In any typical sports performance program, you’re sure to see a steady combination of both closed- and open-kinetic chain exercises. In boxing sports, upper body open-chain training is especially crucial to improve and maximize the end-point velocity and peak performance measures.

The use of elastic resistance training had yet to be explored in the boxing world, so Markovic and colleagues (2016) designed a study to explore three topics about using elastic resistance in open-chain training for combat fighters:

  1. The effectiveness of elastic resistance training on jab punching in young individuals with a high level of performance.
  2. The changes in movement kinematic pattern that could have contributed to the improvement in movement performance.
  3. The possible differences in both the effectiveness of the elastic resistance training and the changes in kinematic patterns among the athletes of different specialization.

“Punching movements, typical for many combat sports and martial arts, represent a typical example of the open-kinetic chain movements where the main task is to maximize hand velocity as the main performance variable. Nevertheless, the role of particular segments and the involved muscle groups in punching still remains unresolved, which inevitably constrains development of training methods aimed at improving performance” (Markovic et al. 2016).

Pairing elastic resistance with open-chain training

40 junior male athletes within the kick boxing, savate boxing and boxing fields were split into groups according to their specialization with a fourth control group comprised of a random mix of the three. The specialized groups practiced jab punch against elastic resistance for 15 minutes per day, 3 times a week for 6 weeks, while the control group performed their regular training. All groups were tested both prior to and after six weeks of elastic resistance training on the following outcomes:

  • Peak velocity of hand
  • Peak velocities and displacements of the elbow, shoulder and hip joint.
  • Strength of elbow flexors and extensors

The results revealed a great increase in the jab punch velocity in all experimental groups but the control group. These results were linked to an increase in the maximum velocity and displacement of the ipsilateral elbow, shoulder and the hip joint in particular. Elastic resistance training also improved the agonist muscle strength, but not antagonist (Markovic et al. 2016).

The authors concluded that the “addition of a relatively small amount of elastic resistance training could be recommended for the purpose of improving punching performance and, possibly, other rapid limb movement even in top-level junior athletes. The observed performance improvement could be partly based on increased motion amplitudes particularly regarding the pelvis movement, as well as on increased strength of agonist muscles” (Markovic et al. 2016).

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Markovic P. 2016. Effects of training against elastic resistance on jab punch performance in elite junior athletes. Kinesiology 48(1):79-86.

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