These best boxing exercises for beginners will help you improve your fitness and skill set. Many of the exercises require little to no training equipment and so can be performed anywhere.
You want to work on your ‘pugilism’ during your lunch break, at home, or on your holidays? Not a problem. Armed with these exercises you can improve your boxing skills anytime and anyplace.
As well as increasing fitness levels and sharpening your combative skills, these boxing exercises can enhance your agility and coordination. In addition, if you complete them as part of a boxing circuit, they will burn fat and tone your physique while developing your aerobic fitness.
Boxing exercises for beginners (quick search)
Straight jab (technique)
Rear hand cross (technique)
One-two combination (technique)
One-two double bob (technique)
Boxing exercises for beginners key benefits
Improve whole body fitness conditioning
Enhance muscle endurance
Develop a basic boxing skill set
Expand exercise repertoire
Learn new training techniques and boxing drills
Essential reading: Jack Dempsey’s Championship Fighting
How to use these boxing exercises for beginners
For complete novices, the focus should be on technical proficiency. That is, before using the boxing exercises in a circuit or workout, you should dedicate time to learning the key techniques. This is important for three reasons.
First, and most importantly, performing an exercise or boxing drill incorrectly reduces injury risk. Next to warming up and training within your sphere of ability, applying safe techniques is one of the surest ways to avoid pulling, straining, or tearing a muscle. So, with that said, make your priority that of exercise mastery.
Get the most out of these boxing exercises for beginners
The second reason why you should make technique your first focus is because by doing so you will get the most out of each exercise. Performing techniques incorrectly, for example failing to execute the full range of movement, will limit the fitness benefit that can be derived from an exercise. As well as wasting your training time, making this mistake can also slow physical development.
The final reason why technique must come first has to do with maximising output. If an exercise has been poorly acquired, it can impede the flow of a workout – not to mention the enjoyment that can be derived from training. But when the key techniques of an exercise have been mastered, and you no longer have to think about how to execute it, you are free to focus purely on performance.
Create a circuit from these boxing exercises for beginners
By far the best way to use these boxing exercises for beginners is to organise them into a circuit. This is super-easy to do and will provide you with loads of different training combinations to try.
Here’s just one example of how you could create a circuit from the boxing exercises below.
Structure either a selection or all the exercises in a circular circuit. To do this simply number each exercise. Let’s say that your circuit is comprised of 10 exercises or ‘stations’. Now decide on the duration of the stations. To keep things uncomplicated, we’ll settle on a 60-second time parameter.
After a good 5- to 10-minute warm-up, start at the first station and begin exercising for 60-seconds. When the bell (buzzer) sounds you have two options: 1) take a short rest; 2) move straight on to the next exercise.
The objective of the circular circuit is to complete as many laps as possible in the time allotted. Of the circuit described above, one full lap without resting will take approximately 10-minutes.
Related: 4 Tips to Improve Your Punch Bag Workouts
Boxing exercises for beginners | Techniques
The first four exercises are basic boxing techniques. A great way to improve your technique and skill set is to integrate boxing-specific movements into your workouts. Applying this synergistic approach will enable you to enhance your pugilism while increasing your fitness.
#1: Straight jab
Purpose of technique: the jab is a fundamental boxing movement that must be mastered. Thus, it should feature in any lineup of boxing exercises. The purpose of the jab is manifold. Using the jab effectively can:
Keep the opponent at range
Stifle an opponent’s attacks
Wear down and tire the opponent
Set up other strikes and combinations
Discombobulate the opponent
Key jabbing teaching points
Firstly, adopt the proper stance: balls of the feet placed on the opposite corners of a box, spaced shoulder width apparat in two dimensions, toes turned at a 45° angle, knees bent.
Now adopt the proper guard by raising your fists level with your chin.
To execute a jab slowly extend your jabbing arm out straight.
Remember, irrespective of which stance you adopt – orthodox or southpaw – you always jab with the lead hand.
At full extension retract the arm back to the start position.
