Posts tagged #training

Too Sick to Train?

We all know what it means to train hard regularly and then suddenly be faced with the prospect of missing gym days due to vacation, moving, or, worst of all, illness. Ugh… the tremendous horror of missing gym time! Don’t understand about the horror of missing gym time? You can skip this article, cutiepie.

When you’re young, it’s easy to decide whether or not you’re too sick to participate. If it’s a trip to Six Flags, you’re perfectly fine; if it’s a school day, you’re definitely super sick. As an adult, the equation often becomes complicated, especially if you’re in the camp that believes gym time is a good time.

Am I too sick to train?, she pondered

Am I too sick to train?, she pondered

The main things to think about when considering whether or not to skip are:
1. Will I risk making myself sicker?
2. Will I risk making others sick?
3. Will I risk increasing the recovery time?

First of all, how bad is it? There’s some definite no-no’s. For example, there’s a difference between a head cold and a chest cold. A head cold, aka “the common cold,” is typically a pretty minor viral ailment, mainly affecting your mouth, nose and throat. And if it’s not too bad, and you’re not incessantly coughing or sneezing, you can often get away with going to work or a light workout. Whereas a chest cold, although caused by the same viruses as a head cold, tends to be more severe and harder to fight. A chest cold can also turn into serious illness if not well treated. 

So how bad are the symptoms? Do you have a temperature? Is it something that you can keep in check and without significant risk of transmitting to others? Are you past the worst of it or might the illness potentially worsen? If you go to the gym and suddenly start feeling bad again, is there a chance it could cause you an embarrassing episode?!

Get a Second Opinion
Depending upon how sick you may feel, you may or may not want to consult a doctor. That goes without saying, but you might also discuss your condition with your trainer to help decide whether it is a good idea to work out and how much you should do.

And wash your hands often.

3. Be Sensitive and Sensible
Often times you can use good common sense to determine whether or not you’re too sick. Certainly if you have a fever, body aches, frequent sneezing or coughing; stay in bed and get rest. If your stomach merely aches or you’re feeling a bit “under the weather” you can probably train, and the training may even help you feel better, but take it easy and stop if suddenly you feel worse.

And wash your hands often.

5. Be Considerate of Others
Due to some illnesses being highly contagious, it is best to stay home when your sickness is more serious. Keep in mind that, even if your symptoms are light, and even if you’ve had a day or two to recover, your virus may still be picked up by others, especially if you sneeze or cough. While you cannot transmit a cold or flu through sweat, you can spread germs just by talking, so be thoughtful when coming into contact with others at the gym.

And wash your hands often.

Worried about disappointing your gym partners? They’ll get over it quickly, which is more than one can say about influenza!

While you don’t want to lose ground in your training, a couple days off won’t make much difference. You’ll get over it quickly, which is more than one can say about influenza! Anyway, it’s always good to take an extra day off now and then anyway. The main thing to remember is that you certainly don’t want to exacerbate a relatively minor problem and make it into a major one. That goes for both injuries as well as illnesses.

If you do miss any extended period of time from training you should not expect to pick up right where you left off. Ease back in the first session or two and allow your body to re-adjust to the stress of training.

We say it so often: Listen to your body. But even before you get that far you should know enough that any physical activity during an illness should be limited in duration and intensity.

And wash your hands often

Posted on June 1, 2016 .

Shadowboxing is Real Boxing (Training)

Shadowboxing is a pretty good way to train your fighting body, but it’s a very good way to train your fighting mind. Shadowboxing may be useful as a warmup, but its real use is as an effective training tool. Often you’ll see someone at the gym throwing punches at the air with complete abandon. There’s no skill developed. Their heart rate is picking up, but they’re also potentially picking up bad habits. Seemingly everything they may have learned over the years goes out the door and they’re simply punching for the sake of throwing a punch. Stop thinking of shadowboxing as a warm up and start thinking of it as training. It’s simply sparring with an imaginary partner.

It’s called “shadowboxing” because if you stand in the light it could look like you’re fighting your own shadow. But this wouldn’t work because it’s too choreographed. Your own shadow will move just as you move; an opponent would never do that. So use your imagination. Picture your opponent. If you have a fight upcoming against a southpaw, visualize a southpaw adversary so you can think about how they move and how you might counter and strike. Time your shots with their bobs and weaves. Practice your feinting and counter shots. Work on moving away from their advantage and towards yours. Jabs, combinations, body shots, defense - practice everything.

Don’t treat a shadowboxing session the way you would a set of jumping jacks or other calisthenics. While the body is moving, the mind should be engaged,  By coordinating your body and mind, actions and reactions can start to become automatic and effortless. When you can slow down your thinking during a fight you become a more fluid fighter. So use shadowboxing as a means to practice this body and mind coordination.

Instead of simply standing in place throwing punches, work on your footwork, work on defense, work the corners, work the ropes. Whether you’re in a ring or your living room or whatever space you have at your disposal, treat your surroundings as if there were boundaries and use the space as you would in competition. Even though you have no opponent you can still practice your ring generalship. Practice working in close quarters, putting into a corner, fighting off the ropes, chasing a running target, etc.

You might try setting up a slip line and shadowbox around the rope to add the effect of slipping, dodging, ducking, and ultimately avoiding punches. The line becomes the angle of an incoming attack. Again, visualize an opponent so you have a target as well as an attacker. Slip a punch and throw a counter combination. Throw a straight right and slip the counter.

Even though you’re not connecting with an actual target, throw your punches with a good measure of power. Snap her head back with those jabs. Make her feel your body shots. Put some juice into it. At the same time, don’t go overboard. Since there is no target to hit, it’s not difficult to hyperextend an elbow or strain a shoulder. Don’t get careless, you want intensity in your training, but with the lack of a landing pad, any punch you throw could be damaging to yourself. Find the right range and level of intensity and keep it there.

Of course shadowboxing is good for athletic conditioning too. Boxing is largely anaerobic so use this time to work on optimizing your breathing. Time your breaths to the action and keep the intensity up so your body has to learn to deal with deprived oxygen for periods of time.  

Shadowboxing should not be a mindless exercise. Deploy it as a true training tool. Whether you’re working outside of the gym, practicing for a future opponent, or trying to overcome some deficit in your technique, make it count.

Posted on June 16, 2015 .

Core Work for Fighters

Combat sports are full body sports so your fight training should involve your FULL BODY. You train your shoulders, arms and legs, but equally important is your core - your chest, waist, hips, and portions of your back. Most workouts concentrate on either upper or lower body, but just like a city needs to have a thriving midtown, you need a powerful midsection - because this is where the serious business happens!

Think of your core as the foundation for every element of fighting. The core provides balance, moves and stabilizes your midsection, powers your punches and absorbs punishment from an opponent. As the saying goes, if you want to be hardcore, you must develop a hard core.

Posted on October 15, 2014 .

Short and Strong, Not Light and Long

In training, results are driven by pushing beyond your limits. While you should never overdo it, you need to go further than you've been to get as far as you can go. You're not going to get there by doing the same thing at the same level continually, you must push for progress. 

If you're looking for serious results, don't jog until you drop - sprint, stop and repeat. Jogging, like any kind of moderate exercise, will burn a moderate amount of calories, but will never produce serious results for fighting - because your body is unchallenged, the effects are diminished. Going at full speed in bursts, pushes the entire system and provides a workout that is something to grow on. This is true in all forms of exercise, not just running.

Posted on September 16, 2014 .