Dominate The Competition

20 Boxing Beginner Tips To Improve Your Boxing

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Written By: Richard Magallanes
Last Updated: December 3, 2023

I've been boxing for about one year and a half (at the time of writing).

And when beginners ask me, "What are some boxing tips you can give me?" - I always respond with "In what area specifically?"

Providing "tips" is so general it's hard to pinpoint what you need.

So, I've taken it upon myself to create a document and list all the "tips" I wish I had known when I first started.

In this guide, you will learn about:

  • Fundamental Tips on Boxing
  • Tips, tricks, and strategies
  • Boxing nutrition, strength tips, and mindset

The best way to consume this guide is by selecting the area you wish to learn about:

Key Takeaways

  • Master the Basics - Before delving into advanced techniques and strategies, learn and master basic boxing skills such as jabs, cross, hooks, and uppercuts. Footwork is equally essential, focusing on maintaining balance and moving fluidly.
  • Conditioning is Crucial - Boxing is an intense physical activity that requires strength, agility, and endurance. Incorporate cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises into your workout routine to improve your physical condition.
  • Mindset Matters - Boxing is not just about physical ability but also mental fortitude. Cultivate a positive mindset, be patient with your progress, and keep pushing your limits.
  • Prioritize Protection - Always wear appropriate protective gear such as hand wraps, mouthguards, and headgear during training and matches to prevent injuries.
  • Nutrition Fuels Performance - Consuming a balanced diet of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats will fuel your body for rigorous boxing sessions and expedite recovery. Stay well-hydrated before and after your workouts.

Boxing beginner tips when starting your boxing journey

1. Exhale after every punch

When throwing punches, remember to exhale sharply with each blow.

This helps generate power and maintain your stamina during training sessions.

Keep your focus on the exhale as you punch.

Don't leave your mouth as you exhale. Focus on gritting your teeth and breathing through the holes of your teeth.

You should be making a "shhhh" sound with each punch.

This will ensure that you keep your mouth clenched to cop any punches to the jaw.

Trust me when I say you don't want to leave your mouth hanging when you cop it to the jaw.

2. Bring your hands back to your face.

Always bring your hands back to your face after throwing a punch.

This quick movement ensures you maintain a good defense against your opponent's counterattacks and reduces the chance of getting hit.


  • Your legs are the first line of defense. (AKA jumping out of range).
  • Your trunk movement/head movement is your second line of defense. (AKA slips, rolls, slip-steps, roll-steps)
  • Your hands are the third line of defense. (AKA parries, blocks, wedges, etc.)

It is important to note that your hands also take less effort than your legs.

But you want to avoid getting stuck using your hand defense only.

3. Turn your hips when throwing a punch.

When throwing a punch, engage your hip muscles and rotate them to maximize the power generated.

This movement helps transfer energy from your core to your fists, making your punches more impactful.

Your power is generated from the ground up. This is a common misconception when starting, as Boxing looks like it's all upper body.

The stronger legs you have, the more grounded you will be, the stronger your punches will be.

4. Always fully extend your arms

When landing a punch like a jab or cross, always fully extend your arm, ensuring the blow connects at its maximum reach. This helps increase both the power and range of the punch.

If you are too close, you cannot maximize your power. If you are too far away, you will miss it.

Best to stay within range. This is also known as "being in the pocket."

5. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart when moving.

Maintain a proper boxing stance by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart as you move.

This stance helps you maintain balance, quickly change directions, and be ready to throw punches on the go.

It keeps you elusive because you are perfectly balanced.

If you're too wide, you're more grounded (better for power punches) but less mobile.

If you're too narrow, you're less grounded but more prone to being off-balance.

Shoulder-width apart is generally the best middle ground of the two.

6. Keep Your Chin Down

By keeping your chin down, you protect your face and reduce the chance of getting dazed or worse - knocked out.

Tucking in your chin and looking through your eyebrows makes it more difficult for your opponent to land a clean punch, minimizing the chances of a solid knock-out blow.

As a side note, training your neck/traps will further help you create what many call an "iron chin," AKA — a chin that's hard to knock out.

7. Power Hand Should Be Glued to Your Face

Your power hand should glued to your face, especially when throwing your lead hand.

This serves two purposes:

  1. It protects you from your opponent's lead hand if they're orthodox.
    • It's even more important if they're southpaw as it protects you from the power hand.
  2. It allows you to be in a position to set up a quick counter cross since your hand is in the perfect position.

