Learn How to Box | Workout Guide for Beginners

learn how to box

Do you want to burn fat, develop your endurance, shape your entire body, and encourage your cardio and self defense? Well, boxing for exercise provides all of these benefits. And, it is a satisfying activity.

However, boxing is not about throwing a punch here and there or hitting the bag without a brain. This type of training is far more than that. It requires some basic knowledge, practice, and existing fitness.

To help you, I created this learn how to box guide from which you will learn the basics so you will not commit the mistakes I did some years ago.

Let’s start.


Learn boxing basics

1. Boxing Stance

The first you have to learn is the proper stance that provides stability, flexibility, balance for your body. Plus, it helps to throw punches and find the range. Using your feet the right way is essential for both boxing defense and offense purposes.

If you are right-handed, you will have the Orthodox stance when your left foot is ahead. If the left is your dominant hand, your right foot is going to be in front of you called southpaw stance.

Since, it is not easy to write how to get the proper stance, watch the following tutorial in which a professional fighter will teach you. Boxing stance for beginners step by step guide.

A few typical mistakes to avoid.

  • Do not lean forward or backward too much.
  • Center your weight to keep your balance and mobility.
  • Bent your knees slightly.
  • Do not plant your feet, make your lower and upper body relaxed allowing you to move quickly to all ranges.
  • Lift your shoulders a bit and keep your chin at your chest.
  • Don’t drop your hands. To avoid it, focus on self defense.

Practice! If you feel your lower body obey when you want to step away, your legs are relaxed enough which will be necessary for the footwork.


2. Boxing footwork

Beginners usually make the mistake that they stand at the same place during a workout. Have you ever seen a boxer doing that in the ring? Of course, not.

Footwork is critical for offense and defense. For example, you can step away from a particular punch, or you can step into a position from which you can target the opponent better.

It is also important to burn more calories since your lower body is activated. Hence, it boosts your heart rate.

The footwork seems to be an easy task to learn, but actually, it is pretty hard, since you have to keep the proper boxing stance all the time. And it is easy to forget about it. In most cases, the excellent footwork makes a boxer a champion, not the power of his blows.

To sum up, it requires a lot of practice since there are a lot of mistakes you can make.

From the following boxing techniques video, you can learn what watch out for.

How to practice?

The best two ways are shadow boxing and jump rope. With the help of the jump rope, you can strengthen your legs and learn the rhythm. While a shadow workout is an excellent opportunity to teach your body to “dance.” (I have read about boxers who went dancing lessons for better footwork.)

From the following video, you can learn a basic boxing moves and techniques to start.


3. Basic boxing punches – How to throw a punch the right way

Throwing punches seems to be the most natural part of a boxing training program for beginners, but they are after stance and footwork. Without, the previous two boxing fundamentals you cannot throw a proper punch and have a practice that will serve your needs.

Someone who has never hit the heavy bag before, or had boxing exercises, usually thinks that throw a punch. Yes, in the movies but in reality they are very complex movements that require your entire body not just the power of your arms.

Actually, throwing a punch with the power of your arms is the worst you can do. If your stance and footwork are right, the energy comes from your entire body (starting from your feet). Hence, it is going to be more powerful as if you were using the strength of your arms.

What are are the basic punches?

  • Jab
  • Cross
  • Left and right hooks
  • Left and right uppercuts

These are the boxing hits from which all combos built up aside from the defense hand moves.

The jab is the easiest to learn, but it is also the most important one that you are going to use the most. And maybe crosses and hooks are the most popular since they are the easiest to launch powerful hits (power punch). But, in most of the cases, beginners do them poorly.

The following boxing tutorial will help you to learn the proper punching technique.


What about punch combinations?

Well, until you are not so good at the elemental punches, it is good for nothing to perform combinations.

If you feel your jabs, crosses and hooks are OK, which are maybe the easiest to learn, you can try simple boxing combination punches like:

  • jab – cross
  • jab – jab – cross
  • jab – right hook
  • jab – cross – left hook

4. Conditioning

Hitting a heavy punching bag or just performing shadow boxing requires good condition even if they seem to be comfortable.

The most important is to develop your cardio. Running and jump roping are two boxing training exercises for that. I do both high-intensity interval training and regular, steady workouts as well. But, such exercises like high knees, burpees, plyometric jumps, etc. are also beneficial.

The next is strength training. You do not need to lift weights, for that bodyweight exercises will do. They are perfect to get stronger in a natural way without ruining your footwork, knocks, stance, etc.

Why did I say that? I tested on myself. When I lifted weights for a period, my footwork became much worse. It also slowed me down and with that the dynamism of my blows. I felt stickiness in my shoulder muscles.

