In Case you thought you were training hard..
Mike Tysons training routine to prepare for a fight is on another level. While everyone sees the troubled nature of a very misunderstood athlete and human, the truth is that Tyson was one of the hardest working, intense athletes of all time. It’s not by chance he won the heavyweight championship in just 6 years, at the age of 20.
Tyson began training with legendary trainer Cus D’amato at the age of 13. Tyson was a troubled teenager, getting arrested 38 times by the age of 13. As a child, Tyson was overweight and was often bullied at school. This led him to be a bit of a loner, and perhaps is what ultimately led him to the gym at 422 Front street.
Tyson showed an immediate affinity for boxing. D’amato had already produced several heavyweight champions, and saw the potential of Mike very early on. Tyson was his ultimate prodigy.
Tyson believed that punching power had nothing to do with weight lifting. Therefore, most of his training revolved around calisthenics, heavy bag work and sparring. Tyson himself stated that his punching power came mostly from hitting the heavy bags. Specifically, a 300 pound heavy bag. He claimed that heavy bag work trained a fighter to develop power from the hips.
Tyson hit so hard that D’amato eventually had him use water bags to protect his hands. Iron Mike’s legendary punching power came from relentless technique training, heavy bag work and certainly some natural athletic ability. (D’amato believed that no one was “born” with punching power.”
Mike Tysons Training Schedule
About 5 weeks before a fight, Tyson would begin training 50-60 hours a week, 6 days a week. Sunday’s were a day of rest and extra sleep. This routine began when he was only a teenager.
Daily Body Weight/Calisthenics training spread throughout the day:
2,000 sit ups, 500 dips, 500 push ups, 500 shrugs. (divided up in 10 sets throughout the day)
Mike Tyson’s Daily Workout Routine
4:00am – 3 mile jog
6:00am – Shower, sleep
10:00am – Breakfast (Protein, Oats, Juice, Fruit)
12:00pm – Sparring – 10 rounds without headgear. 3 rounds body weight/calisthenics routine
2:00pm – Lunch (High Protein, High carb, lot of water, vegetables)
3:00pm – 4 more rounds of sparring. Bag work, Mitt work, body weight/calisthenics routine, 1 hour on the bike
5:00pm – 4 sets of body weight/calisthenics routine, slow shadow boxing and focused technique training…mastering one or two techniques
7:00pm – Dinner. (again high protein, high carb, lot of water, juice)
8:00pm – 30 minutes light recovery cardio on the bike
9:00pm – Study fight film, go to sleep
Next day: – Repeat!
Diet and Nutrition
Much less was known about Diet and Nutrition strategies for athletes during this time. However, D’amato was ahead of his time and had his athletes eating a steady high carb, high protein diet full of steaks, vegetables, and other carbohydrate rich foods. Tyson was well known to love ice cream and did sneak in a lot of sugary cheat foods during his training.
Should You Train Like Iron Mike?
As a trainer I would never advise someone to follow the training schedule outlined in this article. Most people would be beat down before one week was over. But it does fill me with motivation reading about how hard he trained. It’s the stuff of legends, and would certainly be interesting to see what would happen. It could be an experiment that would make a pretty interesting blog post..but I think I’ll save it for another day.
Mike Tyson is known by most as a troubled human being, and the media has a way of only showing the worst of people. But Tyson has always been one of my favorite athletes of all time. He was possibly the most dominant heavyweight fighter of all time, and the way he trained was legendary. In conclusion, I hope this article sparks something in you.. to step up your training and get a little closer to being legendary yourself!
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