How to Box

Co-authored by wikiHow Staff | Reader-Approved

Updated: January 2, 2020 | Reader-Approved

Boxing is one of the most physically demanding sports. It requires a blend of power and quickness, plus excellent overall physical conditioning. If you'd like to start boxing, it's important to develop a good workout strategy in order to develop your strength and cardio system. You'll also need to pick up the basics of boxing, including learning some standard footwork plus offensive punches and defensive moves. If you’re a boxing novice, try joining a boxing gym where you can train and spar with more experienced boxers and boxing coaches.

Method 1 of 4:
Learning Boxing Fundamentals

  1. 1
    Develop a stable stance for effective defense. A strong, comfortable stance will enable you to unleash powerful punches and swiftly evade blows from your opponent. Always keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight evenly balanced on both feet.[1] Most of your weight should be on your back foot.
    • Keep your elbows in and your hands up, with your left under your cheek and your right under your chin. Keep your chin down at all times.
    • If you're a right-handed fighter, the proper stance is to have your left foot in front of you, pointing away from your opponent at a 45° angle. Your left heel should line up with your right toe. If you’re left-handed, reverse the stance and lead with your right foot.
  2. 2
    Stand on your toes and keep moving to practice your footwork. Good footwork in the ring will help you evade your opponents and move in quickly for a strike. Focus on making quick movements in the ring, pivoting and sliding with the balls of your feet when necessary. Avoid putting weight on your heels when moving into the boxing ring. This will move your center of gravity backwards ad make it easier for your opponent to knock you down.[2]
    • Keep your spine straight when you’re moving around in the ring. Keep your upper body relaxed so it won’t restrict your legs’ movement.
    • Also, never cross-step (put one foot in front of the other when you step forward). This can put you in an unbalanced, indefensible position.
  3. 3
    Tape your hands every time you spar. Wrapping your hands will protect them from being cut or seriously bruised while you box. Hook your thumb and pull the tape down and wrap it around your wrist 3 times. Then pull the tape up and wrap it around your hands 3 times.[3]
    • Bring the tape back down under the pad of your thumb and make “X” shapes in the gaps between your fingers. Do this starting with your pinky and ring fingers. Pull the tape through each gap, then twist it across the bottom of your hand along the upper pads.
    • Cross the tape over the back of your hand from right to left and then go underneath. Repeat the process for the other gaps.
    • When you've completed that, wrap around your thumb once and then around the back of your hand. Wrap your thumb again and then pull the tape across your palm. From here, wrap your knuckles 3 times and end by wrapping your wrist once.

Method 2 of 4:
Developing Offensive Punches

  1. 1
    Practice punching on a bag to develop proper form. Whether shadow-boxing or using a speed bag or heavy bag, new boxers must concentrate on using proper form when unleashing a blow. Using proper form means that you’ll need to develop a good sense of balance so that you’re not thrown off balance by throwing a punch. Also, practice keeping your hands in front of your face and returning to this defensive position after throwing a punch.[4]
    • Before punching, keep your hands close to your face and your elbows tight against your body.
    • Put your weight into the punches you throw, and follow through with each punch. This will help you land punches effectively and accurately on your opponent’s head or torso.
  2. 2
    Jab at your opponent to keep them at a distance. Jabbing is a basic punch which you’ll usually do with your weaker front hand. The jab is a short punch. To jab, drive your fist straight into your opponent’s face or torso.[5]
    • To maximize the effectiveness of the jab, professional boxers twist their arm and wrist just before making contact with their opponent.
  3. 3
    Throw a cross punch to counter punch a jab. As opposed to a jab, which is thrown straight in front of the body, deliver a cross punch by jabbing your dominant hand in a slightly upward motion across your body. If your opponent throws a left jab at you, they’ll leave themself open for your right hook. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet, and aim your punch across your body towards the right side of your opponent’s torso or face.[6]
    • Use the cross on its own to counter a jab, or put the jab and cross together for a 1-2 combo.
    • The shoulder helps power the cross punch. Also pay attention to your feet when throwing a cross. As you throw the punch, move your body weight from your rear foot up to your front foot.
  4. 4
    Throw a hook when you have time for a slower, powerful punch. The hook can be delivered to the head or body of the opponent. Lean your body to the side that you plan to hit from, and circle your arm around to punch the opponent in the unprotected side of their head or body. The hook is often used in combination with other punches. [7]
    • The hook’s sweeping delivery is its chief drawback, as it can leave you susceptible to a counterpunch. So, if you and your opponent are exchanging swift jabs back and forth, this isn’t the time to wind up for a hook.
  5. 5
    Use an uppercut to seriously damage your opponent. The uppercut is an upward blow unleashed by either hand that is highly effective when in close quarters. Throw an uppercut when you’re close to your opponent’s body. To uppercut, lower your arm to about waist-height, then swing it upward in an explosive burst. Aim to his your opponent squarely on their chin.[8]
    • Don’t try to throw an uppercut form more than 1 foot (0.30?m) away, or you may miss and leave yourself open to a counter-attack to your body.
  6. 6
    Combine punches to hit an opponent multiple times in a row. After they become adept at delivering a variety of punches, fighters usually develop combinations, in which they release a devastating flurry of blows on their opponent. The first combination most boxers learn is the 1-2 combo (a jab followed by a cross). Try putting together different combos of your own. Rely on building combos around punches that you feel good throwing.[9]
    • Another effective combo adds a hook to the 1-2 combo. If you're right-handed, this would be a left jab followed by a right cross and ending with a left hook.

