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‘The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires’. - William Arthur Ward


Principles of physical training The information below serves to highlight some of the important principles of physical training. Using these principles as a framework will assist ModBox coaches to develop safe, professional and effective fitnessbased training sessions and activities for their athletes. Planning ‘I couldn’t believe that so many athletes were working without a training plan, and simply by instinct, which typically was to do too much.’ David T Martin, former AIS Senior Sports Scientist and current Director of Performance Research and Development for the Philadelphia 76ers. ‘A systematic approach to training is one of the key factors in becoming a successful athlete. It is not enough to know how to do something, you must know why you’re doing it.’ Greg LeMond, three-times winner of the Tour de France. ‘The structure of your practice is the most determining reason for your success or lack of success as a coach.’ Bob Knight, only of only three basketball coaches to win an NCAA title, NIT title, and an Olympic gold medal.

Photo Credit: Right Brain Planning (Teresa Robinson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Specificity The principle of specificity refers to a particular adaptation that occurs to physiological systems as a result of engaging those systems in a training program. - The essentials of strength training and conditioning 4th edition ‘Running is, without question, the best exercise for runners.’ Arthur Lydiard, New Zealand distance running coach. ‘Long slow distance running makes long slow distance runners.’ Jim Bush, head track coach at the University of California. ‘We would warm up by running around the field as much as 14 times. I can never remember running a lap of the field during a match.’ Andy Haden, New Zealand Rugby International. Overload When a physiological system is forced to respond to a level beyond that to which it is accustomed, a training adaptation is stimulated. If this principle (known as overload) is not applied and training is always at the same load, frequency and intensity, a point will be reached where no adaptation is required so the level of physical fitness will not change. On the other hand, if the training demand is too low detraining can occur. Therefore, fitness can only be improved when individuals are challenged to do more than they normally do. - The essentials of strength training and conditioning 4th edition ‘Nature has given the human body a wonderful engine management system. It actually responds to stress by adapting to cope with it better.’ Peter keen, exercise physiologist and coach of Chris Boardman, World champion British cyclist. Progression The principle of progression is an extension of the overload concept. It implies that for a physical quality to be developed, a progressive increase in demand must occur. The principle of progression also demonstrates the need for recovery as continual stress and a constant overload may result in overtraining and increase the risk of injury and/or illness. - The essentials of strength training and conditioning 4th edition


Volume: How much? ‘It’s a foolish idea that if you do a little more faster, then you’ll get better than the rest. It ignores the fact that you must train at optimal level, not your maximum level.’ Robert de Castella, Australian champion marathon runner (2:08:18). ‘He or she who trains the most does not necessarily improve the most or perform the best.’ Connie Carpenter-Phinney, twelve-time US cyclist champion. Intensity: How hard? ‘Quality running rather than quantity is what will make you a better runner, no matter what your ability level.’ Grete Waitz, nine time winner of the New York City marathon. ‘The idea that the harder you work the better you are going to be is just garbage. The greatest improvement is made by the man who works the most intelligently.’ Bill Bowerman, running coach at the University of Oregon. Frequency: How often? ‘Train little, hard and often.’ Jim Peters,  first man to run under 2:20 for the marathon. ‘If time allows, it is advisable to train two or three times a day, provided there is no imbalance between aerobic and anaerobic efforts.’ Arthur Lydiard, New Zealand distance running coach. Individualisation This principle states that sport training should be adjusted to meet the individual needs of each athlete taking into account such factors as age, level of experience and degree of functionality. - Sport in the Modern World - Chances and Problems ‘Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolised.’ Albert Einstein


Reversibility The reversibility principle relates to the notion of ‘use it or lose it’. The message here is that individuals will unfortunately lose the positive effects of training when they stop exercising. - The essentials of strength training and conditioning 4th edition ‘Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.’ Jerry Rice, widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history. ‘Difficulties in life are intended to make us better, not bitter.’ Dan Reeves, former NFL athlete and head coach.

