building a foundation

This is another re-print thanks to stickgrappler. Origionally posted in June of '01. I had someone e-mail me with some questions about some of my work outs and I told him I would at least re-post them and have people evaluate them and add to them. Here goes, I hope you guys like these and they aren't too redundant.

1. Make sure you get sleep

2. Start deciding where you are going to fight and try and stay within 5-7 lbs. of that ASAP

3. Shadow box all the time, take bathroom breaks just to shadow box. The more ingrained you can get the punching motion into your muscle memory the better

4. Run and when you are done, run some more. Amateur boxing is 70% conditioning.

5. Spar, go hard sometimes but most times keep it at a controlled pace with a qualified boxing mind on hand to watch you. Hitting the heavy bag is good for conditioning and development of your harder power shots but that's it, it is in no way a simulation of fighting.

6. Mix it up. Go 3 rounds jump rope, 3 rounds shadow boxing, 3 rounds heavybag, 3 rounds double end or uppercut bag, 3 rounds sparring, and finish up with the speed bag.

7. Eat the right food. Eating becomes more important when you are training. Boxing is the most physically demanding of all sports, so you need to make sure you get nothing but quality food in your body.

8. Drink lots of fluid, if you feel thirsty when youre working out, its too late, and your already dehydrated. But be careful, during a hard gym work out if you drink too much too fast, you'll cramp up. Make sure you keep your water intake constant. If you are 200 lbs. or above drink 2 gallons of water a day.

9. Find your motivation type. I did a lot of moving gym to gym when I first started boxing. I responded well to the harsh military type trainers. Many don't they like guys who will be positive and upbeat. Its important you find the type of coach who will motivate you. But more important than that make sure he's knowledgeable and not just a cheerleader. This is a big step so you want someone who will handle you well and help give you the tools to succeed.

10. Be confident. As goofy as it sounds, talk about how well you did in the gym that day; wear clothes to the gym that make you look strong or fast. Basically stay in a confident mindset.


11. Be consistent. The number 1 problem with young fighters is inconsistency. They will miss a work out and then they'll be embarrassed to come back so they just quit. I recommend that you establish a strong repour with your coach. If you miss a day or two days, dont' dream up an excuse, because he's already heard it. Just get your ass back in the gym and work hard for him. Let him know you will try not to miss any more and live up to your word. If you miss a work out you should still do your roadwork etc. There is no substitute for hard work. Its better to have 4 good workouts than have 2 great workouts a week apart and then not come beyond that. Consistency is key, in your eating, your workouts, your roadwork and in being a boxer. It all roots back to discipline.

12. Learn to move your head. Have your boxing coach teach you to slip, parry, bob and weave. Boxing is about hitting and not getting hit. Defense takes more time than offense but in amateur boxing if you can avoid being hit cleanly you can win a lot of fights.

13. Concentrate and relax. When you are doing any exercise, think about what you are doing, and where you are going. Don't just follow a sparring partner around, learn to cut him off, if you are a shorter fighter, learn to work your way inside. If you are a boxer learn to stick move and work your way out of corners. And tell yourself over and over to relax and concentrate, see everything around you, don't get tunnel vision on your man's head. Watch his chest and see everything around you, concentrating on defending and putting your game plan into order. You have to be able to think 3 steps ahead.

14. Dont be afraid/be afraid to bust one off. As mighty Mickey said in Rocky I, "women weaken legs." But don't be quick to lay off that pet shop dame because sex can be good for you! Several studies have shown that having sex increases your testosterone levels, making you more aggressive! Besides that, think of how unhappy you'll be if you are with your girlfriend and you cut her off in the name of discipline? Being happy with what's going on affects your training in a big way. You have to learn how to shut everything out when you get down to business but in amateur boxing your much more active and you don't usually train for a specific opponent like pro's do. Therefore its a full time job to stay in shape and to be happy. This means you should keep sexually active until about 2 weeks out from a tournament or a smoker. If you try to abstain too early, odds are you'll break down and bust a pipe. However, if you can time it right, you'll be a primed, angry fighter at the peak of sexual frustration come fight time.

15. If you lift weights, dont' use a bodybuilder's routine. There are several good routines around, I have written some up, I have a copy of Oscar's work out with weights and there is a great sight called that has a fantastic boxer's work out (and a good one for wrestlers as well) The wrong routine will make it hard to make weight and will make you lose your snap, agility, and speed. Beware excessive curling and always stretch when you are done. Try to make things like dips, push-ups, pull-ups, and other core exercises the bread and butter of your routine and obviously keep it relatively high rep in nature.

16. Watch fighters who are better than you. Watch them live in the gym. Studying film is good, but even better is watching live, not just boxing itself (as you can sometimes get lost in the action and not be focused on understanding what is happening) but watch them work out, watch them hit the mitts, watch them spar, everything.


