Apr 30 2008

Boxing is 90% Mental… Just Ask Oscar De La Hoya.

Oscar De La Hoya has been trying to relax in the ring after all these years. Before his biggest fights he will spit out the same old song of… This has been the best training camp of my life, I’m so focused and in the best shape of my life. During those fights though Oscar fought tense. He never really dominated in his biggest fights for this reason, he couldn’t relax.

In interviews leading up to this weekends fight, Oscar has said the same as he always has and that he’s not overlooking Forbes but yet he’s focusing on the Mayweather fight in September. WTF! Somethings never change I guess.

One thing that has supposedly changed is that Oscar has finally learned how to relax in the ring. After all these years working with Floyd Sr. who has been trying to instill this is Oscar, Oscar says he’s finally mastered how to relax during the fight.

My true point in this post is that no matter how good of shape you are in, no matter how strong you are, you matter how much quality sparring you got in before the fight, if you can’t relax in that ring you’re done!

That is true mastery, relaxing the ring and controling your emotions. We’ll find out after all these long years in boxing if Oscar is telling the truth and has finally mastered his this Saturday night.


Apr 26 2008

Q/A: The lessons of sparring and maturing in your boxing training workouts

Rob, . I had only been boxing for 2 months and had no previous experience and was put in the ring with a guy who was a lot more experienced than I was, but still he wasn’t very good. I didn’t do so bad but It was not what I expected and he did land some some hard shots on me and left me feeling discouraged. I was told I did good but I didn’t think so and I think my trainer felt I did good because he probably thought it was good for me not being very experienced and maybe being able to take a good punch. I now see that as bullshit.I sparred with my trainer and was a lot more comfortable sparring with him and learn a lot more but was still kind of discouraged in my training so I took a little break. Now that I’m back I have been training alone getting in shape and just asking trainers to work the mitts with me . I am starting to see the game unfold, and see the same things happen to other guys. They get paired up with these guys who want to impress their trainers and use the new guys as a punching bag to display their skills on. Also I see them urging these newly trained fighters to get in the ring way to soon so they can “see what its all about”.

I’m sure you have seen this before. I noticed trainers dont really want to teach alot about boxing unless you want to fight competitively.And it seems like the old school test is to put you through some rigorous sparring sessions to see if you have the chin and mental toughness to handle it. Then they wait and see if you come back for more knd of thing. I dont want you to think its a soyg post because I love it there.

Paul, You can’t get down on yourself too hard if you have a bad day at the gym and in sparring. Even when you’re ready to spar you are still going to have some off days. If you want to box this is part of it. You must be persistence and patient. If you want to box eventually you have to get in there with more experienced and better fighters to learn and get better.

Maybe look for another gym if the trainers there don’t want to teach you more of the art of boxing or if you don’t want to fight. That’s a real boxing gym you’re training at. Those trainers you are talking about want you to earn that time you spend with them, they want you to respect their time, cause we boxing trainers get burnt on occasion by teaching a fighter some skills and then they quit. I don’t just work with anyone either. Now I don’t agree with testing new fighters by lighting them up in the ring and waiting to see if they come back before teaching them more, some of the diamond in the rough fighters are the ones that first appear timid and unsure. That’s our job to instill confidence and flip the switch on in those fighters… if they’re willing to learn and go through what they must cause once that switch is turned on they are dangerous and the night and day changes in their mentality is stunning! all good trainers have worked with fighters like this and it’s VERY gratifying.

Communicate with your trainer Paul, Tell him what you feel unsure about and what you are looking for to continue training. Again you may have to find another gym if there is no way around the system of sparring they employ, or if they won’t put a more adequate sparring partner in their with you so you can blossom to a new level allowing you to then work with better fighters.


Apr 22 2008

Looking back on Hopkins-Calzaghe.

Well the days of saying a fighter is getting old when he nears his thirties has been over. Watching 36 year old Joe Calzaghe and 43 year old Bernard Hopkins fight at a highly competitive level proved that age in no factor.

