Running and jumping rope has been used by boxers for conditioning and training footwork since the sport first hit the mainstream.  Walk into any gym and you are bound to hear the rhythmic tapping of a boxer jumping rope in a corner of the gym.  The runners, on the other hand, will be harder to find.  They will undoubtedly be running miles on the road or endless amounts of stairs up some hill or stadium.  For decades, these two exercises have been used in concert with one another, but now boxers, trainers, and coaches have begun to question the efficacy of each, and are trying to come up with an answer to the question: which one is better?

Before delving into which exercise is best, it is wise to quickly recap why they are needed in the first place.  On the outset, these workouts are primarily seen as cardiovascular intensive activities.  Both are usually done for long periods of time and are meant to build both the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.  They are designed to increase stamina and endurance, which is especially useful in a sport that requires the athlete to continuously move their bodies.  Both activities also strengthen joints in the lower body and posterior chain (if done properly).  But, perhaps more important they have the ability to build mental strength.  Getting through a running or jump rope routine can be mentally agonizing.  Boxers must push through the pain and mental fatigue that is often associated with these workouts, which is what they will usually experience in a match.

Running is perhaps the oldest method of conditioning.  It does, after all, require very little.  Just your feet and the ground.  Just by running for distances, a boxer can increase their cardio threshold while simultaneously strengthening the muscles and joints of their feet and legs.  However, there is a bit of concern with regards to overtraining which can quickly lead to injury.  Running requires a boxer to place multiple amounts of weight on a single leg, while simultaneously propelling themselves with the same leg.  Improper training or overtraining will quickly damage the delicate connective tissue (tendons and ligaments) that help keep the joints functioning at peak efficiency.

Jumping rope requires the boxer to invest in a secondary device, usually a speed rope, with ball bearings integrated into the handles for a smoother and quicker rotation.  However, the athlete need not a lot of space to get their workout in, usually not needing more than a 5-foot by 5-foot piece of real estate.  They can also workout indoors which is great for those who live in locales that are frequented by bad weather.  But, they also tend to burn less than their running counterparts, which may not be ideal for a fighter looking to compete at a certain weight class.

Running and jump rope both have their pros and cons, that much is true.  A boxer can utilize each to train in cardio, but also strengthen joints and muscles.  Proper technique and close supervision should be used to make sure that the boxer does not over train or injure themselves.  But, the truth is that there is a reason why both have been used in conjunction throughout the modern history of boxing.  And maybe it should stay that way.

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