Boxing questions on supplements, styles, concentration, footwork, endurance, the Dempsey Roll, range control, roadwork, and more.
1. Whats a good energy supplement for boxing? – Anthony
- I never used any energy drinks and never seen anybody take any. Nobody did it and so I didn’t feel the need for it. Everyone in the gym just did their time in the gym and performed at super-human levels. Other than Gatorade and whey protein, I’ve only seen boxers drink water. I don’t believe in taking energy drinks or caffeine or any of that stuff. Good conditioning and technique does it for me.
2. How do we find our opponents’ weakness and patterns, and exploit them? – Chris
- You have to study an opponent and learn his habits. The first step is to see where he likes to place his hands and feet. Does he leave himself open or off-balanced? The best fighters won’t have any openings, so you’ll have to create them. You do this by punching them at different angles which forces them to shift their guard around to create an opening for you at another angle.
- The next step is to learn his rhythm. Some fighters like to throw super fast 1-1-1-1-2! Others will do a slow 1-2-1-2-3. You don’t need to know what he’s going to throw, you just need to know when he’s going to throw. Find out where you might be able to jump in and attack with your own rhythm.
3. How do I keep opponents at bay with my short reach? – Chris
I have a short reach. How would you recommend I fight with my shorter reach? I like to fight from the outside and keep my opponents in bay.
- Having a short reach means you have to make the best of the reach that you have. Learn how to use really good distance control. Also learn evasive slipping manuevers since you’re going to be in your opponent’s punching range a lot. Lastly, use good footwork to carry you in and out of range.
4. How would you get better in defense? – Chris
- Have a friend follow you around the ring throwing dozens of punches. Make sure he’s not too aggressive and gives you room to breathe and actually see the punches coming. The point is not to avoid the punch, it’s to get use to seeing punches. Work the mitts with your trainer. When you shadowbox or hit the heavy bag, get into a good habit of keeping your hands up.
5. How do you train fighters to concentrate in training and before a fight? – Gianni
Do you know how to coach the concentration of boxers? I see that boxing is 70-80% mental and so it’s very important to have concentration in training and during the fight. How do you overcome their anxiety and stress management?
- Training fighters how to concentrate is tricky and easy all at once. You have to set a goal for the fighter. Give them something to think about, something to focus on. Tell them to focus on their jab or maybe their defense. Give them one thing and just one thing to focus on. If you tell them too many things or don’t give them anything to think about, they begin to worry about everything.
- Instead of them worrying about doing everything wrong, they only have to worry about their jab. In the case that they lose their fight, you can at least boost their confidence with, “You did great. Your jab was perfect. Next time we work on somethingelse.” Lastly, you can relax them by letting them know that the outcome of the fight is not important as long as they give it 100%.
6. How do you improve a boxer’s stability and balance? – Gianni
I see that many boxers do not have stability and balance from their boxing stance. Do you have any ideas to improve this?
- First learn the proper stance which I explained here: “The Perfect Boxing Stance”
- Next you want to improve stability and balance. One is to develop the leg muscles. Lots of jumping rope and balance drills can help with this. I’ve noticed that tae kwon do has very many good balance drills.
7. Should I cut back my calory intake to get into a leaner shape? – J
I keep a close watch on my calories while working out. I had large intakes of protein via fish and chicken. Being overweight, I should at first cut back on my intake in certain areas to get to a leaner shape?
- Eat 5-6 smaller meals a day. Lots of fruits and vegetables. You will need to consume at least near the normal required amount of carbs if you want to have energy to function at a high level. Chopping your diet into 5-6 smaller meals will ensure that you have a steady energy while trimming down.
8. How can I prevent my heavy bag from wear and tearing? – J
My heavy bag is made of leather and swings into a rough wall. I assume this would tear a leather bag should the bag be hitting off it? Should I put an old mattress or something of the sort between it and the wall to protect it?
If you’re worried about your punching bag getting worn down, just tape it up completely with duct tape. Lots of gyms will do this. There are also protective layers you can buy and wrap around your heavy bag.
9. Would doing P90X be helpful for boxing training? – J
I was considering taking up the P90X exercise routine for a while and have all the necessaries for it. Would this be detrimental to my boxing training?
