Boxing may seem like a relatively straightforward sport, but believe us when we say that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this much loved activity. Unbeknownst to many, a combination of strength, endurance, coordination, stance, and form is essential for anyone looking to master the art of boxing. If you are a beginner boxer, there are actually many things that you can do to ensure you train effectively from the very get-go. Today, we look at a complete guide to boxing for beginners, so keep on reading to find out more!
Conditioning Is Key
Before we start talking about conditioning, it is imperative that as a beginner boxer, you ensure that you have all the boxing equipment necessary in order to practice safely. This includes wraps, mouthguards, head guards, shin guards where necessary (depending on which other fighting styles you’ll be dabbling in), and of course, a quality pair of boxing gloves. Safety is key, and beginner boxers should never attempt to practice without PPE. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about conditioning.
A boxer’s conditioning determines how long they will be able to fight before their body gets too worn out. Conditioning will also determine how long you’ll last during your boxing workout or practice. As such, building up your strength and endurance is key if you’re looking to become a successful boxer. Professional boxers utilise a number of different workouts and training techniques to optimise their performance, and a regular workout plan may look something like this:
- Monday – STRENGTH TRAINING
- Tuesday – Speed Bag Workout // Run
- Wednesday – Punching Bag Workout // Leisurely Bike Ride
- Thursday – STRENGTH TRAINING
- Friday – Punching Bag Workout
- Saturday – Speed Bag Workout // Run
- Sunday – REST DAY // Leisurely Bike Ride
This may seem somewhat intimidating to you when you first embark on your boxing journey, but always remember that slow and steady wins the race. Start small and gradually work your way up in order to build endurance that will help your body sustain itself when you’re in the ring. Although strength training is not technically required, many boxers still choose to lift weights two or more times per week. Many boxers also choose to run at least a couple of times a week to improve overall endurance and stamina.
The Boxer Diet
It comes as no surprise that diet is something that is equally as important as building up endurance and stamina. Without a healthy diet, a boxer will be unable to reach peak performance, let alone recover from injuries quickly. The intensive nature of boxing will also require you to consume a high number of calories, so be sure to figure out your macronutrient intake needs to prevent yourself from undereating.
Often referred to as “The Boxer Diet”, many professional boxers tend to follow the following guidelines when it comes to nutrition:
- Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates are slowly broken down by the body, thus providing a boxer with long lasting energy that is required during practice sessions. Some great options include sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grains, legumes, and oats.
- Lean Protein: Protein synthesis is vital for improved muscle growth as well as muscle recovery. Protein also aids in cellular and tissue regeneration, so focus on including items such as chicken breast, fish, eggs, greek yoghurt, tofu, and lean beef into your daily diet.
- Healthy Fat: Healthy fats give the body the energy it needs to to produce hormones and support cellular growth. Add avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds to your daily diet, but be wary of portion sizes.
Basic Boxing Skills
Boxing only includes a handful of different movements, but you can be assured that these movements require careful refinement in order to master your techniques. The most common skills that you will need to learn as a beginner boxer include stance, footwork, punching and speed. Each of these skills must align with others perfectly in order to achieve mastery and become a top-level athlete.
Once you have mastered these essential skills, you can move on to learning boxing techniques. Take your time to learn these skills, and remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Mohammad Ali didn’t become a world champion overnight!
Basic Boxing Techniques
Just like the basic skills, boxing only requires a select few techniques that should be practised and mastered to perfection. Some of these techniques include:
- Jab – The jab is the most basic punch and is the lead in most combinations. To practice, first ensure that you are standing in your proper stance. Then, make a straight punch coming from your dominant hand.
- Cross: The cross is a straight punch, but unlike a jab, it comes from your dominant hand and carries more power. To practice, start with a boxing stance and rotate your dominant forward. Pivot on your dominant foot until your heel comes off the ground, shifting weight forward and extending your dominant arm forward to punch, rotating palm to face down. Then quickly snap the right fist back to face.
- Uppercut: The uppercut comes from lowering your arm and bringing up a punch in an upward motion. It is a move that is used to strike your opponent on the chin and deliver a knockout blow. To practice, first perform the exercise in front of a mirror to check on your form. After this, lower your body into a slight squat and powerfully scoop (or “cut”) the arm under and up and to the left. Continue to scoop and lift as you rotate your body left. Stop when you reach a standing position facing slightly left, and your fist is at chin height.
- Hook – When performing a hook, you will be using either hand in a horizontal motion. The hook is incredibly effective as it comes at an opponent from their peripheral vision. With hooks, speed equals power so be sure to practice your hooks on a heavy punching bag and remember to put your entire weight behind every punch.
And there you have it — a condensed guide on everything you need to know (and practice) to become an expert beginner boxer. The basic skills of boxing are simple to perform, yet difficult to master. Remember that boxing techniques can be performed at home or at your local gym by using a punching bag and that you don’t need anything fancy to master the basics.