The best boxing exercises for beginners are the various push-ups, squats, pull ups/chin ups.


To sum up

These are the boxing skills for beginners you have to learn before working out. There are more such as defense skills, but at the beginning, I think they are enough to start boxing workouts.

Practice as much as you can what you have learned above. The more natural the moves and punches come, the more enjoyable and efficient your training will be.


How to start boxing at home?

The beginning: shadow boxing

Well, getting a heavy punching and hit it is very tempting, but I say wait a little a bit.

From my experience and my friends when we get a bag, we forget the basics. I mean, the proper footwork, punches, stance, everything. We plant our feet in front of the punching bag and hit it without any purpose with power. Yes, it is cool, but that is not a boxing workout.

So, I recommend to do shadow workouts for a period, not just to refine the boxing drills and techniques, but get so familiar with “dancing” that you may not stick to the ground behind the heavy bag. Plus, it is good for conditioning as well because the bag work will be much harder.

Anyway, I recommend always to have shadow boxing in your plan.

Tip: Try to get a sparring partner, and “play” with each other. That’s the best way to understand the boxing style and get used to the various movements.


What do you need for a boxing gym?

heavy bag

Getting a boxing bag

If you have not got a punching bag yet, you need to get one for your boxing gym. There are two types, freestanding and hanging. Both have their pros and cons, but I believe hanging ones are more durable and provide better training experience. Although, they are more difficult to install.

The rule of thumb when buying a boxing bag is to get one which is half of your weight. That size will stand more powerful punches, develops your punching power, but swings enough to practice punches, counter attacks, blocking, footwork (pivot, slipping).

I have written a detailed guide about how to buy a heavy punching bag here.

You can also have a speed bag or double end bag that helps to develop your hand-eye coordination and hand speed, but it is not must-have boxing equipment.

Related: How to set up a boxing gym at home.


Other boxing essentials for safe boxing bag workouts

  • Never hit the bag with bare hands since you can suffer severe injuries besides scratches. You must use both hand wraps and boxing gloves.
  • Boxing gloves alone are not enough. Wraps protect your entire hand from direct impact, keeps your wrists straight, etc. You can learn how to wrap your hands here and how to choose the right heavy bag gloves here.
  • Boxing shoes are also useful since they hold your feet and protect them. But, a good pair of training shoes will do first.
  • Buy a speed jumping rope that allows quick rotation.
  • A mouthguard is not necessary if you practice alone, but to imitate the real match in the ring, it’s worth to use.

How to have effective and safe punching bag workout

We were talking about a typical mistake of just standing behind the bag and hitting it with no brain. Here is my advice on how to avoid that.

Imagine that the bag is a real opponent and fight with it as if you were in the ring (or as if you were sparring with someone)

Would you stand in the same place? Would you throw the same straight punches? Would you let your head to be being hit?

Of course, no!

Would you be tricky to hit the opponent from various directions and his different body parts?

Yes, of course!

Do the same with the boxing bag. It is your real enemy who wants to beat you in pieces, but you do not let him, you will be the winner with your tricks and stamina. Fight!

About strength.

There is no need to hit the bag with full power all the time. If you do that, after 30 seconds, you will just huff and puff, and you will not have the energy to finish the round and the next ones. Divide your energy.

Just check out a boxing match, they get a steady pace during the fight and have only a few “I KO you now” intervals.

Each round should have a purpose

Since you are a beginner, it is a good idea to train one particular boxing technique within a round. For example, in round one, you practice your jabs, in two focus on your crosses, in three your head movement, in four the body shots, in five counter punches, etc.

You can also have “lighter rounds” and “harder ones” when you increase the speed or power of your punch. Or one when you practice footwork. Apparently, you can get rounds when you mix everything up.

There are a lot of things to practice when you box.

About the length and number of rounds

Those depend on your condition. For newbies, I think 3-4×1-2 minutes long rounds with 1-2 minutes rest are OK to start with.

And, as your endurance and technique improve, you can lengthen the round up to 3 minutes and shorten the rest to 1 minute. And, of course, have more rounds. I aimed to be able to do 10×3 minute rounds with 1-minute rest.

I suggest you get a goal as well.


Example boxing workouts for beginners

Finally, here are excellent boxing workouts you can follow, and you can get a virtual trainer as well.

The last boxing routine for beginners video is the one that forces me to start this sport.

beginner heavy bag workout
Related: Find the best cardio boxing workouts to lose weight here

Conclusion

I hope these boxing tips for beginners help you to understand the basics. A boxing training program is a very efficient way to exercise that makes you a rock-solid body. It develops your confidence, agility, and may help you to defend yourself from attacks. It is not boring since there is always something to learn and something that requires even more practice.

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James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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