ModBox strength and conditioning sessions should include sport-specific training drills to develop and improve the physical qualities of the athletes.


Training equipment An effective ModBox physical conditioning training session requires minimal equipment as a lot of the activities can be performed with just bodyweight. However, a list of equipment that may enhance the delivery of physical conditioning training sessions is included below and explained in detail in the subsequent text. • • • • • • • • •

Hand-wraps Boxing gloves (preferably low-impact) Skipping ropes A method for keeping time Chalk Punching bags Training cones Dumbbells and barbells Aerobic steps

Hand wraps Hand wraps are thin strips of material that are generally 5cm – 6cm wide and between 2.5m - 4.5m in length [160]. They are primarily used in combat sports, such as boxing, kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) to protect the hands and wrists of the competitors. Hand wraps are affordable and essential pieces of equipment that should be used in fitness-specific training sessions whenever punch bag drills are involved.

Boxing gloves Boxing gloves are worn to protect the hands of boxers during competition and periods of training. They are manufactured in a variety of sizes and can be used in a number of different training activities. However, in regard to ModBox fitness training activities, 10 or 12oz gloves are perhaps the best options as gloves of this size provide good hand protection for the wearer (particularly when hand wraps are also worn) while enabling the successful completion of training drills.


Skipping ropes Skipping can be performed at varying levels of pace and intensity and is an ideal exercise for ModBox fitness training sessions. However, having a rope of the right size is very important and time should be taken to ensure the length of the rope suits the height of the user. An easy method for confirming the suitability of a skipping rope is to stand in the middle of the rope with both legs together and gently pull the handles in an upward direction. The tips of the handles should just reach the top of the armpits. If the handles are lower than this point the rope will not hit the ground as it passes under the feet of the skipper. Conversely, if the handles extend past the armpits the rope could be too long and may become tangled during the activity. A method for keeping time Nearly all forms of boxing training consist of a number of predetermined work intervals that are separated by appropriate periods of rests. It is therefore imperative that coaches have a reliable and accurate method for keeping time. A number of inexpensive and suitable devices are available, including the following: • • • •

Stopwatches Interval timers Smartphone apps Wearable devices

Chalk Chalk is a cheap but very effective and useful tool. It is often used to mark out the boundary lines for games and other training activities.


Punch bags Punch bags are versatile, sport-specific training aids that are used to improve reaction time, eye/hand coordination, and physical qualities such as muscle endurance and aerobic capacity. Training cones In addition to marking out training areas and highlighting exercise stations, training cones can be used for a number of Speed, Agility and Reactivity (SAR) drills. Such drills, often improve footwork and movement patterns through the use of explosive acceleration and deceleration activities that require repeated changes of direction.

Dumbbells and barbells A physical fitness ModBox training session can be greatly enhanced through availability of light dumbbells and barbells. For example, exercises such as the chest press and shoulder press offer proven methods for improving muscle and speed endurance [161,162]. When exercises such as these are combined with boxingspecific drills the intensity of a training session is significantly increased. Aerobic steps An elevated platform such as an aerobic step can be used for a variety of exercises, including dips, push-ups, jumping and several unique contralateral training drills (exercises that work opposite sides of the body during the same movement).          


Strength and conditioning training drills ModBox training sessions employ a variety of exercises and a number of different training methodologies to improve the general fitness of participants. To assist coaches in developing their own strength and conditioning sessions and activities a list of suitable exercises and training drills is provided on the following pages, along with a number of short videos and brief descriptions on how to perform each activity.

                 

  Cuban boys playing in Trinidad, Cuba. Image uploaded by Jplavie and shared under a creative commons licence

‘It never gets easier, you just get stronger’. - Unknown ‘Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will’. - Mahatma Gandhi


Name: Step and strike Starting position 1. Start from the ‘on-guard’ boxing position with the non-dominant hand and foot at the front and the dominant hand and foot at the rear. Execution Step forward with the non-dominant leg (lead leg) while extending the non-dominant arm like a punch. Return to ‘on-guard’ position. Take a backward step with the rear foot, while extending the rear arm forward. Return to the ‘on-guard’ position. Continue for a predetermined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.


