Are you a regular boxer who's wondering how to progress more quickly? Here are some tips you may find useful.

Punching bag

There's nothing better than regular training in a club with a good coach if you want to improve at boxing. Nevertheless, you may also want to squeeze in some training sessions at home . It's a chance to work on the skills you'd like to improve at your own pace and put your coach's advice into practice.

Boosting your cardio to go the distance:

Boxing is a demanding sport that calls for excellent physical fitness if you want to last multiple rounds. There's nothing more demoralising than feeling out of puff when your partner or opponent seems to be as fresh as at the start of the match.

But you'll be pleased to hear that there are simple, affordable ways of training your cardio outside of the gym. First of all, the skipping rope will be one of your best allies. Try to do a few sets, regularly varying the intensity. It's unusual for a fight to take place all at the same rhythm. Generally there are acceleration phases punctuated by calmer moments that give you a chance to recover while preparing your next attack. By working in this way, your body will get used to the abrupt changes of pace that happen throughout a match. What's more, regular skipping will teach you to stay on your toes, which will considerably improve your mobility.

Shadow boxing as another way of developing your cardio. As with skipping, don't hesitate to alternate between fast attacking phases and slightly less physically demanding transitions. The latter will be a chance to perfect your footwork and your dodging while letting you recover. And the best thing of all is that there's no equipment you need to invest in - you can do it anywhere (although a mirror will help you correct certain errors such as a low guard)!

Training your power:

The punching bag is an excellent tool for improving your punching power and stringing together sequences of movements. Before you use one, make sure you've got the right protective equipment. A pair of boxing wraps and boxing gloves with a good level of cushioning is strongly recommended if you want to avoid getting injured. As for your punching bag, go for a heavier model if you want to train your strength. If it's too light, it'll swing around at the slightest touch, which isn't ideal if you want to do several successive punches with a decent amount of power.

When you're working on the punching bag, don't neglect your footwork. Like with shadow boxing, you should imagine that the bag is your opponent. Move around it and, when you're in the right position and you feel ready, put together your combinations.Use it as a chance to vary your combinations. Training at home is an opportunity to devote more time to refining the techniques that you feel less comfortable with. It's also a chance to take a step back and try new combinations that you can then put into practice when sparring in the gym.

Hit without being hit thanks to good dodging and reflexes:

It's simplistic to think that merely punching hard makes you a good boxer. The greatest fighters are those who can touch their opponent while also protecting themselves from attacks. Winning a bout is all very well, but finishing it without injury is better!

One interesting and affordable exercise is to string up a rope between two walls at about neck level. This will let you work on your combinations and your bobbing and weaving by bending your knees to move from one side of the rope to the other. Make sure to keep your back straight as you duck, and don't lean forwards. Likewise, keep a good guard up throughout the exercise. Start by moving forwards and, once you get to the end of the rope, do the same thing moving backwards.

Another option is to use a punching ball. The aim here isn't to prioritise strength, but rather to accentuate precision, movement and dodging. Unlike the punching bag, the punching ball won't take its time in swinging back towards you, and the real challenge will be in constantly adapting to its rocking motion. Train your reflexes and try to vary your defence as much as possible: blocks, parries, dodges and counter-attacks are all good solutions to practise.

Like with a punching bag, try to stay mobile throughout the exercise. At any rate, a punching ball will certainly encourage this.

If you've got a partner, technical training with a focus pad is ideal. The comfort of focus pads is much appreciated by the person receiving the punch (they protect you more than gloves) and they let the attacker deliver their punches with maximum power without the risk of injuring their partner. What's more, unlike with a bag, it's your partner who dictates the timing. This will really put your reflexes through their paces because the aim is of course to limit as much as possible the time between positioning the target and striking it. Every now and then, your partner could also simulate an attack with the focus pads and force you to dodge. It's a must for training your reflexes and your gaze.  


Build up strength with minimal investment:

A few very simple tips will let you make the most of your physical efforts during training and get you ready for matches.

There are certain skipping ropes that let you integrate weights. Although they may not be very heavy, you'll soon start to notice them after a few rounds.

Similarly, you can use small 1 or 2 kg dumbbells or even a weighted jacket to train your physique when shadow boxing. Again, the weight may seem minimal, but over 3-minute rounds at a good intensity you'll definitely feel it. What's more, it requires additional effort to keep your guard up throughout the exercise. Make sure that you have control over your movements and reduce their range to avoid injury. You'll notice that, when you take the weights off, you instantly feel lighter.

Lastly, another idea for shadow boxing is to use elastic bands to add constraints and develop your power, muscles and explosiveness. It'll also force you to come back to your guard position after each punch.

shadow boxing 2017

Complementing your club boxing sessions with home workouts can prove really beneficial. Get your coach to identify the areas you need to work on, then practise at home once you've got yourself properly kitted out. With a bit of focus and organisation, you'll improve much more quickly and will feel far more confident in trying out the things you did at home in the gym.

Nicolas - outshock ambassador


Combat sports enthusiast

Have fun!