As a fighter, the element of surprise, the drive from the way you move, and your technique is what really will set you apart from other fighters and create an identity for you.
Being explosive when you’re in the ring is just as important, if not more than other skills and techniques that you develop. Being mediocre with your explosiveness can be the difference between landing your hit, or getting hit yourself.
If you think of yourself as a fast, sports vehicle, your explosiveness is what will get you going 0-60 mph in a matter of seconds. To be able to equate this type of change in speed is necessary to compete with the best.
From the mixture of components you need to be a successful fighter, you need to find a balance between them all. For example, you don’t need just strength, you need skill, you need to know how to hit instead of just hitting hard. Instead of just needing endurance, you need explosiveness, so not only will you last in the ring, you’ll also find the motivation in you to keep moving forward with quick lunges and jabs.
If you are looking to fight or if you are working out in the fight gym just for exercise, we’re going to give you our top ten tips to help improve your explosiveness in the ring.
Train With Intent
In everything you do as you train, it should have a purpose. Instead of just working the bag for ten minutes without thinking a thing of it, you’re not being intentional with that exercise. To train with intent is to set your goals in front of you and create that perfect training plan to execute them.
If you are looking for explosiveness, try integrating this type of explosiveness in your training. This way, your muscle memory will familiarize itself with this attribute and bring it into the ring without you even realizing it.
To train explosives means going hard at whatever you’re doing for a short amount of time and then working your way back. For example, do ten push-ups as fast and as explosive as you can, and then take a short break. Do increments of ten push-ups until you reach your usual 50. This type of approach to your training can also be implemented in running, throwing the medicine ball, and even hitting the bag.
It’s All About Science
Having a strong, forceful punch depends on the training method you use, but also it is affected a lot by momentum. The force and strength of your punch are highly scientific, so if you’re not that big of a nerd, we’ll try and simplify it.
The term momentum used here in this context is based on how quickly you can move a mass towards the target. For example, it means how fast you can wind up all the force and energy in your hand and lay it on your opponent’s head.
With this scientific equation, it’s easy to see why heavyweights with fast hands can hit so hard. Your impulse is divided down between force and time. The goal of impulsion is to produce force as quickly as possible. By training your skills, hand speed, strength, and acceleration, you can improve your impulse.
To improve your momentum, however, the two forces working here are mass and velocity. The goal here, when trying to increase your momentum is to move mass as quickly as possible. This might go challenged, but some coaches and trainers sweat on that increasing mass will help gain momentum in the ring.
It all depends on what kind of fighter you want to be. Based on a continuum of Force in relation to Velocity, the heavier and stronger force you have, the slower you’ll be and visa versa. Therefore, working at it in a balanced way can help you achieve optimal performance.
Can’t go wrong with plyometric exercises
Since boxing requires movements that are both powerful and explosive, you can take a page out of any professional athlete’s book that states the exercise that helps them gain the explosiveness they need.
The way that plyometrics work is that it mimics the movements normally used when fighting or boxing. Working out with plyometrics helps develop your body for more explosive and for quick movements. Boxing and fighting require a great deal of physical demand, and plyometrics can get you ready for it.
However, if you are just beginning, you will need to cut down on performing plyometric exercises, only performing and practicing them about two times a week. Truly engage in these exercises and go 100 percent. Then make sure you rest in between sets, exercises, and days.
Here are a few of our go-to’s when it comes to plyometric exercises
a.) Squat Jumps
This exercise promotes explosiveness and power in your legs. If you have done a squat before, you should be familiar with the idea, however, these exercises include a jump in the end.
How to execute: Begin with your feet slightly wider than the width of your shoulders.Make sure to keep your toes pointed forward. When you’re ready, squat down, try and get as close as you can to a 90-degree angle with your knees, making our bottom parallel to the ground. However, make sure your knees aren’t pushed out farther than your toes — you should be sitting back. Once you’re as low as you can go, use the momentum to push off and jump as high as you can. Land softly, preferably back into the original squat position.
b.) Medicine Ball Slams
This exercise accentuates on the explosiveness of your upper body, in your arms, down to your abs, and so much more. Medicine Ball Slams also focus on your core and maintaining your balance, even though you are repelling a force from your body to the ground.