Name: Diagonal striking Starting positioning 1. Stand with left arm fully extended to the front (like a straight punch) and right leg at the rear. 2. Bend both knees and position the right hand just below the right ear. Execution The right leg shifts to the front and the left leg moves to the rear. At the same time the left arm is retracted, while the right arm is extended forward. The arms and legs continue changing position using a diagonal movement for the designated period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.


Name: Striking and jumping Starting position 1. Stand in a strong mid-foot position (on the balls of the feet) with knees slightly bent and feet under hips. 2. Hands are held in a fist position just below the eyes. Execution Jump forward while extending both fists until the arms are fully extended. Return to start position by jumping backwards in time with the retraction of the arms. Continue drill for a predetermined length of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.


Name: Up/downs Starting position 1. Stand with one leg either side of an aerobic step with both hands in the ’on-guard’ position. Execution Spring to the top of step while extending both arms to the front (straight punching), or overhead (arm extension). Return to start position. Drill is continued for a predetermined length of time.

Please click here to watch a performance of this drill.


Name: Hopping with strikes Starting position 1. Stand on the left leg, with the left arm and right leg extended to the front. 2. Place right hand in a guard position. Execution The left arm retracts in time with the extension of the right arm and the rearward movement of the right leg. (The leg remains quite straight throughout this movement). The left arm is extended to the front in time with the retraction of the right arm and the swinging of the right leg. The movement continues with the right leg swinging front-to-rear in time with the extension and retraction of both arms. Please note: The drill should be reversed so that both legs are used for the hopping component. Applying this method will assist with equal development of both sides of the body.

Please click here for a short clip of this drill.


Name: Around the World Description: Although no video is provided for this particular drill, it is similar to exercise 2 and performed a similar way with the addition of moving in a clockwise direction as the arms and legs change position. Name: Overhead punching Start position 1. The left foot is placed on top of an aerobic step, while the right foot is kept on the floor. 2. Extend right hand above the head, while keeping the left hand in a fist position rested beside the left ear. Execution Switch the positions of the legs so that the right foot is placed on the top of platform and the left foot is on the floor. At the same time the left arm is extended above the head and the right fist is positioned beside the right ear. This exercise continues by switching the arms and legs for a predetermined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.


Name: Coordinated striking Starting position 1. The left arm is held away from the body and is parallel to the floor. 2. The right hand is in a fist position and resting just below the ear. 3. The feet are positioned slightly wider than shoulder width. Execution Extend the right fist in a forward direction. At the same time, lower the left arm while raising the right foot. The left hand and right foot touch (at approximately knee height). The right arm is retracted back to the start position in time with the raising of the left arm and the lowering of the right foot. The same action is continued for a predetermined amount of time. Please note: This drill should be reversed so that both legs are used.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.


Name: Body weighted dips Starting position 1. Sit on side of a bench. 2. Place hands either side of the hips and grip the edge of the bench. 3. Position feet away from bench. 4. Straighten arms and slide backside off bench. 5. Rest heels on floor and keep legs straight. Execution Lower the body by bending both arms until a slight stretch is felt in chest and triceps. Raise body and repeat for pre-determined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the bench dip.


Name: Body weighted squats Starting position 1. Stand tall with the chest out. 2. Place feet approximately shoulder width apart. 3. Have good trunk awareness (stomach in). Execution Squat down, keeping the head facing forward and back straight. Keep knees pointed in the same direction as the feet. Descend until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Extend knees and hips until legs are straight. Return and repeat for pre-determined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the squat.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the squat.


Name: Push-ups Starting position 1. Lie in prone position (facedown) on the floor with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. 2. Raise body up off floor by extending arms. 3. Keep body straight (good trunk awareness). Execution Keeping body straight, lower body to floor by bending arms. Push body up until arms are extended. Repeat exercise for a pre-determined period of time. Please note: The push up can be performed with the knees kept on the floor.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the push up.


