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Strength Training for Football

Aerobic Exercise for High Impact Sports

Football, Mixed Martial Arts, and Boxing

By Robert Rousseau, Bodyomics.com
Aerobic exercise: The word aerobic means 'with oxygen'. Thus, aerobic exercise is a long- term moderate intensity workout that uses oxygen, carbohydrates, and fat for energy.

In other words, aerobic exercise doesn't involve weightlifting or sprinting.

The phrase ' high impact ' doesn't necessarily conjure up thoughts on aerobic exercise. But as writer Joel Dress once put it, "Many sports, such as baseball and football, require only short burst of energy. These sports do not produce aerobic benefits. But you need good aerobic conditioning to perform at your best when those bursts of energy are needed. That is why baseball and football players make aerobic exercises a major part of their conditioning programs."


Aerobic exercise for football, mixed martial arts, and boxing

The skinny on aerobic exercise is that it must be continuous. The interesting thing about football is that it really isn't all that continuous of a sport (as noted by Dress). In other words, between every play, the quarters, halftime, and when the ball changes hands there are intervals. That said, aerobic exercise supports a healthy heart. And when one has a healthy heart they are more able to place the stress on it required to play an explosive sport.

In other words, football players with good cardiovascular health-as aided by aerobic exercise-will be more successful sprinting around and exploding into other players.

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is both an explosive sport-punches, kicks, and takedowns, for example-as well as a sport based in cardio in that there are five- minute rounds (this duality is what makes MMA fighters the best conditioned athletes in the world). It is not continuous by aerobic definition necessarily-there are no 15 minute rounds, for example, which is oftentimes considered the minimum for an exercise to be considered aerobic in nature.

Still, when one has a healthy heart they are assured to be able to compete in mixed martial arts with more gusto than if not. Beyond that, mixed martial arts fighters clearly have to compete in a more continuous manner than football players. Thus, aerobic exercise would play an even larger role in readying them.

Finally, we come to boxing. Boxers probably have the greatest need for cardio fitness of the three sports reported on in this article because of the nature of their sport. Less emphasis is placed on strength in boxing than football and mixed martial arts. Further, sports like cardio kickboxing or boxing would benefit a boxer more than the other two because they mirror, to a large extent, the movements required of a boxer.

And then there's the fact that boxers sometimes have to fight 12 rounds.


Aerobic exercises of benefit for football, mixed martial arts, and boxing competitors

Before going into this, one should remember that generally aerobic exercise should involve 5-10 minutes of warming up at around a 50% intensity, followed by at least 20 minutes of exercise at a more significant rate of intensity (70- 80% of maximum heart rate), and ending with 5-10 minutes of cooling down at around 50% intensity (just as you started).

Running long distances: Of all the sports noted in this article, long distance running is probably least necessary in American football. In other words, being a marathon runner is in no way required for the sport. Still, a good long run in a fashion dictated above can promote good cardiovascular health.

In other words, running long distances will give the heart and lungs a good basis from which to derive the power and explosiveness necessary to run up hills, drive sleds, and the like.

Which, by the way, is something that all football players at one point or another will be asked to do.

Both mixed martial artists and boxers will likely benefit more from long distance running than football players (even though all would derive benefit). In fact, it has been said that at one time Floyd Mayweather- widely considered the greatest professional boxer on the planet- incorporated 2.5 miles per day of running into his exercise plan.

All one would need to do is watch The Contender to see how much boxers utilize long distance running in their regimens. When you consider the fact that a boxer might be asked to fight for 12 rounds, aerobic exercise would seemingly be more key in their sport than the other two.

Mixed martial artists would also derive benefit from long distance, continuous running. Along with that, just watch The Ultimate Fighter Reality Television show to see this in action.


Jumping rope: Everyone knows about the immortal Jerry Rice. Rice is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history. In other words, as good a year as Randy Moss had in 2008 for the New England Patriots, he has a long way to go before anyone anoints him better than this former San Francisco 49er.

And, by the way, Jerry Rice is a big proponent of jumping rope.

It's continuous. It even helps with explosiveness to an extent, as ankle and overall leg muscles are involved. In fact, it encompasses the entire body when you consider that the rope motion requires upper body activity.

Jumping rope (or something similar like jumping jacks) is a must try aerobic activity for football players. It's also a must for boxers and mixed martial artists for all the same reasons and more.

Cardio kickboxing/ Bag Work: Okay, only a fool wouldn't see the benefit of cardio kickboxing and/ or bag work for MMA fighters and boxers. After all, they consistently are utilizing those body movements in real practice. The reality is that most fighters consistently do bag work, sometimes for a good half hour. After all, it's always a good idea to utilize exercises that do more than one thing for you in your chosen sport.

Said another way, dollars to doughnuts that Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell hits a bag or pads every now and then in a continuous manner.

Football players, on the other hand, have less of a need for this. But make no mistake: Every athlete needs to practice aerobic exercise. Further, football players are consistently turning to fight style training to get ready for the season.

In the end, remember this about aerobic training. Every athlete needs a healthy heart to compete. And aerobic exercise allows them to have this.

References

Jumping Rope for Fitness

Jump For Your Health - Jumping Rope is a great aerobic exercise

Aerobic Work-Out

Aerobic Exercise

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