- I tried the P90X stuff a year ago. The P90X exercises routines are brutal cardio routines. I highly recommend them for body conditioning.
10. How should I stand so that I have knockout power at all times? – Sibtul
- Stand with your knees slightly bent and feet positioned correctly as in this boxing stance guide. Standing with good balance ensures power in both hands. Getting the knockout has more to do with accuracy and timing than power.
11. How can I become less stiff? – Niall
I am very stiff when it comes to boxing. This has a negative effect on my boxing. Is there any way I can counter this and improve my flexibility? And are there any excerises that I could do?
- Being stiff and being inflexible can be two different things. You can improve your flexibility by stretching and doing yoga. You can improve your stiffness by maintaining a relaxed attitude. Relax your arms and shoulders. Always have your knees bent and don’t straighten your limbs too much. Do NOT focus on power. The guys that are too stiff are almost always the guys that focus too much on power. Less power, more breathing! Get use to hitting with only 50-75% power. Control yourself and you will become a more loose and relaxed fighter.
12. How many inches do you need for a reach advantage? – Jerome
From how many inches can we say there is a reach advantage? Does 1 or 2 inches really matter in a fight?
- The advantage in reach has to do with skill. If you’re fighting someone at equal skill, 1 or 2-inch reach advantage means nothing. If you’re fighting a really skilled boxer, or one that knows how to use his reach, that 1-inch advantage will feel like a foot advantage. The more skill a boxer has, the more effective his advantages will be. On the other hand, a longer boxer with no skills will not be able to keep you away.
13. What is the Dempsey Roll? – Austin
Can you explain the Dempsey Roll? (used by the famous boxer Jack Dempsey) I’m having a hard time understanding exactly what it is.
- The Dempsey Roll is an offensive/defensive movement where the boxer stands at close range and throws hooks and hookercuts at his opponent while bobbing his head from side to side. Because the head is swinging side to side with the body as the weight shifts with each punch, the Dempsey roll is a very effective defensive move.
- The important thing to know is that the head is not just swinging from right to left; the head moves in a figure-8 pattern. The head goes upwards as it passes the middle and then downwards on the sides. The upwards movement of the head adds upwards power to the punches, while the downwards movement of the head allows it to duck under the opponents counter-punches.
14. Do you have any tips for kickboxers? – Ram
What tips do you have for kickboxers? For example: drills, techniques, exercises, etc.
- I did try kickboxing once a few months ago and got my ass kicked–literally. For your safety, I will recommend that you ask a real kickboxer. 🙂
15. How can I control the distance in a fight? – Sibtul
- Use legs to keep your opponent at arm’s reach at all times. Take ground anytime you punch or when your opponent leaves some space between you. When you give up ground, back up only enough to evade the punch instead of giving up all your ground. The best way to keep your opponent away is to punish your opponent when he invades your space.
16. Is hitting the speed bag counter-productive to learning real boxing punch movements? – Kavon
I’m a big big believer that we train how we fight. And that how we condition our body is how it will respond. I understand that using the speedbag will develop rhythm and shoulder endurance but believe other ways are better for the simple reason that we are conditioning our body to punch in a manner in which we never will. I feel it is in this light extremely counter-productive. Look, I know you’ve done this a long time, but is this reasoning illogical?
- Just because hitting the speedbag uses a different punching motion doesn’t mean it’s counter-productive. The speedbag is to build eye coordination, rhythm, and endurance for the shoulder and upper-arm muscles. It also increases the speed at which your muscles can twitch and fire punches. There is no replacement for the speedbag. Think of the speedbag as running but for your arms. Although running uses leg mechanics that are different from boxing footwork, it still develops the leg endurance required to move around the ring.
- To use the logic that we should not train with any movements that are not used in boxing is to say that running, jumping rope, sit-ups, are all useless exercises because the body does not move that way in the ring.
- Lastly, your argument is still very valid and very logical. For generations, athletes and trainers have continued to evolve new training equipment that better simulate actual sport mechanics. If you dare to challenge an essential piece of traditional equipment such as the speedbag, then it is your responsibility to come up with a superior exercise or training equipment invention. Let us know when you do. We’re always excited to learn more effective methods of training!
