Maximising punching power is a major goal of striking combat athletes, and as such, optimising training methods to achieve this goal is critically important.

Performing resistance training at optimal power loads (the load that maximizes power output) has been shown to improve punching power in previous longitudinal studies. However, the results of these studies may be confounded due to possible improvements from technical practice etc.

The authors in this study sought to investigate whether improvements in power output with resistance training exercises over the course of one microcycle would correlate with an improvement in punching power

8 male Brazilian national boxing team members underwent a testing procedure measuring bench press (BP), ½ squat (HS) and jump squat (JS) power using a linear position transducer, as well as straight punching power using a force plate.

They then underwent a 1-week training program including 3 sessions, during which the above-mentioned exercises were performed at the loads corresponding to maximal power. No other training was performed during this time.

Following the intervention, peak power was increased in the HS and JS, but not in the bench press. The average transference effect coefficient (TEC) between these exercises and punching power was 0.8, indicating a significant correlation.

These findings suggest that application of a resistance training program using loads optimised for peak power can transfer into improved punching force, and that this can occur quite quickly, likely due to neuromuscular optimisation. This may be an effective strategy during the tapering period prior to competition.

One confounding factor however may have been that the period away from normal boxing training may have led to a relative deload, resulting in a decrease in neuromuscular fatigue, improving performance in both tasks. Future research should, therefore, assess the effectiveness of such a program under normal training conditions.

#boxing #thescienceofstriking #punchingpower

About the author

Sam Gilbert

Sam Gilbert is a registered physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from Latrobe university (Melbourne, Australia) and a master’s degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning) from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia).

A 3rd Dan black belt in Shinkyokushinkai Karate under the World Karate Organisation (WKO), Sam participated for over 20 years in full contact competition, winning multiple state and national titles, and culminating in a 4th place in the heavyweight division of the Shinkyokushinkai World Cup in 2009.

As the co-founder and clinical director of Club 360, the premier multi-disciplinary health and fitness center in Tokyo, Japan, Sam has combined his practical experience with an in-depth study of sports performance in relation to combat sports, and strives to help other combat athletes reach their full competitive potential, whilst at the same time decreasing injury risk and increasing competition and training potential.

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By Sam Gilbert