Boxing tips to help you with your offense, defense, footwork, and training!
What’s more exciting than a good offense? Am I right!? Here are some of the best tips coming at you.
Your muscles work harder as you exercise, your body uses more oxygen. Your breathing has to increase taking more breathes in and out as you work out.
Breath out sharply while you punch and tighten your abs. If you miss a punch you want to be ready to take one from your opponent, having a tight core helps.
Do your best to breathe in through your nose and not your mouth, the reason is if you take a punch to your jaw while you are open mouth breathing you can break it or dislocate it.
Oscar Valdez broke his jaw against Scott Quigg in their fight.
When you breathe out you can bite down on your mouthpiece and exhale, again no open mouth or breathe back out through your nose.
Power up your punch by using your body weight, not just your arm. How?
On the jab, you will step into the punch like a battering ram. Every other punch will use a slight pivot on the balls of your feet.
Pivoting will help turn the hips and the core into the punch.
Keep your center of gravity low to push through the ground and transfer that energy through the fist on impact.
Also known as staying tight with your punches. This is best for inside fighting or if you have big looping punches.
You can’t fully extend to your target on straight punches, but that’s okay, throw them short and fast.
Hooks are loopy, to begin with, well to tighten that loop focus on bringing the elbow up more and the fist closer to your chest. Turn the palm down to get more torque.
Uppercuts are prime time for inside fighting. As they are laying their head on your gloves, chest, or shoulder, take half a step back and throw that uppercut aiming at their neck, not their head.
It’s all about changing speeds. Your opponent has less than half a second to decide on how they will react to your punch.
If you only throw power punches, you will get timed and countered. The same goes for a fast puncher.
It’s like baseball if all the pitcher throws is a fastball, there is no guessing what is coming you already know and you are geared up for it.
The power of the change-up in boxing gets people stuck and keeps them guessing what’s next, when they guess wrong there is a window of opportunity for you.
Change velocity, between fast and powerful you already have alot to play with. Throw the same combination and each punch at a different tempo each time.
Ex. 1-1-2 (punching by the numbers)
1 fast 1 powerful 2 powerful
1 fast 1 fast 2 powerful
1 fast 1 fast 2 fast
And the list goes on! The same exact combination with totally different looks to it just by changing tempo.
Neglecting the body is the leading cause of taking losses and getting beat up by an inferior opponent.
Teddy Atlas says it best “put water in the basement” he has some of the best analogies.
Also known as working the ladder, yes I’m giving you all the terms so if you hear them you know what they are asking for.
Work the body with straight punches to bring their elbows in, and follow up with hooks to the body going around the guard.
Here is the secret to combination punching.
You are going to miss more than you will connect. Vasyl Lomachenko had the highest connect percentage 20.9 against Nicholas Walters after their fight.
That’s hitting 2 out of 10 shots you throw. Nuts right! Well, that’s the truth.
So what else can combinations do for us? They set up your next punch for you!
Quick example, your opponent has a high guard and you want to hit the face still. You are committed to just hitting them for having that face they can’t help but have.
You can position a fighter’s head with a double left hook to push them into your straight right hand. They will block the left hooks and set them up for the punch you really wanted to hit them with.
My advice keep swinging and be strategic.
The second half of Floyd Mayweather’s career was mostly alot of pictures with money. How did he do it?
He had a jab that just didn’t stop coming. Don’t abandon the jab, that’s my tip don’t stop throwing it, ever!
How to use it?
Jab to the head and body.
Double it up.
Use it to find your range.
Use different speeds with the jab.
Power jab to command some respect.
Stay loose, stay light on your feet and shorten the rotation of your punches.
Loosey goosey with your upper body. Think of your arms as short whips like that small spinning drum you use to play with as a baby that keeps whipping back and forth.
Light feet help rotate the hips faster. Focus on speed, not power.
Have a combination set in your head, you won’t have to think about what you are going to throw.
Short sharp breathes help, take one deep breath in, and as you punch breathe out on every punch with sharp exhaling. Do not let all your air out on the first punch.
Opening Their Guard
Your opponent has a tight guard and you have trouble getting through. What to do?
