Although it is a combat sport, boxing is also an effective alternative form of exercise to burn calories, increase endurance and promote physical health. Pro and amateur fighters use every technique under the sun to improve their skill, speed, reflexes and conditioning. For beginners and noncompetitive practitioners, simple boxing exercises with gloves and punching pads can give you a workout and teach you valuable martial arts techniques.
Basic Range and Footwork
Before getting into punching combos, defensive drills and more advanced maneuvers, the first step in any boxing program is to learn your way around the ring. Working in the ring with a boxing coach experienced in handling mitts can teach you to react to a moving target as you gain comfort stepping left, right, forward and backward in a proper stance. Concentrate on keeping your feet shoulder-width apart as you step, with your weight evenly balanced. Never cross your feet as you move in and out of range. Keep your hands up in a protective position in front of your chin and react to your coach's movements, tracking the pads with your eyes and feinting with punches once you feel comfortable.
Once you're comfortable moving in and out of range and reacting to a moving target, it's time to hit something. Boxing is a complex combat sport, but combinations are relatively straight-forward. Throw combinations ranging from one to four punches before resetting and preparing for your next attack. Your pad holder should lightly strike each of your punches with the pads to contribute to your punching force and minimize your risk of overextending. The most common boxing punches are the jab, cross, hook and uppercut.
Counter punchers are experts at reacting to an opponent's movements and delivering well-timed strikes to interrupt an incoming combo. With a controlled pad holder, you can practice countering by having your partner jab at you with one pad. React to the jab by slipping your head to one side of the pad or by blocking it with an upraised glove, then deliver your counter with either a jab or straight cross. You can counter a cross by blocking the strike with your shoulder and delivering a hook in return.
Counters are partially defensive techniques, but practicing blocks, ducks and slips will allow you to handle yourself in sparring. Have your pad holder throw various punches at you and react accordingly, delivering counters if you see the opportunity. Slip left and right to dodge straight punches such as jabs and crosses. To dodge hooks, duck by bending at the knees, but don't take your eyes off your partner. Block straight punches by keeping your gloves up in front of your face. Block hooks with a standard cage block, raising your arm and glove up to your ear to defend the side of your head.
- Photo Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images