Boxing is a multi-dimensional sport that requires both the body and the mind to work in unison at all times. Unlike bodybuilding, boxing-specific training typically develops a variety of skills at the same time. To borrow a well-known fitness term, you could call it “compound movements.”
But dedicating time to working specifically on strength, speed, accuracy, agility, balance, or coordination. It vastly increases the speed at which each of them develops.
This article will look at balance and coordination from a boxing perspective and help you understand how to train them specifically for faster results.
Always maintain your balance
Balance is one of those things that gets overlooked by beginners in boxing. It’s just some vague concept that everyone knows they should have but rarely gets actual work. Balance is a crucial ingredient in every boxing move you make.
A powerful punch requires the work of the entire body working in unison. If your weight is not centered where it should be, the punch will be less effective. You should already know that punching with one foot in the air is inferior to punching with both feet grounded.
In defense, the repercussions of poor balance are usually larger. The least of them is the inability to deliver a timely counterattack. If you are out of balance, chances are you won’t be able to retaliate even if the opponent overreaches and leaves an opening, let alone if he doesn’t.
Things become even worse when you receive a punch while not balanced. Then the strike will throw you around further, leaving you in an even worse position.
Fortunately, our balance improves with each boxing session. But focused work in this area will bring much faster results.
Let’s go through a few exercises that will help you improve your balance faster.
Shadowboxing is a foundational exercise in boxing and is used to work on many different aspects of the game. Balance is one of them. Dedicate some rounds to focusing your full attention on your balance. Try different punches, movements, and defensive maneuvers, and be aware of your balance in each of them.
The pressure-free nature of shadowboxing makes it perfect for focused work. I recommend you check out my shadow boxing exercises article for some ideas to get you started.
2. Yoga and gymnastics
Gymnasts are quite possibly the most complete athletes on the planet, and boxers can certainly learn a thing or two about balance from them. Yoga also has a lot of movements that challenge the balance of the body in ways that are easily transferable to the ring.
I recommend you read my article on 10 Proven Reasons Why Boxers Should Take Up Yoga.
Dancing is another endeavor that wields surprising benefits for boxing. Cuban boxers often use salsa to improve their footwork and balance, while technical genius Vasyl Lomachenko is a practitioner of Ukrainian traditional dances. And both the Cubans and Loma are complete masters of balance and movement in the ring.
Single-leg deadlifts will work wonders for your balancing muscles. Another bonus of this exercise is that you will develop strength at the same time. These can be done with kettlebells or with dumbbells, either is perfectly fine.
But I would recommend kettlebells as they offer the most bang for the buck for fighters and with them, you can do the golden standard exercise for combat sports—the kettlebell swing.
The all-important coordination
Having good overall body coordination and awareness is a prerequisite for every sport. Hand-eye coordination is of key importance in the ring, despite not getting talked about too much. Your brain must be capable of making instant decisions based on the stimulus it is receiving. Then the body needs to answer correctly in the least amount of time possible.
Timing beats speed and power, and great coordination is one of the key ingredients in good timing.
A lot of the traditional boxing exercises work on coordination, but there are also some very potent exercises used by athletes in other domains that boxers should borrow.
5. Double-end bag
The double end bag is a tool unique to boxers and is one of the best drills to train coordination and, most of all, punch accuracy. The double-end bag is connected to the floor and ceiling, and it moves with frantic speed, which makes it easy to miss. The smaller target does not allow for strikes with power, but it works wonders for accuracy and coordination.
6. Mitt work
Hitting the pads with the right trainer may well be the most important part of a boxer’s training, aside from sparring. Mitts can be used to work on every single aspect of both offense and defense. But in all cases, it builds hand-eye coordination because the brain must react instantly to the signals of the pad holder.
The only problem with pads is that you need a competent pad holder, unlike most other drills, which can be worked solo. But with the right trainer, no other exercise can produce the same benefits in the same amount of time as pad work.
7. Cobra bag
The cobra bag is another boxing-specific piece of equipment that is similar in function to the double-end bag. The rapid recoil spring of the bag sharpens the reflexes and helps develop accuracy, coordination, and speed. Check out cobra bag options here and see the like of Canelo and Ryan Garcia using it in action below:
8. Tennis ball exercises
You will need a simple tennis ball and a wall for this exercise, used widely by athletes from many different sports. Throw the ball against the wall, hit it, and catch it with the same hand. Vary the height, the grip, and the distance to the wall. Then switch hands. This simple drill will drastically improve your hand-eye coordination.
A more boxing-specific variation is to throw the ball upwards and then catch it in midflight with a punch motion. There are many different coordination exercises you can do with just a ball, ranging from simple rehabilitation level all the way to circus-level performances, so don’t neglect this seemingly simple tool. It may help your boxing more than you might believe. Here is a great video by FightTips that shows some great exercises for you to try out.
Hopefully, this article was able to inspire you to start or try some of these balance and coordination drills and implement as part of your overall boxing training plan.
I highly recommend you also check my other related article around this topic below.
- 12 Benefits And Reasons To Start Shadowboxing
- Roadwork For Boxing | Why Do Boxers Run?
- Weight Lifting For Boxing – Good Or Bad?
- How To Jump/Skip Rope Like A Boxer | A Helpful Guide
- Boxing Footwork Training Drills And Equipment
- How To Get A Boxer’s Body Using These Tips
- Shadow Boxing Exercises For Home Or The Gym
- Top 5 Reasons Why Running For Boxing Is Important
- Boxing Heavy Bag Workouts For Beginners
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