Boxing is a great way to get in shape and to build strength. It can also be a lot of fun. If you are new to boxing, here are some tips to help you get started. First, find a good boxing gym.
There is no substitute for experience and training from a professional. Second, practice your punches. You need to be able to throw them accurately and with power if you want to be successful in boxing.
Finally, don't try to do too much too soon. Start out slow and gradually increase the intensity of your training regime. Boxing is a challenging sport, but with patience and hard work, you can achieve success!
Boxing is likely one of the most well-known sports in the world. Some of the most famous athletes in the world were boxers, including the legendary Muhammad Ali—a name you’ll see on virtually every list of recognizable athletes.
And even those who don’t actually watch boxing have at least seen it in pop culture through the countless movies that chronicle the lives of fighters both real and fictional.
With that in mind, it makes sense that boxing-style training has become increasingly popular over the years.
Who wouldn’t want to feel like Rocky when he reaches the top of that staircase? But working out like a boxer isn’t just punching with reckless abandon—at least not if you want to do it right and get a good workout out of it.
Boxing involves power, strategy, spot-on technique, and good conditioning to help fighters get through round after round against their opponents. In pro boxing, a fight can last up to 12 three-minute rounds with one-minute breaks in-between. That’s a long time to fight.
You can get going with some shadow boxing and conditioning right in your living room or backyard with minimal equipment, but you’ll want to make sure you nail some basics and take some safety guidelines into account.
It may not seem important while you’re just shadow boxing, but if you plan on actually hitting a heavy bag at home or joining a boxing gym in the long run, you’ll be glad you did.
From the proper stance to the four basic punches and tips for getting the most out of shadow boxing, we’ve got you covered.
Basic Boxing Gear
Whether or not you join a gym from the start, you’ll want to make sure you have proper training gear. This is especially true if you’re hitting a heavy bag, but it can’t hurt to get used to suiting up while you shadowbox.
If you’re in the market for a heavy bag, there are plenty of options to choose from. Everlast has options you can hang, as well as some freestanding bags, for those with no room for the former.
If you do opt to get a heavy bag, keep in mind that you shouldn’t be going from zero to 100 right away.
“People love hitting heavy bags hard, but just think about this in terms of fitness.
Just like lifting weights or any type of exercise, it’s a progression to get up to full speed,” Richey cautions. “You have to get your joints used to those impacts and get your muscles used to it. If you go right into it hitting hard, you could really hurt yourself.”
And if you’re going for the bare minimum as far as gear, you need to at least wrap your wrists and throw some gloves on before hitting the bag.
“Wrapping your wrists is the most important thing when you’re working with a heavy bag,” “People are very intimidated by the wraps, but they’re there to protect those little bones in your wrist. And you have to use gloves.”
If you skip those, you risk injury and potentially losing a day or two of training afterward.
Traditional canvas wraps are cheap and simple enough to put on with some practice, and there are countless YouTube tutorials demonstrating proper wrapping technique. Richey is also a fan of wraps that slide right on, if he’s training at home and wants to get right to working out.
You’ll also want to get your hands in some gloves to protect them. Whether you go for a budget option or something higher-end, buy a weight that suits your needs. If you’re only going to hit a bag, you can go minimal with gloves meant for bag work (like these).
If you’re planning on sparring eventually (safely, at a gym with a coach), go for 14 or 16-ounce gloves. As a beginner, heavier gloves will offer more protection for your hands.
Before you start throwing punches, make sure you’re standing properly.
First, situate your feet so that they’re shoulder-width apart, with one foot in front of the other.
Your front foot should basically be pointed straight ahead at your imaginary opponent. If you’re right-handed, your left foot is going straight ahead. If you’re left-handed, aka Southpaw in boxing terms, it’s just the opposite.
Either way, Richey recommends starting off by keeping your back foot out at about a 45-degree angle from the imaginary line your front foot is sitting on.
Your lead shoulder should also be forward, so you’re not standing square facing your opponent. This is key, because rotating your body will translate to more power in your punches.
“The boxing stance allows a much better springing to your step, whether it’s forward or backwards,” ”If you watch boxers, you see them move backwards as much as they move forward for an attack—it’s a defensive and offensive position.”