Three tips on what you can do. Use combination hitting, practice same side punching, and the ladder head and body.
Here’s a quick formula for you boxing nerds like me.
Combination hitting x same side punching + using the ladder = success
That’s right you know what I’m saying, put it all together! You can use all three of these tactics in the same sequence of a set.
Ex. 1-1-2-3-3-2 punches by numbers.
That’s the combination. Now the first 1 can be to the head and the second 1 to the body there is the ladder. Next on the first 3 go to the body and then back up to the head on the second 3, that is the same side.
It doesn’t have to be broken down to an exact science, try coming up with your own and open up their guard with your can of whoop-ass.
Chin down, eyes on the target, hands back to face when done punching, and elbows in.
Sounds easy right? Well for some it might be, but for knuckleheads like me who have a hard time remembering when in the heat of battle we have to make this second nature.
Chin down exercise I like to use is grabbing a tennis ball and holding it underneath my chin and between my neck. Shadowbox with punches and moving around defensively.
Eyes on the target! The chin should be tucked and you won’t be able to bring it up to take a look around. That’s ok, if you cant lock eyes with beautiful eyes keep looking for their shoulders.
When punches come and you have trouble blinking, lay yourself on the floor stomach on the ground, and throw a tennis ball against the wall coming back to your face, catch it with your hands. Try not to blink, build the tolerance of not blinking or flinching.
Use The Feet
You arent a punching bag, don’t act like one you have feet to use them.
First off I would start using my feet by stepping, settling my feet where they are then punching.
You can move forward to take space and close the distance or you can move back and create space.
When I get good at that I will start punching while I move my feet. Connect the left hand to the left foot when you punch and the right hand to the right foot. Take short choppy steps, this helps so you don’t bring the feet together.
The downside is you don’t cover much ground. Upside you have short quick punches and can still make quick cuts with your feet.
You can go on the opposite foot and opposite hand, I have done this before. You will cover more ground with the feet and longer punches with the hands.
The downside is you will be slightly off-balance and a stiff jab can knock you down. The upside is you gain more rotation in your upper body creating more power.
Don’t forget your defense, we all love offense, but what if I told you the best offense was a great defense.
That’s right. If they can’t hit you they don’t throw as many punches or they do because they are frustrated and now they are just wasting energy getting tired. Either way, it’s a win-win.
The hands-up defense, not much to be said here we all know to keep our hands up to not get hit.
That said, here’s a tip if you struggle, use one arm to punch, and the opposite keeps on the cheek. Between the cheek and your fist hold a piece of paper there and don’t let it drop.
Are your shoulders getting tired? Pick up some light 2-3 lbs weights and shadow box with no punches, just footwork, and hands up.
Speedbag drills are awesome to keep the rhythm but also to burn out those shoulders, 2-4 rounds a day.
If you are still having trouble here’s a quick drill, try getting hit in the head till it makes you want to put your hands up
We all think we have our elbows in until we get cracked to the gut. It cracks me up looking at footage of myself thinking I was keeping my elbows in the whole time.
So, let’s fix it. Grab a tennis ball and tuck it between your elbow and your body, squeeze and hold it there as you punch with the opposite hand.
Another trick I like to use is, thinking of resting my elbows on my ribs, I got my brain to believe this was easier than keeping them out floating in the air.
Conserve your energy, don’t be wasteful. The better fighter doesn’t always win, the fighter that can last longer does.
How to build energy for boxing? If you think about it, it’s alot of short bursts of action. Do alot of sprints in your workout, right after trying to catch your breath as fast as you can to do another sprint.
Your goal is to cut down the time it takes for your rest in between each set.
While you are in the ring performing, the best advice I can give you is to not look tired, stay ready in your fighting position like you are going to attack.
Looking like you are charged up and ready to go stalls your opponent making them second guess if you are ready to counter or if you are planning your attack.
How can you get better at hiding your expressions of exhaustion? Join a poker tournament near you.
“If you ain’t first your last” as the great Ricky Bobby would say. How does that apply to boxing?
Well, when you are waiting for the action to start and you let your opponent initiate it, you let them control the pace of the fight.
