You have been working hard and training like a madman the past few months in anticipation of your upcoming fight. You are fit, and you are ready. So you should continue on the same workout and training regiment right up to the fight, right? I mean, if it’s good enough for Rocky, it must be the best thing to do. However, there is such a thing as overtraining. And continuing on your normal course of workouts and training could actually damage your chances of winning your next fight.
Taking It Down a Notch
You will find different coaches and fighters who have developed their own schedules of how to train (or not train) in the days before a fight, and they can vary. However, the overall consensus is that beginning 14 days before a fight, you should continue the same normal workout and training routines but reduce the intensity of the workout. You should continue normal techniques and stretching, but definitely rest completely the day before the fight.
The reasoning is that from seven to 10 days before the fight, you need to reduce your workout so that your body has time to heal and recover. All of your training has gotten you this far. It’s time to rely on it to carry you the rest of the way. So overall, continue the intensity of most of your routines, but reduce the number of reps, etc.
One way of decreasing your workouts before a fight is by doing what is known as tapering. This is a reduction in training load over a period of time to reduce the physiological and psychological stress of daily training to optimize sports performance. Instead of stopping your training, you should instead decrease your workouts by approximately 40 to 50 percent 14 days from the fight. Then, decrease training by 70 to 80 percent the last seven days before the fight.
Now, you’ve got a few ways to reduce the training load. You can
- Reduce the type of training being performed
- Reduce the frequency in how often you train
- Reduce the duration or how much time you spend training
- Reduce the volume or the total amount of sets or reps you perform
- Reduce the intensity or how hard you train.
In addition to there being a number of ways to reduce your training, you have four distinct tapering protocols you can choose from:
- Step taper – Drop a little for a couple of days, then drop a little more the next few days, etc.
- Fast Decay Taper – Drop the first few days quickly to a week, then level off.
- Slow Decay Taper- Drop the first few days slowly to a week, then drop the remaining days quickly.
- Linear taper – Drop a little every day.
Based on most of the research done regarding the effects of tapering, it looks like the faster the reduction in the training load, the better your performance will be at the end of the taper. This is assumed to be because the fast reduction (fast decay taper) gives your body more time to overcome the fatigue of the previous training.
The Week Before the Fight
Again, the routine the week before the fight is as varied as the fighters and coaches themselves. But the most common wisdom is to reduce your workouts by tapering in one of the ways that we’ve outlined above. However, there are some other things you will want to do (or not do) the week before the fight.
Ditch Strength Training
Forget about it! You are as strong as you are going to get seven days out from a fight. The only thing that you will accomplish by working on strength training this close to a fight is showing up to that fight with sore muscles or, even worse, a torn muscle or ligament that takes you out of the match altogether.
Focus on Technique
This is where your focus should be. We’re talking about shadowboxing, mitts, and hitting the heavy bag lightly for just a little while. Spend time focusing on pad work and don’t do any routine for more than 30 minutes. Remember, the goal is for your body to recover from all the work you’ve put in so far, so nothing heavy!
Slow the Cardio
Reduce your cardio workouts down to some light jogging or skipping rope.
Light Sparring Only
You should consider cutting out sparring the week before a fight. You don’t want to take the risk of getting injured without time to recover. If you do want to get some sparring in, do it lightly — like you’re shadow boxing.
Sleep Glorious Sleep
Nothing is better for helping your body recover and be ready for the big fight than the right amount of sleep. You need at least 8 hours per day the week before the fight. This is the best treat you can give your body before the intense mental and physical challenge of combat.
We’re Here to Get You Ready!
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We want to be your go-to service and product provider for everything you need to prepare for the big day. So we invite you to shop our line of holistic, hemp-derived products or book an appointment with us for a physical today!