If your feet are too close or too far apart, you’ll be less agile, and you want to be in a position where you’re able to move forward and back as easily as you can move left and right.
As far as your hands, keep them both up in front of your face—imagine you’re in a fight and want to protect your head. Get in the habit of pulling your hands right back in after throwing punches.
Now, you’re ready to throw some jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts.
How To Throw A Jab
The jab is thrown with your lead hand (left for righties, right for Southpaw boxers), and it’s not going to be the punch you knock someone out with.
“It’s a setup punch,” Richey explains, “so if you see that hand coming, it’s used oftentimes to mask or set up another punch that’s a bit more powerful.”
When you jab, you’ll basically be reaching forward with your two larger knuckles pointed straight ahead and your palm facing down—with your fist closed, of course. Again, you’re not meant to put all of your strength into it.
Richey also stresses the importance of keeping your thumbs outside of your fists. If you keep your thumbs inside your fingers, you risk seriously injuring your hands.
That goes for all punches, and it’s especially important for when you graduate from shadowboxing to the heavy bag.
How To Throw A Cross
A cross is similar to a jab in that you’re punching straight into your imaginary opponent, but it’s executed by your rear hand coming across your body instead. Your rear hand should still be pointed forward with your palm facing down, but you’ll use your hips to generate more power.
“It’s not just arms pushing forward, it is the rotation of the hips and waist, and the extension of the arm where you get your power,” We compare it to baseball, where you’ll never see someone hit a home run swinging with just their arms. Similarly, the entire body is involved to create the power behind the punch.
How To Throw A Hook
A good punch to follow the cross is the hook—the lead hook, in particular, according to Richey. That way, you’d be alternating hands. This is probably the most common knockout punch you see in boxing, he adds. You can throw a rear hook, too, but the lead is more common and doesn’t leave your torso as open to a strike.
To throw a lead hook, you’re basically going to hook your fist around your opponent or the bag in a semicircle, hence the name. “Think like your opponent has their hands up in front of them, and if you throw a straight punch, they’ll block it,” “If you throw kind of a circular punch, you’re going around their hands in order to get to them.”
For this one, your fist will be coming at the bag from the side. Your elbow should be at about shoulder height or a little bit below shoulder height, and your fist should be in line with that.
0“It’s almost like you could put a tray on top of your arm in that position and the tray wouldn’t fall over,” Your palm will be facing you instead of facing down as it did in the previous punches.
Richey notes that some people opt to execute this punch with their palms down, but that keeping your palm toward you helps ensure that you hit the bag with your whole fist and don’t just clip it with your pinky knuckle and risk hurting your fingers.
How To Throw An Uppercut
The final basic punch is an uppercut, most often done with your rear hand. For an uppercut, your hand will drop away from your face, down a little bit toward the belly—but not too low.
“A lot of people drop their hand too low, and you know what they’re about to do,”
“That’s what they call telegraphing your punches.”
Just drop your hand slightly, then it’s similar to a hook in concept, but instead of coming around the body, you’re coming from underneath. Lower your rear hand down, then make a straight line from belly to chin right in front of you.
Those are the four basic punches that you can use as you work into shadowboxing and bag work.
Shadowboxing can be a great workout. Keyword: can. But if you’re not doing it properly, you won’t understand what the hype is all about or why it’s considered a great cardio workout.
It’s a simple concept, and you don’t need to be overly concerned with the combos you’re throwing as a beginner. To make sure you get a good workout in, the more important aspect is getting your body involved. Throwing punches without involving the rest of the body is a common rookie mistake.
“If you’re just moving your arms, then you’re not moving your body,” “And if you want to burn calories, moving your arms is not the best way to do it. Major muscle groups are how you get the cardio aspect, because they’re a lot larger and they consume more oxygen to burn more calories.”
To get the rest of your body involved, you can change the levels of your punches by squatting down and back up and making sure you really rotate your torso into your strikes. Another aspect that comes into play is stopping those punches, particularly in shadowboxing.
“If you throw a hard, fast punch, you’re also responsible for stopping it,” “So there’s work that goes into decelerating a punch. In a fight that’s called pulling your punches, but you have to pull your punches in shadowboxing, otherwise you can hyperextend your arm and hurt yourself.”
