7 Tips to Keep Gas in the Tank
One of the principles of combat is economy of effort. In a nutshell, economy of effort means you want to expend as little effort and resources as possible in order to fulfill the mission.
In terms of boxing, this equates to the amount of energy you expend during the match. You need to conserve as much energy as possible and use what you have at the appropriate times (concentration of force - but that is another article). You have a finite supply -- when you're out of gas, you're out of gas.
In a previous article I showed you ways to increase your energy level, now I'm going to offer some tips on maintaining what you have.
Here are 7 tips for conserving energy in the ring:
- Relax - tense muscles burn fuel. When not engaged, think of your happy place and stay loose. It takes practice and plenty of sparring to remain loose in a fight.
- Don't Clench Your Fists - Keep your hands open until the moment before impact. Holding a fist requires your muscles to work and that uses fuel.
- Avoid Excessive Movement - Strike a balance. You don't want to present a static target, but likewise, there is no reason to jump around like a jackrabbit. Use your movement sparingly and explosively when you are within striking distance or engaged in combat.
- Control Your Breathing - requires you to be well conditioned. The less you are heaving and sucking air, the less energy you will use in the respiration process. Your VO2 max will increase which is your body's ability to extract oxygen out of the air you breathe in.
- Don't Eat Right Before a Fight - Digestion requires huge amounts of energy. Eat long enough before the fight so that digestion is done and the food is in the tank.
- Lean in a Clinch - if you're involved in a clinch, use it to your advantage and put your weight on your opponent. Conserve your energy and sap his. As well, don't fight or wrestle in a clinch. If your opponent wants to push you across the ring, let him (to a point - not into a corner or something against your game plan).
- Sit Down - Between rounds, put your butt on the stool. Unless you're trying to psych out your opponent, showing him how untired you are to play a mental game with him, then sit your cheeks on the stool, get out your mouthpiece, and relax. This is the time to listen to your trainer and incorporate small changes into your game plan. It is not the time to waste energy strutting around out of combat.
In the end, all you have to do is ensure that your opponent runs out of gas before you do. Boxing is as much a game of competing smart cars as it is about powerful monster trucks.