Boxers are well known for their conditioning and when it comes to cardio there are plenty of options.
With boxing being one of the most demanding sports in the world, we want to train our cardiovascular fitness in as many effective ways as possible to become better athletes and improve our all-round conditioning.
Two of the most well-known ways for boxers to condition themselves are running and jumping rope, but which is the more effective cardio exercise for boxers? Read on to find out.
What Is Cardiovascular Exercise?
Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio, is defined as any physical activity that uses “aerobic metabolism.”
Aerobic metabolism is a chemical process during which your body derives energy from the combustion of fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids in oxygen. Boxing is a high-intensity combat sport that heavily relies on aerobic metabolism for energy production.
When you’re using your large muscle groups during a cardiovascular workout, you’ll find yourself breathing hard. Your body is in the process of taking in more oxygen to fuel your high-energy activity. This is why you feel your heart pounding, as it’s pumping more oxygenated blood through your body.
Regular cardio exercise provides a wide range of benefits such as better sleep, weight loss, increased metabolic rate, improved mental health, and of course, heart health.
Aim to get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of cardio per week to decrease the risk of heart disease and inflammation.
By practicing cardio often, the efficiency of the heart is increased.
Jumping Rope For Boxers
Jumping rope is an iconic boxing drill for good reason.
It combines cardio, coordination, and footwork all in one exercise.
Jumping rope is also a low-impact exercise, making it easier on your joints if done correctly. If you have an injury or medical condition that prohibits high-impact activities like running or any form of roadwork, jumping rope may be the better alternative to help you get in fighting shape.
It’s also a killer calorie-blaster, as jumping rope can burn up to 15 - 20 calories per minute.
One fifteen-minute session clocks in at about 250 - 300 calories.
Jumping rope allows us to develop the coordination between our hands and our feet and it is also perfect for working on movement in the ring. It has many uses and benefits for boxing but the ring movement and improving our footwork and foot speed in the ring are among the most important.
Whether you’re new to boxing and still finding your way around the ring, or an experienced fighter, jumping rope is an excellent form of cardiovascular training as it coordinates the movement between the hands and feet and simulates what it's like to move around the ring more realistically.
For a full list of jump rope benefits for boxers, check out this article.
Running For Boxers
Why do boxers call running roadwork?
Running is referred to in the boxing world as roadwork because fighters are usually sent outdoors to get their miles in on streets and roads. While there are times when running on a treadmill is necessary, there are many advantages to running outdoors, especially for a boxer.
When you run outdoors you are completely responsible for carrying your own body weight.
If you run one mile down the road, you have to run another mile to get back to where you started.
Running outdoors means you have to face and adapt to the elements of nature. You could be running in the blistering cold or the scorching heat.
Either way, running in the elements builds mental fortitude and top-class conditioning - two things that are truly coveted in a boxer.
How long boxers run varies greatly from fighter to fighter but generally, 1-3 runs per week of 5km to 10km should suit most boxers and even amateur fighters.
Pros fighting in longer bouts usually run 3-5 times a week and incorporate sprints and hill sprints into their workouts.
Most pros will run every day and it is seen as an absolute key to fighting by almost everyone.
Both jump rope and running are excellent cardiovascular workouts that get you in fight shape.
And, they’re both accessible, inexpensive activities to practice, so there are no excuses.
These two exercises work many of the same large muscles in your arms, legs, and hips. Depending on your weight, half an hour of running burns around 300 - 500 calories. The same amount of time jumping rope burns about 500 - 600 calories. According to this study, just ten minutes of jumping rope per day will improve cardiovascular health as much as thirty minutes of jogging per day.
While running is beneficial, it’s also tough on your body and is defined as a high-impact exercise.
Because you are repeatedly pounding the ground with force, the exercise causes a greater impact on joints and feet. In contrast, jumping rope is considered a low-impact exercise, as long as you know how to jump properly. In fact, the repeated low-level impact of jumping increases bone density.
In our opinion, both jumping rope and running serve as great conditioning tools for boxing. While both are forms of cardiovascular exercise somewhat far removed from boxing movements, the adaptations from jumping rope are more beneficial to boxing than those seen from running.
Want more boxing tips? Check out our full list of articles here.
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