Remember to warm up before you start training intensely.
A good warm up might consist of 10 minutes of steady state cardio, shadow boxing for 2 x 3 minute rounds, followed by a number of bodyweight exercises such as squats and press ups.
Boxing Pad Drills
Boxing pads, or mitts, are great for developing hand speed, accuracy and punching mechanics. You can also add in drills to improve footwork, reacts and defence.
To start with, try each drill for 2 x 3 minute rounds.
Slip & Roll Pad Work
- Jab, Cross *Slip Padman’s jab*, cross, *roll under padman’s hook*, cross, hook
Padman and boxer move around at striking/punching distance.
The padman holds up the pad at random intervals.
The boxer must jab the pad as soon as the padman holds it up.
Occasionally, the padman holds up both pads and the boxer immediately throws a jab, cross combination.
Jab Parry & Counter
- explained from orthodox stance
Padman holds both pads up, as if he is a boxer with a defensive stance
Padman (gently) throws a jab with his left hand
Boxer parries the jab with his right hand & continues the movement of his right hand to throw a right cross to the padman’s right hand/pad.
Repeat 10 times.
- Padman and boxer in orthodox stance
- Padman throws a jab with left hand
- Padman places right pad close to his face
- Boxer parries jab and counters with his or her own jab
Repeat x 10
Bas Rutten Combinations on the Pads
If you are just starting out using boxing pads, it can be easier and more fun, to carry out each combination ten times in a row, and then move onto the next one.
If you are a bit more advanced, you can get the padman to call out combinations in a random order. Instead of doing a set number of repetitions, try 3 minute rounds.
Combinations use alternate hands. For example – Left jab, right cross, left jab – if you stand in orthodox stance with left foot forwards.
- Jab, cross, hook
- Double jab, cross
- Cross, hook, cross
- Right uppercut, left hook, right uppercut
- Jab, cross, hook, cross
- Jab, casting punch
- Jab to the body, overhand right
If you are training on your own, on the bag or shadow boxing, use the Bas Rutten Boxing Workout.
The Bas Rutten workouts can be confusing if you don’t know what the numbers stand for.
“1” – jab
“2” – Jab, Cross Combination
“3” – Jab, Cross, Hook
“4” – Jab, Cross, Hook, Cross
Jab Counters – Side Steps drill
Boxing Sparring Drills
Dust Drills – Take Turns Throwing Combinations
Arguably works a bit better with Thai Boxing, “dust drills” involve 2 fighters/boxers taking turns to throw combinations
Boxer 1 – Throws a 2, 3 or 4 punch combination
Boxer 2 – Stays in range and blocks and parries each punch
Once boxer 1 has thrown his combination, Boxer 2 throws his combination.
Combinations can be pre-determined, to drill a set defensive technique(s) and counters, or can be thrown at random.
Boxers can thrown feints/dummies before executing their combination.
Boxer Vs Stalker
Boxer 1 has to constantly push forwards, looking to land a jab and body shots only.
Boxer 2 must attempt to keep just out of range and throw jab counters by side-stepping etc.
Boxer 1 is ultimately looking to pin boxer 2 in the corner of the ring.
Boxer 2 is aiming to throw counter shots and control the outside of the ring and the range.
Try this for 3 x 3 minute rounds.
Defender vs Attacker Sparring
Boxer 1 is the defender – he or she is only allowed to parry, block and use head and foot movement to avoid punches
Boxer 2 – very lightly throws punches at boxer 1.
Try this for 3 x 2 minute rounds
Jabs Only Sparring
As you’d expect, jabs only sparring involves 2 boxers sparring, but only with jabs.
You can take this up a level, with jabs only to the head plus any body shots
Body Only Sparring
Sparring, but only with body shots.
Keep your hands high to keep the defence and general stance/guard realistic
Boxing Fitness Drills
Using the pads for a set number of rounds is one of the best ways to build specific fitness for boxing.
Tabata Intervals on the bag or pads are also excellent.
Tabata Intervals consist of 4 minute rounds, divided into 8 x 20 second bouts of 100% effort exercise, interspersed with 10 seconds rest.
You can use an app, or just find a Tabata interval timer on YouTube:
If you are in good shape, then you can try and complete 3 or 4 Tabata Intervals.
If you’re new to boxing, start with 1 or 2 intervals. Take a minute’s rest in between each 4 minute bout.
You can use predetermined combinations e.g.
First 20 seconds – Jab, Cross, Hook, Cross (throw as many punches as possible in 20 seconds)
Second 20 Seconds – Hook, Cross, Hook
Third 20 Seconds – Left hook, right hook, left hook
Fourth 20 Seconds – Jab, Casting Punch
For the final 4 intervals, do the same combination but in the opposite stance.
You can also freestyle the combinations, and throw combinations at random if you prefer.
Solo Boxing Drills
Bob & Weave Drills
Bobbing & Weaving takes some getting used to, but it basically involves walking fowards and squatting down with your hands up.
A great way to practice bobbing & weaving is by using a washing-line.
Walk down the length of the washing line, ducking side to side.
– Adopt a boxing stance
– Keep your guard/hands high
– Bend your knees (NOT at the waist)
– Shuffle forwards
There are lots of technical drills you can do on your own as well, including
- Fade away hooks
- Retreating crosses
- Jabs for speed
- Parry and jab counter
- Skip steps*
*Skip steps are a highly effective, yet under-utilised technique for bridging distance. Works well when you keep your head off centreline/to the side, so you don’t walk into a jab
Download a boxing training session plan here: