Combat sports has become one of America's favorite athletic events in the modern century, and with platforms like the UFC One Championship, the WBC, and the WBA, fight fans are inundated with live streaming services to watch. Boxing has become one of the most formidable combative arts, with the boxing industry stretching out into the multi billions.
Boxing has had a rough ride in becoming a legitimate combat sport, as the history of the art has come from ancient styles of Greek pankration. A boxing contest was once a fight to the death, and this once brutal sport has now become more modernised, and governed by rule sets. This has turned boxing into an athletic contest that requires a strategic mindset, and a series of fundamental skill concepts.
All boxing athletes put significant time into their training structures, and because boxing is an extremely dynamic combat sport, the necessity to train harder for longer is critical. The success of a boxing athlete highly depends on how driven they are during their training, and this means working on a number of different elements like footwork skills, head movements, punching form, punching accuracy, speed, and power, defensive movements, and strength and conditioning. There are multiple ways to build up these attributes, and athletes will gain considerable advantages from workout routines like shadow boxing, punching drills, strength training, and high intensity cardio sessions like sprinting, and a boxing jump rope workout routine. These types of exercises will only benefit an athlete in becoming a seasoned boxer.
What this article covers:
- The Importance of Footwork
- Maximising Training Through Skipping Routines
- What Are the Benefits of Skipping for Boxing
- Health Benefits to Skipping
- Does Skipping Increase Boxing Skill
- Different Skipping Drills
THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOTWORK
The art of boxing is more than just a series of punching techniques, as the core fundamentals incorporate a systematic series of footwork skills, with a high element of evasive movements. Athletes will develop dynamic ways to move into range of their opponent, so they can land more effective striking maneuvers. Using the right footwork is fundamentally important so that the athlete does not walk into danger, and gets themselves trapped in the pocket. High levels of footwork skill will help athletes evade any counter strikes from their opponents, as they will be too nimble on their feet, and capable of changing direction quickly due to their improved agility, and their foot coordination. This is why training extensively in footwork skills is important for all boxing athletes, and utilising different boxing jump rope footwork is a vital cog in the wheel of boxing development.
MAXIMISING TRAINING THROUGH SKIPPING ROUTINES
All boxing athletes must put in extensive work into their training systems if they want to improve their skill set, and become successful inside of the boxing ring. Combat sports is not an easy training set up, as it involves a high level of intense workout systems like strength and conditioning, cardiovascular training, and a different range of punching techniques. Boxing training can be extremely grueling, and all athletes need to be extremely fit in order to be more efficient with how they train. Utilising different skipping techniques will boost up their cardiorespiratory endurance, giving them a greater lung capacity, which translates into more energy during the training session.
All athletes will need to begin training in skipping techniques in order to build up their anaerobic capacity. The more time spent jumping over a rope, and practicing footwork, while gaining considerable fitness will comprehensively increase an athlete's ability to be more effective inside of the boxing ring. Learning how to jump rope like a boxer for beginners starts with the most basic of skipping techniques. Beginners will need to focus on how they jump over the rope, zeroing in on the footwork aspect, as they build up their cardiovascular capacity. Once the beginner has an understanding of how they should move their feet, they can begin to increase their interval training, and the complexity of different skipping techniques.
Maximising an athlete's training is the key factor to becoming more proficient in boxing skill. Quite often athletes will waste too much time focusing on elements that they do not need, or putting in time into areas they are already strong, and forgetting to work on their weaknesses. If an athlete has a strong punch but is not fit enough, then they will need to work on their fitness levels, so they are a more well rounded, and a balanced fighter. This is where maximising training comes into play, so that the athlete can perform at their optimum levels, while they are inside of the boxing ring. Keeping a structured balance between strength and conditioning, cardiovascular training, punching ability, and footwork techniques is critical for any boxing athlete. Utilising skipping techniques is the catalyst that can bring all of these elements together into a more cohesive, and systematic form.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SKIPPING FOR BOXING
There are many different benefits that athletes can receive from skipping in boxing, and learning the ability to skip for long periods of time is pivotal in sustaining a high level of cardio ability. Some of the more obvious benefits are increased levels of cardiovascular endurance, which means athletes will increase their level of aerobic health, and physical fitness. Improving an athlete's level of cardiorespiratory endurance will mean they will be able to perform high intensity exercise for longer periods of time, which is critical to a boxing athlete. Boxing matches will usually go for twelve rounds of action, which means athletes need to be extremely fit, and capable of surviving for lengthy periods of time, and still having enough power to outperform their opponent.
Utilising any form of skipping training will give athletes a much more capable understanding of boxing footwork. All boxers need fast feet, and good agility so they can change direction quickly in the heat of the battle. Boxing is all about managing the weight distribution between each foot, as they step into an opponent's range, and then change direction quickly which improves the angle, and maximises their chances of landing significant punches. This is where skipping can be extremely advantageous to a boxing athlete, as it will help to increase their ability to be more dynamic on their feet, while ingraining these movements into their muscle memory. Increasing an athlete's footwork skills will also improve their general foot coordination, and this will give boxers more control of their movements. Boxers will need to use all sorts of different footwork skills like lateral shuffling, forward and diagonal shuffling, pivoting, stutter stepping, and hopping, in order to open up their opponents. This will ultimately increase their ability to land more dynamic, and stronger punches.
