If you are considering taking up boxing and are a complete beginner it can be quite an overwhelming process in how to actually make a start in the sport. Also, like with most things in life if you want to start a new hobby, get a new job or just try something new it comes off your own accord!
When I first started boxing it came off my own motivation to finally take a leap of faith to start practicing sport I had watched all my life, but never took the courage to start till my early 20s. If you are reading this and are not quite sure if boxing is for you yet, starting is the only way you will find out.
Boxing is serious sport, first you need to identify what you actually want to achieve from the sport? Is it just to get fit? Is it to help defend yourself? Or is it to become a world champion? Whatever your goal every beginner needs to start from somewhere, so set your goal.
Below are 10 steps/recommendations for someone who really wants to invest themselves in the sport for the long term. Boxing is one of the loneliest sports in the world, but also one of the most rewarding in terms of giving you confidence and getting yourself in the best shape of your life. Like I said above, it all comes off your own accord.
Here are my 10 steps on how to start boxing on your own.
1. Start Running
Now I know you probably came here thinking the first thing you would need to do is to start learning to box, but if I’m being honest it’s actually road work! Running is quite often the first thing lots of beginners completely overlook! It’s no wonder I see so many gas out when they first start training.
As boxer you need to have good cardio if you are going to be doing this type of training. So if you are a complete beginner you need start slow, but it will gradually build up your endurance the more you do this each day. Ideally you will get to a stage where you can run 2-3 miles, 4-5 days a week. Remember, start slow and build up to this.
I recommend you check out my article on the benefits of running for boxing here.
2. Learn how to jump rope
Another form of cardio training, which pretty much all boxers and boxing gyms will implement. You don’t need to be the world’s greatest skipper, but it’s important you become comfortable with this form of training as almost all boxers know this skill.
Now if you are complete beginner to skipping/jumping rope, you will soon realize it takes A LOT of practice before it becomes comfortable and easy. But just like with anything in life the more you practice the better you will become, I highly recommend you do this 10-15 mins before you start any gym session – it’s a great warm up tool!
If you want to learn how to jump rope for boxing, check out my article here.
3. Get Used to Basic Exercises and Interval Training
Now if you are going to the gym right now and sticking to a regularly routine and not putting on a sweat, you will need to change this habit if you are to start boxing training! You need to get used to the basic exercises – press-ups, sit-ups and squats, burpees – you’ll be destroyed in a boxing gym if you can’t do these!
I also recommend you get a timer for interval training as this will really help when it comes to boxing training. You work hard then rest. A typical boxing round is usually 3 minutes with a 1 minute rest period between rounds, try to incorporate this timing into your training.
Getting your overall fitness up will be vital if you plan to become great at boxing. Check out some of these useful online fitness courses which could come in handy.
4. Get yourself boxing gear and equipment
After you have got yourself in a good physical condition, you can now get the appropriate boxing equipment and gear to start your training. Now you don’t need to spend hundreds, but it may totally depend on your circumstances and your budget. I always recommend you get yourself a decent starting pair of gloves, but don’t break the bank as you won’t need something like that at this stage.
First and foremost as a beginner the two primary things I recommend you get are boxing gloves and hand wrap. If you are wanting to box from home get yourself a punch bag. I understand that for many people, they may live far away from a gym or boxing gym and this may be the best option for you.
5. Start learning the fundamentals
Jab, Cross, Hook, Upper cut…you will need to start learning the boxing fundamentals and it may not seem like there is a lot, but trust me there is so many ways to throw a punch you wouldn’t believe. It takes years of practice to perfect these skills, however you need to start from somewhere.
The best way to do this in my opinion is to shadow box. It makes it a lot easier to practice the technique at first before hitting the punch bag. You can then start perfecting this on the punch bag after you feel comfortable throwing any punch.
Now if you are still learning own your own at this stage that is fine, it’s good to get your confidence up before you head into a boxing gym and are used to throwing punches. However, as you try to teach yourself, I’d recommend you take up online boxing course to compliment your training. This was something I did when I first started and it definitely helped me recognize mistakes I was making and other skills like footwork and defense.
6. Head to a boxing gym
After you have got yourself in a good physical condition and have learned the fundamentals you need to get yourself down to a boxing gym and learn from real boxing coach. If you feel confident enough you could even skip number 5 and start learning in the boxing gym straight away.
The coaches and boxers in the gym will be able to really reinforce and teach you the fundamentals properly. They will be able to help amend and coach any bad habits or mistakes you have picked up on. As you will be in good physical condition the coaches will already have a lot more respect for you as it shows you are putting in the effort.
My points 1-5 may seem tedious at first, but trust me they will make massive difference when you are actually take your training inside a boxing gym.
(If you don’t live near a boxing gym, I’d continue to follow online boxing courses and soak up as much as you can. If you really serious about taking it up, you may have to move closer to gym to achieve your dreams.)
7. Learn the ropes
There are a lot of different things to learn inside the boxing gym which you will need to get used to practicing. By really getting yourself involved in the gym and absorbing everything within the gym you will continue improve physically and your technique.
Make sure to try out other pieces of equipment so training doesn’t become too repetitive as boxing can become very repetitive sport at times. Here some different way you can improve:
- Continue to improve technique on different punch bags that allow upper cuts.
- Practice your combinations on the mitts (With a Coach or Partner)
- Perfect your shadow boxing technique
- Use The Double End Bag – improve your timing an reflexes
- Learn how to use the Speed Bag – useful for timing and conditioning
8. Start Sparring
Now that you have got yourself into great shape and are training in a real boxing gym, it now gets down to the real stuff – if you choose to! If you have the desire and ambition to go somewhere and compete in the sport, you will need to put all of what you have learned into practice.
This can be quite a scary thing if it is the first time you have ever sparred and you will no doubt be extremely nervous. All I will say is there is nothing quite like being punched in face and you will very quickly realize it’s a lot harder to do everything you have learned when someone is throwing punches back at you.
However, on a plus side to this, there something absolutely exhilarating about being in the ring and getting punched at, it really does make you feel alive. There is nothing quite like it and it will make you want to come back for more.
If you are complete beginner and you are thrown in with a guy with lots of experience, make sure to let them know you are beginner and to take it easy or else you will be in for a real beating. The other thing to keep in mind is to not get yourself down if you do get beat up, it even happens to the best at times.
9. Compete in a bout
After you have been boxing training and sparring for a while and gathered up your confidence, you need to go to you coach and ask about competing at some level. They will know better than anyone if you are ready or not to take part in a fight. (Make sure you trust them first and foremost)
By doing this, your coach will be expecting a lot from you in terms of showing complete dedication to prepare for fight and stay in the gym. They may put you in their amateur set up or recommend you take part in a white collar or semi-professional capacity.
Whatever happens it up to you how serious you want to go with this!
10. Continuously Improve
For any fighter that competes it’s not about having ‘training camps’, but always staying in the gym at a certain level so you can continue to hone and progress your skills.
Boxing skills take years to completely master and if you want to be the very best, it’s so important to stick at.
By staying in the gym and aiming to continuously improve you will definitely have an edge over the vast majority of fighters out there.
Boxing is a brutal sport, but it can also be the most rewarding to those that truly dedicate themselves.
I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to start boxing and hopefully it can inspire you to take up or try boxing in 2021.
Make sure to let me know in the comments below if you are thinking about taking it up this year and what goals you have.
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