Finally, make sure you’re moving your feet, shifting your weight between legs and hopping back and forth. Those aspects make it a total-body workout that’s safe for anyone to try, and it takes minimal space.
If you want to train like a true boxer, you can try doing full three-minute rounds of shadowboxing with one-minute “breaks” in-between. By breaks, we mean conditioning—popular options are core work like jackknives, planks, or crunches, or bodyweight moves like squats to keep your heart rate up and work different muscle groups.
The Essential Equipment For Boxing Beginners
Boxing is a relatively easy and inexpensive sport to begin. You don’t need much fancy equipment, at least when you’re just starting out. However, in order to ensure you’re protected and training at your best, there are a few pieces of basic boxing equipment you will need before becoming a regular in the ring.
Many boxing beginners and professionals alike may tell you that you need the latest gadgets and gizmos to take on your next opponent. Luckily for your wallet, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Boxing equipment for beginners is all about protection and conditioning. Assuming you have some boxing apparel already (regular workout shorts, t-shirts, etc.), the few things you will need to purchase shouldn’t cost more than a few quid and you’ll be ring-ready in no time.
Why Start Boxing?
If you’re looking for a way to burn calories quickly, build stamina, and blow off some steam at the end of the day, boxing workouts are probably the answer you’ve been searching for. Boxing exercises are a two-for-one workout because it’s a great source of both cardio and strength training.
A great way to improve your overall fitness, boxing workouts are also known to improve balance, coordination, reactivity, and agility.
While boxing for beginners might be difficult when starting out, once you’ve learned the proper form, basic boxing moves, and are comfortable throwing a hard punch, you’ll be getting a full-body workout. A strong punch requires power from your hips and legs, while also working your back, shoulders, and core.
On the cardio end of the spectrum, boxing is known to be a high calorie-burning exercise. For example, a 70-kg person who spends an hour hitting the heavy bag can burn about 422 calories. That same person can burn about 633 calories by sparring in the ring for an hour. Other elements of a boxing workout, including skipping rope and shadow boxing, raise your heart rate and can also help you burn calories quickly.
Boxing Equipment For Beginners
The kind of boxing equipment you’ll need depends on whether you’ll be training with or without a partner.
Chances are you’ll do both if you’re hoping to compete or want a higher quality workout.
If you’re training boxing basics with a heavy bag (no partner) you’ll need skipping rope, hand wraps, bag gloves, and a heavy bag. While training with a partner will require headgear, a mouth guard, sparring gloves, and a groin or chest protector.
Hopefully you’re thinking that doesn’t sound too complicated, however, this is really the barebones materials you’ll need.
There are quite a few other options you might want to consider and of course you wouldn’t want to choose the wrong mouth guard or groin protector. To start you on your way we’ll guide you towards some of the best boxing equipment for beginners.
Boxing gloves for beginners is quite a debated subject, and there have been many resources written on the topic. To keep it brief here, there are two kinds of boxing gloves for beginners: bag gloves (or training gloves), and competition or sparring gloves.
You’ll definitely want to invest in a good pair of bag gloves. These are made to protect your hands while you beat a heavy bag, so it’s best not to be cheap here or you’ll end up buying a new pair after only a few weeks.
Hand wraps are important if you want to protect all of the tiny bones in your hands as well as your wrists (you do). When wrapped correctly, hand wraps provide protection for your knuckles as well as preventing your wrists from spraining or breaking while you throw heavy punches.
They’re also great for extending the life of your boxing gloves. Wraps collect the sweat and blood that would otherwise drip into your gloves.
Hand wraps come in many sizes and styles. Longer styles allow you the option of wrapping your hands in a number of different ways, including the between the fingers method and basic method.
Boxing Heavy Bag
A heavy bag is only required if you want to practice your boxing routine at home. If you only plan on training in the gym, there’s certainly no reason to invest in a heavy bag. However, there’s nothing quite as cathartic as throwing around a few punches when you get home...
There are many options when it comes to heavy bags, but the gist is that they weigh about 70 pounds, are filled with hard or soft fill, and are made of vinyl, leather, or canvas. They come with a mount to attach to your ceiling or a stand.
A heavier bag is always a better choice than a light one as the extra weight will keep the bag from swinging too much when you throw a powerful punch.