Name: Medicine ball throws/slams Starting position 1. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width. 2. Hold medicine to the front and close to the body. Execution Extend ball above the head. Throw the ball towards the ground. Ball can be thrown to the front, or to either side of the body.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.


Name: Mountain climbers Starting position 1. Adopt a push up position so the hands are directly under the chest. 2. Position left foot under the waist, while keeping the right leg extended. 3. Hands should be shoulder width apart. 4. Arms should be straight. Execution Keep body in a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Lift right foot off the floor and slowly raise the knee, keeping it as close to the chest as possible. At the same time left foot is placed at the rear by extending the left leg. Reverse action. Continue alternating legs for the pre-determined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the mountain climbers.


Name: Shoulder press Starting position 1. Position feet under the hips and keep knees bent. 2. Place hands on barbell in an overhand grip that is slightly wider than shoulder width. 3. Position bar at chin level. 4. Stand tall with chest out. Execution Press bar upward until arms are extended overhead. Lower to start position (chin level). Repeat for a pre-determined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the shoulder press.


Name: Burpee jumps Starting position 1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and arms by the side. Execution Lower into a squat position and place hands on the floor. Extend both legs backwards into a push up position and lower chest to the floor. Kick both legs out to each side. Retract legs back to the push up position. Push chest back up to the top of the press up position. Thrust hips forward into the squat position. Jump up and raise both hands over your head. Repeat exercise for a pre-determined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the burpee jump.

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Name: Arm curls Starting position 1. Stand with feet approximately shoulder width apart. 2. Hold barbell with width an underhand grip that is approximately shoulder width apart. 3. Maintain good trunk awareness. Execution Try to maintain elbows to side. Curl bar toward shoulders until forearms are vertical. Lower bar until arms are fully extended. Repeat for pre-determined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the arm curl.


Name: Agility striking Starting position 1. Stand in strong athletic position with feet under the hips. 2. Hands are positioned just under the eyes. 3. Good trunk awareness is maintained. Execution Left and right foot cross over in time with the extension of both arms. Return to the start position. Continue activity with opposite feet crossing over at the front in time with the extension of the arms.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.


Name: Hip raisers Starting position 1. Start in a low squat position with feet approximately shoulder width apart. 2. Chest is out and head is looking directly to the front. 3. Arms are in a straight position holding a weightlifting plate. Execution Stand up keeping the chest out and the head looking straight ahead. The plate is lifted with straight arms above the head. Lower back to the start position keeping the arms and back straight. Repeat for a predetermined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the hip raiser.


Name: Front raise Starting position 1. Stand with one leg in front of the other in a strong athletic position. 2. Hold barbell/bar/medicine ball close to thighs with an overhand grip. Execution Raise the load away from body until forearms are parallel with the floor. Lower and repeat for a predetermined period of time. Please note: Do not allow bar to rest on thighs.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the front raise.


Name: Lunges Starting position 1. Stand with one leg in front of the other with knees bent. 2. Chest out and head looking directly forward. Execution Lower body by flexing the knee and hip of the front leg until the rear knee is almost in contact with floor. Return to original standing position by extending the hip and knee of the forward leg. Repeat by alternating lunge with opposite leg or same leg for a predetermined number of repetitions or period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of lunge.


Name: Chest press Starting position 1. Stand with one leg in front of the other with bent knees. 2. Have the chest out and stomach in. 3. Hold weighted bar, dumbbells or barbell with overhand grip close to chest. Execution Extend both arms forward until they are straight and parallel with the floor. Retract arms to original position (a slight stretch should be felt in chest and shoulders). Repeat activity for a predetermined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the chest press.