17. Listen to Mo Town. There is no better work out music ever. If you don't like Mo Town you have no soul and should therefore never be allowed to box. But in all seriousness, music makes work outs more enjoyable. And several studies have shown people who listen to music work out longer. If you can smile during a grueling work out, and realize that its not just work (a danger sign of overtraining is when it stops being fun) but it IS actually fun, you'll do a lot better. Mo town has a steady beat and doesn't have as many peaks and valleys as a general rule, and it makes you feel good. Try it out whitey.

18. Eat. Eat small meals, 6 times a day, smaller in size. Obviously you won't want to go no carb because boxers need energy, but try to shy away after about 6 PM.

19. Shadow box in the pool. Rocky Marciano credited a lot of the development of his power punches to work outs in the pool. Being is water is good for you as a boxer. Try to take a dip about once a week. Vanderli Silva also believes in swimming a lot.

20. Don't over train. If you are having trouble recovering, dont' feel like working out, have chronic headaches (that is other than from being socked in the skull) Stay sore for more than 2 days, lose your appetite or feel depressed those are all signs you might be over doing it. Remember that boxing is a marathon not a sprint. Everything in moderation.

21. Run hills. They will help develop your slow twitch muscle fibers better than just a flat boring surface and you'll have lots of endurance when it comes fight time.

22. Breathe. When you watch boxing and you hear them hissing and snorting when the punch its because as they punch the exhale, tightening their abs in case they are counter punched. This will help to prevent the wind from being knocked out of you.

23. Don't use Ephedrine. Its bad shit and it'll make you too tense. If you feel low in energy, eat some fruit or drink some juice before you work out.


24. Run in the morning. Before you eat, and before the rest of the city wakes up, get out and run 2-4 miles. I think the perfect span for an amateur boxer is 3 miles. That way you keep yourself conditioned to the pace of an amateur bout (you would obviously run 4 more slowly than you would 3.) If you get up and run before traffic gets started you'll also avoid heavy breathing in toxic emissions. So you are sucking cleaner air.

25. Be inspired, but more importantly, be dedicated. This goes back to being consistent. Inspiration will wear off. I think its good that when you watch old Mike Tyson films it makes you want to go work your ass off in the gym, but what happens when you are an hour in and that inspiration is starting to wear thin and fatigue starts to set in? My point being that inspiration is a great tool but its more important to be set and dedicated to being a champion and being the best you can be.

26. Be yourself. I often see people come in to the gym and its obvious they are trying to act tough or trash talk, not because that's who they are, but because its something they think they have to do. You don't have to act like a thug or bad mouth your opponents. You don't have to tell everyone you are the greatest. Be yourself, because that's the only way you will make any kind of real lasting friendships in the gym and that's what keeps you coming back when you feel like sluffing off for the day and skipping practice. Besides, with luck, the friendships will last longer than the all the cuts, bruises and long after the boxing is done. Believe me, you might want to emulate fighters in the ring, but a lot of these great fighters are not great people who you want to be out of the ring. Just be yourself, being a great fighter doesn't mean you have to be anything less than a good guy if that's who you are.

27. Punch him in the chest. If you can't find a tall man and he's good at moving his head, aim for his chest. You can move your head but you can't move your body much. Bob Fitzsimmons was the first to use the "solar plexus punch" as disarmament to his opponents. If you aim for the chest, odds are you'll hit something. Maybe his chin, or if he parries you can throw a hard punch to the solar lexes with the opposite hand.

28. Get an identity, find what you feel comfortable doing. Make sure you ask yourself what your body type is, can you punch? Are you faster than most people? Be honest with yourself in developing an identity. If you are shorter, learn to move inside, stay busy and work he body. If you are tall and lanky, learn to use the ring, use your speed and keep your man off balance.

29. Work on what you suck at. I train in the gym as a southpaw when I have a slow day. I work on boxing, even though I'm only 6 ft 220 (at fight time) the thing is you need to establish an identity, but then again you never know when you'll need to pull something out of the fire. Like Bruce Lee said, be like water, if you let some water flow into a tea pot, its a tea pot, if you put it in a cup, its a cup. Learn to adapt to different situations.

30. if you are orthodox, never shadow box in front of a mirror on your right hand side. I think its good for guys to watch themselves in a mirror. In fact my coach used to video tape us doing everything from shadow boxing, to sparring to conditioning excercises. He'd take his top guys and he'd let us watch them so we could get an idea of our habbits, good and bad. So don't be afraid to use a mirror, but when you do it, if you are a orthodox fighter, watching yourself on the right hand side will leave your chin exposed. Don't think this doesn't carry into the ring. You fight how you practice.


31. Spar with as many people as you can. I think its a good idea to spar with people much better than yourself but then again, if that's all you spar with you'll get the snot knocked out of you, you won't feel like you are getting anywhere and you'll likely get frustrated and quit. On the other hand, if you spar with people who you are much better than, you'll get an idea how to do things like use ring generalship but you'll expect your opponents to fold like your weak sparring partners did and you'll never learn how to work out of a tough spot. Spar once in a while with guys who are in different weight classes. As long as its controlled it give you a good idea how to handle diffferent skill sets.

