Boxing footwork drills have long since played a big part in the survivability of fighters in the ring. After all, winning a boxing match is more than just hitting your opponent – it’s also about agility and evasiveness. If your movements are swift, your opponent can’t anticipate where your punches are coming from. If your footwork is quick, your opponent is going to have a very hard time landing shots on you.
You may have heard it before, and it may be an oversimplification but essentially, the sport of boxing can be summed up as ‘hit and don’t get hit’.
Many factors play into the advantage or disadvantage of a boxer. Some of the most obvious ones, however, are movement and power, and boxing footwork drills will help with both. In fact, boxing footwork drills are crucial to both. We can even confidently say that none of the top boxers in Australia would’ve gotten to where they are without having footwork in their training regimen.
In this article, we’ll talk about three ways to supplement your training so that you can start moving more fluidly, punch more powerfully, and fundamentally level up your game.
They may sound fancy, but they’re really quite simple.
What are plyometrics?
Plyos for Power
Plyometrics are exercises that involve exerting maximum force in short bursts to improve power. The vast majority of plyometrics are jump based and require very little if no equipment at all to perform!
Aside from developing power, they’re also a total-body workout that’s good for cardio. This makes them especially handy for those looking to improve your in-ring movement while travelling away from your gym.
With boxing burning a lot of calories and the high-intensity nature of plyo adding to that, making weight becomes a smidge easier.
How to come up with a great plyometric workout for boxers
Pinpoint your needs
You’ll find athletes from all sorts of sports using plyometric exercises to increase their explosive power. However, the more specific we get with the drills, the better results we can see in our given sport.
Below is an instructional video by Phil Daru, explicitly created to help those interested in becoming more explosive boxers. Daru is one of the most reputable Boxing & MMA strength & conditioning coaches in the world. Many champions and contenders utilise his experience to get into optimal shape.
You’ve likely done it before. Now, it’s time to bring it back.
Reintroducing an old friend
For many of our new students, the last time they skipped was at school. There’ll be no hopscotch this time round, but you will notice a dramatic improvement in timing and footwork the better you get with these boxing footwork drills.
We can’t say enough about the importance of staying light on your feet when in the ring. The ability to get into advantageous positions while being able to slip out of range on the counter allows you to be more effective in the ring and saves you from unnecessary head trauma.
The legends swore by it, and their contemporaries still do
The floating like a butterfly that Ali alluded to is exactly what we gain through skipping. Not convinced that skipping improves your boxing? Hear what Bernard Hopkins, a former Middleweight champion who amassed 19 defences in a row, says on the topic.
Bernard Hopkins opinion on skipping:
How to skip
You’ll find videos all over the internet of professional boxers doing all sorts of crazy skipping rope exercises to show off their skills. Remember that they’ve been practising for years upon years, so don’t worry about trying to look anything like them yet!
If you’ve not skipped in a long time, go easy on reintroducing your body to the activity. There is no rush. Give your body the chance to adapt to the load an exercise like skipping puts on the body.
The main thing is that you are deciding to introduce this activity to your strength and conditioning training. Forming the habit is far more critical than being able to perform the actual activity impressively.
Start with this video if you want to learn how to skip properly:
Already know how to skip and want a boxing specific workout?
Boxing specific routine:
You won’t be climbing buildings with these ladders, just your level in the game.
Agility ladder for boxing agility
Whether in person or while watching a professional condition their body for competition, you’ve likely seen ladders used as part of a strength and conditioning routine. Why are they so popular? Because leaving them out of your training can leave you at a significant disadvantage against your opponent.
At its core, ladder drill exercises help you improve three key areas: speed, quickness, and agility. As you can imagine, developing these areas can be the difference between landing that crucial shot or avoiding the blow coming your way with KO potential.
How to use a ladder
Keep it simple
Thankfully most boxing footwork drills require very little equipment, and the equipment it does need is often relatively cheap. You can pick up a ladder from Amazon for around the $25 mark. If you have a ladder and aren’t sure how to get started, we suggest you first start by following the instructional video below.
Let’s get specific
Ready to move on to something fighting-specific? Shane Fazen from FightTIPS does an excellent job of introducing beginners to ladder agility drills, specifically three that will get you seeing gains in your game.
Cutting off the ring
Reducing your opponent’s options in the ring allows for multiple benefits. It psychologically puts them in a defensive state of mind and physically reduces the options they have to be effective against you. Some of the best fighters in the world utilise this technique to devastating effect.
How G.G.G cuts off the ring
How you can start cutting off the ring
In this bonus video, we share with you an awesome instructional on cutting off the ring, marking the end of our boxing footwork drills.
We hope you’ve found lots of new ideas to improve your game in this article. Remember, you only get out as much as you put in. Start easy and build up your ability over time, consistency is king. Who knows? If you work at it, you may even get to represent the country eventually. Nothing’s impossible, so aim high.
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