Here’s the world’s simplest conditioning drill that I want you to try…
- Set a timer for one minute
- Unload on a heavy bag with punches as hard as you can
- Keep it super simple: just left-right-left-right-left-right
- Hit as hard as you can and as fast as you can, making every single punch a knockout shot
- Keep breathing and don’t stop
In theory, you could do this drill on focus mitts or Thai pads too, but the heavy bag is better. That’s because you can go harder on the bag and don’t have to worry about precision as much.
You should be cooked when the buzzer goes off after a minute. If you’re not exhausted then you didn’t go hard enough.
Why This Drill is Important
This drill isn’t so much about developing your technique. It’s about developing aggression, power and stamina.
Of course crisp, clean technique is a beautiful thing, and you should always try to improve it.
However most streetfights are short, brutal events. Firstest with the mostest is bestest.
When it’s ‘go time’ you need to end things as fast as possible, which means attacking with an overwhelming storm of power and aggression. No time for fancy footwork, feeling out your opponent, and setting traps for him as you might do in sparring.
At the same time you don’t want to completely exhaust yourself either. What if you throw your flurry and you’re exhausted but he’s still standing? That would be very bad news, which is why you need to have great endurance for effective self defense.
This burnout drill is a great way to develop anaerobic endurance and condition your muscles to keep on punching even when you’re exhausted.
Endurance is the most important attribute. If you’re tired you’re not strong, you aren’t fast, you’re not strong, your techniques go to hell, and you’re not even able to make intelligent decisions anymore.
— StephanKesting (@StephanKesting) August 18, 2022
One Minute of Mayhem in the British Paratroops
If you want any further evidence this is a good drill then consider the ‘milling’ ordeal in the British army. This is one of the most important tests to become an elite British paratrooper.
For this evolution you’re issued a mouthguard, headgear, and boxing gloves. Then you square off against an opponent in a tiny area and exchange punches to the head as hard and fast as possible for one minute. Blocking, ducking, parrying, and evading of punches is forbidden.
This is essentially the one minute burnout drill using someone’s cranium instead of punching bag… while you’re getting battered yourself!
If you want to see what this looks like then check out the video below…
Milling might seem brutal and archaic but it weeds out candidates who lack aggression. The logic is that if you’re can’t resist ducking a punch then you might not stick your head above a wall to shoot at an enemy who is shooting at you. As one Major explained…
“Some of you are going to go to Afghanistan fairly soon. Every ounce of your being will tell you to stay in cover; that’s useless to us. We need men who are going to get in the fire position, look through their sights and engage the enemy.” (source: the BBC)
Now I don’t recommend sparring like this at your club. Milling on a regular basis would guarantee you CTE or concussion-induced brain damage. That’s also why I’m glad that this is a one-time rite of passage for the paras and not an everyday part of their training!
Still, when you’re doing this drill imagine that your future as a paratrooper depends on it. Maybe that’ll help you keep swinging when your arms are ready to fall off and your lungs feel like they’re about to burst!
Related Articles and Videos
Sparring is stressful especially if you’re not used to it. But throwing heavy leather on your first time in the ring is just plain dangerous and does not build any kind of refined fighting skills.
Here are some tips to get you safely started with sparring…
In this article we’re going to look at the four fundamental ways to disguise your attack and set up the big KO. These strategies apply in all striking combat sports, including boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai and MMA.
Most fights are optional, and each fight you avoid is a victory.
First of all, you should be compassionate. I’ve seen people go from Doctor Jekyll to Mr Hyde just because their liver wasn’t properly filtering the ammonia out of their blood. They went from normal to completely, utterly cuckoo, and it really wasn’t their fault.
Secondly, every single violent encounter is a huge legal liability for you. For example, if you KO the other guy and he gets killed when his head hits the pavement then it’s YOU who’s going to jail and everybody loses