You can take back control of the fight by countering their attack, but if you are always waiting for their offense to make a move you can lose points with the judges for being inactive.
To be a great counter puncher you still make the first move. If you watch Floyd Mayweather’s fights he is always probing with the jab keeping his opponent off balance and maintaining the distance he likes.
He’s reading their reactions and watching for openings.
So how do we be first? Start with the jab!
What is it? How to do it? Why do we use it? When is this most effective!?
Feinting in boxing is the ultimate deception. It is an attack to get your opponent to react. Feinting enables you to exert pressure without even throwing a punch.
How we use it, use the hand, the body, the feet.
The hand will act like it’s about to jab, but it’s only doing a quarter of the movement.
The body rotates or crouches into position. In a sharp fast-like movement.
The front foot is going to tap forward and back once aggressively like you are dipping your toes in hot water and need to pull back.
We use this technique to draw our opponents out of their defense and learn their reactions to our movements. This helps find openings and can also buy you some time to rest while they wonder what’s coming.
After you feint this is most effective by following up with a punch. If you feint continuously with no attack after, it becomes useless. Your partner will know you are all show and no action.
You don’t have to throw a punch every time, he always probes but you have to get some swings in. Be unpredictable as well.
Different feints with different punches, use the ladder, same side punching, and switching tempo.
Choose a Guard
So we have many guards but there are three very common ones, High guard, Conventional, and Low.
Tips to be successful.
HIgh guard, condition your body to take more punishment than usual, you will be exposing your core to your opponent. This guard works well if you have long arms to stay on the outside, whip your punches till you work your way inside.
There is a risk of getting hit if you don’t have great reflexes or footwork. Make sure you are at least above average.
David Benavidez is a great fighter to watch.
Conventional, the most used guard there is because it’s the safest. Hands up elbows in. You can go anywhere with this guard
You still want to have good footwork and reactions. Work on angles when you train to move around your opponent. Work the jab to get inside their guard and to keep them out of yours.
Grab a slip ball to dodge, work that head movement. A conventional guard is easy to see punches coming now you just have to react quick enough.
Think of Anthony Joshua for example, a very fundamentally sound basic boxer.
Low guard, this is one of my go-to’s when I get tired holding my lead hand up. This isn’t full-on hands down but you are more exposed to the face.
To succeed, you must have superior footwork to get quickly out of danger and upper body reflexes dodging punches. Not alot of people can perform this.
To make this style work you need to be able to counter off your movement, I would suggest that you are a pretty good dancer for this guard.
Blast some music and start dancing is my training advice.
Tyson Fury is one of the modern great heavyweights who are great at moving off the ropes with his hands down, check him out.
Quick note, you can switch between all these styles if you are good enough, you don’t have to be locked into just one. Professional boxers do it all the time.
Slip, dip, roll, step back, parrying!
All terms and moves that will help you be a better boxer.
Slips are best for straight punches, no need to move your head, just move your shoulders and core to take your head off the line.
Dips can be used for two punches, hooks primarily, and straight punches because you will be getting underneath them. Try to keep a tight slip to come back with a counter after you make them miss.
Roll, roll, and roll some more. You can use the shoulder roll for straight punches and roll the whole body with hooks off the arms. This is good so you don’t absorb the full impact of the punch.
Step back to take a step forward or just take a step back and punch as they come in. This can be used against any punch as you are just getting out of the way. You can step back with both feet and give space.
Or you can take a step back with just your rearfoot and come right back in as they miss. Reclaiming the spot you want in the fight.
Parrying is another great defense that can be used for all the punches! The downside is you can get stuck with your feet in one spot.
Slips, grab a slip ball. Slip balls will help you move your head off the line of attack. When you slip don’t let your head go past your knee, and ben at the waist.
Transfer your weight onto each leg that you are slipping over.
When you dip I dip we dip, a rope long enough to be tied to any two pints can help with dips. You will get under the rope and to the other side by using your legs and your feet.
A common mistake is bending over with the back, that’s a no-no. Keep your head up and bend at the hips and knees. Now take a half of a step to the left or right and the trailing foot follow.
Thinking of drawing a U with your head is a useful way to imagine how you should look.
