Footwork is an essential part of any sport and if you want to become a top athlete, you must be quick on your feet. For boxing, being agile and having short explosive bursts of movement means that you can get in and out of range quickly to land and avoid punches.
The focus is to improve the fast twitch muscles in your legs as well as strengthen them. Learn how to get quick feet so that you can become a better athlete.
If you want to improve your footwork in boxing, I highly recommend the Dancer’s Footwork For Fighters, which shows you how to improve your footwork, balance and co-ordination through world class dance drills.
1) Hill Sprints
Find a hill that has a suitable surface (flat surface such as low cut grass) with an incline of ideally around 15-25 degrees.
Sprint up it for 5 seconds then rest for 30 seconds, then repeat between 5-15 times (depending on your fitness level).
The short overload against resistance helps you to develop strength in your legs and first-step speed, which is crucial in making a single quick move either to get out of harm’s way or to land a shot by using your legs to get into range.
If you really want a challenge, after you’ve sprinted uphill, then instead of resting, turn around and sprint back down but with short strides. Take a 30 seconds rest and go back up once again, repeating the process for 5-15 times.
2) Stair Sprints
You’ve probably seen many boxers employing this method for strengthening their legs and to improve their fast twitch muscles. It’s also a high intensity workout that burns many calories.
Find a high flight of stairs (of 3+ flight of stairs) where you can really sprint up them step-by-step for at least 10 seconds. Once you reach the top (30 seconds break if necessary), sprint back down and then take 30 seconds rest. Remember to hit every step on the way.
3) Jump Rope
You may have seen Floyd Mayweather Jr perform a bunch of tricks with the jump rope which not only looks great, but improves your foot work. You learn how to properly co-ordinate your foot movement and when it all becomes automatic, you won’t get your feet tangled up trying to move out of trouble spots.
Jumping rope is a bouncing motion as is being able to quickly move around the boxing ring, therefore, by learning different maneuvers, your feet are much quicker to react in different situations. Here are 23 different jump rope exercises.
4) Mirror Drills
Set two markers (cones are good) about 5-10 yards apart on a straight line. Find a partner, preferably someone that has much quicker feet than you to stand opposite you about ½ meter apart from each other. Make sure that you’re both in between the markets and in front of the straight line.
Your partner must try to get past the line while your aim is to stop him by mirroring his movement by bending your knees slightly and sidestepping. There are a variety of mirror drills such as this, which are the norm in basketball, NFL football and soccer.
5) Ladder Drills
Get a training ladder and place it out flat on an even level surface. The purpose is to step in and out of each square with both feet as quick as possible in a variety of different ways from sidestepping and forward stepping. This builds short explosive speed and power in your legs. You can check out some ladder drills by clicking here.
6) Resistance Bands
You can purchase a set of resistance bands to strengthen your legs, improve your fast twitch muscles, improve co-ordination and also your balance because they provide just the right amount of resistance to work on the relevant muscle groups for quick movements.
They’re inexpensive, safe and convenient for home use. The effectiveness of using resistance bands has made it a mandatory piece of equipment for all strength and conditioning coaches. You can create resistance in any direction and it can be used to mimic specific movements no matter what sport you’re in.
7) Box Jumps
Box jumps is an excellent form of plyometric training which adds a quicker and more explosive spring in your bounce. You can use different heights of plyometric boxes to perform your side jumps, forward jumps, one-step jumps etc.
A set of plyometric boxes are expensive, even a single box will set you back a bit. However, you can find a stable alternative (e.g. low wall) or even build your own for around $20.
8) Agility Hurdles
Agility hurdles are a set of small hurdles that range from around 6-20 inches in height and you must step, hop and jump over them. It’s best to perform these before any sort of rigorous training to reap the most benefits and to minimize the risk of injury.
It’s similar to the training ladder (but more versatile as they can be moved into more positions) and just like the name suggests, they improve your agility which directly relates to your foot speed. There are a whole variety of different exercises you can perform on these. Click here to see some examples of agility hurdle exercises.
9) Basic Breakdance
Yes I’m serious. While this may not be your ideal method of training to get quick feet, learning basic breakdance moves that utilizes primarily foot and hip movements without going to the ground will benefit you in several ways. These include rhythm, balance, foot co-ordination and feet positioning.
Many of the pivots, slides and turns used for these movements are exactly the same to what you’re expected to implement in the ring. This is just an example of basic breakdance foot movements.
10) Work on Your Flexibility
The last method may seem too simple, but the truth is that the better your flexibility is, then the quicker your feet can move into a variety of positions. And the more foot movement that is required, then the more prone you are to injuries, which is why flexibility is an important issue.
You can improve your flexibility by making a habit of stretching every single day. This means when you wake up in the morning, before your workouts after your workouts and just before you go to sleep. Work on a variety of different postures and always start gently and gradually build it up.
To get the most out of your training, I highly recommend the following articles:
► How to Increase Punching Power
► 10 Tips to Improve Boxing Footwork
► Boxing Basics
► Top 10 Best Heavy Punching Bags
► Top 10 Best Boxing Gloves