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Top 5 boxing tips for beginners

Sparring in a boxing gym

So you don’t have access to a boxing gym or a knowledgeable trainer, but you want to learn enough to beat most untrained guys your own size? You can do it if you work at it.

Boxing is not a skill; it is a collection of skills. Beginners have to prioritize. The way to get good enough to easily beat untrained fighters is to focus on a few basic tactics.

One: Learn the straight punches

Occasionally you’ll see an untrained fighter throwing jabs, but usually they just swing away with haymakers. Straight punches have more range than haymakers. Your straight punches will land on unskilled, haymaker-throwing idiots, and they won’t be able to hit you back with wild swings.

Use straight punches against unskilled haymaker-throwing idiots

Start by learning the jab. It will serve you well in most street self-defense situations. Work on it every day; the front of your shoulder will feel sore, but that’s the price you have to pay to get better.

While you’re learning the jab, make sure to work on the straight right hand (or left hand, if you’re a lefty). This is your power punch. When you learn it, you’ll be more dangerous than 90% of the untrained guys who might start trouble with you.

Once you are good at the jab and the straight right, create a few boxing combinations and practice them until you can do them without thinking. Combinations are carefully crafted groups of punches that flow naturally out of one another; the more you know about boxing, the better you become at developing punching combinations that suit your personal style.

The famous 1-2 combination – a lead jab followed by a straight right hand – is probably the most effective fighting move ever developed, so make sure you practice until it becomes second nature. Later, work on the double jab/right hand combination. It’s all you need to beat most bullies.

Remember what I said about prioritizing during training? Save the hook punches and uppercuts for later. If you’re great at straight punches, you’re just throwing away your skill advantage when you resort to short-range punches like hooks and uppercuts.

Two: Practice footwork

Footwork doesn’t mean dancing around like Bugs Bunny when he fought the Champ. Instead, it means moving in any direction while maintaining your boxing stance.

Footwork doesnt mean hopping around like Bugs Bunny

Footwork doesn't mean hopping around like Bugs Bunny

Without footwork, your legs get crossed up and you lose your balance. When this happens against an unskilled fighter, it means you won’t be able to hit him hard enough to hurt him. If it happens against a skilled boxer, you’re done.

Learn to move forward and back while jabbing. Later, learn to shift to either side. When you can sidestep an onrushing opponent, you’ll beat him easily.

With a bit of footwork, you’ll be unhittable. Even better, you’ll be able to hit with power while maintaining your defensive boxing stance. Guys will be forced to (try to) grab you because they won’t have a chance of punching you before you tattoo them with your combinations.

Three: Get in shape

It takes hard work to develop basic boxing skills. If you’re out of shape, you won’t get very good. But when you work on your boxing fitness, good things happen.

  • Shadow boxing will get your shoulders in shape. You’ll be able to train longer and harder before fatigue sets in.
  • Core training gives you increased punching power and lets you take a harder punch (if it comes to that). Obviously, you want to work your abs, but don’t forget the lower back too.
  • Good footwork means staying on your toes. Get your legs in shape and your training sessions will be more productive.

So, do you get in shape to fight better, or do you practice your fighting to get in shape? I’m not sure if it really matters, but boxing training is a great way to keep in shape and to stay motivated to work out.

Four: Sparring is important

Sure, practicing by yourself makes you a better fighter (assuming you know a thing or two about basic technique). But it’s impossible to overstate the value of sparring sessions. Controlled sparring drills with a partner turn you into a much better fighter than someone who never practices the fight game.

Sparring doesn’t mean getting together with a crazy friend and beating the stuffing out of each other. It should be a learning experience. Use it to develop muscle memory and to work on techniques that you otherwise can’t perfect. Without sparring, you’ll know nothing about defensive moves, distancing, and clinching.

By sparring regularly, even if you never learn a single thing about proper punching technique, you’ll still be a better fighter than someone who doesn’t spar, no matter how much they work on their punching. Let me put it this way: if you spar every day for a year, and your opponent works the heavy bag every day for a year, you should beat him easily.

Five: Don’t forget necessary safety gear

If you plan to spend your practice sessions shadow boxing and punching air, forget this section. But if you are going to hit the punching bag or spar with a partner, you must use the appropriate safety equipment.

Hitting things – even if they’re soft things like punching bags – is bad for your hands. As a beginner, you can’t expect the bones and connective tissue in your hands and wrists to stand up to repetitive stress caused by power punching. No matter how tough you think you are, you’re making a mistake if you hit the bag without hand wraps and padded gloves. You may not realize it at the time, but the quality of your workouts will suffer unless you protect your hands.

Sparring carries with it a certain risk. Your teeth are vulnerable to punches, and so is your nose, lips, ears, the skin around your eyes, and anything else that might get hit. A good boxing mouthpiece, some sparring headgear, and padded boxing gloves are the difference between having a productive workout or having a joke session that doesn’t even come close to simulating a real fight.