Roll, shoulder rolls are awesome practice them by having a friend or coach throw straight punches at you and you time their release.
Bring the shoulder up and in towards your chin, twist at the whips, and keep the core tight.
Step back, the famous Muhammad Ali picture you all know it right, dodging Joe Frazier’s punch. Classic!
Ok, so, when doing the step back keep the front foot planted and the back foot releases backward.
You want to get a slight lean with your body but you don’t want it passing that back heal. Instead, keep it over the heel and have a slight bend in that back knee.
Practice by having that slip ball go side to side instead of forward and back.
Enter the matrix with this move.
Parrying, absolutely love this defense. You get to stay right in front of the opponent look them dead in the eyes and tell nope.
When you parry a punch from either an orthodox or southpaw make sure you don’t, he always probes have your hand block across your body, block on the same side the punch is coming from.
Keep your hand tight and your elbow tucked close to your body to absorb the impact. Slightly bring your hand forward to meet them with pressure.
This is best to practice with a partner or coach to get the actual feel for it. Work on the form by using a mirror, practice not extending the hand too far forward.
Stay tight with this guard and don’t fall for feints, this will be your biggest foe.
Off The Line
Getting your head off the line in three simple steps.
First what this means is not staying in front of your opponent’s line of sight, his aim is a straight line to your head.
Yes, there are hooks and uppercuts, and this applies to them too.
You can get off by doing a defensive maneuver slip, dip, are the easiest.
Another way is to move your feet.
The best way is when you are punching and moving your head at the same time.
You can step and punch or you can punch and slip at the same time. Dip and punch, step back and punch. So many ways it’s about being creative. You don’t want to punch and stand right in front of your attacker.
We all have text necks now so this should be easy. If you are having trouble I have the solution.
We are going back to the tennis ball, my favorite, tuck it under your chin and keep it there as you shadow box or hit a bag.
We usually bring up the chin for a couple of reasons, it’s uncomfortable or we want to see our opponent clearer.
Bring the shoulders up when blocking to help protect the chin, after you are out of danger relax the shoulders to save energy.
Controlling the fight against a come-forward fighter is tough, it’s like trying to keep a bugging fly off you.
The simple way to do this is by keeping them at the end of your jab. Fully extended, that means using your feet to create space and breaking their rhythm with that jab!
After you established the jab as a threat, now you can feint with it. Feinting keeps them guessing and wondering. A feint has to be followed up with a punch more often than not.
Lastly is don’t stand still, you can’t stand in front of a bull and expect to not get hit. You have to move to the sides and use angles.
Starts from the ground up!
Be in your desired position at any given time while maintaining proper form and balance to attack or defend.
When you move your feet you can be explosive by pushing off either foot to move faster in your desired direction.
You can be in and out of action quickly or cut an angle fast.
Good push-offs are done on the balls of your feet, staying light and ready to pounce.
Everybody does this footwork naturally. This is like a short skip but in your boxing stance keeping one foot in front of the other.
Very easy and wastes less energy than other footwork. The best time to use it is when you are closing the distance fast on an opponent that backing up or you, he always probes moving back.
The trick to using this effectively is to keep the legs bent and don’t hop up and down to mush shift your body weight forward and back.
Also, known as a kickback. Great for moving back and around at the same time.
The front foot will slide back and the rear foot will move out to the side. Use this against aggressive fighters or when you are in the pocket trading blows and you need a quick adjustment.
Practice in front of a heavy bag, you can put tape on the floor to practice where your feet want to land.
You can combine them both tape on the floor in front of the heavy bag!
Sneaky sneaky! You have probably seen them or not who knows. They look like you are sticking your foot out into the pool to see if it’s a good temperature to get in.
When you are slightly out of range you can use this to start getting a feel if they are going to give you that space or not. They may back up and you take it or they hold their ground and you still take it.
You get a wide stance doing this technique, be sure not to widen your stance too largely.
Sounds exactly like it is, using your rhythm whatever that looks like (we all have different rhythms), to step in and on the attack.
When there is no action going on is when you will see this being used, to stay loose and ready for action.
An object in motion stays in motion.
Careful with this as you can get timed. Use feints to throw off someone timing you.