32. Sprint- once a week, take your road work to the track and sprint. In fact, I think its good to sprint at the end of a long day of road work to finish it off. Also when you are hitting the bags have your coach yell out "30 SECONDS!" this is your cue to hit the bag with as many 1-2 punch combinations as you can in 30 seconds, DON'T STOP! This will teach you to steal rounds. Have your coach work on tapping the mat or yelling 30 seconds durring sparring too. The judges will remember the last 30 seconds of a round much more clearly than the first 30 seconds. If your body is used to throwing flurries at the end of a round, you'll be in good shape.

33. Don't get mad. Remember, when I said don't use ephedra, and listen to mo town? This is because you want to be relaxed. Fighters in good shape will get tired at first much more quickly than guys who have been around for a while in much worse shape because they get to tense. Getting angry throws your timing off and burns energy. Try to relax, smile and think speed, a lot of times when guys think "power" they tense up and they go for the home run ball. But if you want to land a hard KO shot, you have to have the speed to deliver it. Besides that, tense muscles move much more slowly and you'll have no snap at all in your shots.

34. Use plyometrics- they will help develop that explosiveness your looking for. In addition to developing long, slow twitch muscle fiber, you want to explode inside the marathon. I'm going to post on the other ATTN: buddie post some good plyometic excercises if you are interested.

35. strengthen your neck. It could strengthen your chin and help you to take a better shot. Think about it, you get nailed and you have a weak stem, all the sudden your noggins whippin around like one of those balls on a paddle. If you make your neck stronger, it could help you take a better shot. Try this- lay flat on the ground (eyes open) and nod in a "yes" motion 50 times, then without dropping your head, turn your head side to side in a "no" motion 50 times. Try to work up to 3 sets of these. Another excercise that people often do is lay in the ring and bridge using your neck, back and forth, then they turn over and do it face forward. However this is a dangerous excercise and I don't recommend it.

37. Don't wear rubber suits. People try to make weight by wearing rubber suits and sitting in the sauna or the steam room. This is a dangerous way to dehydrate yourself and a couple years ago a highschool wrestler actually died from this. Don't try it, besides, that it'll make it harder to lose weight in the future and leave you feeling weak come fight time. Like I said before, try to stay within 5-7 lbs. of your fight weight.


38. Take suppliments- a lot of times people think nutritional suppliments are a substitute for proper eating or hard excercise. In reality, how they work is in their name. They SUPPLIMENT what you a missing from your diet. You don't need to take amino acids if you eat eggwhites, chicken and steak every meal, you really don't. Since you'll be a diet as a fighter much of the time, you'll want to take a 3 a day multi-vitamin. I also think CLA (for endurance) is a good suppliment as is glucosamine with condroiton (for your joints) Vitamin C (you might need a little extra), Zinc (which is already in most multi's,) and a ton of water. Things like ephedra and creatine to a lesser extent strip the body of water. So you want to beware of these. There is a big controversey over the liquid syrum "runner's creatine" and wheather or not it actually remains stable in a liquid form. If you want to use creatine or ephedra or even caffene, make sure you hydrate yourself as a safe guard.

39. wear boots and train with bigger gloves- sounds simple doesn't it? Ali wore boots everywhere he went and criticized Geroge Foreman for "being too dumb to wear them". Floyd Mayweather Jr. runs in boots! Every little bit helps. When you wear big gloves and wear boots you train your body to respond to that weight so when you take the big gloves off that you hit the bags with and you are out of your boots, you feel like you are flying!

40. Don't punch with weights! As soon as I typed about wearing big gloves I knew there was a chance that someone would think to themselves, "what if I hold 5 lb. weights and shadow box with them?? That would be even better!" WRONG! I get this all the time. This is a huge way to hurt your rotator cuffs tear ligiments in your shoulder and develop bad habbits. If you are using a punching motion with 2 and a half pound or higher weights you are going to drop your hands, get slow, and risk injury DON'T DO IT!

41. Warm up, cool down. Spend 5-10 mintues warming up and cooling down before and after your work outs, you'll reduce chances of injury and speed recovery time. After both of these, spend some time streching. Your body will be much more limber and you won't be at nearly as high of risk of tearing or straining something while excercising.

42. Spring for the right gear- if you are using the mouth piece you used in pee wee football, you need to do your brain the favor of replacing it. If you are working out in Air Jordans, you need to get something you can adjust to fighting in. I noticed a huge difference as a kid when I got out of my clunky chuck taylors and into some real boxing shoes. Get the gloves, head gear, hand wraps and mouth piece that are right for you. Your body will thank you in the long run. Its a big investment but not having the right gear is a bigger risk.

(whew) the end.

I'm sure you guys can add to this list and make it much, much better, but this should be a start.




43. See that guy next to you in the gym? Work harder than him.


no, no - thank you buddie!

17 maybe the truest thing ever said on this forum.