HEALTH BENEFITS TO SKIPPING
Outside of boxing skill, and cardiovascular ability, there are many other benefits that skipping can help with. Skipping is known to improve cardiovascular health, which is a fundamental way of lowering an athlete's blood pressure. This will also give significant improvements in maximal oxygen consumption, and this is the measurement of how much oxygen the body will use during any workout sessions. In turn this will help significantly with an athlete's heart, making them fitter, and stronger. Studies have shown that skipping regularly will also help with bone mineral density, which is the measurement of how much calcium, and other types of minerals are in the bone areas. Building up these stores of calcium, and minerals will help athletes exponentially with fighting combat, as it is known to prevent bone fractures from occurring due to the hardening of an athlete's bones. This is also good for overall health because it can negate any chance an athlete has of getting osteoporosis as they grow older.
DOES SKIPPING INCREASE BOXING SKILL
Skipping for boxing athletes is one of the best tools they can use to increase their overall boxing skill. Although skipping doesn't actually help them with their punching ability, it does however open up a numerous range of angles for them to utilise their punching ability. Developing significant skipping skills is a great way to get fitter and stronger, and understanding where exactly an athlete should be placing their feet when they are looking to execute punching combinations. Boxing is a game of precision, speed, power, and accuracy, as well as strategy, and an athlete that skips for longer will have a huge advantage going into a fight against their opponents.
Skipping is a great way to ingrain an athlete's muscle memory with dynamic footwork. The act of jumping over a rope numerous times, and shifting the weight distribution from their left to their right foot is pivotal in emulating how a boxer should move inside of the boxing ring. Skipping drills will help athletes exponentially with their speed, and their coordination, which is half the battle in a contest between boxers. Gaining the ability to move in rapidly, and then having the ability to change direction quickly will help athletes set up their opponents with dynamic, and powerful punching combinations. So the act of skipping does help athletes improve their boxing skill, they will just need to practice their punching technique at the same time as developing their footwork ability. If an athlete can master these concepts then they are well on their way to becoming highly proficient in boxing ability.
DIFFERENT SKIPPING DRILLS
There are different forms of skipping drills that will highly benefit athletes to become more proficient in boxing. One of the most iconic skipping drills was mastered, and popularised by the great Mohammad Ali. The 'Ali Shuffle' was a comprehensive footwork movement that he used against many of his opponents inside of the boxing ring. This shuffle was a way to fake his opponents out, or distract them with footwork, as he landed significant jabs and straight punch combinations. This has now been put into a skipping drill, where the athlete will change the weight distribution from their left, to their right foot as they jump over the rope. This little shuffle during their skipping training is highly beneficial to building an incredible series of footwork skills.
Another good drill requires athletes to skip on one foot, and as each repetition of the rope they will hop onto their other foot. This form of skipping technique will help athletes in a number of different ways, and firstly it will build up significant strength in their legs, and their hips. But more importantly than the strength factor, it will help athletes with their maneuverability when they are faced with an opponent. Commonly in boxing, athletes will move in with their footwork, and execute single foot hops to the left, or to the right to gain access to a side on angle. This is instrumental in accessing a hard, and dynamic hook to the body. Using this drill in a skipping form is pivotal in building up a fundamental basis of how the single hop works. Athletes must make sure to stay on the balls of their feet, as they hop from foot to foot, so that they are ready to pounce with forward momentum, which emulates a real situation in a boxing match.
Another complicated skipping drill that helps athletes build up functional strength and conditioning is called a squat jack. This skipping drill will help athletes build strength in their groins, their hamstrings, their thighs, and their hips, and is utilised by all high level boxing athletes. This drill requires the athlete to start in a somewhat lowered squat position about halfway into a squat. From here the athlete will begin to fling the rope around, and as they clear the rope they will jump up, extending their body upwards, and extending their legs outward in a lateral position. This is repeated numerous times, and can be extremely grueling on an athlete's body. This drill will not only improve an athlete's strength and conditioning, it will also increase their dexterity in their legs, the flexibility in their groins, and the overall coordination level of their lower body.
There are other skipping drills that can help athletes like criss cross jumping, and this is where the athlete will switch their feet from a part to crossing over, and then back again with each repetition of the skipping rope. This can be a tricky drill to master, but it will help with an athlete's foot coordination, and build up significant strength throughout their lower body. Another drill is to do a two footed forward and backward jump, and this means on each repetition of the rope the athlete will use a two footed jump in a forwards direction, before jumping in a backwards direction with the next repetition. It is a good idea to start off with small jumps, before moving up to longer range jumps, and this helps athletes tremendously with their strength and conditioning, and their overall coordination skills.
Boxing athletes cannot count out the most basic of skipping drills, and that is to skip normally but at an extremely fast pace. Using this drill is a good way to burn out their core, and their legs, and is instrumental in building a powerful, and explosive base, which is crucial in boxing matches. Athletes can also utilise a one footed hop drill, where they will burn out their leg, and develop coordination within that foot. The athlete will start by hopping on one foot as they clear the rope, and from here they will switch to the other side, and skip again for the next round. This drill can be highly draining for an athlete, but the rewards far outweigh the risks, and in boxing, athletes will need to build up strength and conditioning, cardiovascular ability, and exceptional footwork skills.
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