Another warm up drill for your shoulders is using a small weight and rotating it around your head. Grab a small 10 lb barbell plate. Stand in your boxing stance, hold the weight out in front of you, bend your elbows back into your body, and tightly rotate the weight around your head. As you circle it to your right going clockwise, bring your right elbow down and your left elbow up to get it over your head. Do the reverse when going around the back of your head. Make sure you...
...switch between a clockwise and counter-clockwise motion to get the full effect in both arms. Do this for at least 3 rounds.
As you’re learning basic defense and how to move in boxing, try working through some additional movement drills. One drill is using a string or rope tied from one end to the other about shoulder height. Some folks use a volleyball net to get the same effect. The idea is to stand with one foot on either side of the string. Bend your knees, dip down, twist, and come up on the other side of the net. As you do this, you’re also moving forward.
So, if you’re southpaw and you begin with the string to your right touching your shoulder or neck with your feet on either side of the string. Step forward with the right lead foot slightly, bend your knees, twist your rear foot and shoulder inward like throwing a straight cross, keep the lead foot the same, then rise up and move the rear foot forward slightly. Now the string or rope is on the left, stay in the same position where your rear foot and shoulder are twisted, move your rear foot forward slightly, bend your knees, turn the rear foot and shoulder back to normal, rise up and bring the lead foot forward slightly. Keep the same pattern going up and down the string. Remember not to lean forward or to twist the knee in when bending. Keep the knee facing out. Stay balanced with a strong stance. Stay on your toes. Keep the foot movement very slight going forward.
Another excellent footwork drill is just to work the lateral step to the left and right. So, from a southpaw stance, keep your stance bladed, and step to the right with the right foot. Keep the step slight. The idea is to just let an incoming punch barely miss you. As you step, remember to stay bladed and to an angle. Step strong and use the strong step to bounce yourself back to your original position. When you step, drop your weight onto the stepping foot. So, it is a weight shift. Make sure when you step, you only go laterally and not forward or back. When stepping to the left from a southpaw position, also use the rear foot to slightly step to the left and drop the weight to the rear foot. Don’t drop all your weight, but enough to avoid the punch or whatever your objective is.
In addition to footwork movement, the most important piece is to work on your breathing and relaxation in your stance. Don’t fight with your shoulders up. Relax your shoulders and control your breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Exhale strongly and focus on staying relaxed. Don’t keep the elbows too high in order to cover the head. Keep the elbows relaxed on your ribs and your fists pressed against your face. Focus on not loosing your hand and foot position. Stay balanced, don’t get rattled as punches come. If you know you’re already protected in your stance, then relax and let the punch come to you. Get a partner to just punch at your arms to try to disrupt your position and balance, but not hurt you. Focus on just breathing and relaxing knowing that the punches will only hit your arms and you’re confident in your stance not to move or waiver. Control your breathing for the entire fight.
Lastly, another variation on the platform footwork drill is to go side to side in a squared stance. So, you can begin with the standard push step drill from your fighting stance and then move side-to-side instead of forward and back. The only thing that changes is your stance turns inward so you still step over the short side of the platform. Keep working these footwork drills and your breathing and you’ll notice a step up in your defense. This concludes part 3. Remember to always believe in you and learn to say no to that which is not you.
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