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Why Do We Periodise The Training?

Periodisation is key to ensuring the athlete peaks for their main competitions. According to Bompa and Carrera (2005), reactive power, power endurance and muscular endurance are the key sport specific strength components in boxing and therefore should be the main priority within a periodised plan. Periodisation also helps prevent over training, thus reducing the risk of injury and premature fatigue. England Boxing teach components of fitness when designing their periodised plan, highlighting key areas coaches / boxers should be concentrating on during the season. For example the training season should start with strength training. As shown below in the periodised plan, strength training is of high emphasis during the recovery and pre season phases allowing the muscles to recover between workouts. Skills training and other components of fitness are reduced during this time, allowing for the adaptation of strength / hypertrophy to take place. Strength training elicits both a neural and muscular response, causing an adaptation in the muscle structure. Adaptations have been shown to take place in the early stages of a new resistance training programme, with increases in muscle activation, motor unit synchronisation, and antagonist co-activation all taking place (Schoenfeld, 2016). Hypertrophy (increase in size) of the muscle takes place after 4 to 6 weeks of training, during this phase muscle contractile elements enlarge and the extracellular matrix expands to support growth (Schoenfeld, 2016). The action of resistance training also has a positive effect on the endocrine system increasing growth hormone and testosterone production. 

Once a boxer has built their foundation in strength, it is possible for them to convert the new strength into power and speed through specific component training (see the SAQ and Power pages for example of exercises). However, without this strength foundation, boxers will find it difficult to see improvements in the other components later in the season.  One issue with the England Boxing model is that it does not allow the boxer to peak earlier in the season as the emphasis is all based on competitions between February and May. 

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Adapted from England Boxing Level II Handbook (2018) 

The periodised plan below is designed by Bompa and Carrera (2005) and divides the season into 3 main cycles, with the duration of each cycle been dependent on weeks available before the main bouts / competition (M). Each cycle allows the boxer to peak approximately every 15 weeks. During preparation for the 1st main competition, periodisation of strength is represented by 3 weeks of anatomical adaptation, 3 weeks maximal strength, 3 weeks conversion to power, and 6 weeks to maintain power. The sequence of the training components remain the same but the weeks on each phase can change to meet the boxers needs and time restrictions. During the preparation for the 1st bout, the boxer will also be working on the periodisation of the energy systems, introducing more alactic training closer to the fight. This can be done in a form of High Intensity Interval Training, consisting of either explosive exercises and boxing drills. This is only done for a few weeks as the boxer is unable to maintain the workloads for long periods of time.

(M = Match. T = Transition. AA = Anatomical Adaptation. MxS = Maximal Strength.)

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Adapted from Bompa and Carrera (2005) 

References 

Bompa, T,O., and Carrera, M,C., (2005) Periodisation Training for Sports: Science based strength and conditioning plans for 20 sports. Human Kinetics. 

England Boxing Level 2 Handbook (2018) Level II Coach Award. East Midlands Region, England Boxing.

Schoenfeld, B (2016) Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy. Human Kinetics