Is it true that Mike Tyson actually did very little weights, just practice boxing and calisthenics?
Even as a teenager, without any formal training, Mike Tyson was already bench-pressing over 200 pounds.
I think most of us know how the Catskill saga panned out, but very few people are familiar with the training regimen that went on in the gym at 422 Main Street or in the big white house on Hidden Drive.
Beginning four or five weeks before a fight, Mike would train 50-60 hours a week, working six days a week.
He would spar 200 plus rounds without headgear because Cus believed that headgear gave the fighter a false sense of security. Mike would drop about 15-20 pounds during training camp.
The diet called for a lot of protein, carbs, fruit juices, tiger’s milk, protein shakes, and vitamins. Although Camille, Cus’ live-in housekeeper, cooked an assortment of meals, in addition to the ubiquitous steak & pasta, she still caught Mike sneaking a sugary mid-night snack here and there.
200 sit-ups, 50 dips, 50 push-ups & 50 shrugs with weight – 10 times throughout a day, six days a week.
DAILY SCHEDULE AT TRAINING CAMP (FOUR TO FIVE WEEKS BEFORE A FIGHT)
4:00 a.m.: get up and go for a three to five-mile jog.
6:00 a.m.: come back home, shower, and go back to bed.
10:00 a.m.: wake up and eat breakfast (Oatmeal with fruit, OJ, and vitamins, washed down with a protein shake.)
12 pm: ten rounds of sparring and three sets of Calisthenics.
2 pm: lunch (carbs, protein, veggies, and water.)
3 pm: another four to six rounds of sparring, bag work, slip bag, jump rope, Willie bag, focus mitts, and speed bag (Cus was never fond of the speed bag) and 60 minutes on the stationary bike. Three more sets of Calisthenics.
5 pm: Four more sets of the same calisthenics routine and then slow shadow boxing or focusing on ONE technique, in order to master the mechanics.
7 pm: another balanced meal, usually prepared by Steve Lott.
8 pm: a light 30 minutes on the exercise bike for recovery purposes only. NO RESISTANCE.
9 pm: watch TV or study fight films and then go to bed.
Cumulative reps for the day = 2000 decline sit-ups, 500 bench dips, 500 push-ups. 500 shrugs with a 30 kg barbell, and ten minutes of neck exercises in the ring.
Cumulative reps from the start of training until the fight: up to 60,000 decline sit-ups, 15,000 bench dips, 15,000 push-ups, 15,000 shrugs, and five hours of neck exercises.
On top of stretching his neck in the ring every day, Mike would also stretch his upper and lower body. (Cus wanted Ballistic Stretching) mainly performing plows, spread eagle, hurdler’s stretch, butterfly, as well as various stretches for the upper body.
A DAY OF REST
Mike took Sunday’s off. Cus believed in active rest and lots of sleep. On his days off, Mike would do extra chores around the house, watch old fight films from Jim Jacob’s collection with Cus. Play with his pigeons, and sometimes sneak back to his old neighborhood in Brooklyn.