Method 3 of 4:
Picking up Defensive Moves

  1. 1
    Learn to take a punch to increase your longevity in the ring. Boxing isn't all about throwing punches. Minimizing your opponent's blows is a vital part of the game, too. To take a punch, relax your body and keep eye contact with your opponent. This will help you figure out where they are planning to land their next punch. If your opponent is aiming their punches for your body, tighten up your core muscles and absorb the punches.[10]
    • Develop an effective boxing defense by mixing together various methods of deflecting, blocking, and dodging your opponent’s punches.
  2. 2
    Parry your opponent’s punches by knocking them away. After keeping your gloves up and chin down, the parry is probably the most basic defensive technique in boxing. To parry, hold your hands at the level of your face and, when your opponent throws a punch, move your hand to strike your opponent’s gloves and misdirect the punch.[11]
    • You’ll need to move fast to parry quick punches like jabs and crosses.
  3. 3
    Slip punches to dodge a punch altogether. The slip is performed by sharply rotating your hips and shoulders as your rival throws a punch aimed at your head. Also turn your chin sharply in the same direction that you’re turning your body. This will cause your opponent to miss their target (your head) altogether. It’s more difficult to slip punches directed at your body, since it presents a larger target. Instead, try to block blows aimed at your body.[12]
    • Slipping a punch works best if your opponent throws a punch from at least 2 feet (0.61?m) away.
  4. 4
    Block punches that your opponent throws at you. When blocking a punch, do not try moving your entire body out of the way to avoid the punch. Instead, absorb the impact with your gloves. Start with your gloves held defensively in front of your face, and move one or both gloves to defend an area of your body that your opponent is trying to punch.[13]
    • Be aware that blocking punches will gradually tire out your hands, and may reduce the effectiveness of your punches.
  5. 5
    Bob and weave to present a difficult target to your opponent. The bob is executed by bending the legs to avoid a high blow (e.g., a hook to the head). Bobbing is almost like ducking, although you’ll keep your head up and your eyes on your opponent. Follow up the bob with a weave to evade your opponent. To weave, arch your body just out of range of your opponent's extended glove and straighten back up.[14]
    • While the bob and the weave are technically separate defensive moves, they’re commonly paired together.
    • After weaving, strike out at your opponent with a jab.
  6. 6
    Roll your body to deflect your opponent’s punches. When you roll with punches, you won’t dodge them altogether. Instead, you’ll move your body away from your opponent’s glove to reduce the force of each punch. Press your gloves to your forehead, hold your elbows in against your body, and keep your chin against your chest.[15] When your opponent throws punches at you, roll your hips and torso to the right or left to deflect hits.
    • So, if your opponent swings at you with a right jab, swing your upper body to the left. While the jab will still strike you, its force will be much weaker than if you hadn’t rolled away from the blow.
    • Rolling provides little protection against side-body blows but is an effective defense against a barrage of punches, as your gloves and forearms absorb most of the impact.

