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Powerlifting can be a helpful complement to a boxing training program.
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Intense, explosive exercises develop functional strength, improve fast-twitch muscle response and increase overall fitness in a way that helps athletes compete more effectively. The idea of cross-training between two different sports often helps fill in the gaps that training for a single activity often creates. For example, boxers often take up a number of training methods to help them balance the strength training with endurance training. Powerlifting is a raw, explosive exercise that develops strength but may limit endurance. The two exercises can be a good combination, depending on the nature of your boxing program.
In the Ring
Boxing, for fitness or for competition, is a blend of explosive bursts of energy, with extended gaps in between where boxers must maintain a minimum level of low-intensity activity - shuffling around the ring, block punches, resting in between rounds. There are one of two basic strategies for competitive boxing - to outlast the opponent or to overpower and knockout the opponent. Improved, explosive strength helps more with the second strategy, but it is useful in all forms of boxing as well.
Powerlifting is not an endurance activity. Competitive powerlifting focuses around three core lifts: bench presses, deadlifts and squats. For each of those lifts, it's all about how much you can lift, not how many lifts you can do. The activity rests on one simple principle; to apply as much force as possible through each lift. To handle the high levels of weight, each exercise is performed with explosive burst. Each of the three core exercises develops muscle groups in both the upper and lower body, in such a way that encourages co-operation between those areas to accomplish a specific task.
For competitive heavyweight or cruiserweight boxers, powerlifting can be an effective element of foundational, pre-bout training that develops all of the major muscle groups necessary to throw effective punches. These muscle groups include the quadriceps and calves, the entire posterior chain, the shoulders, arms and chest. For boxers competing in lighter weight classes, where the emphasis is more on endurance than power, and for recreational or fitness-oriented boxing participants, powerlifting may not be a good supplemental activity, as it focuses heavily on developing functional power.
Things to Avoid
Even for hard-hitting boxers, powerlifting should be used only to develop strength, improve reaction time, increase explosiveness and establish a positive foundation for other elements of training. Intense powerlifting should only be undertaken in general training, and not too heavily relied upon in the weeks leading up to a match. The risk of suffering minor and nagging injuries can be high, and incurring such an injury too close to a bout may comprise fighting performance.