Your hands, too, are in danger during sparring. If you accidentally hit your partner’s elbow or even his forehead, you’ll break your hand. Nobody sets out to hit an elbow, but it happens. Always wear hand wraps and padded gloves.

The best boxing tip: Take it to the next level

Follow those tips and you’ll have a great chance to beat any untrained fighter. But remember: those are just beginner’s boxing tips. Anyone who trains under a good coach will clean the floor with you. Don’t think you’re tough just because you practice the one-two combination every day in front of the bathroom mirror.

To take it to the next level, get some professional coaching. Join a boxing gym or at least get some video coaching from the boxing tutorial videos that are reviewed on heavyfists.com.

Not having any success learning to fight from the internet?
Check out my review of the best boxing training DVD.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Altamash May 26, 2010 at 1:49 am

Hi man thanks alot u just like a big brother to me kash i that i have a brother like u again thanks a lot TAKECARE my bro..

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JHP April 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

thanks for the information it realy helped me to win more matches in the ring thank u very much your buddy JHP.

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raviteja June 13, 2011 at 8:35 am

really itz very good

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SMOY June 14, 2011 at 5:05 am

Thanks a lot brother!! These are very valuable tips to be followed by a beginner like me!!!!!!!!!

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The Greatest July 1, 2011 at 9:37 am

This are the best boxing tips for beginners i have ever came across with. you can even do them at home by yourself..

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Stephen August 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm

I just want to say thanks you’ve helped me out a lot I just started a boxing club to weeks ago and when I had to spar i beat the first person who was smaller than me but when I had to fight again I got beat and he was the same size but when I read your tips I then maneged to beat the person who beat me so thanks.

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jb sema August 14, 2011 at 3:39 am

man big up it the best way to go

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Marisa August 23, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Do you have any specific tips for female boxers? I bought my husband a heavy bag a few months back and want to learn to use it myself (thanks to your articles, I now know it’s really the perfect weight for me, too light for him, which might explain why he’s hardly used it). I already do a lot of other things for fitness – dance, weight-lifting, yoga, hiking – so I’m in decent shape but clueless about technique or how to get started with boxing. I’m not looking to fight, I’m not interested in self-defense, I just want to get in a good, intense upper-body workout in my own basement.

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admin August 25, 2011 at 6:08 am

I don’t have much experience with female boxers — at least with beginners — but I can’t imagine there are any real differences in workout styles between boxing enthusiasts of either gender.

There are plenty of “cardio kickboxing” DVD, and other boxing workout videos that are marketed towards women. I suppose it’s possible to learn technique from something like that. Even p90x has a cardio kickboxing module (along with a couple other cardio modules of varying levels of ‘impact’).

If you do find a source for learning punching techniques, I’d suggest starting with a mix of intense shadow boxing and light to medium heavybag. As you progress, increase the heavybag. Google (or YouTube) “punchout drills” for some easy to learn, yet effective, upper-body heavybag workouts. Punchout drills don’t require skill; they only require stubbornness!

Good luck!

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mac farline bruce August 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

great site…..any tips on the beginner with learning the speed bag also? thanx…

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Kido October 13, 2011 at 12:38 am

Thank you bro. Its a great tips and I believe it will help me alot.

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aleadsetan October 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm

its a good tips,and im still pratice on it.

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wanna be rude boi October 19, 2011 at 3:17 am

that mate good tips take care brv

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mell November 15, 2011 at 1:21 am

i bought a punch bag about two weeks ago, and before i came to this site i was just throwing around random punches and kicks and what not. Now i have a few combos memorised in my head and my fitness has improved even more, i also do biathlon so boxing is something diffrent! I love it!

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amyy December 15, 2011 at 6:17 am

heyy, thanks for those tips, im a girl and I am learing boxing so I can stand up for myself and those tips have helped alot.
Thanks muchly.
amyyy xx

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rajeime roberts December 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Great tips man,they really helped me out.thanks man

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ex_pou March 22, 2012 at 1:51 am

thanks for the tips :D I actually learnt some new things from it.
thank you very much

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Hannah April 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm

this helped me allot im doing a school project and i’ve beeen using this to help me:) thanks again

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Leigh April 26, 2012 at 7:42 am

Sometimes a little bit of knowledge is power itself, every bit of advice makes sense, I never knew the basics before now, its a great way to keep fit also.

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Wolf May 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Great tips man, BIG UP

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daniel June 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm

These are great tips buddy, hope to hear more soon! Keep it up!

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Andrew August 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm

great tips, thanks alot

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Ahmed November 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

Thankx for the techniques. These are of great help for the beginners like me…. thankx man :)

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meghraj July 25, 2013 at 2:01 am

i love boxing

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don July 30, 2013 at 11:55 am

It is great cos am boxer but i donot throw alot of punches to my opponent and i defend too much what should i do throw more puches.

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WINSTON February 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm

GREAT I WIIL TRY IT

Reply

test November 8, 2014 at 10:04 am

Very nice blog post. I certainly appreciate this website.
Keep it up!

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