17. Do you have any advice for protecting the body? – Mike B
Today was my first day sparring and my trainer said I did absolutely great but I still had an issue. During my sparring session my opponent landed some real hefty body shots on me which hurt a lot. I was wondering if you had any advice for me on protecting my body and building strength in my core.
- First off, work on keeping your elbows straight down. Don’t just drop your elbows, point them down and pinch the elbows together a little (they don’t have to touch). This will tire out your chest and shoulders at first but you’ll get use to it with time. Be aware of your elbows when you shadowbox and hit the bags.
- Doing lots of ab work will strengthen your core. Competing fighters do core work everyday as a part of their warm-down routine.
18. Is it true that masturbation gives you negative effects in your training? – Sven
- Not that I know of. Some will say no, others may not admit to it. Personally, I haven’t noticed any difference but I will be paranoid and not fool around on hard sparring days.
19. How can I get quicker footspeed? – Sibtul
- Start jumping rope and do footwork drills. You can also play “foot-tag”. This is a fun game where you put 2 boxers in the ring and have them try to step on each other’s shoes. It’s great as a warm-up exercise and easily builds faster footwork if you do it 2 to 3 rounds everyday for a week.
20. How do taller fighters fight on the inside? – DKL
- Taller fighters can definitely fight on the inside. Throw those body hooks and uppercuts. Tall guys have longer arms that can reach around and land at angles that shorter arms can’t. You can watch Paul Williams of Diego Corrales to see how taller guys fight on the inside. If your arms are so long that the punches can’t go inside, just clinch the guy and pull him down or push him off you.
21. Can you explain a fighters natural “pace”? – DKL
At what pace should a fighter fight? Also, whats the best way to find mine?
- The best way to discover and develop your pace is to shadowbox. Shadowboxing will help you find the rhythm that works best for you. Throw punches and move around. You’ll naturally develop your own offensive and defensive rhythm. If you think your pace is too slow, you can build your pace with the jumprope. The right pace is the one that you can keep up and not get too tired.
22. Are there different ways to fight different opponents? – DKL
If so why does it seem like Mike Tyson always fought one way against different guys, and Muhammad Ali fought one way against his opponents?
- You should always fight different opponents using different methods. Ali and Tyson are exceptional examples. Nobody could match Tyson’s advantage in power or Ali’s advantage in speed and so they were able to win using the styles that maximized their advantages.
- If you want to see a boxer adapt with different styles, watch a guy like Miguel Cotto. Throughout his best fights you can see him adjust his style because he lost his advantages in speed, power, boxing skills, height, reach, etc. There will always be different ways of fighting different opponents. It’s not always that you use a different style, sometimes it’s just that you rely on different moves but it’s still your style.
23. Why did Tommy Morrison and Joe Frazier’s left hook work so effectively? Can a taller guy use these style of hooks? – DKL
- Both Tommy Morrison and Joe Frazier had beautiful left hooks. Joe Frazier’s left hook was thrown like a forward looping left cross. He led with his shoulder so you couldn’t tell if the hook was going under or over. Tommy Morrison’s left hook was more like a textbook left hook. Great technique, full body rotation, perfect timing and accuracy.
- Good left hook technique can be used by anybody regardless of height. You don’t need to copy their style. Just use good technique and your natural boxing style will express itself in your punching form.
24. How do I improve my head movement for slipping punches? – Kevin
What is the best exercise, drill, workout, etc… What should I do if I want to be better at head movement and slipping punches?
- Best drill for head movement and slipping punches, hmm… Work mitts with your trainer and do slow sparring in the ring so you can get used to punches coming at you. Have a partner throw slow punches at you as you move around the ring. When you slip, try to slip tight so that the punch misses by an inch, not a mile. Make sure you keep your eyes on your opponent when you slip. Look at your opponent, not his punch!
25. How long should I be running for when I do my roadwork? – Jesus
I’ve been boxing for a month wanted to ask you how long should I should run for. I do 30 minutes of non-stop jogging but I don’t know how long I run in miles. How long should I be running for in miles and in time?
- Run 3 to 5 miles a day, 3 to 5 days a week. Don’t worry about the time. You will keep getting faster if you do it consistently.
