If you’re intent on picking up boxing and don’t know where to start, here are the four key training methods. There are other things you can do such as sprints, jumping rope, and lifting weights that accrue obvious benefits to your conditioning, footwork, and strength, respectively, but they don’t focus on technique in the same way as do the following exercises. We suggest that you practice all of them, as they are all complementary to one another and will provide a strong foundation as you continue to spend time with the sport.
Shadowboxing is a great way to warm up and get some good cardio into your workout. It can serve as a great means of practicing your fundamentals alongside your footwork. You should do two or three sets of shadowboxing at the start of your workout, which is to be somewhat reminiscent of a typical two-minute boxing round. Since you don’t need a partner or even any equipment to shadowbox, you can do this anywhere, and it serves as a great workout when traveling without access to equipment.
When shadowboxing, do your utmost to imagine an opponent squaring off against you and practice both offensive as well as defensive movements. Focus on practicing combinations as you would if you were sparring, always taking care to establish angles and keeping in mind a sense of space and positioning.
In every boxing movie, there is a scene that shows a speed bag. It is a staple of boxing training as it can greatly improve hand-eye coordination, improve reaction times, and strengthen and tone shoulders and arms significantly.
The heavy bag is designed around enhancing your punching power. When training with the heavy bag, it is imperative to consciously focus on incorporating as many muscles as possible while maintaining form and technique to yield the greatest amount of force possible. For those new to boxing, it is important to make every effort to incorporate the legs as the primary source of power generation, which may seem somewhat counter-intuitive to those less familiar with boxing, as it may seem like most of the power is generated from the upper body.
Alongside the benefits to power, the heavy bag provides an ideal opportunity to practice various combinations and improve boxing technique. The important thing to keep in mind is to stay relaxed while keeping your elbows in and hands up to always be protecting your most vulnerable parts (read: your jaw and face).
Perhaps the best of all worlds, working with a partner with focus mitts can be the most accurate representation of actual boxing. Ideally a good coach or trainer will point out times when your footwork is sloppy or when you let your guard down. You’ll have the opportunity to incorporate combinations, in which you should aim to use 3 to 6 punches at a time, while you practice maintaining proper distance against a moving target. Much like shadowboxing, training with focus mitts is best done in two or three minute “rounds” that simulate an actual boxing fight.