WHY DO BOXERS JUMP ROPE?
The art of boxing has become one of the most popular forms of combat in the United States of America, and perhaps the world. Watching two high class athletes go toe to toe, exchanging blows in the middle of the ring, is an exciting combat sport to watch. Boxing has been around for thousands of years, and the evolution from a once brutal fight to the death has now become a game of strategy, where the more skillful and athletic competitor will usually win. Boxing is one of the more powerful combat arts that can easily be integrated into a Mixed Martial Artist's game style. Using boxing combined with other elements of MMA is critical in becoming successful inside of the cage. Skillful boxers like Connor McGregor, Junior Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez, and the Diaz brothers, have made a name for themselves with their uniquely diverse skill set in boxing, and in Mixed Martial Arts.
Becoming a powerful boxing athlete doesn't just happen after watching a few tutorials, it takes serious dedication, and commitment to an athletes training regime. Boxing is highly dynamic, and incorporates a diverse range of workout routines all designed to increase an athlete's speed and flexibility, strength, power and resilience, posture, hand and eye coordination, and their footwork and punching fluency. There are a multitude of different types of workouts that athletes can implement, with many of them great for building up their anaerobic systems, and their strength and conditioning level. Utilising training drills like shadow boxing, running, extensive focus mitt drills, and skipping, are all functional ways to build up incredible skills in boxing.
What this article covers:
DOES SKIPPING IMPROVE BOXING SKILL
There are many different ways that athletes can improve their boxing skills during their training sessions. One of the most fundamental ways is by utilising jump rope workouts for boxing. Contrary to popular belief skipping is actually one of the most dynamic ways an athlete of any sport can gain significant cardiovascular endurance, and an explosive amount of power and strength within their legs. When an athlete can bolster their strength and conditioning, and increase their attributes this will make them extremely athletic, which will enable them to operate at a more efficient output. Gaining significant strength and cardio for boxing, makes it easy to increase their skills in every other aspect like footwork, punching accuracy, punching power, and the fluency and the cohesion of all of these elements.
Another great aspect about skipping is the fact that it will comprehensively help athletes with their footwork skills. Skipping for long periods of time, or even for explosive short burst periods, will add significant footwork skills into their muscle memory. There are many different types of skipping drills that incorporate fast feet, or lateral movements, which by design will inherently help a boxing athlete maximise their proficiency when they are in the middle of the ring. Moving in and out of an opponent's range is critical for setting them up for any type of finishing maneuver, and by increasing the fluency of their footwork, this will become easier for the athlete to achieve their objective. Boxers need to be light on their toes, and know how to move evasively in lateral, diagonal, forwards, and backwards movements, and by engaging in boxing jump rope footwork drills, the athlete will improve their skills exponentially.
THE BENEFITS OF JUMPING ROPE
All athletes need to be dedicated, and work extremely hard on many of their attributes to become a professional boxer. Engaging in jump rope boxing exercises has an extremely diverse effect on boxing athletes. The benefits of this type of workout are significant, as all athletes will see a huge spike in their cardiorespiratory endurance, their explosive power within their legs, and their ability to be agile, as they step in and out of range of their opponents. Using a skipping rope, and practising many of the different drills will help athletes move more freely, as their flexibility, and dexterity will increase, along with their anaerobic capacity. This can be a massive advantage for any boxing athlete going into a twelve round fight, as it takes extreme cardio, and power within the muscles to last the distance, or to find the energy to finish the fight.
The benefit that jump rope boxing gives an athlete in terms of footwork, and coordination is second to none, as all athletes will improve beyond their limitations by building up a significant muscle memory. Boxing incorporates super slick footwork, and athletes will need to use sleight of hand, head fakes, goose steps, and many other different ways they can slip in and out of their opponents range. Skipping drills is just like any other extensive workout in any combat sport, 'the more you put in the more you get out of it'. Athlete's will need to carry this mentality into their training, so they can maximise their efficiency while they are inside of a real fight.
BASIC SKIPPING DRILLS
Mastering the art of skipping takes time and patience, and because this is a highly energetic activity it takes resilience and a sizable amount of cardiovascular ability. For a beginner skipping may be considerably hard to achieve for long periods of time, but they will build up significant attributes due to the effectiveness of jumping over the skipping rope. A good basic drill is to just skip at normal speed, and focus purely on the technique. Feeling the rhythm of each skip as the ropes pass over their head, will force the athlete to begin building up elements of timing, as they clear the rope on each pass. This may sound like an extremely easy drill to perform, and even though it is, it still has its own elements of complications. All forms of skipping take a lot of energy, and strength, and combining that element with the necessity to get the timing right, makes this drill hard, especially for beginners.
Some other basic drills are pretty self explanatory, and utilising a backward motion skip is good for an athlete's hand and eye coordination, as well as endurance and strength work. Trying to clear the rope as it rolls over behind an athlete's body, takes a little bit of intelligence, and athleticism to master. Another basic drill is to try and skip at full pace, and even though this may seem like a complicated drill, the technique of it is relatively simple. It is the strenuous involvement of going at full pace that can be extremely hard. Athletes will feel the burn but will be better off for it, especially beginners as they try to build up significant strength, conditioning, and cardiovascular ability.
ADVANCED SKIPPING DRILLS
All athletes need to maximise their boxing efficiency, and one way to do this is by mastering many of the more advanced skipping routines. Skipping is an art form in itself, as it takes quite a considerable amount of ingenuity, and athletic skills to be able to effectively use this workout routine to a boxer's advantage. Improving skills in footwork, and increasing levels of strength and conditioning are extremely important for boxing, and advanced skipping drills can give the athlete the boost they need. Alternate foot jumps is an extremely common skipping drill that boxers will integrate into their training regimes. This drill is as simple as skipping on one foot, and then switching to the other foot, and jumping over the rope one foot at a time. The drill is good for an athlete's feet coordination, as well as building up strength, and durability within their legs.
Integrating criss cross skipping into an athlete's training is another good method of strength and cardio training. This involves an athlete to cross their legs, and then switch them out, as they jump over the rope. This can be a tricky exercise due to the nature of their legs crossing back and forth, but if an athlete sticks this one out they will build up significant dexterity, and agility within their feet. This is highly translatable to how a boxer can, and should be moving when they are inside of the ring. Utilising this form of skipping training will help athletes change direction suddenly while they are in the middle of their match, and this can then lead their opponent one way, before surprising them with a switch attack moving in the opposite direction. Any advantage a boxer can take into a fight by utilising these types of training drills is highly influential, and advantageous to any boxing athlete.
One of the best exercises that any combat athlete can utilise is squatting, or jump squatting. Putting this exercise into a skipping format can be even more pivotal for a boxer to gain significant strength and conditioning, flexibility and dexterity in their legs. Integrating squatting into their skipping is a tricky technique at the beginning, but after some repetition an athlete will be capable of this advanced skipping movement. All the athlete has to do is lower their body into a half squatted position, and as they fling the rope over their head they will jump up, extending upwards, and their legs laterally outwards. This technique will build a significant core strength for any boxing athlete, as well as challenge their coordination, which inevitably is going to help them build up incredible skills in movement.
Athletes can also integrate single leg hop drills into their skipping, and this can be as simple as hopping on one foot over the rope. Unlike alternate foot hops, this technique is designed to burn out the calf, the thigh, and the hamstring, which is a great strength and conditioning tool. This will also help athletes gain considerable coordination in their non dominant leg, which is usually not not as strong as their dominant leg. This type of drill will help athletes build a substantial amount of explosive power through their core, and their legs. This can help boxing athletes when they are in the heat of battle by allowing them to drive off of their feet with more purpose, direction, and momentum, to land significant punches on their opponents.
Learning how to boxer skip is one of the most important aspects of training to become a professional boxer. The most influential, and iconic athletes of all time will integrate skipping into their boxing training. One of the most prolific legends that has ever graced the stage of boxing was Mohammad Ali, and as one of the greatest showmen to ever be televised, he was adamant about how fast feet will ultimately win a boxer the match. Mohammed created the 'Ali shuffle' which is an iconic movement that he used in his boxing matches. Integrating this movement into a skipping regime requires an athlete to switch the weight distribution from their left foot, to their right foot, as they jump over the rope. This will create a fundamental development of an athlete's graceful movements. Boxers can use the 'Ali Shuffle' to fake their opponents left or right, and as they are busy watching the hips and the feet, the athlete can throw quick punches to surprise their opponent.
WHY IS CONDITIONING SO IMPORTANT
Building up strength and conditioning for any combat sport is crucial to their survivability, and their success inside of the ring. Body conditioning needs to happen even for general health and well being for all people, and even more importantly needs to be a sizable infrastructure for any competitive athlete. Being stronger and fitter can help athletes in a number of different ways, and when we are speaking about combat sports it is even more pivotal. In the modern era of combat sports most athletes are extremely even with their competitive skills, their training regimes, and their hunger to be the best. What can play a dominant role for all boxing athletes is how fit and strong they are. Two fighters that have the same skill level can often cancel each other out, so if one of those athletes has an incredible amount of strength and conditioning they can use this to their advantage, and maximise their chance of winning.
Strength and conditioning will no doubt help athletes become better boxers, as they will become exceptional athletes primed for combat. An even more important aspect of strength and conditioning is injury prevention methods, and this means to strengthen the body enough so that the athlete does not sustain any form of injury. Muscle strains, and muscle tears can be quite common in combat athletes, as they will utilise dynamic training workouts without focusing a lot of their time into mobility. Using mobility exercises are vital for increasing an athlete's overall range of motion, and for strengthening the joints like the hips, and the shoulders, which can be quite commonly tight in many combat athletes. Utilising functional stretches like shoulder raises, lateral extensions, switch punch extensions, and other important mobility workouts, makes strength and conditioning extremely important for longevity within a boxing athlete.
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