So it's two-fold. It provides you with optimal offense and defense.

8. Be a small target (AKA half-a-man)

Avoid making yourself an easy target by keeping your stance narrow and slightly angled.

This turns your body into a "half-a-man" target, making it more challenging for your opponent to land punches.

Being "half-a-man" also allows you to maximize your range.

You typically want to pull the opposite shoulder back to extend your range when punching. You can't do this if you're in more of a square stance.

There are exceptions to this rule that you will learn later on, but your default boxing stance should always come back to being "half-a-man."

9. Be unpredictable with your feints

Master the art of feints to confuse your opponent and create openings for your punches.

Be unpredictable and creative with feints to catch them off guard. Feints are designed to train your opponent to react, which allows you to expose the "holes" in their defense.

By being unpredictable — meaning not having a "rhythm" when throwing feints, you can start to open up your opponent's defense.

If you want to remember one principle of feinting, it's this:

The best time to throw a punch is after you throw a feint.

10. Keep Your Elbows Close to the Body

Keeping your elbows close to the body protects your organs and reduces the likelihood of damage from body punches.

This positioning also keeps your punches tight and powerful. Your punching power is weaker if you are flaring out your elbows then closer to the body.

11. Get Used to Training With a Mouthguard In

Wearing a mouthguard while training helps protect your teeth and jaw and minimizes the risk of injury.

Start training with a mouthguard to get used to its presence and maintain comfort.

Mouthguards can also make it harder to breathe, especially when starting. So it's essential to get used to the feeling.

You'll find quickly that generic mouthguards fall out more easily and move around a lot, making it harder to breathe.

I recommend getting a custom mouthguard in ASAP. Custom mouthguards make it 10x easier to breathe.

12. Move Your Head After Every Punch or Combination

Head movement is crucial in Boxing to evade your opponent's counterattacks.

Make it a habit to move your head after throwing a punch or combination to improve your defense.

13. Don't Get Too Fancy, Focus on the Basics

While flashy combos and techniques may look impressive, the most effective strategy is mastering the fundamentals.

Concentrate on refining your mindset, technique, and strategy.

Too often, I see boxers rocking up to training and only wanting to spar without wanting to train the fundamentals.

Mastering the fundamentals is what's going to make you a dangerous boxer.

14. Loosen Up Your Fists When Not Active

Keeping your fists clenched at all times can lead to muscle strain and a build-up of lactic acid.

To reduce this, loosen up your fists when not engaged in an exchange.

15. Stay on the Balls of Your Feet

Staying on the balls of your feet allows for quick and agile movements, making it easier to dodge, cut angles, and maintain fluidity in the boxing ring or during training.

You'll find a lot of boxers having a natural rhythmic "bounce." You can only achieve this by staying on the balls of your feet.

16. Always Think About Defense (Hit and Don't Get Hit)

Boxing isn't just about landing punches; it also involves avoiding them.

Keep your defense a priority in your strategy by developing strong guarding skills and defensive movements.

Your guard should always be up, and you should always be thinking about the three levels of defense:

  1. First level - Jumping out of range: Also known as the "push step." This leaves no chance of getting hit because you're jumping out of range. Push steps are the most taxing on the legs.
  2. Second level - Head movement: Includes slips, rolls, and weaves. It makes you a more elusive boxer and is what you see pros often do. Head movement is the hardest to learn and takes a lot of practice to get right.
  3. Third level - Hand defense: Includes parries, wedges, blocks, etc. Very efficient for blocking the first offense phase. It needs to be combined with head movement to be most effective.

17. Record and Study Your Film

Film will be one of the most important aspects of growing as a boxer. It provides you with the data you need to analyze your flaws.

Regularly record and analyze both sparring sessions and training to identify areas of improvement.

Watch over your recordings weekly, and note down any areas of improvement.

I like to focus on three things to correct weekly.

Do that for a long enough time, and you'll rapidly improve your skills.

18. Always Wrap Your Hands

Wrapping your hands is essential in preventing injuries while punching.

Ensure you wrap your hands meticulously before every training session or spar.

Quick wraps are decent when first starting, but I suggest upgrading to Mexican-style hand wraps when ready.

These provide the best protection for your knuckles, wrists, and hands due to having layers of protection.

