Boxing is the current golden child of boutique fitness, but as more studios open and workout buffs used to spinning and running sign up to throw punches, they’re not necessarily learning how to do it right.
“Boxing is both a sport and a workout based primarily on technique,” explains BFX group fitness instructor and pro boxer “Hollywood Hino” Ehikhamenor, who also trains a list of celeb clients. “It’s possible to break your hand, wrist, or even dislocate your shoulder if a punch isn’t thrown properly. A strong foundation in boxing technique will without a doubt provide better results.”
That’s why Ehikhamenor takes time at the beginning of his Box & Strength classes to explain proper form, emphasizing hand, shoulder, and wrist placement, before you even put on your gloves.
To prep you for your next (or first) time in the ring, we had him correct and perfect our punches for great form, and explain how you can follow suit. So when you show up to pummel a heavy bag, you’ll walk away with growing muscles instead of injuries. —Amy Marturana
(Photos: Valerie Fischel for Well+Good)
Proper boxing stance/starting position
Before you throw a punch, make sure you’ve got the stance down pat. If you’re a righty, your left shoulder should always facing the opponent (and vice versa). Stand with legs shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, left foot turned to point toward your opponent. Make loose fists, and hold your right hand by your chin, left hand down in front of your face. Chin down, eyes up. “Get comfortable with it, don’t be stiff,” Hino says.
From starting position, punch with your left hand, twisting your hand so that your knuckles are up, palm down, when you connect. Snap the movement at the end, and bring the arm back into the starting position to protect your face. Take a small step forward with your right foot as you jab, and pivot on the ball of your left food. “Connect with the first two knuckles, that’s how you knock somebody out.” (You know, just in case.)
From starting position, keep your front foot grounded and pivot on the back foot, turning your torso toward your opponent. As you punch, twist your hand again like you did with the Jab (knuckles up, palm down). After you connect, snap your arm back to your chin quickly to protect your face.
Start in boxer’s stance. Bend your knees slightly, and turn just a tad toward your opponent. With your dominant hand, punch straight up from the chin. “Don’t wind up,” Hino says. Use your knee bend to put some power behind it, and just drive straight up. Make sure to keep the left hand in place. “The secret in boxing is that the hand you’re not using is protecting your face, at all times.” Noted.
Assume your starting stance. Lift your left arm up to nose height so it forms a right angle in front of you. In the same motion, pivot your feet and turn your torso, which will put force behind your hook and move your punching motion to the right. Again, don’t wind up the arm. You should be using the power in your legs and body to throw the hook.