When it comes to weight training for boxing, no other exercise has made such a noticeable difference in my boxing as heavy squats. When I started boxing, I was coming from years of weight training and I was a decent amount of size and strength. Unfortunately, my height of 5’7 “and weighing 177 pounds was not going to put me in an advantageous position to win fights. In my quest to lose weight to 165 pounds for middleweight, I gave up most of the training with weights and I limited myself to cardio. push-ups, burpees, sit-ups and of course the boxing itself. It took me about 4 months to slowly get to my desired weight, when I got there I felt great and very light. The funny thing was that although I had sharpened my technique, my single-shot power had plummeted. I remember at first I could really move guys back with the jab, and I could throw a right hook to the body that would resonate throughout the gym. I worried too much at the time, my skills had improved and I thought that losing power was a natural part of losing weight and being more precise with technique.

It wasn’t until I went to the gym with a friend one day about 2 years later that I reintroduced myself to squats and deadlifts. I couldn’t believe how weak I had become, it was a blow to the ego that my strength had practically halved. I made it my mission to regain my strength in the fundamental lifts (squat, deadlift, and bench press). After about 6 weeks of steady work, most of my strength started to regain, particularly in the squat, where I used to do 4-6 reps with 315 pounds (3 plates on each side).

Later I trained that weakling to prepare a guy for the next Provincials, and after the second round, the coach came up to my side of the ring and whispered, “Hey, take it easy, he says you’re hitting too hard.” . That !? I laughed to myself, am I hitting too hard !? He hadn’t heard that in a long time, and especially from a boy of this level. But he was on to something, I noticed they didn’t push me that much in the ring, I could hold my posture, block shots and then throw with a more solid balance. It also became easy and natural to lower my levels to get under shots and rip my body apart. I found myself transitioning, stopping, and starting with relative ease. Essentially, my legs carried me like nothing. I hadn’t felt this solid since I started, but now I had a full arsenal of techniques to match my newfound strength.

There’s always the question of whether weight training slows you down, I think it doesn’t, and can actually speed it up. However, adding too much weight can eventually slow you down and requires more work on the part of the heart and lungs to support that weight. My advice to you from practical experience is to take squats seriously and develop as much strength and power as you can in this exercise. See how much more solid and agile you become in the ring.

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