Speed is a crucial component in many sports, especially those that require rapid responses and quick movements, such as boxing. For personal trainers, maximising the effectiveness of speed training can significantly enhance their clients’ athletic performance, making it a vital aspect of their coaching arsenal. Recent research by Ismael Hameed Salih and colleagues has shed light on how competitive speed exercises can profoundly impact junior boxers’ skill performance and counterattack speed. This article aims to provide personal trainers with insights derived from this study, translating these findings into practical training strategies to help clients reach their peak potential. By incorporating competitive elements and structured speed drills into training programmes, trainers can ensure that their athletes not only improve their speed but also enhance their overall performance and competitive edge.

The Study

A recent study by Ismael Hameed Salih and colleagues examined the impact of competitive speed exercises on junior boxers’ effectiveness of skill performance and counterattack speed. The research focused on a sample of twelve junior boxers, divided into control and experimental groups. The experimental group underwent a specific training regimen involving competitive speed exercises, while the control group continued with their usual training.

The study found that the competitive speed exercises significantly improved the experimental group’s skill performance and counterattack speed compared to the control group. Specifically, the development rates for the experimental group were markedly higher: the left-arm counterattack improved by 0.06%, the right-arm counterattack by 0.04%, and the overall skill performance effectiveness by 0.10%, whereas the control group showed minimal improvements.

Key Insights

Personal trainers can derive several key insights from this study to enhance their clients’ speed training programmes:

  • Incorporate Competitive Elements: Introducing competitive elements in training can significantly boost performance. This approach not only motivates clients but also simulates real-life competitive scenarios, thereby improving their response times and skill execution.
  • Focused Speed Drills: Utilising drills that specifically target speed and reaction time can lead to substantial improvements. These drills should mimic the conditions and intensity of actual competition to be most effective.
  • Structured Training Programmes: A well-structured programme that includes repetitive training with high intensity (90-100%) and adequate rest periods is essential. This structure helps in maximising the benefits of speed training.
  • Monitoring and Assessment: Regular monitoring and assessment using tools like the Kinovea programme can help in tracking progress and making necessary adjustments to the training regimen.

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Speed Training Programme

Here’s a sample training programme based on the findings from the study that can be used with clients:

Duration: 12 weeks
Frequency: 3 sessions per week
Session Length: 40-50 minutes

Warm-Up (10 minutes)

  • Light jogging (5 minutes)
  • Dynamic stretches (5 minutes)

Main Workout (30-35 minutes)

  • Speed Drills (15 minutes)
    • Reaction Time Drills: Partner holds a tennis ball, drops it randomly, and the boxer must catch it before it hits the ground. (3 sets of 10 drops)
    • Lateral Speed Shuffles: Quickly shuffle side to side between two cones placed 5 meters apart. (4 sets of 30 seconds)
  • Competitive Sparring (10 minutes)
    • Sparring sessions with a focus on counterattacks. Partners simulate real fight scenarios where the trainee must react quickly and counterattack effectively. (2 rounds of 3 minutes each, with 1 minute rest)
  • Skill-Specific Drills (10 minutes)
    • Punching Speed Drills: Using a speed bag, the boxer practices rapid punches focusing on maintaining speed and accuracy. (4 sets of 2 minutes)
    • Defensive Manoeuvres: Practice leaning and dodging with immediate counter punches. (3 sets of 2 minutes)

Cool-Down (5 minutes)

  • Static stretching focusing on major muscle groups used during the workout.

Integrating competitive speed exercises into training regimens can significantly enhance the effectiveness of skill performance and counterattack speed in boxers. Personal trainers should consider incorporating these elements into their clients’ routines to achieve optimal results. By following a structured programme and regularly assessing progress, trainers can ensure continuous improvement in their clients’ performance.


Salih, I. H., Yaseen, A. M., Naseer, K. J., Attieh, A., & Kadhim, M. J. (2024). The impact of competitive speed exercises on junior boxers’ effectiveness of skill performance and counterattack speed. International Development Planning Review, 23(1), 149-162.Click here to review the full research article

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