A lot of people are aware of HIIT training for fitness. We know about timed sets like Tabatas where you work for a certain period of time and then rest for a certain period of time. But what a lot of people don't realize is how much you can use HIIT in Boxing and Martial Arts workouts. Everyone knows about having times rounds in boxing. We know that a round of boxing is 3 minutes followed by a 1 minute rest. These times are different in MMA matches, but it's still the same general idea of timed rounds. This works well in training too. It's very common to shadowbox for a couple of rounds, then spend a few rounds on the heavy bag, then a few on the focus mitts, and then some sparring. This is a tried and true method of training and there's no question that it works well. I've certainly had many workouts doing this exact same thing. But there are ways to do HIIT variations within these rounds or sometimes not using timing at all!
1) BUILDUPS - This is a method where you start with one punch and do it for 20 times for example. Then add another punch making it a 1-2 combination. Then you'll add a third and then a fourth. For example, you'll start with 20 jabs. Then you'll add the rear cross for a total of 40 punches. Then the lead hook for a total of 60 punches. And finally the rear uppercut for a total of 80 punches. This will bring you to a total of 200 punches. You can then take a break and do it again if you wish. This can of course be adapted to any type of punch, kick, or whatever. And I feel it's the best way to learn technique through repetition.
2) LADDERS - This is where you use descending reps and ascending reps. For example, pick one punch (the jab for example) and do 12 reps followed my moving around for about 5 or 6 seconds. This would be a good time to do some footwork and maybe some slips / head movements. After that you'll do 11 jabs, then 10, and so on. When you get down to 1 punch, you can either end it there or if you're more advanced you can build up again to 12 reps.
3) ROUND SPRINTS - For a 3 minute round, do punches for 5 seconds followed by 10 seconds of moving around (again slipping / head movements, bob and weave, and footwork). Keep repeating this 15 second cycle until the round is done. If you have a Gymboss timer, you can set the work for 5 seconds and the rest for 10 seconds, and for a total of 12 times (equalling 3 minutes).
4) POWER SPRINTS - For a 3 minute round, do regular punches and movement for the first 2 minutes. then for the last minute do 5 seconds of medium power punches followed by 5 seconds of maximum power punches. Keep going until the minute's up.
There are of course more, but I've found these variations of HIIT to work best for Boxing and Martial Arts and like I mentioned earlier, it can be adapted to any type of system or technique. The Buildups and Ladders are great for when you're first learning and want to drill the technique into your mind and your muscles. The Round and Power Sprints are good for really training the flow, power, and stamina. I love the martial arts and what it can do for your body and your mind. Why not take advantage of that and use it to its fullest potential?
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