By Frederick C. Hatfield
Not strictly endurance sport but a really good insight into the specific preparation of an elite athlete
My responsibilities were limited to the physical conditioning component of Evander's training, which had to be integrated into his skills and sparring training. Boxers require not only agility, speed and strength in short, explosive bursts, but also a high level of anaerobic strength endurance in order to perform these bursts over and over for ten rounds or more. I designed Evander's training regimen and nutritional protocol to reflect these all-important elements. The road work ended promptly and completely.
After the 12 week cycle described below, Evander recovered quickly from intense activity, even after a series of ten, 3-minute drills. His agility and limit strength levels increased, and his lean Baudot increased from 208 to 218.
The conditioning program described below was the program I personally supervised Evander through prior to the Buster Douglas fight. He also used the same training cycle in preparation for his most recent fights against Mike Tyson, but I was not there personally to oversee his training. This preparation was supervised by a friend of mine in the strength coaching profession who assures me the Evander followed the prescribed program precisely.
General Points of Conditioning for Boxers
Boxing is a highly individual sport. Fighters possess unique styles that create specific physical demands. Some rely on explosive strength ("power"), for others it's starting strength ("speed"), and for most a combination of the two ("speed-strength"). True champions alter their style in a way that will make them more able to attack the weaknesses of any given opponent.
Because boxing is an explosive sport, ballistic training methods are especially effective during weight training for boxing. This kind of training method requires the athlete to perform each repetition explosively, with maximal intended velocity. Finally, in my view, the best way to weight train for competitive boxing is via a cycled training schedule. This type of training schedule integrates workouts and exercises that will meet all the basic performance demands of boxing, strength, power, speed, agility, and strength endurance.
Evander's Conditioning Plan
3. Continue anaerobic threshold training.
Explanation of Training Terms and Details
VersaBall: This is a more comfortable variation of the old medicine ball. Upper body plyometrics teaches explosive and starting strength in all punches and requires total body coordination. VersaBall throws were made from the following positions.
-right and left jab positions (single arm)
-between legs (double arm, for back)
-overhead (double arm, for midsection)
-chest pass (double arm)
Weight Training: Initially (during mesocycle one), Evander followed a modified bodybuilding and basic strengthening program using a "variable split" format. A, B and C specify whether the workout is to be a very easy one (A), a moderately difficult one (B), or a high intensity one (C). This part of Evander's program was monitored by Lee Haney, multiple "Mr. Olympia" bodybuilding champion, and a former student of mine.Evander's Variable Split Exercise Listing
The precise schedule of when to do an A, B or C workout was matched to Evander's recuperative abilities.
In mesocycle two, Evander switched to a sports-specific weight training program.In mesocycle three Evander switched to "complex training." This form of training targets limit strength, explosive strength and starting strength/amortization in one "set" of exercises. The exercises are performed back to back and include jumps, bar exercises, and depth jumps--in that order. The function of the complex method is to peak the athlete. My experience has been that it is a better peaking program than simple bar exercises or plyometric exercises alone.
3-Minute Drill: 3-minutes of combinations of forward and backward sprints, skipping, hopping, jumping and "carioca" (football) drills for both upper and lower body.Start out with only three, 3-minute drills with one minute rest between each gradually (over the first mesocycle) work up to six 3-minute drills with one minute rest between Take pulse after each drill (target: 180 bpm), and again after one minute rest (target: 110 bpm). Below are the instructions given to the trainer responsible for monitoring Evander's 3-minute drill training and plyometrics sequences.Bear in mind that this drill is NONSTOP -- pushing him to the absolute limits of his anaerobic tolerance. Keep pounding it into him "CHECKMARK! CHECKMARK!" on all of his movements, including every step he takes, every jump, hop, skip and start/stop. "Checkmark" is a phrase known to all of the athletes I work with. It reminds them to keep the amortization phase (transition from down to up or backward to forward) of each movement pinpoint sharp, the way a "checkmark" looks.The 3-Minute Drill Sequence:
-Jog or step-ups to warm up, then
-sprint 40 yards
-stop and sprint backwards
-stop and sprint backwards
-jump in place high ten times
-get in a pushup position and give me your legs
-run forward on your hands
-run backward on your hands
-jump up and down on your hands 10 times
-stop... get up... carioca left 40 yards
-carioca right back to me
-skip 40 yards
-skip backwards back to me
Each 3-minute drill is performed on verbal commands from the trainer. Evander must go for a solid 3 minutes at a heart rate of 180 beats per minute (minimum). After a one minute rest (getting his heart rate back to 110-120) repeat, rest, and repeat again.
Notice that jumps, hops and skips should be performed with "checkmark" intensity, as should every single move Evander makes -- POUND that thought into his head every minute of these drills. Always tape Evander's wrists and wear gloves (protection from debris and potholes)!Plyometrics This is a way of improving starting strength, explosive strength and amortization (the "checkmark") through total concentrated force output in every move Evander makes. On days where the midday workout is limited to plyometrics, they should be relaxed, with much rest between bouts, with each bout only lasting 10-20 seconds.
The Plyometrics Sequence
1. jog or do stepups to warm up
2. easy (not "all-out") jumps, hops, skips, and then
3. do 20 yards of skips
5. hops like a kangaroo
7. repeat 3, 4, 5, and 6 backwards
8. one-legged hops 30 yards (both feet)
9. hops on hands 10 yards
10. repeat 9 backwards
11. repeat 9 left and right
In second mesocycle, do all of the above with a weighted vest.In third mesocycle, incorporate bench hops, 10 reps.In third mesocycle, incorporate twisting skips 40 yards, and twisting the other way back 40 yards.