Make me a better runner: Boxing (Part 5)

Earlier in this series we went through the importance of weight training for runners, and how adding a session or two per week will make you stronger, leaner and less injury-prone.

This week’s blog is also about weight training but this time to develop explosive power, so you can add speed and a finishing kick to your arsenal.

Over to my boxing coach Cathy Brown to explain further.

‘You need to add explosive work into your regime at a specific time - in the weeks before your event,’ she says.

‘Boxers will spend much of their training camp developing baseline strength, power and muscle bulk (all the better to hurt their opponents with!), but then they’ll transition out of that and move to a more explosive regime designed to give them a blend of quick hands and greater punching force in one. They’re training different muscle fibres and muscle groups, and the same applies in running.

Throughout Kerry’s 8 week Boxing For Runners programme with me I made Kerry do weights only using a single arm and single leg at a time, as this encourages each limb to work strongly and  independently – in that way you start to iron out any imbalances and there’s no chance of you hiding a weakness by overcompensating with a stronger arm or leg.’ 

Next time you do weights in the gym pay attention to the way you’re doing that bench press: are you pushing harder with your stronger arm and just treating the other one as a passenger a little bit? There’s every chance you are. In the same way on your next run see if you land heavier on one leg than another, or if on your arm swing you push back more firmly with one elbow than another. This is what single limb weights will identify and eradicate. 

According to Cathy, there are a few rules to carrying off an explosive power session properly and getting the correct outcome from your training:

-Pause slightly between each rep and then move as quickly as possible with maximum power.

-The weights should only be 60% of the maximum weight you can normally lift,

-The workout shouldn't be too tiring as you need to allow your muscles to recover in between sets to get the best results. Aim for six reps per set, and 90-120 seconds rest in between.

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