First Things First: Set Your Stance
When you stand in a boxing stance, there are many subtle changes that immediately make it easier to find a stable fighting position, which will improve your boxing technique. You will find that your punches reach farther without forcing you to overextend your lead foot into a vulnerable position.
You will also notice that you’re less likely to lose your balance when you have to react quickly, pivot away from an opponent’s punch, or extend onto your toes during a one-two combo. Having a good stance allows you to throw a wider variety of punches without leaving you too exposed.
You’ll have more power, mobility, and balance the moment you find your stance and while everyone’s stance will vary based on their own personal structure, finding a good boxing stance—one that is suitable for you—still necessitates following some basic guidelines.
Here are the guidelines to master the proper technique for a strong boxing stance:
- Stand up tall with your back straight and place your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Shift one foot slightly in front of the other, keeping both of your feet mostly parallel to each other. Your lead foot should be far enough ahead of your back foot so that you can evenly shift your weight when throwing a jab but close enough to maintain good balance. Your lead foot is the one that is on the same side as the hand you use to throw a jab.
- Plant your lead foot flat on the ground and raise the heel of your back foot slightly off the floor with your toes planted firmly and ready to pivot.
- Bring both of your hands right above your chin. Make tight fists, keeping your thumb outside and beneath your knuckles. In your stance, your knuckles should be facing up towards the sky. Be sure to keep your hands level and your elbows tucked into your sides. After you throw a punch, both of your hands should then immediately return to this guard position for a strong defensive stance that keeps your head and upper body safe from another fighter’s punches.
- Slightly bend your knees and hips slightly, keeping your back fairly straight.
- Balance your weight 50/50 between your front and rear foot. You should feel level but ready to move into footwork.
The foot that you place in front will change depending on whether you’re left or right-handed. Left-handed fighters should place their right foot in front, called a southpaw stance, while right-handed fighters should place their left foot in front in an orthodox stance. Simply put, your lead foot is the opposite of your dominant hand.
Breathe Like A Boxer: Proper Breathing Technique
Believe it or not, one of the most often overlooked aspects of technique is proper breathing.
Proper breathing in boxing is very important and can ensure that a boxer is maximizing every technique’s potential. It affects more of a boxer’s game than you may think and is a very big factor in how a boxer performs in a fight.
To breathe properly, inhale to prepare for a punch. As you throw, exhale fast through your mouth (versus your nose) with a closed jaw. This should sound kind of like a hiss.
In a real match, you could risk breaking your jaw if your mouth is open and you take a hit straight to the chin. The purpose of this sharp exhale is to engage the core and connect the punch to your body. This breathing technique helps with both timing and power.