The jab from start to finish should be performed in one fast fluid movement.
Watch the video demonstration.
#2: Rear hand cross
Purpose of technique: to deliver a powerful strike to the anterior aspect of the opponent. The rear hand cross should be an explosive punch delivered with maximum force.
Key rear hand cross teaching points
Firstly, adopt the proper stance as described above.
To initiate the cross twist the rear foot so that the heel comes up – you are screwing the ball of the foot into the floor.
As you do so rotate to the right.
Having generated energy through your body you are now going to unleash it through the punch.
To do so throw the right hand straight out and immediately snap it back.
The punch is executed in one smooth fluid movement.
Watch the video demonstration.
#3: One-two combination
Purpose of technique: The one-two (or left-right) is the combination that all beginner boxers learn first. Arguably, it is the single most important punch combo in boxing. Used effectively, the one-two is a formidable technique that could put an end to a fight in the blink of an eye.
Once you can throw a one-two combination like a seasoned pro, you'll no doubt want to increase the intensity of the exercise. One simple way to do this is by holding a pair of dumbbells in your hand when practicing the technique.
Key one-two teaching points
Again, adopt the correct boxing stance: feet spaced on opposite corners of a box, toes turned at a 45° angle, knees bent, hands up, fists level with your chin, you are looking through your eyebrows.
The one-two is an amalgamation of the jab and rear hand cross.
However, the difference is the combo is performed in a single, unbroken movement.
First, throw the jab.
As you snap the jab back simultaneously throw the rear hand.
When you pull the left hand into the body focus on transferring the energy to the rear hand.
Think of the body as a door: opened when throwing the left, slammed shut when throwing right.
Watch the video demonstration.
#4: One-two double bob
Purpose of technique: to merge multiple movements into a succinct offensive and evasive technique. The one-two punch combination is thrown which causes your opponent to throw a counterattack. You pre-empt the attack and immediately initiate the evasive double bob.
Key one-two double bob teaching points
Adopt the correct boxing stance, preferably in front of a mirror so that you can observe your technique.
Execute the technique by throwing a one-two combo.
The moment the right hand is back initiate the bob by:
Performing two squats – down up, down up.
When bobbing you only need to dip slightly lower than the opponent’s fist. Squatting too low can be counterproductive and leave you in a vulnerable position.
Also, focus on dipping at the knees and not folding at the waist. Folding at the waist is by far the most common mistake made during the bob. The problem with folding, as opposed to squatting, is that you must take your eyes off your opponent. Again, this puts you at a disadvantage and thus should be avoided.
Related: Learn all the essential techniques with this Complete Guide to Boxing Basics
Boxing exercises for beginners | Muscle Endurance
Once you’ve nailed the basic boxing techniques above, it’s time to start developing your endurance. The following four body weight and resistance exercises will help you build bags of boxing stamina. All the exercises are simple, require minimal equipment, and, most importantly, will enhance whole-body muscular endurance.
Purpose of exercise: the press-up builds superior muscle endurance in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. (Press-ups also isometrically engage the core, hip flexors, and quadriceps.) Performing press-ups not only closely simulate punching (which is why they’re best performed on your knuckles), but they also work many of the same muscles.
Key press-up teaching points
To get into position place your knees on a soft training mat. Your hands spaced a little over shoulder-width apart, are planted firmly on the floor directly underneath your shoulders.
Begin the exercise by raising your knees off the floor. (Remember, for those that currently do not possess the strength to perform a full press-up, the modified version can be performed. To do so, simply keep your knees on the floor throughout the movement.)
Before initiating your set of press-ups, make minor adjustments to your position.
Now proceed to execute the exercise by bending the elbows to 90 degrees before pushing back to the start position.
As you do so focus on keeping the back straight.
Watch the video demonstration.
#6: Squat jumps
Purpose of exercise: to develop explosive power in the quads and glutes. Squat jumps also improve muscular endurance in the legs.