19. Ensure to Warm Up Every Session

Warming up prepares your body for the challenges of Boxing and aids in injury prevention.

Always allot time for warm-up exercises before diving into your training regimen.

20. Always Think About Perfecting Your Form

Focusing on perfecting your form is vital to mastering boxing techniques efficiently.

Always emphasize each drill or movement's proper form, ensuring you maximize its effectiveness and minimize the risk of injury.

If you can do it slow, you can do it fast.

The best way to learn a technique is to break down the technique into slow motion.

Once you've nailed the fundamentals, then focus on adding speed. Then power.

Perfecting your form will come with volume over a long period.

Tips for boxing conditioning

Conditioning is arguably the most essential aspect of Boxing. It is often the one pillar that most newbies underestimate when starting.

If I'm going to recommend any one tip for improving your boxing skills, it's to "get into shape."

Too often, you're tired and tend to shell up and allow your opponent to unload their offense on you.

Conditioning will solve that issue, even if you are a beginner.

But it takes time to build up a solid conditioning base.

I would suggest doing these things below…


There's a saying that goes:

Boxers are semi-professional runners.

And while I know little about what it takes to be an elite runner, I can see why this comparison is made.

Running is an essential part of boxing conditioning as it helps to build endurance and agility and improve footwork.

You'll want to add short, high-intensity sprints and longer, steady-state runs into your routine.

Aim for at least three weekly cardio sessions, focusing on varying intensity and distance to challenge your body and prevent plateaus.

Train like you fight, and fight like you train

The best mindset to have when approaching training is to "train as you fight, and fight as you train."

Your training (if done right) translates into your sparring seamlessly.

Boxing is a high-energy sport that demands both physical and mental strength.

Structure your workouts to mimic a boxing match's movement patterns and energy demands to ensure you're ready for the ring.

Utilize techniques such as shadowboxing, heavy bag work, and partner drills in your training.

Also, remember to give equal attention to offensive and defensive tactics to become a well-rounded fighter.

Consistency is critical - the more you train, the more confident and prepared you'll feel.

Don't Forget the Footwork

Footwork is the foundation of effective Boxing, allowing you to move, pivot, and maintain balance.

Focus on agility drills and footwork exercises, such as ladder drills and box jumps, to enhance your movement and coordination.

Incorporate core strengthening exercises to attend to your core's critical role in Boxing, as a strong core supports your balance and allows you to transfer power effectively.

Remember, practice makes perfect in Boxing.

Dedicate time to improving your footwork, refining your techniques, and building your endurance.

Doing so will develop a strong base supporting your progression in the sport.

Tips for boxing strength training

Strength training is the next pillar that is often underrated, especially in the Amateur circuit.

I know a lot of athletes who mainly do boxing training and conditioning but neglect the strength part.

Strength will help you build that "gorilla strength," which can translate into punching power.

The stronger you are, the more rigid and durable your body will be, translating into stronger punches and longevity.

Focus on explosiveness

Developing explosive power is crucial in Boxing to deliver quick and effective punches.

To enhance your explosiveness, incorporate plyometric exercises into your strength training routine.

Some practical exercises include squat jumps, burpees, and clapping push-ups.

These exercises engage your fast-twitch muscle fibers, essential for generating speed and power in your movements.

Perform low reps and high intensity for strength.

To maximize your strength, performing compound movements with low rep ranges (3-6 reps) is essential.

Incorporate exercises such as deadlifts, bench presses, and squats into your strength training.

These exercises target multiple muscle groups, helping you build optimal overall strength.

Add in high reps for endurance

In addition to building strength, boxers need endurance to maintain their power throughout multiple rounds.

To develop endurance, include high-rep exercises (12-15 reps) in your workout routine.

Examples of high-rep exercises are push-ups, sit-ups, and lunges.

Including high and low-rep exercises in your strength training sessions ensures that you work on strength and endurance, contributing to a well-rounded boxing training regimen.

By focusing on explosiveness, performing a mixture of low and high-rep exercises, and incorporating resistance training, you can optimize your boxing training and develop the strength, speed, and technique required for success in the ring.

Tips for boxing nutrition

When you're young, nutrition doesn't affect you because you have a lot of energy and high metabolism.

You can quickly gain weight by cutting out junk food.

As you get older, nutrition becomes more important, not just for maintaining weight but for maintaining high energy throughout the day.

So it's better to get into positive eating habits now.