How to execute: Choose a lighter medicine ball to start out with, but then once you have your form under control, you can opt for a heavier pick. Hold the medicine ball with both hands way above your head. Just like the squat jump, your feet should be shoulder-width apart. You can either stagger your steps, and have one foot slightly in front of the other, or complete this exercise with your feet parallel to one another. When you’re ready, take the medicine ball with both hands and slam it as hard as you can towards the ground. If you can catch it if it comes back up, great if not, that’s also okay.
You can also use a med ball for exercises like Medicine Ball catch, twist, and throw, which also works immensely on your core.
c.) Plyometric Pushups
If you just want to focus on your upper body, you should test yourself with plyometric pushups. Of course, start off slow. If you are already knocking out pushups, then you can try your hand with these in their original form. However, if you are still trying to progress to normal pushups, begin this exercise on your knees. It has the same concept as a regular, standard pushup, but will provide your arms with the explosiveness you need in the ring to throw quick punches.
How to execute: Start your body in the original pushup position (for less advanced “pushup-ers”, you can put your knees on the ground. Your hands should be planted a bit wider than where your shoulders are, so not directly underneath them. As you perform the push up as you normally would, instead of just pushing yourself back up, push off the floor hard so your hands come up off the floor, as well. Just like the squat jump, don’t land with a hard thunk on the ground. Come down softly and repeat.
Even something so simple like bounding from one foot to the other can help you get a plyometric exercise in. The less time you leave your foot on the ground, the better. This can help your performance by solely focusing on one leg. When the force is building up in your leg as you squat down, you release that energy and perform the bound, landing on the other leg and harnessing control of that strength and velocity, as well.
How to execute: Begin on one foot, explode off that leg which is on the ground and land diagonally or sideways as far apart as you can from the other. Make the landing as soft and as smooth as possible. The faster you are in between bounds, the more explosive your legs will become.
Balance explosive Training with everything else
Exerting a maximum amount of force in such a short amount of time is called being explosive. Although you need stamina and endurance to last the entire round, you also should be interchangeably working out so that you’ll have all the necessary attributes that a good fighter needs. For example, using explosive training, you can increase strength, but not only as you normally would, but using that strength at a high velocity and speed which will amount to more power.
To place it in terms that make it even more simple to understand, training not only the body, but explosive training also develops the mind and nervous system to become triggered quick enough to work effectively when in the ring.
Incorporate Olympic Lifting
As we have already given you a few exercises to do that will improve your explosiveness in the ring, there are also a few more exercises that you can work with to get you not only explosive but also strong.
For example, you can do a clean and press with an Olympic bar. The most important factor when it comes to Olympic lifting is for your form to be correct. Do not attempt Olympic lifting on your own if you’re not sure how to do it properly, or were never taught before.
The clean and press is a great exercise for boxing, not only because it uses your entire body, but also you are building on power that you will later use when you’re throwing a punch in the ring.
This type of Olympic Lifting is not the only exercise (the clean and press), there are multiple other exercises that you can do to begin working on the explosiveness. However, as we stated before, it is important that you recognize and can execute proper form before moving on to heavier weight.
Shake it Up
Don’t make the training too boring. Although there are serious fundamentals when it comes to choosing the few exercises we mentioned earlier, and any of them would be helpful when just sticking with them during the first few training sessions, it might not be long before you’re either bored with them or your body has really grown accustomed to them.
There are various, endless, and effective exercises you can do at the gym or at home that can help you gain the explosiveness you need to be your best in the ring.
For example, here are some of our other top exercises to vary your workout regimen when you’re trying to be more explosive in the ring:
Tire Training: You can either use a sledgehammer or a baseball hat in this exercise.The only other piece of equipment you need is a large tire. It’s quite a simple execution.All you have to do is hit the tire that’s either laying flat on the ground or one that ’s standing straight upright. The execution of this exercise works the entire spectrum of our body. From the twist in your hips to the rotation of your shoulders, all the way down to your forearms and hands, tire training can give you a full workout that is completely beneficial to your boxing training.
