2612568276918. Maximal Punching Performance in Amateur Boxing

Maximal Punching Performance in Amateur Boxing

Maximal Punching Performance in Amateur Boxing

An examination of biomechanical and
physical performance-related characteristics

By Edward Stanley

Punches in boxing are intricate actions requiring the coordinated and synergistic recruitment of leg, trunk and arm musculature. Maximal punches can have a marked impact on the outcomes of boxing contests.

Currently, there is an absence of research appraising the biomechanics and physical performance-related qualities associated with boxing punches, and as such, there are no practical guidelines pertaining to resistance training and its impact upon these important characteristics.

In this respect, coaches and boxers are reliant consequently upon non-scientific approaches to training and contest preparation. Thus, the purpose of this thesis was to quantify the biomechanics and physical performance-related qualities associated with maximal punching techniques common to amateur boxing and investigate the extent to which resistance training enhances such features.

Study 1 quantified the three-dimensional kinetics and kinematics of maximal punches common to boxing competition to identify the differences between punch types (straights, hooks, and uppercuts), whilst Study 2 investigated the movement variability of these measures across punch types.

These studies revealed significant differences for the majority of kinetic and kinematic variables between punch types. High within-subject, between-subject, and biological variability were recorded for the same variables across punch types, independent of the amount of boxing experience.

These findings confirm that kinetic and kinematic characteristics vary from punch to punch, with boxers appearing to manipulate kinematic variables in order to achieve a consistent intensity and end-product.

Study 3 quantified the relationships between physical performance-related traits and kinetic and kinematic qualities of maximal punches and revealed moderate-to-large associations with muscular strength and power.

From this, Study 4 appraised the extent to which strength and contrast resistance training enhanced maximal punch biomechanics and physical performance-related qualities.

The findings highlighted that contrast training was superior among male amateur boxers over a six-week intervention, though strength training alone also brought about improvements.

This current research has advanced our understanding of maximal punching and the influence of resistance training on a variety of its determinants. Nonetheless, future research is required to identify if the same findings can be generalized to higher standards of boxing and whether alternative strength and conditioning strategies are equally, or more effective.

Amateur boxing is a combat sport involving short duration, high-intensity offensive and defensive maneuvers, interspersed with short recovery periods (Khanna & Manna, 2006; Smith, 2006). Competition within the sport, governed by the
Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) encompasses weight-restricted full contact combat with the fists between two opponents.

Boxing bouts are usually contested over three rounds, each two to three-minutes in duration, divided by one minute rest intervals. Competitions within the United Kingdom are sanctioned by the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) at regional and national level whilst international bouts, including those staged at the summer Olympic Games, are sanctioned by the
AIBA.

The intention during competition is to outperform or ‘knock-out’ an opponent through the implementation of clean punching techniques to the head or torso.

Performances are scored at the end of each round by the collective impressions of five judges using a 10-point must-system (in which the winner of the round receives 10 points whilst the other competitor receives nine or less).

A boxer’s overall score per round is based upon the number of ‘quality’ blows landed to the target area (head and torso), domination of a bout via technical and tactical superiority and competitiveness (AIBA, 2017a).

However, the most desirable conclusion to a contest is to knock-out the opponent, ensuring a win (Mack, Stojsih, Sherman, Dau, & Bir, 2010). A knockout is achieved if one boxer is unable to continue competing as a result of punches administered by the opponent.

Despite amateur boxing’s standing as an Olympic event with  global popularity (201 affiliated nations – AIBA, 2017b), there is a surprising dearth of performance-related scientific research. With competitive international-level boxing characterized by high-intensity efforts incorporating ~1.55 actions per second (APS), ~21 punches, ~3.6 defensive movements and ~56 vertical hip movements (Davis, Connorton, Driver, Anderson, & Waldock, 2018) and national-level boxing by ~25 punches and ~10 defenses per minute across 3 rounds (Thomson & Lamb,  2016),

it seems logical its protagonists would benefit from interventions based on quantitative appraisals both of physical performance-related traits and movement demands, and the biomechanical factors that relate to the principal action of punching.

That is, scrutiny of boxing’s internal and external loads will be useful for developing conditioning programmers (Thomson & Lamb, 2017a; 2017b), whereas detailed analysis of punching could translate into specific training regimes designed to enhance a boxer’s most effective actions.

The paucity of biomechanical data published in the boxing literature has concentrated on the kinematics (motion and velocity) of the upper-body limbs, focusing specifically on the hand, wrist and forearm (Cheraghi, Alinejad, Arshi, & Shirzad, 2014; Fuchs, Lindinger, & Schwameder, 2018; Kimm & Thiel, 2015; Piorkowski, Barton, & Lees, 2011: Viano et al., 2005; Walilko, Viano, & Bir, 2005).

Moreover, some studies have measured the lower-body kinematics (Bingul, Bulgan, Tore, Aydin, & Bal, 2017), electromyography (EMG) (Dyson, Smith, Martin, & Fenn, 2007; Lockwood & Tant, 1997), and impact forces (Dyson et al., 2007; Loturco et al., 2016; Mack et al., 2010; Pierce, Reinbold, Lyngard, Goldman, & Pastore, 2006; Smith, Dyson, Hale, & Janaway, 2000; Viano et al., 2005; Walilko et al., 2005) of boxing punches.

Straight (jab and rear-hand cross) and hook (lead and rear) punches have been assessed as these particular strikes are the most common in amateur boxing bouts with Thomson and Lamb (2016) documenting ~64 jabs, ~39 rear-hand crosses, ~49
lead hooks and ~23 rear hooks over the duration of 9-minute male contests. Thomson and Lamb (2016) also reported on the uppercut (~5 lead uppercut; ~8 rear uppercut), punches considered to be fundamental and often most effective within the sport.

Advancing the understanding of the kinematics of such punch techniques during performance could provide coaches and boxers expedient information regarding a boxer’s technical proficiency and reveal potential interventions likely to enhance punching performance.

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Maximal Punching Performance in Amateur Boxing 

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