Boxing workouts are a great way to develop quick reflexes and steady balance. The explosive and dynamic nature of boxing requires the athlete to always be ready, and move at a split seconds notice. These are skills that translate well into any other combat sport and can improve your overall athleticism.
Doing it for the ‘gram….
By now we’re all familiar with the standard boxing workouts. The skipping rope, the heavy bag and hitting pads etc. These are all drills that we see most commonly (and look great) on social media. After all, who doesn’t love a fancy Floyd Mayweather style 50 punch combination on the pads?
Less commonly seen on Instagram/Tik Tok are partner drills that hone a boxers timing and range. These are two attributes that can be the difference between a boxer who looks great on social media and a boxer who can actually land punches on a moving opponent, effectively using their positioning, timing and precision. While these partner drills may not seem as glamorous on an iPhone screen, they will set you apart from the wannabe boxer’s doing it for the ‘Gram.
Sparring but not
It’s common knowledge, the best way to get good at boxing is a workout called…you guessed it, ‘sparring’. While sparring is the closest simulation you’ll get to an actual boxing match, going full blast every training session is not sustainable (for obvious reasons).
Instead of going to war with your training partners everyday, there are alternative drills that you can do. While they’re not 100% identical to sparring, they do manage to replicate the movement and range required to evade and land shots on a moving opponent. They’re very simple and require no equipment, just a willing participant to drill with.
tag, you’re it
Boxing is a game of ‘Hit and don’t get hit’. It’s no mystery that the best way to do this is to lace the gloves up and get as many rounds of sparring in as possible. James Toney famously sparred hundreds of rounds leading up to a fight, clocking 12-15 rounds daily. While these numbers are exceptional, most of us aren’t elite boxers with incredible defensive prowess. It’s for this reason that it’s not sustainable for most fighter’s to do this amount of sparring. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find other ways to simulate sparring as close as possible without the repeated head shots.
‘Tag boxing’ or ‘Knee and Shoulder Tag’ is a great alternative to sparring that simulates the same range and timing that sparring demands. In this drill, the goal is to tag your partner’s shoulders and knees while avoid having your own shoulders and knees tagged. This is a great drill that can trigger the same instincts as sparring while limiting head contact, making it sustainable to practice daily. We recommend wearing your boxing gloves for this drill to protect against accidental eye pokes.
Another great way to get your sparring in without head contact is Body Sparring. This workout is used in boxing gyms all around the world. It effectively works the close range combat techniques while also conditioning the body and arms. Much like sparring, fighters will try to land shots on their partner, only in this drill, punches are limited to the body. This forces the fighters to look for holes in their partners defence with effective setups and counter punching, while keeping their own defense tight.
Put it together
And finally, ‘Shoulder and Body Sparring’ is a drill that combines the best of both worlds. Shoulder and body sparring is exactly what it sounds like. You and your partner will try to punch each other on the shoulders and body. It’s pretty much sparring, except the any shot that you would normally aim at the head, you will now guide towards the shoulders.
This drill is great for practicing your full range of punches with the added intensity of sparring. You’ll get the benefit of body conditioning and hone your footwork to maximise your angles to land your complete arsenal of punches.
Practice makes progress
It’s ever so tempting to do mostly the glamorous workouts in your boxing sessions. But it’s the simulated sparring drills against a resisting opponent that will have your timing and precision dialed in. These are the drills that will serve you best if your goals are to fight and win titles. We’re not going to sugar coat it. You’ll have good days and bad days doing these drills. However if you keep practicing these drills with your training partners, along with your schedule sparring sessions, you’ll know that you’ve done the extras to be well prepared for your next match.