Have your arms ever felt heavy and tired during your training or sparring sessions? If yes, you’d probably notice that when that happens, your movements slow down greatly and affect your performance.
Arm endurance is an extremely important aspect of boxing (yes, possibly even more important than knockout power!) This is because you should always keep your hands up to guard your face, and have enough arm strength and endurance to efficiently throw punches throughout your training sessions, or fights.
If you feel that you lack arm endurance, don’t be too disheartened. We’ve been in your position before, and that’s why we’re here to tell you that it’s possible to build arm endurance!
Today, Evolve Daily shares 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Shoulders and Arms for Boxing:
1) Drill with a heavy bag
“In order to maximize your performance, you should regularly train with heavy bags,” shares multiple-time WBC Boxing World Champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. “Besides helping you to improve your technique and co-ordination, training with a heavy bag can boost your arm endurance, especially if you punch as hard and fast as you can.”
It helps to punch at face level when you train with the bag. As a beginner, you might punch at chest level when you’re training with the bag, but this would not build your arm endurance as you’d have to aim for your opponent’s face in an actual fight. Punching the heavy bag at face level not only helps with your co-ordination during sparring or when fighting, but also strengthens your arms because you’d be lifting them higher.
Apart from the heavy bag, you can also use a double-end bag to train your arms. This is because it’s a target which requires you to react and move at a high speed. Hence, this helps your arms to get used to hitting a fast moving target with your gloves on. What’s more, you’d be engaging your retraction muscles whenever you miss.
Shadowboxing is a great way to increase your shoulder and arm endurance. This is because your arms are able to work at a much higher speed without gloves on, and you’d get used to executing fast combinations. Try to not pause for too long while shadowboxing, but if you absolutely have to stop for awhile, aim to at least keep your hands up at all times to guard your face. Besides helping you throw faster punches, shadowboxing also strengthens your retraction muscles because you’d have to pull your hands back.
If you wish to take things to the next level, shadowboxing with light hand weights (1 or 2 pounds each) can also help strengthen your arms and shoulders. Of course, you have to ensure that you’re punching with the right technique so as to avoid potential injuries.
Psst! Once you drop the weights, you’d feel lighter and hence, be able to last longer, as well as punch at a much higher speed.
3) Make weight training a part of your workout
As we mentioned before, strength and conditioning is an important aspect of every martial artist’s training. That’s why you should include it in your workouts, especially if you want to build your arm endurance.
“Your muscles need to be conditioned in order to perform well throughout a fight,” reveals Pongsaklek. “Your arms and shoulders have to be well-conditioned so you can throw many punches and guard your face.”
A good upper-body exercise you should include in your workout is the bench press. This is because it strengthens your neck, chest, arms, and shoulders – which are all important for boxing. You may also include dips, pull-ups, and push ups.
However, your arms and shoulders aren’t the only areas to focus on when you do strength and conditioning training.
“Besides arm endurance, you have to work on strengthening your legs and core as they play a part in boxing too,” shares Pongsaklek.
So make sure you include your other muscle groups when you’re working out. To strengthen your legs, do squats and box jumps. As for your core, you’d want to include planks and sit-ups; and kettlebell swings for your posterior chain.
4) Skip regularly
Skipping is a great way to get your heart pumping, so you should include it in your warm-up before you start training. Apart from helping with your footwork, skipping can also play a part in boosting your arm endurance. This is because swinging the rope enables you to engage the muscles in your arms and shoulders, as well as wrists and hands. That means the longer you can skip without stopping, the better your arm endurance will be.
Once you’re able to comfortably do basic skipping with both feet, you should move on to more advanced variations. These include the criss-cross arm skip (where you perform a basic skip but cross your arms), the kick-step (jump twice on one foot, and then twice on the other), as well as the scissor jump (jump with one foot in front of the other and switch).
5) Train consistently
We believe that practice makes perfect, so the best way to improve is to really commit to your training and make it a point to do so regularly.
“You must have the dedication and discipline to make yourself train even when you don’t want to, so that you can focus on your weaknesses and improve,” says Pongsaklek. “Of course, you should also remember to have fun! Like anything in life, you need to have passion and enjoy yourself. If not, you wouldn’t put your whole heart into it and be able to unleash your potential.”
Are you ready to elevate your boxing game? We believe that you’ve got what it takes to become a better martial artist, so go forth and train hard!