It can feel really daunting to go to a boxing class.
When you’re a newbie with no clue what you’re doing, it’s easy to feel out of place. But you have to start somewhere.
Thankfully, there are exercises you can try before your first class or in-between sessions to master your technique and boost your confidence.
We spoke to industry expert and owner of Box Clever Sports Peter Liggens to find out seven exercises we can all try at home.
Peter has over 24 years experience, so he knows his stuff, but has kept it simple so even a total beginner can nail the basics.
Try these exercises at home, practice until you feel comfortable, and then head to that boxing class safe in the knowledge that you can deliver jabs, upper cuts, and hooks that pack a punch.
But before you get started, let’s break down your boxing stance.
Hands up, chin down
Right handed? Put your left foot forward, right foot to the side. This will rotate your torso.
Slightly rotate and drop your chin, raise your lead hand (left) to roughly eye level, rear hand (right to cheek), keep your elbows into your sides. This is the orthodox position.
If you’re left-handed (southpaw) do the above but with opposite hands, so your lead hand is your right.
Got it? Now, on to those seven exercises…
Perfect the jab
The jab is the most important punch. It keeps your opponent at bay and off-balance, preventing them from their attack.
In your boxing stance, drive your lead hand, bringing your elbow up at the last moment. This will raise your lead shoulder and protect your chin at the same time from a counter-attack.
To increase power simultaneously step with your front foot as you jab, driving from your back foot.
How to pack a punch with your cross
Get in your boxing stance, then begin by rotating your hips and pivoting on your back foot as you rotate your torso, delivering that knockout blow with your power hand. Bringing the elbow up will help block a counter hook.
How to power up your uppercut
Dip at your knees so you don’t have to drop your hand from your boxing stance, then drive from the dip, turning your back foot while lifting the heel.
Think of the end position of a golf drive. Remember the object is to hold a tight guard so don’t go into street fighter mode and throw the punch from the floor.
How to master the hook
The hook is a very effective punch which many throw incorrectly due to bad habits. To help with the initial phase, throw the hook from a cross as this will rotate the torso.
As you begin to deliver the hook with your lead hand, your back heel will be up and foot rotated from the cross. Bring the lead elbow up as you start to rotate back into your stance. On the connection point drop your heel and rotate your front foot, while at the same time engaging your core muscles to deliver a strong and fast rotation from your hips.
Don’t be shy with this exercise. With all the basic skills learned, now it’s time to put them into practice.
The best way to practice these movements is by shadow boxing in an open space. It helps to do this in a mirror so that you can see your alignment is correct.
Balance is key here. Shift your weight from the front to back foot, then gradually start taking small steps forwards and backwards, then quarter turns side to side.
As you become confident and comfortable with this, start putting your punches with the steps. Shadow boxing is one of the best ways to improve your technique and something you can do almost everywhere… well, almost. It can be a bit weird to do this in the office, but practice is practice.
Skipping is a great cardio exercise. It’s low impact on joints and an essential part of a boxer’s training regime, improving hand and feet coordination.
Start with just jumping over the rope any way you like, then try hopping on one foot for three or four jumps before switching to the other foot.
As your confidence and timing improves bring this down to two hops and gradually bring the floating foot lower until you are shifting your weight from one foot to the other with two bounces on each foot. Once you have this mastered, have fun and try double unders, criss-crossing, sprints.
Just watch out for that rope, it stings!
Practise pad work with a friend
Practicing pad work with a friend is a great way to perfect all your punches and keep you on your feet.
Do three minute combo rounds mixing up the punches and switch with your friend.
The biggest tip is to relax. When you deliver your punches stay relaxed, speed is power. Trying to punch hard makes you tense up and tires you out.
Once you’ve mastered all these techniques, you’re ready to hit the boxing gym.
Proven benefits of boxing are cardiovascular health, strong bones and joints, stronger muscles and more tone, improving coordination, better core stability, improved confidence, better endurance, self-defence skills, and stress relief, so it’s definitely worth a go.
Box Clever Sports is an underground boxing gym that packs a punch in Ladbroke Grove.
It’s not for the faint of heart. A certain level of fitness is required to make it through one of their killer workouts but the results are worth it, physically and mentally.
Classes are designed to tick off all the benefits, with each one broken down into three parts: a warmup (which will leave you gasping for air and feeling the burn), circuit training, followed by interactive boxing and sparring where you will learn to refine your technique and tone those bodies.
These classes are high intensity, non-contact boxing classes that provide a full-body workout through a range of functional cardio, anaerobic and explosive/plyometric movements. They’re meant to be fun, too, although if you’re not on time you’ll be punished with 10 burpees for each minute you’re late. Brutal.
If you fancy giving the workout a go, you can book through the Box Clever Sports website for £14 a class or £120 for unlimited classes per month.
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