Method 4 of 4:
Committing to a Comprehensive Training Regimen

  1. 1
    Start training at least 3 months before you begin boxing. Some boxing experts suggest that beginners train for 3 to 6 months before ever entering a ring. This allows fledgling fighters to reach peak physical condition and perfect basic techniques before engaging in their first match. You can put together your own training regimen, or join a gym which focuses on developing boxers.[16]
    • Most physical-conditioning programs for boxers can be broken down into 3 categories: cardiovascular, core exercises, and weight training.
  2. 2
    Work on cardiovascular exercises to develop high endurance. Boxers need to not only have great endurance capabilities but also must summon short bursts of power at key moments in a bout. To meet these physical requirements, boxers will vary their cardio training programs. Try to do at least 30 minutes of cardio training every day that you work out. Cardio can include things like jumping rope, running (indoors or outdoors), and training on stair-climbing machines.[17]
    • For example, boxers will vary the pace of their endurance-building runs to include brief, all-out sprints. This simulates the physical demands of fighting.
    • Fatigued fighters tend to drop their hands and leave their heads exposed. They also can't produce the energy to effectively counterpunch in late rounds of a bout.
  3. 3
    Perform core exercises to build up overall strength and dexterity. Boxers generate much of their power from the core of the body. Some of the most effective exercises include chin-ups and pull-ups, crunches, squats, and thrusts. Do 3 sets of each with 1-minute breaks in between exercises. Chin-ups and pull-ups should be done until you can't do any more. Do 20 reps of the other exercises.
    • By performing exercises that involve many muscle groups, a prizefighter can build a powerful core that forces all parts of the body to work cohesively.
  4. 4
    Weight train to build your upper-body muscles. Weightlifting helps new boxers build strength and punching power. Your chest, shoulders, and arms are of particular importance. The key in weight training for boxers is to develop the strength needed for explosive punches. This means doing 6 to 8 reps of each exercise with the heaviest weight you can handle. Do 3 sets of each and vary the exercises so your muscles don't plateau. Alternate days between core and weight training.
    • Upper-chest exercises include the flat bench press and dumbbell flies.
    • Target your shoulder muscles with dumbbell military presses and lateral raises.
    • Biceps curls and triceps kickbacks help build upper arm strength needed to increase punching power.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question
    How do you punch faster?
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    Staff Answer
    Punching is a movement that uses a lot of muscles and has to be done with good technique to do it well and fast. There are a few things you can do to speed up your punches, such as drilling on a speed bag, and working on a punching bag to punch as fast as you can. You can also improve your punching technique through drills and repetition, which over time, will increase your punching speed. The truth is, there isn't a secret to punching faster. It's just a matter of practice and using good technique.
  • Question
    How do you start boxing for beginners?
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    Staff Answer
    You can start by familiarizing yourself with the proper stances and punching techniques. You can also start shadowboxing on your own and throwing a few punches at a punching bag to get used to how it feels to hit something. But the best way to learn how to box and to learn correctly is to seek out an experienced boxing coach. Check only one for boxing gyms or classes in your area and start training under the direction of a coach who can make corrections and teach you how to properly box.
  • Question
    Can you teach yourself to box?
    wikiHow Staff Editor
    Staff Answer
    You can certainly learn the fundamentals of boxing on your own such as stance, punching technique, and head movement. You can also check out instructional videos to practice on your own. However, boxing is a difficult sport that requires a lot of technique that has to be taught to you by an experienced coach. If you really want to learn how to box, join a boxing gym and take classes with coaches who know their stuff and you'll improve your skills.
  • Question
    What do I need to start boxing?
    Community Answer
    You need some basic supplies, such as gloves and a punching bag. You also need good muscles, a healthy diet, positive motives, and a good attitude.
  • Question
    There are no boxing clubs in my area. What can I do?
    Community Answer
    Practice at home. Buy a bag and look up videos to help you. If you don't have a bag, shadow box.
  • Question
    Is boxing also for girls?
    Community Answer
    Yes, it's excellent for self defense, discipline and exercise.
  • Question
    How do I breath when boxing?
    Community Answer
    You should exhale before punching, as it contracts the muscles which helps you punch harder.
  • Question
    Is there a way to make equipment instead of buying it?
    Community Answer
    For the purpose of practicing, yes. You can wrap cloth or duct tape around your hands and wrist instead of buying gloves. For a punching bag, you can fill a pillowcase with dry sand and hang it from rafters or a tree.
  • Question
    How do I start boxing as a kid? What supplies do I need?
    Fall down house
    Community Answer
    Try looking for a local sporting store in your town. Look through the fighting equipment and try to find boxing gloves, punching pads, and, if your parents let you, a punching bag. you will need a partner to practice, and it is advised to wait until you are at least a teenager.
  • Question
    Is the leg movement important? How do I learn it?
    Fall down house
    Community Answer
    Yes, leg movement is very important as it helps slip before and slightly after punches. To improve, try to slip about 0.50 seconds after the punch is thrown.
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      • To get out of the corner, be sure to block. Then bob and weave your way back to the center of the ring.
      • Rolling is a technique often used by former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.
      • Learn how to evade opponents when you spar. For example, if you're facing a right-handed rival, move to your right. If you're facing a lefty, move to your left. This keeps a greater distance between you and your opponent's strong hand.
      • Spar with experienced fighters in order to learn new tricks and improve your skills. You may take a beating, but sparring against a superior fighter will help you learn how to box.
      • Stay in the center of the ring when you're sparring with a boxing partner. Don't get trapped along the ropes or in a corner.

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      Things You'll Need

      • Gloves
      • Boxing trunks
      • Headgear
      • Mouth guard
      • Heavy bag
      • Hand tape
      • Boxing boots

      About This Article

      Co-Authored By:
      wikiHow Staff Editor
      This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Together, they cited information from 17 references. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article meets our high standards.
      58 votes - 84%
      Co-authors: 27
      Updated: January 2, 2020
      Categories: Featured Articles | Boxing
      Article SummaryX

      To properly box, stand with your non-dominant foot in front of you, with the toes of your dominant foot lined up with the heel of your front foot. Keep most of your weight on your back foot, and hold your hands up with your elbows in towards your body. Always keep your chin down, and try to stay moving so your opponent will have a harder time hitting you. When you see an opening, jab out with your boxing glove to strike your opponent, and use your gloves to block their hits as well. Keep reading to learn the names of the different punches in boxing!

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