The boxing craze continues to grow with awesome boxing clubs like LegendsBoxing popping up all over. And there's a reason for it—boxing is an exceptional entire body workout. You'll sweat, punch out any bad feelings, and feel like a total badass while doing it.
Sure, boxing may look intimidating, but it doesn't have to feel that way. Arming yourself with a few basic moves before your first class or training session will set you up for success in the ring. But before you get going, you'll first want to brush up on your stance and breathing technique—then, master the basic moves we have listed below.
First Things First: Set Your Stance
When you stand in a boxing stance, there are many subtle changes that immediately make it easier to find a stable fighting position, which will improve your boxing technique. You will find that your punches reach farther without forcing you to overextend your lead foot into a vulnerable position.
You will also notice that you're less likely to lose your balance when you have to react quickly, pivot away from an opponent's punch, or extend onto your toes during a one-two combo. Having a good stance allows you to throw a wider variety of punches without leaving you too exposed.
You'll have more power, mobility, and balance the moment you find your stance and while everyone's stance will vary based on their own personal structure, finding a good boxing stance—one that is suitable for you—still necessitates following some basic guidelines.
Here are the guidelines to master the proper technique for a strong boxing stance:
- Stand up tall with your back straight and place your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Shift one foot slightly in front of the other, keeping both of your feet mostly parallel to each other. Your lead foot should be far enough ahead of your back foot so that you can evenly shift your weight when throwing a jab but close enough to maintain good balance. Your lead foot is the one that is on the same side as the hand you use to throw a jab.
- Plant your lead foot flat on the ground and raise the heel of your back foot slightly off the floor with your toes planted firmly and ready to pivot.
- Bring both of your hands right above your chin. Make tight fists, keeping your thumb outside and beneath your knuckles. In your stance, your knuckles should be facing up towards the sky. Be sure to keep your hands level and your elbows tucked into your sides. After you throw a punch, both of your hands should then immediately return to this guard position for a strong defensive stance that keeps your head and upper body safe from another fighter's punches.
- Slightly bend your knees and hips slightly, keeping your back fairly straight.
- Balance your weight 50/50 between your front and rear foot. You should feel level but ready to move into footwork.
The foot that you place in front will change depending on whether you're left or right-handed. Left-handed fighters should place their right foot in front, called a southpaw stance, while right-handed fighters should place their left foot in front in an orthodox stance. Simply put, your lead foot is the opposite of your dominant hand.
Breathe Like A Boxer: Proper Breathing Technique
Believe it or not, one of the most often overlooked aspects of technique is proper breathing.
Proper breathing in boxing is very important and can ensure that a boxer is maximizing every technique's potential. It affects more of a boxer's game than you may think and is a very big factor in how a boxer performs in a fight.
To breathe properly, inhale to prepare for a punch. As you throw, exhale fast through your mouth (versus your nose) with a closed jaw. This should sound kind of like a hiss.
In a real match, you could risk breaking your jaw if your mouth is open and you take a hit straight to the chin. The purpose of this sharp exhale is to engage the core and connect the punch to your body. This breathing technique helps with both timing and power.
Basic Boxing Punches
Now that you've got the boxing stance and breathing technique down, it's time to learn how to throw a punch!
There are four main punches in boxing:
- Jab - a sudden punch.
- Cross - a straight punch.
- Hook - a short side power punch.
- Uppercut - a short swinging upward power punch.
The jab is the beginner punch that you'll likely start with practically every boxing class. It's also referred to as "one" when calling out combos.
- Start in your boxer stance with your hands next to your nose. Your back heel should be lifted ever so slightly off the floor with your fists closed and fingertips facing your chin.
- Keep your hips in place as you punch straight out with your lead hand. As you throw your punch, twist the knuckles of your hand so that when your arm is extended, your fingertips face the floor.
- Be sure to keep your rear hand tight in a tight fist, tucked, and at the ready.
- Immediately return your lead hand to the starting position.
A cross—or a number "two" punch—is a powerful straight punch thrown across the body originating from the dominant hand. The cross is an effective knockout blow that can be utilized in many situations.
- Begin in a boxer stance with the weight mostly in your front foot, and your knees slightly bent. Keep your fists closed with fingertips facing your chin.
- Punch your right hand straight forward. Your fingertips should face the floor when your arm is fully extended. As you throw your punch, pivot on the ball of your back foot and rotate your hips forward.
- Immediately return your right hand and hips to the starting position.
Punches 'three' and 'four' are typically your right hook and left hook. The hook is arguably one of the most effective punches in the sport of boxing. Below is how to throw a proper left hook:
- Begin in your boxer stance, with your hands close to your nose. Your back heel should be lifted slightly off the floor with the weight mostly in your toes. Have your fists closed tight with your fingertips facing your chin.
- With your elbow bent to 90-degrees, punch with your left hand and bring your forearm completely out in front of you, ending like it's on a shelf in line with your shoulders. Your knuckles stay up facing the sky, with your fingertips facing the floor. Your hand, feet, and hips should all move as one, and your foot pivots slightly.
- Stop the punch with your fist directly in front of your face, making sure not to twist past it.
- Be sure to keep your back hand in a tight fist, tucked at the ready, underneath your eye.
- Return your hand, hips, and feet to the starting position.
Punches 'five' and 'six' are also called your left and right uppercuts. In this close range move, imagine you are landing a powerful punch underneath your opponent's chin.
- Like the other punches, start in your boxer stance, hands right next to your nose. Your back heel should be lifted slightly off the floor, and the weight should be mostly in your front foot with your knees bent. Keep your fists closed with your fingertips facing your chin.
- Pivot on the ball of your back foot, turning your knee and hip forward as your right hand swipes up toward the sky from your hip. Be sure to keep your elbow bent and fingertips facing you as you imagine ending the punch right under the other fighter's chin.
- Keep your left hand in a tight fist, tucked, and at the ready.
- Return your right hand and hip to the starting position.
Basic Boxing Moves
In addition to learning the above basic punches, it's also important to learn some of the basic boxing moves, such as the slip and roll.
The slip is an effective defensive head movement intended to get you out of the path of an oncoming straight punch from your opponent. Slipping can cause your opponent to miss their punch while, in turn, putting your body in balance for a counter punch.
To Slip: start in your boxing stance with your fists up to guard. If your opponent throws toward your right side, rotate from your waist to the left, drop your left shoulder, bend your knees, and crunch to the left to slip outside the line of your opponent's shot.
Repeat on the right side if your opponent throws to the left.
The roll is another effective defensive movement used to avoid your opponent's hooks by bending your knees and shifting the weight from the lead side to the backside, and vice versa (rolling in vs. rolling out).
To roll: start in your boxing stance. As your opponent throws a shot like a hook, for example, send your hips back and bend your knees like a squat, then shift your body weight from one leg to the other as you rise back up.
A Final Word
Boxing is not only an incredible sport but an amazing way to get in shape. Learn the boxing basics and find a gym like LegendsBoxing to help guide you on your fitness journey. Trust us - you'll be glad you did!