Practicing boxing at home

How can I practice boxing at home?

Attempting to practice boxing at home can be difficult! When learning the art of boxing, nothing will help you improve faster than being in the gym with a trainer watching, or participating in a structured class run by a skilled and knowledgeable instructor. Unfortunately, sometimes life doesn’t always permit us to get to the gym at the same time as our boxing coach.

Or, you may be the type of person who is spending plenty of time at the gym working out on the heavy bag, sparring, hitting pads and doing all the rest of the essential training required for you to improve your skills, but you just happen to be a boxing ADDICT and can’t get enough of refining the sweet science…

If either of those sounds like you, read below for some ideas on other ways you can improve your boxing away from the gym.

practicing boxing at home

Shadow boxing

You do not need any equipment to practice shadow boxing…. You don’t even need a shadow! So if you are too embarrassed about what your neighbours might think if they’re looking through your window at night, you can even turn the light off! (Just make sure there is nothing laying around for you to trip on).

All you’ll need is a bit of space to move around to practice shadow boxing at home. If you have a mirror or a reflective glass panel, that’s an added bonus.

If you are stuck trying to think of combinations to practice while you shadow box, it’s a good idea to repeat some of the combinations and/or movements that you’ve practiced in your classes. While you practice the movements during shadow boxing, it’s the perfect time to enforce good habits that often get missed during the chaos of sparring or hitting pads with a partner. Since it’s not about hitting something, you can slow it down and pay attention to your footwork, balance, and guard.

Is the hand opposite to your punching hand protecting your face? Is the punch returning to the starting position, or is it falling down to your waist? Are you remaining balanced when you punch?

All of the above are good things to pay close attention too, now that you have complete control of your training and can go at your own pace.

Some basic combinations to practice:

  • Jab
  • Jab, Jab
  • Jab, cross
  • Jab, cross, hook
  • Jab, cross, hook, uppercut
  • Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, hook

Some ideas to add variety to your shadow boxing:

  • Practice changing angles by pivoting on your front foot between combinations
  • Practice moving forward while punching
  • Practice moving backward while punching
  • Practice stepping forward to throw a combination, then out of range again

Try not to overthink it if you are a beginner. Shadow boxing feels stupid when you haven’t done much before. Think of this as a way of getting rid of that “silly” feeling so that when you’re shadow boxing in the gym around the coaches, you can really make it count!


Your ability to learn boxing will be directly affected by your fitness and endurance. If you cannot train for long before tiring out, you simply cannot practice very much in a session. Running will increase your cardio, and allow you to fit more practice into a single session before fatiguing.

If you are new to running, it’s best not to overdo it on the first time.

Start with something small. Maybe a light jog that lasts 5 minutes. Simply run 2 minutes 30 in one direction, then turn around and come home. See how your calves and legs feel over the next 2 days, and increase the time you run for a little bit the next time. If your legs are extremely sore from that little bit of running, you may want to repeat this a few times before increasing.

We want to play the long game here. Slowly increase the distance and time you spend running over a number of weeks and months to avoid injuries, as this means a forced break from the gym. There is no real need to go running for more than 10 miles for any boxer, other than as a mental challenge. The fitness of a marathon runner may be helpful, but at the end of the day the time spent to gain that fitness will be at the sacrifice of doing other things… such as boxing training!

Building up to a 3 mile/5km run a few times per week will go a long way for improving your cardio, and therefore your ability to last longer at training.


Stretching and flexibility training is very important when it comes to reducing the likelihood of injury and aiding recovery. The less we get injured, the less time we have away from training, the faster we improve our boxing.

Although punching seems to be done mostly with our arms, it actually incorporates the use of our whole body, with our fist being the point of impact. One small break in the chain of energy from the ground up to our fist can make a big difference in our punching power, so be sure to stretch the entire body, and not just your upper body.

Things like yoga can help with your flexibility, but remember that there are many different types of yoga, and some styles are targeting strength just as much flexibility, and can be quite a strenuous workout. If you are looking for the type of yoga to do on a “rest day” then Yin-yoga is probably the best one for you.

On a side note, stretching correctly BEFORE training is also very important as an injury preventative click here to read more about the dynamic warm-up, or watch the video below on how to warm up correctly before boxing:

Resistance training

It is no accident that I have put this as the last item on the list. Resistance training such as lifting weights can go a long way in helping a boxer improve power, and can even help prevent and recover from injuries… BUT, it is too difficult to recommend any sort of structured weights routine for an aspiring boxer without seeing the rest of their training and work schedule first.

weight training for boxing

What I recommend:
Find a personal trainer that knows his stuff! Ask around, and don’t settle on the first person you find. Find someone who has worked with boxers before, or even someone who is a boxer themselves, and ask them to write you up a routine that fits around your other training. It may cost some money, but the investment is worth it in the long run.

It may be useful to keep in mind that lifting weights doesn’t always mean you will be a better boxer. So in the beginning, I would place more focus on practicing specific boxing skills rather than lifting weights.

All of the above topics can help you improve your game, but at the end of the day, nothing beats going to the gym and working with a trainer or jumping in a class.