Top 5 Beginner Boxing Mistakes

What are they?
Expertboxing's Johhny Nguyen.

Isn’t it amazing how difficult even the most basic things can be?

We’ve all been there before. The first couple days seems exciting as hell and you can’t wait to come back. But then your beginner excitement dies down and training alongside other fighters, you start noticing all your deficiencies. And the harder you try, the more you feel unnatural at it.

Don’t you worry, everything you’re feeling is exactly what everyone else has felt before. What seems like a hundred mistakes really comes to only a few basic principles. Get those resolved and you’ll be holding your own against the “intermediate” guys in no time!

Here are the most common beginner boxing mistakes I see in the gym:

 

BEGINNER BOXING MISTAKE #1 – Too much upper body focus

Most beginners are overly-occupied with their upper body movements. Punches and blocks use only the arms, slipping movements use only the head, and their lower body (if they ever think of it) is used only for footwork. Dividing their body into separate parts and functions like this makes it easier to learn boxing in pieces but keeps you from being truly powerful!

Instead, all movements should combine the UPPER body and LOWER body together! Yes, the entire body moves at once for every movement. Punches will require leg movements. Small head movements will require small twitches in your hips and knees. Footwork will require upper body movement. Think about it…how weird would it feel to run without moving your arms? Or how about swimming using only arms but not legs? It just doesn’t feel right!

All body movements should use your upper and lower body!

The guys moving their lower and upper body IN UNISON will have more balance and more power. The feet are not only for footwork…they are also used for punches, defense, head movement—EVERYTHING! Even standing still in one place requires active feet. Without using your legs to put energy into your stance and punches, it’ll feel like you’re punching from a wheelchair.

The guys NOT using the lower and upper body together will always have a difficult time with balance and maximizing their power. Using only their upper body makes them over-reach and swing themselves off balance. To avoid losing balance, some will hold back or get tentative with their power. Others, insisting on swinging with full power anyway, will tense up their back muscles as a way of preventing themselves from falling over. This only makes them stiff, shortens their range, hinders mobility, burns more energy and still prevents them from throwing with full power. Same goes for footwork without using the upper body; lots of off-balance, wasted energy, less mobility, and decreased power.

Moving your upper and lower body together keeps your entire body perfectly aligned. Not only are your punches more powerful but you can clearly feel their exact range. No more reaching off-balance! Blocking punches no longer pushes you off balance because your arms now connect to your legs, giving you the solidity of the ground (like when you push a car).

Don’t get me wrong, moving the upper and lower body in harmony is one of the hardest parts about boxing and takes many years to develop that coordination. When you’re getting punched in the face, the last thing you think about is your legs. But with lots of training, you’ll eventually be able to move your entire body with every movement.

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