Practice might make perfect, but repeating the same techniques and workouts over and over and over again can, unfortunately, end up backfiring on you. Gains in strength, cardio, and even skill are made as a result of your body and mind responding and adapting to new challenges and new information. If you don’t provide them with anything new to tackle, you’re leaving yourself very little room to grow, which can lead to a plateau in your training.
The good news is, though, there’s a relatively easy solution to this problem: start switching things up again! If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut – or even if you’re just bored of your current routines – here are some tips to help you mix up your boxing-based workouts and prevent your brain and body from becoming idle in the ring. This advice isn’t for everyone. If you’re seriously training for a professional or amateur fight – or if you’re hoping to be ready for one in the near future – chances are that your coach is already keeping things fresh and preventing your from plateaus. But if you’re training in boxing as a hobby or for fitnesses purposes, these ideas could be just what you need to get going again. Grab your boxing gloves and any other boxing gear your might need and let’s get ready to jumble!
Try some endurance training.
This might sound a little counterintuitive at first, given that this whole article is about not doing the same thing repeatedly and that boxing is all about putting together different punches and different combos, but a few endurance-based boxing drills can make the same old strikes work for you in an entirely different way.
Set a timer or decide on a set number of repetitions (50 is great for beginners, and you can start adding reps as you need more of a challenge), throw on your boxing gloves, and then throw nothing but the jab until you’ve reached your goal. Then repeat the process with crosses, hooks, and uppercuts. Even if you regularly work combos on boxing gear like heavy bags and focus pads, you just might be surprised at how hard it is to keep your arms up and keep your strikes strong when you can’t take a break to throw a different kind of punch in between. And you’ll definitely feel the burn.
Experiment with interval training.
Boxing is, by its very nature, already interval training. You work on combos, spar, or fight for a set amount of time in a round, and then you rest between rounds. So why not do what any devoted interval training pro does when things start getting stagnant and start playing around with your timing? Try shorter rounds. Try longer ones. You can even play around with the amount of rest you take in between rounds.
If you’re looking to break out of the round format, you can also experiment with different kinds of interval training. Throw on your boxing gloves, pick a punch or a combo, and give Tabata Training (20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times) a shot.
Again, this might not be the best idea if you’re seriously training for a boxing match. It’s always best to ask your coach what kind of supplementary training will work for you in a case like that. But if you’re a recreational boxer or you’re in it for the cardio, trading your boxing gloves and boxing gear for a different pair – or even a gi– is a wonderful way to break up the monotony of your current workouts. If you love striking, but feel like your boxing is getting a bit too routine, a lesson in karate, Taekwondo, kickboxing, MMA, or Muay Thai can open your mind and body to a whole new world of ways to use your fists – and your other limbs, too.
Switch up your equipment.
If a change of gym or discipline isn’t what you’re looking for, what about a change in boxing gear? If your workout is based on shadowboxing techniques, strap on some boxing gloves and try working with a training bag. Or try using boxing gloves that are a different weight from your usual pair. If your workouts only include one piece of boxing gear, like the heavybag, try a speed bag, or finding a partner and working with focus pads. If you’re not afraid to experiment with some techniques from other disciplines, like MMA, grab a heavy bag or a kick pad, straddle the target in the style of the mount from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and do a series of MMA-style ground and pound drills. Anchoring your lower body and learning to punch using only the muscles from the waist up is a fun and challenging way to make you rethink your striking techniques. And it’s a surprisingly hard workout!