If you can stay in shape during the off-season, your training will be more accessible, and your performance will improve.

Find a diet that you can stick to for a lifetime

As a beginner in Boxing, finding a sustainable diet for you in the long run is crucial.

Your diet should primarily consist of lean meats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Aim for a balance of macronutrients. I like to start with a 40/40/20 split:

  • 40% of your calories should come from proteins
  • 40% from carbohydrates, and
  • 20% from fats

The 40/40/20 split worked well for me when I strictly counted calories.

Other diets I've tried and have succeeded with are:

  • * The slow carb diet (my personal favorite as it's the easiest to maintain)
  • The ketogenic diet
  • The Hormozi diet (calorie counting + protein counting only)

A diet you can stick to forever will be the most effective. Test and find what works for you and your body.

You can also always consult a professional as well.

Remember that it's unnecessary to count your macronutrients strictly; instead, focus on making healthy choices.

Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Stay within your competitive weight range.

It's essential to maintain a weight close to your competition weight.

Staying within range allows you to easily adjust your weight for matches without drastic diet or training changes.

As you eat a balanced diet, monitor your weight regularly and adjust your calorie intake or exercise routine if needed.

This will help you maintain a healthy body composition, build lean muscle, and optimize your performance in the ring.

Allow yourself cheat meals to reset your metabolism.

This only applies if you're consistently on a strict diet.

Depriving yourself of your favorite foods can lead to feelings of restriction and potentially harm your long-term nutrition goals.

Allow yourself occasional cheat meals or treats to enjoy your favorite indulgences in moderation.

These cheat meals can help reset your metabolism, give you a mental break from excessive dieting, and prevent feelings of deprivation.

However, be mindful of portion sizes during cheat meals to avoid overeating and maintain progress.

In summary, focus on incorporating a balanced, sustainable diet that keeps you within range of your competition weight.

Stay hydrated with adequate water intake and allow yourself occasional cheat meals to maintain your motivation and achieve your boxing goals.

Tips for mental training in Boxing

Mental training is the last pillar when it comes to Boxing.

A strong mind = a strong body. It translates into all realms of boxing training.

If you're a fan of Cus D'mato (Mike Tyson's legendary trainer), he says:

Boxing is 75% mental and only 25% physical.

I suggest approaching mental training like physical training, with ruthless consistency and seriousness to master the fundamentals.

Train your mind with motivational videos

To improve your mentality in Boxing, start by listening to motivational videos regularly.

These videos often feature successful athletes and coaches sharing their views on discipline, courage, and mental strength.

Listening to the experiences of legendary boxers like Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather can inspire you to develop a solid mental game.

Some of the channels I recommend are:

Motivational videos aren't for everyone. So, test it out and see if it works for you.

Take notes of how the greats build their mentality

Another crucial aspect of mental training is learning from the greats.

Study how top-level boxers built their mentality over time.

Boxers like Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather are known for their incredible mental fortitude during bouts.

You can gain valuable insights by examining their careers and strategies.

Some suggestions to build on your boxing mentality include:

  • Emulating their pre-fight routines
  • Identifying their triggers for staying focused
  • Using their methods of overcoming setbacks and losses

You can also pick their brain and instill their mentality into your life. Think of mental models like:

  • How do they talk about Boxing?
  • What approach do they take when it comes to their training?
  • How do they think when it comes to competition?

I often think, "What would a pro do?" and do that.

Read 'Relentless' and 'Winning' by Tim Grover

To further enrich your mental game, read the books 'Relentless' and 'Winning' by Tim Grover.

As a world-renowned performance coach who has worked with athletes like Michael Jordan, Grover provides practical advice on developing a winner's mindset.

These books cover various topics, such as maintaining focus, overcoming adversity, and building mental toughness.

By incorporating the teachings from these books into your training, you'll be better equipped to handle the mental challenges that Boxing presents.

Remember, your mental state is as important as your physical preparation in Boxing.

Focusing on mental training can increase your chances of success in the ring.

Tips for progressing fast in Boxing

If you nail your conditioning, strength training, nutrition, and mindset - the last piece of the puzzle is finding the system.

This often includes finding the right coach and building the proper habits.

That's why it's crucial to…

Find a coach that has your best interests in mind.

To progress quickly in Boxing, you must work with a coach who genuinely cares about your development.

Look for someone with a solid background in Boxing, focusing on fundamentals and the style you'd like to emulate.

