By Dave “Scooter” Honig
As the sun rises and the mist appears, the day starts out a beautiful one. It is 65 degrees with no humidity; a normal person is still dreaming in their bed. Not the professional fighter; to them this time of day is synonymous with hard work!
A fighter does more in the first hour after arising, than a stockbroker does all day. The dreaded INTERVAL TRAINING sounds like torture. However, it is a mandatory part of a professional boxer’s arsenal. Cardiovascular conditioning from interval training will enable the fighter to rise to any occasion, be it a four-round preliminary fight or a 12-round championship bout.
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE PROGRAM WE WILL BE DISCUSSING WITHIN THE NEXT FEW ISSUES IS BASED ON A PROFESSIONAL FIGHTER WITH A MINIMUM ONE-YEAR EXPERIENCE. THE HEART RATES ARE GENERALIZATIONS. EVERY FIGHTER IS AN INDIVIDUAL, THUS THE HEART RATES WILL VARY FROM ATHLETE TO ATHLETE.
Every true professional knows that running is one of the most important aspects in this game. AEROBIC ENDURANCE and INTERVAL TRAINING are the two most important phrases in my arsenal as a conditioning expert. All my fighters understand its significance. The conditioning program will provide physiological changes in the boxer’s body as it decreases their resting heart rate.
The boxer can decrease his recovery time as his circulatory system functions more efficiently. The ultimate goal is to improve transportation of oxygen to the working muscles. The intensity level is fairly low and the heart should be between 125-140 beats per minute. Every fighter should follow his own heart rate by placing an index finger on the pulsating vessel on the side of the neck or at the wrist.
The next phase is ANAEROBIC THRESHOLD. Here is where the best of both worlds collide. During this phase, the fighter will start pushing himself by working harder. The boxer will begin to tolerate the stress of adjusting to a higher intensity level of aerobic training without producing a significant gain in lactic acid. (You know what the build up of lactic acid feels like? Your legs feel heavy, tight and can’t move). Your heart rate at this level should be 155-180.
The final training phase we will discuss in Part I, is called the “VOMIT ZONE,” (maximum intensity training). I understand that this sounds bad, but all you fighters know what I mean!
Your heart feels like it is coming out of your chest, your mouth is dry, and you want to choke your trainer just as much as winning the title. WELCOME to the “VOMIT ZONE.” This is the most critical zone for a fighter. This is where we try to mimic the conditions of an all and out war. The interval training at this point is intended to keep your heart rate between 170-185.
In our next article we will discuss interval training at length and provide examples for fighters to try.
Dave “SCOOTER” Honig has been a conditioning expert in the sport of boxing for over 15 years. He has worked with fighters including: Jameel McCline, Vivian Harris, Zab Judah, Kathy Collins, Oleg Maskev, Robert Allen, and Dimitri Salita.