21 January 2022

New research shows that using isometric core strengthening and stabilising exercises, such as the plank, positively impacted rear hand punching performance by 24 per cent in professional boxers.

The research, led by Lee Brown, Applied Sport Sciences Research Group, School of Health, Sport and Bioscience at the University of East London (UEL), showed utilising the entirety of the kinetic chain improved performance.

The study, recently published by the Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning, used slowly controlled isotonic and isometric strengthening and stabilising exercises such as the plank, bird bog, banded holds, side twists and pullovers, against a control group which used traditional methods such as sit-ups.

Sports Science Lecturer, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and Physiologist Lee Brown said, "Boxers use ballistic movements for striking performance; utilising the ground to potentiate ballistic force through the lower limbs, transferring through statically contracted hips and trunk before it's released dynamically through the upper extremity of the striking hand. This study shows how important isometric core resistance training is to achieving maximum upper body power for punches and strikes.

"When aiming to improve punching power, coaches who work with boxers should implement isometric and slowly controlled isotonic strengthening core exercises to improve the postural structure of the athlete, abstaining from forward trunk bending modalities such as the sit-up."

Twenty male professional boxers from a UK boxing gym were part of an experimental group and carried out a six-week programme as part of the study.

Read the  journal piece.

Bird dog

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