I thought Joe won the fight 114-113. I have no problem for those seeing the fight in Bernard’s favor 114-113. Bernard landed the crisper harder punches, he just didn’t land enough of them. Joe landed more punches but they were slapping punches. Joe showed he could adjust and fight as good as you can against the foul inflicted style of Bernard.

Bernard showed great reflexes and timing in dropping Joe in the first round. Both fought good and did a lot of good things. That’s why it was such a tough fight to score.

In the early 90’s George Foreman was the big laughing stock of boxing for fighting on in his forties. The laughing stopped of course after he crushed Michael Moore with that powerful right hand of his in winning the heavyweight title at 45. There was no snickering at the 43 year old Hopkins going into this fight but there is much praise after the fight as we were watching one of the all time best almost beat, NOT get dominated by the best light heavyweight in the world at 43! That’s a living legend.


Apr 16 2008

Guest Blog: Dynamic Planks for a Ripped Powerful Core.

The Next Level of Core Training – Improve Core Strength and Performance with Dynamic Planks.

When you think about the most basic abdominal exercise, the first one that pops into your head is probably planks.

Planks are where a person lays out into a push-up position but instead of being on their outstretched hands, they rest on their forearms. In this position, the athlete or lifter will remain for a specific length of time. If the time exceeds one and a half minutes that is considered pretty good.

The benefits of planks include rehabilitating a back injury, glute activation, developing proficiency for bracing the torso with intra-abdominal pressure and an isometric contraction of the abdominals and developing muscular endurance of the muscles that stabilize, support and engage movements of the torso.

But in accordance with the Principle of Overload and the Laws of Chaos, there is a progression for all resistance training means. Progression of an exercise will increase the difficulty, which increases the demand and work capacity of the lifter and in turn, provides more adaptation and benefits.

So what is the next training progression for planks? Here are some of the most common modifications :

  • Raising one foot off the ground (ensure the lifter doesn’t shift to the side to compensate by forcibly firing the glutes and bracing harder
  • Add a weighted vest or back pack

Further unique adaptations can be obtained if we are relentless in our pursuit of our ultimate goal – real world strength. It is this real world strength that is developed not only with fixed, patterned strength training movements, but with random, rapidly adjusted reactive means. This is truer to real life and everyday movements.

Here is the modification that will produce the results we want. The lifter will setup in a conventional plank but with their feet on an elevated box and their forearms on a mini-trampoline.

This is a plank x 10!

This variation is much more difficult to stabilize because as the lifter adjusts, so does the base of support (the trampoline) they are resting on! We can of course increase the difficulty by externally loading the lifter or having them lift one leg, but we want to make this exercise really difficult. By having the lifter raise up onto their hands, more vibration can be achieved.

Now hit a plyometric push-up with the goal of restabilizing and restoring a static posture as quickly as possible. This creates a full body tremor that improves the integrity of the elbows, shoulders and hips.

Now, let’s perform a one arm plank on this setup. This requires a greater glute and opposite oblique contraction to counterbalance the movement. The goal is to minimize the hips shifting and remain rigid. This movement can be held for time and increased in difficulty by a partner-assisted agitation.

For a more advanced movement a plyometric push-up can once again be engaged, but this time we will land on one arm.

Not only does this have amazing implications in a rehabilitative setting, but decelerative properties for the torso, back and shoulders as well. Sports that require ballistic upper body expressions (which is essentially all sports) or sports with high incidences of shoulder or hip injuries can benefit from this vibrational environment. The more vibration we can introduce, the more rapid the contractions, primary and antagonistic, of the engaged muscular and the greater stability of the kinetic chain. This creates a balance and teaches the athlete how to stabilize in opposition to random stimuli.

For more real core strength:Click Here

About the Author
Jim Smith is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and an expert trainer who writes for Men’s Fitness and the Elite Q/A Staff. Jim has been involved in strength training as a performance enhancement specialist for over 8 years and has worked with athletes from various sports who compete at various levels. He has published articles about his unique training style and innovative methods for many prominent strength and fitness related sites. He is also the authored of three renowned strength manuals. For more innovative training solutions, Click Here.