Having the right boxing stances is one of the primary things you should focus on whether you are just starting out or have been in the game for a little while. With the right stance, both your offense and defense are better. You improve your speed, mobility, power, and overall balance. It aids in not only your fights but in your training as well. Unfortunately, many still seem to struggle with getting proper form and maintaining it.
It’s true that there are a number of types of boxing stances, but there are still fundamentals that everyone should understand. To help you out, we’ve created 10 simple steps that will have you on your way to perfecting your fighting stance.
1. Pay Attention to Foot Placement
Arguably, your feet are among the most important factors that determine you having a good boxing stance. Good foot positioning helps you stay balanced. Being well-balanced so you don’t get easily knocked down is important to establish prior to anything else.
To work on this, first make sure that you’re standing with your feet about shoulder width apart. This is a good way to get yourself grounded. With that, you will usually step forward with your non-dominant foot, but you can go left or right depending on which feels comfortable.
The foot that is forward will face toward your opponent, while your back foot will turn slightly away. You will be at roughly a 45-degree angle. Standing with your feet this way will further help with your stability.
Lastly, stick to being on the balls of your feet. If you stand flat-footed, you risk slowing yourself down. To get into this habit, practice walking around on the balls of your feet or mix up some of your training (e.g. squats) by standing on the balls of your feet instead.
2. Relax Your Lower Body
You never want to go in tensed. This may seem difficult at first considering the adrenalin rushing through you during training and fighting, but it is something that you must work on. A relaxed lower body saves on necessary energy that will better serve you elsewhere like building up those powerful punches. It also improves your mobility.
Focus on keeping your knees slightly bent; never lock them or you’ll waste energy on tensing up those muscles and you will hinder the way you can move around the ring. Your hips should be relaxed as well to better your maneuverability.
3. Learn to Position Your Head Properly
A good way to get into the habit of standing right is keeping your head angled defensively. What we mean by this is that you should make it harder for your opponent to hit your face. Your chin should be held down and your mouth should be closed.
Many people practice this by placing a tennis ball under their chin and holding it against their sternum. You can do this technique while training, typically when you’re practicing with a punching bag. This will help get your body used to keeping your head in the right angle through every punch and every step.
4. Work on Your Endurance
Nothing will quite destroy your boxing stance like running out of juice. A lack of endurance will show; you’ll slouch, slow down, and otherwise forget how you should be standing.
Just about every boxer out there runs. Whether they are running on a treadmill or leaving their homes early in the morning to get some fresh air, they run. It’s an excellent way to build up stamina levels and improve the muscles in your legs at the same time.
You can try out other endurance-improving exercises like biking, swimming, etc. Just be sure to add these regularly into your workout so that you don’t ever run out of energy and start dragging your feet instead of remaining balanced and in control.
5. Practice Proper Punching
When you hold the right stance, your arms and shoulders should stay relaxed while your hands should stay raised with your elbows tucked. Your rear hand should be near-leveled with your chin to protect it, while your forward hand is prepared to save the body from any hits.
All of this should be remembered when you punch. As you extend your arm, your body will twist into the punch, giving it far more power. By ensuring that you are properly punching, you are affirming the stability of your stance and that you are keeping your arms, shoulders, and hands where they should be. It is easiest to practice punching with a heavy bag.
6. Utilize Some Plyometric Exercises
There are certain plyometric exercises that can build up explosive power. They also help with increasing the strength in your legs and just how fast you can move. By improving these factors, you should be able to better hold a proper stance throughout a fight and greatly impact your maneuverability.
Some of the exercises you should think about implementing (if you already haven’t) are listed as followed:
- Ladder drills
- Jump squats
- Box jumps
- Single leg hops
We’re sure you all understand that plyometric exercises are intended for those who are already well-conditioned physically. Take care in performing these exercises as to not cause any unnecessary injuries.
7. Shadowbox From Time to Time
Shadowboxing is a well-known practice, yet still people can neglect to add it to their training routine. This is one of the greatest ways to improve your form without worrying about taking a hit. Your full, undivided attention will be on your stance.
Do this in front of a mirror so you will be able to see if there are any issues you should work on. If you really want to challenge yourself, wear your gloves or hold weights while you do this.
8. Spar with an Actual Person
As well as shadowboxing can help, practicing your stance in the ring with someone else is always useful. When you spar, your opponent will be coming at you similar to a real fight. This forces you to maintain your boxing stance, and it will help you become aware if you slip out of it at any point. Make sure you have a good partner for this, preferably someone more experienced so they can help you correct any mistakes.
9. Watch Professionals
Perhaps the easiest step here to perfect your boxing stance is to watch someone who is great at it. Attend a few matches, if you can. If not, there is always the wonderful invention of YouTube with endless amounts of boxing videos for your viewing pleasure.
Don’t just watch these videos, however. We want you to study them. See how these well-known boxers move around the ring, how they maintain their stance, or even how they switch things up for another stance that works just as well.
10. Switch up Your Stance
This may seem like an odd step, but it is one that can help you, especially during a fight. As we stated before, there are different types of boxing stances. Not everyone can switch up a stance in the middle of a fight, but it may be something that you are forced into doing by your opponent. What matters then is how well you handle fighting in another stance.
Once you nail down the basics, try your hand at other stances. Not only will this make you more versatile, but as you continue to learn other stances, you are keeping the fundamentals in mind so that the chances of you making a mistake are close to none.
If you are just getting into the world of boxing, then it is important that you develop a proper boxing stance. You never want to get hit off-balance the moment the fight begins, and you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your training. The right stance will keep you grounded and help you deliver those powerful punches.