Lomachenko is an amazing fighter. What’s more interesting however, is his approach to training – using dancing, tennis balls and a range of activities to improve his decision making skills (i.e. brain-training) – is the Ukranian boxing champ on his way to pioneering the way fighters train?
Let’s take a look at his father, Anatoly Lomachenko’s training methods:
Regimented by his father and overseen by a psychologist, his range of training tactics are certainly very interesting…
Lomachenko does lots of footwork drills. Many of his drills use an agility ladder, but he also uses stairs and cones.
Agility Ladder Drills for Boxing:
Pendulum Side Step with Uppercuts:
Hops – “in-outs” and “side to side diagonals” are shown below:
Cone Drill – Angled Jabs – Rotate & Step between cones
Lomachenko has a great foundation of footwork and agility, thanks to the time he spent doing Ukrainian dancing as a child.
He fights in southpaw, with his dominant hand used to jab and find range – something that Bruce Lee recommended. He likes to move in and out of range, then pivot off to the side to make an angle for a big left hook:
Tennis Ball Drills / Hand-Eye Coordination
Lomachenko uses tennis balls to help improve his punching accuracy. He also uses juggling as a way to improve his coordination.
Decision Making / Fight IQ Exercises
Perhaps the most interesting and potentially pioneering aspect of Lomachenko’s training is his mental training, using specific game-related tasks & exercises.
I believe that the idea behind this type of training, is to build up his ability to read his opponent – to recognise patterns in the opponents movement, reactions and attacks; so that he can then counter them.
He can also keep his focus and physical skills sharp, whilst under stress.
Formula 1 drivers do similar cognitive training and you can buy specialised equipment from companies such as SmartFit:
You can find out more about specific cognitive training here.
The Ukranian also training in a full, Olympic-sized swimming pool. He has a routine of swimming a lap and then, returning on the next lap, underwater – holiday his breath.
Similar to the legendary Ice Man – Wim Hof, Lomachenko can hold his breath for quite some time. With a PB of 4 minutes and 20 seconds, he’s obviously practiced holiday his breath for quite some time.
The purpose behind this breath-holding?
To control his fight or flight response – when his body begins to go into panic mode, he overrides his instincts to control the urge to breathe. This will no doubt help him to stay calm and relaxed leading up to and during a fight.
There are also a few video clips of Lomachenko using what appears to be a resisted breathing machine. The idea behind these, is that by making it more difficult to breathe, the specific muscles involved in breathing in & out are strengthened. This is the principel behind pieces of equipment such as the ‘Altitude Mask’ and there is actually some research to say that they do work (but not in the same way that high-altitude training does) – one study on resisted breathing can be found here.
It’s very interesting to see these alternative training methods – when we are used to seeing high tech power, strength and agility training programs, Lomachenko’s regime is old school – it’s so old, that it’s new.