The funny thing about pro boxers or even the guys competing in MMA, is that they don't train for muscle, and yet some of them have the best bodies around. They have insane abs, broad shoulders, and muscle that looks and performs freaking awesome.
So what gives? What are they doing that we aren't? Why are they improving their power, speed, muscular endurance AND getting jacked and absolutely shredded at the same time while doing the opposite of what they bodybuilding mags say to do?
"Boxers aren't supposed to lift weights" – Nonsense!
When I first started boxing I was doing all of the old school boxing strength and conditioning techniques. The hours doing sparring and bag work. The calisthenics, the push-ups, the morning runs and so forth. I ended up losing muscle and gaining fat.
It just wasn't the right kind of training for me. And I never understood why fighters can't lift weights? I had seen Manny Pacquiao doing deadlifts and snatch. I saw De La Hoya lifting, and Shane Mosely doing the same. These guys had been in the game a hell of a lot longer than me. They were amazing fighters, and they were yoked and shredded to boot.
The Idea Behind Challenge Workouts
I'm not going to go too deep into my story for the sake of the length of this article. But I ended up meeting a mentor who trained pro football players. This guy knew how to build and maintain lean muscle, but also improve explosive power.
We came up with the challenge workout system. We felt that with the right exercises, that I could improve my power, muscular endurance, and build the muscle that I had wanted for so long.
What sets a fighter apart from everyone else?
1. Hard Work
Their livelihood is on the line. If they don't train their absolute hardest and put their bodies through hell, they could lose to a guy who was willing to put the work in.
If you truly want to build lean muscle mass, and improve your overall athleticism, you have to walk into the gym with the same mentality. That all of your success hangs on the intensity of this workout.
Find things that pump you up for a workout. Are there certain songs, movie clips, or quotes that help you bring that intensity to the gym?
Whatever they are, use them!
Most fighters aren't in crazy shape year round, which is something you should think about. Taking a physical and mental break every so often is a great thing to do. If you expect to train, and to have the intensity you need to effectively train year-round, you're probably going to burn out at some point.
The solution: take mini-hibernations. Train for 3 weeks, and take 1 off. Or train for 3 months and take a couple weeks off. Play with the timing a bit and figure out how long you can train and remain focused on the task at hand, and how long of a break you need to get rejuvenated.
Have your big goal, but set little one's as well. A fighter might want the title, but he understands that there are fights he has to win before he gets there. And when he eventually gets there, he has to stay there.
So, set shorter goals that you train for. And train specifically for those goals. When you reach them, take some time off, then move on to the next one. Maintaining intensity and focus is one of the hardest things to do, but shorter, more focused goals will definitely help.
4. Pushing your muscles to the brink, then recovering.
Fighter's truly push their bodies hard, a lot harder than your average lifter. This is probably because of the fact that if they slack, they get their ass kicked. They have more on the line than we do. But do they?
Our success and happiness is directly correlated with how we perform, look, and feel. In challenge workouts you're pushing your muscle to the brink throughout the workout, which ends up being shorter than a traditional rep and set scheme.
Harder, more intense work = more muscle broken down, and more time dedicated to recovery. The more we break down our body, accompanied with better, more effective recovery time, the more lean, athletic muscle we're going to build.
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