A good coach will tailor your training regimen to your unique strengths and weaknesses, helping you build a solid sports foundation.

A great coach will take it a step further, tap into your mindset, and teach you valuable lessons about life.

Your coach will be your most valuable asset, so feel free to change coaches or swap gyms if you don't resonate with your coach.

You need to be confident that you're investing your time wisely.

Train like Floyd Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather, a legendary boxer, is known for his intense workout regimen and unrelenting focus on mastering the sweet science of Boxing.

Train like Mayweather by dedicating yourself to boxing every single day. Be a gym rat.

This means revolving your schedule around your boxing training and pushing yourself to improve physically and mentally.

By relentlessly focusing on one task over a long period, you can become great. This doesn't just apply to Boxing but to any skill.

Some critical components of Mayweather's training include:

  • Running: Mayweather often runs 5-8 miles in the morning and then sprints in the afternoon for endurance and speed.
  • Sparring: Regular, high-quality sparring sessions help hone your skills and simulate real fight experiences.
  • Pad work: Mayweather's trainer, Roger Mayweather, emphasizes pad work to improve accuracy, speed, and power.
  • Conditioning: Mayweather's regimen includes strength training, plyometrics, and core work to ensure he is in peak condition for fights.

Consistency is key

One of the most important aspects of becoming a better boxer is consistency.

Make sure you're practicing regularly, even if it's just for a short session.

Ensure that your training covers all aspects of Boxing, including footwork, proper boxing stances, and punches.

The more consistent you are, the more your muscle memory will develop, improving your reactions and technique in the ring.

Remember, progressing fast in Boxing requires consistent training, working with a dedicated coach, and embracing the mentality of a champion like Floyd Mayweather.

Stay focused, and keep pushing yourself to achieve your goals in the sport.

Frequently asked questions

What are essential boxing techniques for beginners?

When it comes to any sport, specifically Boxing, it's vital to ensure you have the correct fundamentals.

So it is crucial to learn proper boxing stance, how to throw with perfect technique, footwork, defense, setting traps, and strategy.

This covers the basics and will help you establish a strong foundation for your boxing journey.

How can a beginner increase punching speed?

To increase punching speed, improve your overall strength, especially in your arms, shoulders, and core muscles.

Incorporate speed exercises into your training routines using shadowboxing, mitt work, and punching bag workouts.

Ensure your technique is correct, as proper form leads to faster punches.

Additionally, relax your muscles and stay loose while throwing punches to maintain speed.

What should be the focus during boxing training for a newbie?

As a newbie, your primary focus should be mastering Boxing fundamentals.

Spend time perfecting your stance, footwork, and basic punches.

Gradually incorporate defense techniques into your training, such as slipping and blocking.

Commit to regular practice sessions and allow yourself time to develop your skills gradually.

Are there any differences in training for male and female beginners?

The core principles of boxing training are generally the same for male and female beginners.

Both should focus on learning and mastering the fundamentals of the sport.

However, individual differences in physical abilities and personal goals may require adjustments to training routines.

Working with a coach or trainer who understands your unique needs as you progress your boxing journey is essential.

How can a beginner start learning proper footwork?

Beginners should start learning proper footwork by practicing their boxing stance, which provides the foundation for all sports movements.

Focus on maintaining good balance and weight distribution while keeping your feet aligned.

Drills such as stepping, pivoting, and lateral movements can help build footwork proficiency.

Remember to practice moving in all directions and incorporate footwork into your shadowboxing and other training exercises.

What tips can help improve a beginner's defense in Boxing?

Practice blocking, slipping, dodging, rolling, and footwork movements to improve your defense.

Always maintain proper stance and hand positioning to protect yourself.

Develop your reflexes through drills and exercises, and regularly practice defense techniques during sparring or partner work.

Be patient; developing strong defensive skills takes time and consistency in your training.

The bottom line

Becoming proficient in Boxing requires consistent training, a dedicated coach, and a mindset geared toward learning and improving.

Whether you're just starting or aspiring to be the next Floyd Mayweather, the essential lies in the diligent practice of fundamental techniques, a well-rounded training routine, and, most importantly, the will to push past your limits.

Remember to use your training time wisely, and be bold and change coaches or boxing gyms if it will better serve your goals in the sport.

With time, dedication, and proper guidance, Boxing can make you physically stronger and teach you valuable lessons about life, discipline, and focus.

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