Getting starting with boxing isn’t always an easy task. It requires proper equipment, tools and techniques. Ask a professional boxer, and you might quickly get overwhelmed with the amount of information and technicalities.
This sport, however, doesn’t have to be a complex and elaborate process. With the right insights beforehand and some useful boxing tips, you should quickly start to throw some serious punches.
To ease your introduction into it, we’ve put together a list of the top seven boxing tips for beginners. For the best experience, we recommend following each of these steps, progressively, one by one.
#1. Acquire Proper Equipment
Before even thinking about boxing and exercising, you need the right gear. This way, you’ll be better equipped, and it’ll also prevent potential injuries.
There are several options when it comes to punching bags. The best one for you will rely on the type of boxing you’re aiming for.
Hanging Punch Bags
Hanging bags are ideal for practicing powerful strikes and increasing muscle mass. Since they’re heavier, they’re able to take stronger punches.
If you’re looking to set one of these up on your own, it can be complicated. You’ll need to install a beam to the ceiling, where your bag will be suspended.
Free-Standing Punch Bags
Freestanding models are, on the contrary, less resistant but more portable and easier to install. Refer to this article to find more about the comparison between hanging and free standing heavy bags.
Speed Punch Bags
Speed bags are designed to increase boxing accuracy and pace — the stronger you punch, the faster it’ll bounce back. Smaller and lighter, they come in two main shapes: reflex or traditional speed bag.
Wall Punch Bags
Finally, wall models are perfect if you lack space. They lay almost flat on a panel and allow for all types of punches.
Even if you feel that you won’t be striking hard enough to wear gloves, your knuckles need to be supported at all times. This starts with hand wraps, which should be worn under your boxing gloves.
- Slip your thumb through the loop located at one edge of the rope.
- Start by securing your wrists while ensuring that the fabric lays flat.
- Continue wrapping around your knuckles.
- Make a few passes from the wrist and between each finger — this will prevent the band from slipping off your knuckles after a few punches.
- Wrap any remaining material around your wrist.
If you thought there was only one kind of gloves, you’re out of luck. Among the various types available, beginners should start with regular training models. They provide the needed padding for both bag drills and sparring. This means that they can be used for light and heavy punches.
Consult this helpful chart to get an idea of weight and age to glove size:
As you progress, you can upgrade to more specialized models such as bag, sparring or competition gloves. Also, don’t forget the importance of proper maintenance of your boxing equipment, especially your gloves where the moisture and poor ventilation can be a cesspool of bacteria.
All routines are precisely timed, and clocking your workouts isn’t an option. You’ll find budget-friendly devices, which you can set at various intervals. Some models come with a remote, and others can be wrapped around your arm.
If your watch or your phone offers this functionality, you might not need anything else. What matters is to know when the time is up, to switch up your training combinations. Modern cellphones usually have a countdown timer function; you can also download free timer apps or purchase a standalone timer for interval training.
Boxing shoes might be the most useful item in the ‘optional equipment’ category. Although you can start your training with regular running shoes, boxing models are lighter and will help you move faster.
The shoe reaches just above your ankle, protecting it while rotating around your bag. When you start working on your footwork, these will make a huge difference.
#2. Decide Where You’ll Practice
Depending on your budget and level of interest, you’ll find numerous centers offering boxing lessons for beginners. Ideally, try to meet your trainer before purchasing a package. Look for busy gyms with many trainers.
The best centers generally display pictures of their winners. If boxers bring in their family members, this is a good sign.
These establishments typically welcome everyone and often only charge a small fee. They were first established to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble. Although they’re best suited to get started rather than to perfect your skills, all levels tend to be represented — from beginners to professional boxers.
Professional boxing clubs can be intimidating at first. Expect to sweat and get ready for hardcore training. These clubs, however, should certainly bring you outside of your comfort zone. Your boxing skills should improve faster than in any other gyms.
Mixed Martial Arts Gyms
As regards to mixed martial arts (MMA) gyms, it’s important to differentiate the commercial ones from the real MMA centers. If a gym includes any other type of workouts than MMA, carry on searching for a true MMA gym.
MMA establishments should only offer kickboxing, grappling or boxing classes, and should teach specialized combat techniques.
Regular Fitness Gyms
If you’d like to start with casual boxing, fitness centers are a good way to begin. They generally provide all the equipment needed — such as bags and gloves — and provide fun and great cardiovascular exercise.
If you’d like to get serious and learn the proper techniques, however, they might not be the best choice. Trainers’ services are usually more expensive, and often without the necessary boxing qualifications.
Many boxers decide to train at home. If this appeals to you, consider how much space you have available for the needed equipment. If you live in a spacious flat, any boxing bag will be adequate.
If you live in a condo, however, you’ll need to put some thought into which type of bag will fit your living space. To know more about the best punching bags for apartments, see our article here.
Some models can be cumbersome to set up alone. If you aren’t planning on getting help, stay away from hanging bags if possible. They’re the most complicated product to install, and you’ll need to get extremely creative to do it on your own.
Finally, unless you live in a detached home, be mindful of your neighbors. Quiet bags will be able to better absorb sounds and vibrations. Wall bags will send noise and vibrations through to your neighbors.
#3. Learn the Proper Form
Mastering the right technique isn’t only essential to show off your skills and beat your opponent. It’s also critical to avoid getting hurt. If you aren’t planning on taking lessons, here are the most important boxing techniques for beginners.
Your boxing stance is your go-to position before and after every strike. If your right hand is the most powerful, place your right fist backward and your left leg in front. Bring your fists up to your chin, your elbows down.
The above is an orthodox stance — the mirror opposite, with your right foot forward and left fist back, is known as southpaw.
Keep your knees slightly bent to maintain a good balance. It’ll also allow you to respond to an attack faster.
Jabs and Straights
The jab forms as the most basic punch in boxing. Making a forward punch with the front fist, it requires the least amount of energy. It’s also the only strike where your body and your hips will mostly stay still.
Quickly extend your arm and rotate your wrist towards your opponent. In a burst, bring it back to your boxing stance.
Straight punches are similar but made with the backward arm. While hitting, your hips will follow the movement, giving it more power.
An uppercut strikes from the bottom up, in a loop shape. Your arm stays bent at all times, and you’ll end the punch with your palm facing you. While hitting, rotate your hips in a 90-degree angle to generate more power.
For a left side hook, your right foot stands backward. Your body and front leg rotate towards the right side. Your elbow comes up in a 90-degree angle, to reach head height. Mirror the movements for a right hook.
Avoid over-rotating; you’ll lose energy in the process and might hurt yourself. This isn’t taking into account the extra time that your rival can take advantage of.
#4. Learn Footwork
Footwork isn’t only about body positioning during a punch. It’s also how you move between strikes and the way you react in defense or attack. Falling while boxing is something to avoid at all costs, and proper footwork should prevent this situation.
As your bag is moving towards or away from you, proceed with forward and backward steps. Always keep your knees bent to be ready for your next move.
When advancing, your front leg is leading, while your back leg slides forward. If you need to step back, your rear foot is now leading, your front leg only following the movement — don’t cross your legs over! Having one foot on the ground at all times should improve your balance and stability.
#5. Breathing Technique
Your muscles need oxygen to create energy. Using a good breathing technique is, therefore, critical in maintaining your stamina. Respiration sets the tone for your practice, slowing down or increasing energy.
Breathe in before every punch, and breathe out as you reach your opponent. Remember to develop your cardiovascular and muscle endurance – it will help you inhale and exhale through your nose more comfortably and longer. Develop a good breathing technique to emphasize your strikes by forcing out air by saying the letter “C” or “Q”. Time this with the end of each strike/punch you throw.
Fast and repetitive respiration can tire you faster, causing hyperventilation. Practice breathing in slowly and then out in a fast burst — this helps to stay properly oxygenated.
Ultimately, you must develop a breathing technique that feels natural. This is why it’s important to put in the time and effort in training through sparring, heavy bag workout, and shadow boxing.
#6. Don’t Forget to Warm Up
One of the common mistakes among beginners is omitting to warm up. Boxing for beginners is exciting, and most of us just want to start punching. Gradually waking up your muscles, heart and joints should prevent injuries and can take as little as 10 minutes.
- Cardio: start by getting your heartbeat up, using a jumping cord.
- Shoulders: make large circles with both arms pointed sideways, then extend them firmly towards the front and back.
- Elbows: with your arms extended on each side, start with elbow extensions. In the same position, continue with elbow circles/rotations.
- Rotate your hips, head and wrists: towards one direction, then the other.
- Leg stretches: finish with flexibility exercises, such as low but deep squats. Follow with hip-opening stretches.
#7. Set Yourself a Goal
Lastly, give yourself an objective. Whether it’s weight loss, building muscle mass or improving your boxing technique, knowing where you’re heading will make all the difference. And when training gets challenging, or you can’t walk after a tough session, you’ll remember why you’re doing this.
Don’t get stuck in your comfort zone, but regularly increase the challenge. This could be done by learning a new routine or training with more experienced boxers.
Write your goals down or visualize them. The important thing is to always have them close to your mind. A key thing to remember is not to compare your skills with others. It isn’t a race, and everyone learns at their own pace.
Mastering boxing techniques doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t be intimidated when starting; everyone was a beginner at some point. Have some patience and keep training. Repetition is the key to success.
Boxing skills are acquired gradually. The most important thing is to have fun and keep learning. Don’t forget to hydrate and know when to take a break from training.
Initial equipment is fairly minimal, and various centers offer boxing classes or training for beginners.
This sport can get as serious or as casual as you want. If you feel intimidated, bring some friends along. It’s easier to punch someone you know, and you won’t hold back, nor will you feel judged for your abilities.
We hope that these 7 boxing tips for beginners will give you a head start for your next practice. Just enjoy the workout and do your best!