Key squat jumps teaching points
To absorb the shock on landing perform your squat jumps on a soft training mat.
Stand with your feet a little over shoulder width. Your arms are folded across your chest.
Keeping the back perfectly straight, squat down to about 90 degrees.
Explosively power out of the squat propelling yourself 6 to 12 inches above the floor.
On landing ensure to bend the knees to soften the impact.
To make the exercise harder hold a kettlebell between your legs.
Purpose of exercise: to increase whole-body functional physicality. Burpees are a complete exercise. They engage the muscles of the legs, core, back, and, if you pop out a press-up at the halfway point, chest and arms. Also, if you perform your burpees in multiples (10-plus-reps) and ensure to conclude each rep with a plyometric jump, they also activate the cardio system as well. As I said, burpees are a complete exercise.
Key burpee teaching points
As with squat jumps, it’s best to perform burpees on a training mat.
Start in an upright position, feet spaced about shoulder-width, hands by your sides.
Initiate the movement by performing a deep squat (actually a Hindu squat).
In the crouched position place your palms (or fists) on the floor. Hands are spaced shoulder-width and elbows are slightly bent.
Tip your weight forward as though you were about to perform the Yoga ‘crow’ position. Titling forward takes the weight off your feet which makes the following transition phase much easier.
Now jump both feet back simultaneously.
The halfway point is the press-up start position. You can perform a press-up at this stage.
To conclude the burpee, jump the feet back so that the knees are on the outsides of the elbows.
Stand up remembering to execute an explosive plyometric jump.
#8: Medicine ball twists
Purpose of exercise: to develop rock solid abs and core muscles. Medicine ball twists also enhance many more abdominal muscles such as the transverse abdominus and the obliques.
Related: Best Medicine Balls for home training
Key medicine ball twist teaching points
If you don’t have access to a medicine ball, you can perform twists with dumbbells, kettlebells, or just your body weight.
Seated on a soft training mat, raise your feet about 6 inches off the floor: your legs are about halfway extended.
Balancing on your sit bones (aka your pelvis), a ‘V’ is formed with your torso and thighs, grab the medicine ball, and hold it about a foot above your chest.
To perform the twists simply rotate the medicine ball to your side until it touches the floor.
In one smooth sweeping movement twist the ball over to the other side.
Related: Try this Boxing Conditioning Workout
Boxing exercises for beginners | Cardio & Stamina
Now that you can throw a decent punch and have the muscle endurance to match, it’s time to take care of the cardio. Few would dispute that cardio fitness is an essential weapon in the boxer’s arsenal. Well, if you include the two aerobic exercises in your boxing regime, soon you’ll have the fitness to fight from the first to the last bell – no problem!
#9: Box sprints
Purpose of exercise: to increase aerobic stamina and muscle endurance in the legs. Box sprints, if performed using coloured cones and a partner (who randomly calls out a colour to which you must immediately sprint), also enhance reaction time and agility.
Key box sprints teaching points
First, you need to create your box. To do so space four different coloured cones about the size of a large boxing ring (24 feet).
As mentioned above, this exercise is most effective when performed with a partner. The partner calls the colour to which you must sprint. If you can recruit a third person, they can count every cone you touch. The objective is to try and touch as many cones as possible within side 2- to 3-minutes. Take it in turns and compete for the most touches.
If you don’t have the luxury of a training partner, you can still do box sprints.
Before setting the timer, decide on the sprint pattern.
The objective is the same: try to touch as many cones as possible before the round ends.
Purpose of exercise: Improve cardio capacity and muscle endurance in the legs (specifically the calves) and shoulders (all three heads of the deltoids). Skipping is a superior aerobic exercise that is widely recognised as one of the most effective fitness-developing activities that you can do. Bruce Lee famously said that 10-minutes of skipping was the equivalent of 30-minutes of running.