Century makes one of the best heavy bags for beginners and pros alike.
Quality boxing headgear is essential if you plan on doing live sparring. It will take a lot of hits, so it’s essential that you choose something that is going to last. Headgear protects you from cuts and scrapes, it will not protect you from repeated punches to the head.
You can still black out, get a concussion, or any other head-related injury with headgear on. It will alleviate some of the blow, but not enough to prevent injury resulting from repeat hits.
There are many styles when it comes to boxing headgear. They range from minimal to only showing your eyes. Ringside is a great boxing headgear option if you want to protect more sensitive areas such as your cheeks, chin, and ears from injury.
Boxing Mouth Guard
Other than boxing gloves, a mouth guard is probably the most essential piece of boxing equipment for beginners. When sparring a mouth guard will protect your teeth from being knocked out, as well as your lips from splitting open after a jab to the face.
While you can get a decent boil and form boxing mouth guard for about 2 quid, the Shock Doctor makes an excellent product which costs a bit more but will fit more comfortably and last longer.
Groin And Chest Protectors
A must if you plan on doing any sparring. No one wants to get hit where it hurts, so this is an essential piece of equipment for boxing beginners or otherwise. Shock Doctor makes a great option that is inexpensive and gets the job done. Also important are chest protectors for ladies.
We saved shoes for the end because it’s really up to you whether you decide to buy boxing boots or not. They’re really not required for beginners, especially if you’re not doing any fighting in the ring. However, if you want to show up to the fight looking like the best of ‘em, it might be worth the investment.
Nike makes some really cool gold-detailed boxing boots that are a great weight and provide an excellent grip.
Other Boxing Equipment
While our boxing tips for beginner equipment could probably go on forever, there are a few other pieces of gear we would recommend.
There are endless products out there to improve your boxing game from fancy skipping ropes to human-shaped punching bags. However, as long as you’ve got all of the bases above covered you’ll be good to get started boxing.
What Different Types Of Boxing Can You Practise?
Boxing / Western Boxing
This is the most common form of boxing in the UK. It’s even a fully-fledged Olympic Sport.
Western boxing is practiced using your fists to punch your opponent anywhere above the beltline, excluding the back of the head. Boxers practice on pads and bags to hone their skills.
Boxing training is largely based on footwork, counter-attack and timing. It can be practiced by people of all ages.
It’s also about being elusive, which is great for people who want to improve self-defence.
Muay Thai / Thai Boxing
Thai Boxing is a discipline practiced using your hands, elbows, knees, and legs, which is why it’s referred to as “the art of eight limbs”. To practice Muay Thai you need to be flexible and agile. Whilst Thai Boxing you’ll learn a lot about fighting at different distances, as there is a lot of close-up grappling involved, as well as high kicks.
Muay Thai is steeped in tradition, with fighters performing a “ram muay” dance ritual in front of their opponent before bouts. The dance is aimed at intimidating your adversary, whilst exercising negative spirits.
Savate Boxing / Kickboxing
Savate Boxing is a discipline where you compete using only your hands and feet. To practice effectively you need to perfect your balance to power ratio. All kicks must be above the belt, so you’ll need to be flexible in your legs.
The origins of kickboxing come from France, but It’s now practiced in gyms around the world. Fighters are required to wear gloves on their hands and protective pads on their feet.
Mixed Martial Arts
Mixed Martial Arts, also known as MMA, has become very popular in the UK over the past few years thanks to the UFC. In MMA training you’ll learn several different disciplines, including Muay Thai, Wrestling and Jujitsu.
MMA is generally practiced by people looking to take part in full-contact training.
- Find a gym. Boxing gyms aren't typically found in the yellow pages, but there are resources on the internet that can lead you in the right direction. ...
- Be sure the gym is within striking distance. ...
- Be open-minded. ...
- Choose your coach carefully. ...
- Do judge the gym by its cover.
So, can boxing be self-taught? Boxing can be self-taught but it's not the quickest and most effective way to become better at the sport because you aren't able to tap into the knowledge of a boxing coach who would be able to help you one to one.
Best Age to Start
Specialists in sports medicine believe that boxing classes are better to start from 9-10 years. Starting too early could result in putting the student off, as boxing is hard work and not always as fun as team sports, such as football or rugby.