With the Road to London athletes now entering the second week of this training camp in Cardiff, with the body and mind now fully acclimatised to the rigours of the conditioning of top-level boxers, it is now time to step up another gear and reach new levels of fitness.
Interval training has been integral to any elite sportsman or sportswoman's preparation schedule, with the combination of high intensity burst of speed with short recovery phases in a single workout key to reaching the body's full potential. By adopting these methods, the main objective for the participants in the Welsh capital is to build speed and endurance.
Interval workouts are structured and designed around an athletes' specific sport. For the boxers training in preparation for the AIBA Regional Olympic Qualifying Events, work on both the aerobic and the anaerobic systems will be undertaken. The anaerobic system uses glycogen, the energy stored in the muscles, for short bursts of activity. Anaerobic metabolism works without oxygen, but builds up lactic acid with the athletes entering negative levels. Based on high intensity efforts, the athletes reap the benefits on this dual work. During recovery phases, the heart and lungs work together to make up the oxygen deficit in order to break down the lactic acid as the aerobic system uses oxygen to convert stored carbohydrates into energy. It is essential that all boxers, or all athletes in any other sport, bring their heart rate down to 100-110 bpm during the rest interval. Combining these factors will optimise the training and enable muscle growth and strengthening, increase lung capacity, facilitate the flow of blood to all parts of the body and speed up recovery.
The idea is that by adopting high intensity intervals training, the body adapts to burn lactic acid more efficiently during exercise, allowing over time athletes to exercise at much higher intensity for longer periods of time.
It is the increase in cardiovascular efficiency, with the body able to deliver oxygen faster to the working muscles and an increased tolerance to the build-up of lactic acid, which gives improved performance, greater speed, and better endurance. In boxing, cross-training mixed to interval training makes the athletes in the sport amongst the fittest in the world.
Under the guidance of Welsh legend and Head Coach Colin Jones, the participants of the Road to London program held at the University of Cardiff are put through their paces and with skipping, shadow work, bag and pad work and of course different types of sparring, they are discovering the benefits of a structured and ultra-dynamic training routine. Each session is broken up with the essential warm-up to begin before alternating between various stations and the essential warm-down and stretching. Overtime the length of the high intensity work-out will increase as the recovery period decreases. It is predicted that many of the athletes of the Road to London will have increased their endurance levels by up to 50% by the end of the three weeks.
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