat.

 - Andy Dumas

Send your questions for Andy to

Product Recommendations:
FR4496 Leather Skip Rope
GB0010 Leather Heavy Bag Gloves
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