26. Why are my hands hurting? What should I do? – Fernando
I train been training for a month now and go to the gym almost 5 days out of the week. I am developing pains in my wrist and bruised knuckles. My trainer tells me that this is normal due to the fact that I am not used to hitting or punching. I would like to know if I should decrease my punching or do I need to wrap my wraps differently or if am I just simply punching wrong.
- Your trainer is right. Your hands are not use to the constant impact. The bones aren’t hardened and conditioned to take that kind of abuse.
- Ease off the heavy bag and don’t hit it more then 2 or 3 days a week. When you punch, aim with the first two knuckles at not the last two knuckles. Hand trauma usually has to do with bad form. You should also be using thicker gloves. 14oz minimum and probably better to go up to 16oz. If you’re 185lbs and up, you should be using 18oz or 20oz gloves.
27. How can I do boxing without money? – Chris
I want to go pro in boxing, however it’s hard since I can’t afford a trainer. For example in basketball, the gym is free, the ball is cheap, and players are available everywhere. In boxing, clases cost money, gear is expensive, and hard to find sparring partners and a place to spar. I love boxing, but how can I go to the next level without money?
- Your explanation is a good reason why America’s athletes are going to other sports like basketball, baseball, football whereas boxing hasn’t been mainstream for a while.
- Go to a boxing gym and tell them you want to turn pro. The trainers will know a manager who will check you out and hook you up with training and fights. There are ALWAYS looking for people who are willing to take a beating to pad an upcoming fighter’s record. If you can take a beating and win, you’ll get a chance.
28. Should boxers take any kind of supplements? – Kevin
Should boxers take whey protein, creatine, etc.. and if they should which are the best ones to take?
- I would recommend whey protein but I don’t take it myself. I’m sure pro boxers take vitamins and stuff but these are health supplements and not necessarily performance supplements.
29. How do I control my fear? – Mickey
When I first started boxing it was great! I trained hard and enjoyed the training. Then about 3 months later, I got beat hard in the ring by this guy and took some hard punches. This discouraged me from boxing and now I’m a bit afraid of fighting him again. Sometimes I dont wanna go to boxing training. Sometimes when I spar with him, nothing goes really wrong like I never take any really hard punches but I’m always afraid that it might happen again.
I know its normal to get butterflies before a fight but I’ve fought this guy more than once and EVERY single time I get pretty nervous more than any other fight.I dont know if its a psychological fear or what but I keep thinking of giving up boxing and then I say to myself don’t give up so I try to keep going but every time I go to training I just get a bit scared. Please help me. By the way I’m 14 if that matters.
- Your story is a very common one and probably even the same story for the guy who hit you so hard. I’m not so sure that I can help you not be afraid. Boxing is a tough sport, full of fear, pain, and danger. It probably because of this that people are drawn to the sport.
- The ones that go the farthest are the ones that are able to take the most punishment AND improve from it. I would suggest that you do boxing for fun and spar at a slower speed until you have developed your boxing skills and confidence. You’re a beginner, so don’t be too hard on yourself. If the hard punches are keeping you from enjoying and learning, just avoid them altogether. Tell your sparring partners to go easy or spar smaller guys. Give yourself some time and have fun!
- It is not your job to beat yourself up. (Let your opponent do that.) In the meanwhile, keep sparring easy while you slowly develop your skills to the point where you have your full confidence again. This can be a matter of days, weeks, or even months. Take your time and one day you will be ready!
30. What would be the best style for me to use? – Kamran
I’m a young boxer in England, I haven’t had any matches yet but I’m training hard towards becoming well prepared, and I really want to win my first match. I’ve developed fairly good bobbing and weaving movements and been told I have good head movement and also good handspeed. What would be the best style for me to use?
I’ve studied Mike Tyson a little bit and I try to copy his head movement and inside fighting, and I’m also fairly short compared to most people I spar.
- Use whatever style works best for you. You will develop your unique style after getting a lot of sparring done. Good head movement and handspeed is not a special style, that’s required for all boxers! Move whatever way you want that protects you the most and allows you to throw your favorite punches.
- Don’t just study Mike Tyson, study all boxers. Pro’s, amateurs, guys on youtube, guys in your gym. Study everybody. Understand their style, learn how to face them, and copy the attributes that can help you.