By Bryanna Fissori
Push-ups are a foundation exercise for many athletic training regiments. Boxing is no exception. There are numerous ways push-ups can increase athletic performance with an emphasis on increasing power and endurance.
Boxers have been known to throw 150 punches a round. That is a high end, but it can happen. Regardless, being prepared to throw large volume is important. Push-ups work the chest, shoulders, and triceps, which are the same areas that are used to throw punches in boxing.
Being able to execute push-ups at a high volume trains the relevant muscles to work for extended periods without fatigue. Doing multiple sets of push-ups throughout a training session will help build this type of endurance.
Using plyometric push-up techniques is one way to improve explosive power necessary for boxing. With any plyometric workout, the exercises should be limited to what can be achieved accurately. Most movements are unorthodox and taxing on the muscles, thus more difficult to maintain proper form for long sets when first starting.
One of the best ways to train explosively is using clap push-ups. These are executed by pushing up hard through the hands so that they propel the body high enough off of the ground that you can clap in between pushes. If these are difficult in the beginning, it is recommended to start on the knees. It is not necessary for feet or knees to come off of the ground.
There are many variations to using a medicine ball with your push-ups. For this one, start with one hand on the ground and the other on a small medicine ball. Without letting the ball move, explode up and over to the other side, having your opposite hand land on the medicine ball. Be sure to “catch” yourself without hitting the ground and keep the ball in the middle as you go from side to side. A set of 5 to each side is a good starting goal.
According to a 2015 study in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, the quality of your explosive push-ups should determine when you end your set. If you start to feel significantly slower or your form starts to break down, you should stop. Explosive push-ups should be executed as fast as possible.
For explosive push-ups, this means that you may need to limit your sets to 3 -4 sets with no more than 10 reps each. Standard push up can typically have longer sets depending on where you are in your fitness journey.
Push-ups can be frequently incorporated into workouts, but it is necessary to give the muscles a break. Listen to your body to tell you when it is too much.