Heavy Rope Training: You have without a doubt seen this exercise before. Basically,it’s you holding a really thick, heavy rope and moving it around, increasing your muscular arm endurance and explosiveness. This is a perfect training exercise to use if you ever feel like your arms are getting too easily fatigued. You can train using ropes by doing double waves with both arms simultaneously, you can alternative waves, or slam the ropes from side to side. There are endless amounts of varieties to train with when you’re using heavy ropes.
Sled Pushes: This insane exercise will truly put you and your body to the test. It’s also a great metaphorical exercise because you want to be the one pushing around your opponent, not the other way around. Sled Pushes also use your entire body, helping you develop the strength you need to push however much weight in an explosive way through sprinting or working on your strength endurance through long runs with the weighted sled.
Band Training: No, this does not refer to what the kid who carried around his clarinet all day in his case and took it to band practice at the end of the school day did. This means those resistance bands of various colors and multiple strengths. The great thing about using resistance bands to train is not only that it is effective in a multitude of ways, but they are so much cheaper than other machines, plus they are so much easier to carry around. By maximizing control of resistance on one particular, specific muscle, you can easily improve your muscle growth and evolve your fast twitch muscles. Even doing regular training with these resistance bands can make a whole lot of difference.
An improved amount of explosiveness begins from the bottom up. Having quicker feet actually makes you seem like you are even more explosive because your feet dictate what the rest of your body does. When that is done in such a fast manner, it is easy to see what you need to work on. For example, when your foot speed improves, the entire movement where you shift and transfer weight (what you need in all kinds of punches), will get faster too. Fast footwork can also help you get to your opponent quicker than them, even if your punch speed is around the same, your footwork will get you there quicker.
Don’t forget your core
The basis of everything you do, no matter what sport you’re in, although we’re speaking specifically about boxing, everything goes back to the core. If you are looking to improve your speed and power in your punches, core training is a must. During every punch, you’re transferring energy and momentum from one part of the body to the other. All energy runs directly through the core. This is also a double opportunity here. A strong core can help you in all aspects of your fighting, and can even help improve your defense when boxing. Not only does it help by making your movements quicker and you can get out of the way of your opponent’s punches, but also will give you an extra layer of armor when you are out there sparring against someone.
When we’re talking about core training, focus on exercises that help improve your rotational strength. In every movement you make in boxing, you use your core. So improving not only your abs overall, but by specifying your obliques, you can improve the explosiveness in your punch.
- Use Your Max Strength
Since we’re using short explosive training, it means you just need to go quickly for a short amount of time, then you will have a resting period. As the old saying goes, this is a perfect situation to implement a “go hard, or go home” attitude. When you are performing these exercises, you need to use MST, which is Maximal Strength Training, which has been proven a lot more effective when looking to quicken impulse and use your full power and strength when you need to. Train with heavy weight so that when the time comes, not only will your body have great muscle memory to rely upon, it will also be used to a lot of weight.
- Challenge Yourself
You might not have ever worked on being explosive before, and it might be something completely new to you. Take this as an opportunity to explore and find out what not only works for you and your body but also to stray away from the types of training and exercises that can get a bit monotonous. This is a perfect opportunity to challenge yourself. Boxing is an individual sport, so if you are working to find the best version of you, you’re on the right road.
We hope that these ten tips can help you when you’re training to be a more explosive athlete and fighter. Try to implement a few, if not all of these tips in your training regimen from now on and see how you and your body will transform. The great thing about working on your explosiveness is the fact that it can not only help transform your game, your way of movement, but it can also help your confidence levels, your reaction time in the ring, and your overall boxing career, even if you are just doing it for fun.
Before you begin on any of these exercises, however, especially if you are unfamiliar with them, check in with a trainer to help teach you the proper form. If you are trying to execute these plyometric exercises on your own with no instruction, it is a recipe for disaster. Take your new hobby, sport, or passion step-by-step and you can get to where you need to be in no time. You might even have fun or surprise yourself in ways you could never have imagine