Another great thing about skipping is that it can be used to improve essential boxing attributes such as coordination, agility, timing and, if you master double unders, explosive
Related: best budget Skipping Rope
The one limitation of skipping is that it requires considerable practice before you can skip without tying yourself in knots. Unlike box sprints, which can be mastered in a matter of minutes, the fitness benefits of skipping cannot be tapped until a rudimentary level of competency is achieved, which can take weeks of consistent practice. Until then the exercise can be quite exasperating as you’ll spend most of your time disentangling your legs from the rope.
But don’t be put off! Skipping is such an awesome exercise that it is more than worth the effort it takes to acquire the skill. Also, much like riding a bike, once you learn how to skip, you’ll never forget. For a comprehensive overview of how to skip properly, see our article: How to Skip in 7 Steps
Boxing exercises for beginners FAQ
How to train boxing for beginners
The most important first step for the beginner is to learn a few foundational techniques. A good place to start would be with the boxing stance and basic footwork drills. In addition, the guard (defensive position) and some simple strikes. (Master the boxing basics with this Complete Guide.)
Once the techniques of these boxing basics have been honed, the beginner must practice regularly. This is by far the most important aspect of any skills development process. The best way to improve practice consistency is by adopting a training regime. We show you how to do this in our article: How to Improve Fitness For Boxing.
Can you do boxing training everyday?
Yes, you can do boxing training every day. However, to avoid repetitive strain injury, it is important to mix the exercise modalities. For example, you might train on the boxing bag every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
To give the shoulders a rest from the impact, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday you could focus on technique with light pad work and/or shadowboxing.
Alternatively, you could interchange boxing skill set sessions with boxing fitness sessions. Instead of doing more boxing on a Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, you could do cardio, circuits, or conditioning workouts.
For more training ideas check out our dedicated Fitness Page where you’ll find hundreds of workouts to choose from.
Can you train boxing at home?
One of the great things about boxing is that it requires hardly any equipment. To practice the basic techniques outlined above, all you need is a bit of space. Shadowboxing is a drill practiced by all boxers – from the beginner to the pro – to sharpen their skills. Yet, though one of the most effective drills, shadowboxing requires the least equipment. And, as this article shows, there are loads of different ways to spice up your shadowboxing sessions.
But, of course, eventually, you will get tired of throwing punches at thin air. A few basic items of training equipment will enable you to enjoy the full boxing experience.
Related: Need Boxing Equipment Ideas?
For example, a pair of all-purpose 12 oz boxing gloves and a reflex bag will enable you to practice every conceivable punch combination, In addition, a skipping rope will help you keep up your cardio while improving agility and coordination.
If you really want to push the boat out and bring the boxing gym to your bedroom or garage, you could invest in a quality leather heavy bag and go Rocky Balboa every night.
Related: Best Skipping Rope
Will boxing training make me fit?
Boxing training can make you very fit. But whether it does or not depends on three key factors. First, how often you train. Irregular training habits or long lulls between workouts will result in physical stagnation or even reversal. Exercise consistency is a fundamental factor in improving general fitness levels.
The second has to do with training intensity. While training at high intensities too often increases injury risk, if you don’t push the boundaries every now and then the body will not be put under sufficient stress to trigger physiological adaptations.
The third and final key factor in improving fitness is to mix the training methods. Contemporary professionals make use of a wide range of exercises. For example, one YouTube training video featuring current heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, shows him using battle ropes, plyometrics, mace bells, kettlebells, Olympic weightlifting, and a load more other weird and wonderful training methods.
To get the most out of boxing training you need to maintain consistency. This point is worth saying again. At a minimum, you should be boxing three times a week – but five is better.
In addition, your workouts should include a mix of skills, drills, and fitness conditioning. Your boxing training should be supplemented with cardio and resistance workouts. Weekly runs and circuits are a must.
Throughout this comprehensive – but basic – training regime, you should vary the intensity; some days low intensity, other days moderate intensity, and once a week training like you’ve got a fight lined up with Jack Dempsey.
Related: 10 Health & Fitness Benefits of Boxing Training
Get even more training ideas with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts Volume 2.