Why Is Boxing So Tiring? (Boost your boxing endurance)

Why is boxing and shadowboxing so tiring

Boxing is a great workout for fitness and whether you are technique training, sparring, or just shadowboxing, you’ll likely get tired after just a few rounds. So, why are boxing and shadowboxing so tiring?

Boxing and shadowboxing can be very tiring for a number of reasons, but mainly due to an increased level of adrenaline causing you to use more energy quicker. To build your boxing endurance you need to improve your fitness level, eat well and stay hydrated, and rest and recover between sessions.

In this article, we will cover each factor mentioned a little more so you can improve your overall energy levels and boost your boxing endurance

Boxing: A Full Body Workout (Cardio & Muscular)

When you do boxing, whether you’re training to fight, or you’re just in it for the many fitness benefits, you will be using your entire body to exert a lot of energy – both with your cardiovascular system and your muscles.  

Which of course can become very tiring as you work your entire body in a high-intensity form of exercise. However, an increased level of adrenaline during boxing could also be causing you to tire easier than in other forms of training. 

Adrenaline Vs Boxing

We’ve all felt it, you’re throwing punches, moving your head and feet – and feeling good doing it. Then all of a sudden, you’re hit with something which seems to knock you off your stride, not a punch, but an overwhelming feeling of tiredness and fatigue.

In running, it’s called “hitting the wall”, in combat sports like boxing, it’s called an adrenaline dump. So, is this making you feel tired in your boxing and shadowboxing and what is an adrenaline dump?

In sports like boxing, BJJ & MMA adrenaline can cause you to be in a heightened state, making you faster and more alert to your surroundings. Your muscles will use a rush of glycogen for an extra boost and work much harder, but then you can hit a dip and tire quicker, known as an adrenaline dump.

According to WebMD.com, adrenaline is your body’s way of trying to protect you in a situation that is seen as stressful or dangerous – like standing face-to-face with someone in a sparring session or competition. 

The adrenaline helps your muscles work harder for longer by using up stored sugars in your system and directing blood to your major muscle groups to heighten your concentration and sharpen your physical abilities – making you feel ready to fight for your life. 

This is an important function within our bodies, but the very fact that it helps us to work harder for longer in a heightened state of alert means we work our muscles much harder and use up our energy a lot quicker. Meaning, that fatigue can set in faster than if we just went for a gentle run where little to no adrenaline was released in our system.

Adrenaline Vs Shadowboxing & Sparring

In shadowboxing, we usually use it as a visualization tool to picture in our minds an opponent standing in front of us. As we imagine them in front of us, we imagine their punches being thrown at us, then we slip and move and return with our own shots. 

This visualization helps us sharpen our reflexes and techniques, but it can also get us pumped up with adrenaline as we picture the imaginary fight unfolding in front of us. Plus, shadowboxing still offers the same full-body workout which we mentioned above – and therefore, shadowboxing can be just as tiring. 

And of course, in real-life full contact sparring or competition, the adrenaline rush is much more intense as you face a real-life opponent who is trying to land their shots on you full blast.

Meaning, that you’ll likely find the adrenaline dump to have a bigger impact on your cardio as you continue into later rounds. This can be seen fairly often in pro fights. 

“Adrenaline helps your muscles work harder for longer, but can make fatigue set in faster”

Other Key Factors Vs Your Boxing Endurance

As you’ve just seen, your adrenaline and your adrenaline dump can play a huge part in making you become tired during boxing and shadowboxing. But these other following key factors will also play a big part in your boxing endurance:

  • Your overall fitness & conditioning 
  • Your nutrition & hydration before & after boxing
  • Your rest & recovery

Fitness & Conditioning for Boxing

Your overall fitness and conditioning are obvious things to mention when it comes to your endurance in boxing. But it plays a huge part in how well you’re able to continue in training or even in a fight and how tired you get.

That’s why if you’re finding that you’re getting really tired during training, it is a good idea to address your fitness. Because this is such an important part of boxing, you will find that most, if not all, boxing gyms have a substantial portion of the class dedicated to fitness and conditioning.

In general, this will include runs, bodyweight exercises, and round after round of shadowboxing and skipping – all to help build up your endurance to benefit your boxing over time. 

But boxing fitness is a big topic, to discover more about it including what fitness training to expect in a class and the top 10 Q&A – check out my complete guide to boxing fitness and what to expect.

Nutrition & Hydration Before & After Boxing

The thing I’ve personally always struggled with the most and have found has the biggest impact on my fitness and endurance in training, is nutrition. We all know that eating a healthy balanced diet is the best way to improve our overall health, but it can also play a huge part in our fitness and endurance too. 

According to an article published by Cambridge University, if all other factors are equal, good nutrition is not enough to turn a poor athlete into a champion, but bad nutrition can be enough to impact a good athlete’s performance and stop them from reaching their potential and becoming a future champion. 

They also go on to say that during training sessions like boxing, your reduced levels of energy need to be replenished through your nutritional choices after training, and if your energy levels are not replenished before your next session, the intensity of the training must be reduced instead. 

And as for hydration, they go on to say:

“beginning exercise in a dehydrated state is certainly harmful to performance of high-intensity exercise and to endurance performance”.

Cambridge University 

Rest & Recovery for Boxing

Going hard in training and showing up in class after class is the best way to get you fighting fit, and to improve your endurance. However, rest and recovery will play a big part in how tired you get in each of your workout sessions. 

For example, if you go hard in training for three classes per week, then hit the gym or track over the weekend, then you’ll more than likely feel more fatigued for your boxing classes during the following week.
But if you give yourself enough time in between training sessions to rest and recover, then you will find you feel much better prepared and ready to go again for the upcoming week’s training, and less likely to skip training sessions or burn out. Over time, this can lead to more consistency and bigger improvements in your boxing game overall.

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