Name: Side steps with punches Starting position 1. Stand with legs under the hips and knees slightly bent. 2. Hands in a guard position (square-on boxing stance). Execution Take 2 to 3 steps to the left beginning with the left leg. Stop and make a straight punch with the left hand, ensuring full hip rotation occurs. Retract to boxing stance position. Take 2 to 3 steps to the right beginning with the right leg. Stop and make a straight punch with the right hand, ensuring full hip rotation occurs. Retract to boxing stance position. Continue drill for a predetermined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill


Name: Jump squats Starting position 1. Stand tall with the chest out. 2. Place feet approximately shoulder width apart. 3. Maintain good trunk awareness (stomach in). Execution Squat down, keeping the head facing forward and back straight. Keep knees pointed in the same direction as the feet. Descend until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Explode from bottom position with the aim of leaving the floor. Land with knees bent. Adjust stance if needed and repeat activity for pre-determined period of time.

Please click here to watch a demonstration of the jump squat.


Additional suggestions To increase variety, ModBox coaches may consider ‘doubling-up’ some exercises. Doubling-up is simply combining two separate exercises into the one training drill as can be seen in the examples below. Name: Mountain climbers into push-ups Description: Participants start in the mountain climber position and complete a predetermined number of repetitions or period of time before performing the push-up phase. This drill is very effective when each exercise is done twice. Name: Squats into burpee jumps Description: A good way to complete this activity is to perform a designated number of squats before commencing the burpee jumps. For example 6 squats followed immediately by 3 burpee jumps. The process should be continued for a predetermined period of time. Name: Chest press and dips Description: Begin with body weighted dips for a pre-determined number of repetitions or period of time before changing to chest press for the same amount of time or number of repetitions. Name: Arm curls into reverse-grip shoulder press Description: Curl the bar toward the shoulders as per a normal arm curl. However, at the mid-point position (shoulder level) instead of lowering the bar back to the start position, the bar is pressed overhead with the hands in an under grip position. From the overhead position, the bar is lowered back to shoulder level before curling it to the start position as per a traditional arm curl. The exercise continues for a pre-determined period of time or number of repetitions.


Punch bag specific training Punch bags are probably the best known and most used pieces of equipment in boxing training. When used correctly, these sport-specific training aids can provide a range of physical benefits, technical challenges and realistic training conditions. To assist coaches develop their own suitable punch bag sessions and/or activities the following examples are provided:

               

Image shared under a creative commons licence

The use of boxing-specific training aids such as punch bags enables participants to develop their skills and improve their technique by simulating realistic conditions.

Punch bag training drills can be beneficial for the development of power, speed and muscle endurance.


Example 1 Straight lead hand followed by a straight backhand. Duck. Lead hand uppercut, backhand uppercut. Resume stance. Repeat process for a predetermined period of time.    

Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.

Australian Commonwealth and Olympic Games Boxing Team Captain Luke Jackson doing a punch bag-specific training session in Guantanamo, Cuba.


Example 2 Straight lead hand. Push back. Straight backhand. Push back. Straight lead hand and straight backhand. Push back. Repeat for a predetermined period of time. Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.

Example 3 Lead hand uppercut and backhand uppercut. Lead hand hook and backhand hook. Straight lead hand and straight backhand. Repeat for a predetermined period of time. Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.


Example 4 Short fast punching. Long straight punching. Repeat for a predetermined period of time. Please click here to watch a demonstration of this drill.

Example 5 Run on the spot while striking. Perform activity for a predetermined period of time. Please click here to watch a short demonstration of this drill.

Common faults with punch bag drills Losing balance, pushing instead of punching, trying to punch too hard and poor breathing technique are the most common faults associated with punch bag drills. To ensure safe, effective and efficient training is achieved, ModBox coaches should be mindful of these concerns when introducing punch bag drills into their training sessions.

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Suggestions For Developing Physical Qualities  

This information guide highlights some of the important principles of physical training and contains ideas and suggestions aimed at assistin...

Suggestions For Developing Physical Qualities  

This information guide highlights some of the important principles of physical training and contains ideas and suggestions aimed at assistin...