Ask the Experts: Strength and Conditioning
Ask the Experts: Strength and Conditioning
Page last updated at 5:53PM BST, Tuesday, 10 August 2010
GB Boxing and EIS Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach Ian Pyper answers questions on anaerobic endurance and threshold training.

Questions by Jonathan Hickey

Q) I like to use sprints and punch-out drills on the bag to improve anaerobic endurance. Do you think this is the best way? What is the method used by the Olympic boxers?

Using sprints and punch out drills are good ways of improving anaerobic endurance. I don’t think there is a ‘best way’ to achieve physical results, as there are many ways to reach your goals. In terms of what we do with the Olympic boxers, we use sprints, stair and hill running, strongman circuits, tempi changes on the bag and also weighted/bodyweight circuits to work on their anaerobic and strength/power endurance.
Q)  I have read that full anaerobic training should not take place more than three times a week, however alongside my anaerobic training I also run to increase my lactic threshold. Should I limit my lactic threshold training?

Anaerobic training and lactic threshold training are both very strenuous forms of exercise. How many times per week you should do this it is difficult to say as I don’t know your training background. I suggest you look at your overall training program and try and categorise the sessions you’re doing as I’m sure a number of the boxing based sessions would fit into these categories as well. Don’t worry too much about the mode of training, but more about the work:rest ratios, and therefore the energy system that it hits.

I would recommend that if you are going to be doing a lot of high intensity work then adding a steady run, swim or cycle into your program would help with the recovery from these types of sessions and therefore keep you a bit fresher for your boxing training.

Q) Is it okay to perform anaerobic threshold training in the morning and then sprints in the evening?

If you have to do both sessions in the same day then I would try and do your sprints in the morning when you are at your freshest, so you get the best quality out of them. However, I would advise to just do one running session each day – and maybe use another form of training to hit the other energy system you want to work on.

Q) I have read that to develop explosive power first we should train maximal strength for preparation and then during the boxing season just do plyometric training to convert MS to explosive power. This is what I do now but I read another article on the GB website saying that if MS is discontinued in the boxing season much of the strength gains will be lost and this will effect the power. Is the solution to continue doing MS training throughout the season too?

Most of the work we do will be the same as what you have read – however we train all qualities at the same time. I.e. we work on strength throughout the preparation phase, but this phase will also include some explosive power/plyometric work. Similarly, during the build-up to a bout, the emphasis of the program shifts to more power/speed-based work, but also includes the key strength exercises that we use during the main preparation phase.

Q) I currently do deadlifts, squats and military press as MS exercises are these also used by the Olympic team or do they have a different approach?

The main strength exercises we do with the squad are squats, single leg squats, bench press and undergrip chins. These are supplemented with a variety of other exercises, depending on the focus of that period of training. The exercises you have been using give a good solid strength base – potentially think about adding some single leg and upper body pulling work to your programme.

Ian Pyper works at the EIS as Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach for the GB Boxing programme. His role involves working with the boxers to build and develop their physical strength, explosive power and general all round athleticism to ensure that they can perform at the highest level in amateur boxing. To do this, he works closely with the GB coaches and other support staff across a range of areas. 

The EIS has one of the biggest strength & conditioning teams in the world, working across Olympic and Paralympic Summer and Winter sports, English Sports and Professional sport, sharing expertise and experience across Sport.

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