Stories from Boxing Tips

A boxing pro shares the key 4 tips to punching it out at home

Rachel Lapidos

Rachel LapidosApril 29, 2020

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Photo: Getty Images/jacoblund

It’s such an experience to work out at a boxing studio. Your hands are decked in wraps and gloves, people are throwing out jabs and crosses everywhere you look, and, of course, there’s the ring, which makes your workout feel like it’s being broadcast on primetime television. The good news for boxing fans during COVID-19? You can still get a good boxing session at home, even if you don’t have any equipment.

“Boxing is about endurance and agility, and in actuality, you just need your body and the right mindset to do it,” says Olivia Young, owner and founder of New York City studio Box + Flow (which is offering live workouts on Zoom). She even believes that at-home boxing workouts are more challenging than doing them in a studio because “you’re the only one holding yourself accountable.”

While you really don’t need a punching bag, if you prefer hitting one, Young recommends a standing bag or a 100-pound bag if you have a good structure to hang it from. This Everlast bag ($154) is a good option, or you can try the standing Century Youth V.spar Versys Punching Bag ($150). Other than that, you don’t need to use wraps if you’re not using a bag, says Young, but if you want an added challenge, you can use light weights. “Use a light set of dumbbells that are about two pounds each, or use soup cans, which also work great for a bit of extra resistance,” she says. Anthony Crouchelli, a fitness trainer from Grit, also recommends trying egg weights, which are easy-to-hold hand weights to punch with, or a resistance band. “Those thin, long resistance bands with handles are great. Just interlace them around your thumbs with the band on the inside of your hand and punch,” he says.

For your actual workout, find yourself a space large enough to throw punches and move a bit, blast some music, and get ready to sweat. Keep scrolling for boxer-approved tips for punching it out at home.

How to box at home without equipment

1. Warm up properly: Since boxing involves punching your arms with power, it’s important to get your muscles warmed up properly before you hit. “Get your shoulders warmed up and your core activated, as boxing is a full-body workout,” says Young. Try these dynamic shoulder stretches and other warmup exercises to work through.

2. Incorporate strength-training moves: Boxing pairs well with staple strength-training exercises, as it’s a form of cardio and will have you out of breath in a matter of minutes. “Do plank work, push-ups, and squats,” Young suggests. That way, your “breaks” are more workout moves (sorry).

3. Let your music guide you: Young swears that a good playlist will motivate your punching game. “Turn on some music and use the beat to guide you,” she says. “Punch to the rhythm of the music, exhaling on every punch to engage your core.”

4. Start with foundational punches: Even if you know your jabs from your hooks, Young says that your at-home, no-equipment boxing workout should begin with the basics, and focus on repetition. “Do jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts. To build on that, I love jab, cross, hook, hook, uppercut, and uppercut to integrate your right and left sides,” she says, though notes that the best part about boxing combinations is that you can get creative. “And boxing to the music makes it even more fun because you can play with tempo.” Mix in some slips and weaves for defense practice (and leg work), and do not drop your hands. Before you know it, you’ll have punched your way through a killer boxing sesh.

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