Improving your footwork speed when boxing—is critical. You want to be as quick as possible, since you want to attack and defend rapidly. This will help you win more fights and be an overall better boxer.
This article will discuss 11 footwork drills you can start to incorporate in your training. If you’re training in a boxing gym and notice the coach isn’t emphasizing footwork, consider offering the coach some drills.
Nevertheless, you can work on your quickness when at home. You don’t need anyone to stand with you when executing these drills. As such, I’ll recommend doing these at home if you’re not already working on your footwork in the actual boxing training.
Professional boxers are unexpected. If they were predictable, their opponents would dodge most of their punches. Because of that, they prioritize working on their footwork, as they want to be as unexpected as possible.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the 11 drills you can start incorporating in your boxing training, starting today.
#11 – Step + Jab
The first footwork drill is the step+jab. As the name suggests, it utilizes you stepping forward and throwing a jab right after.
The goal of this exercise is to show you that you can be even more unexpected by moving around. You don’t, at all, have to be static. When you perfect it, you’ll notice how your jab is immediately quicker and more powerful.
That’s why boxers work on their surprise element. They don’t want to let the opponent know they’re about to step forward and throw a hit.
Now, once you work on the step+jab long enough, you’ll be ready to move on to the next one.
#10 – Step + Jab & Cross
The second boxing footwork drill is the step+jab & cross. Or, in its more official name: Step+1&2. Once you got comfortable with the previous exercise, moving forward to a more complex one, such as this one—is a great choice.
Throwing a 1,2 is a fundamental skill. Therefore, if you don’t know how to do that, it’s time for you to work on that before going over this exercise. But, chances are you know how to throw a solid and fierce 1,2.
Now, it’s time to make it a tad bit more complicated. Before throwing a 1,2—take a step forward or to the side. Next, use the momentum you gained to increase the quickness and power of your 1,2.
#9 – Cone drill
The cone drill is one of the most famous footwork exercises in the world of sports. If you want to better your explosiveness—this is the exercise to work on.
In boxing, you always want to be on your toes. You can’t sit around and wait for something to happen. You must initiate attack whenever necessary.
That said, you won’t be able to do so without having the appropriate speed to deal with surprising your opponent. Eventually, all it takes is a single well-executed combo to gain the advantage in a fight.
The cone drill is when you place 3-8 cones in a zigzag shape. Then, you run on the outside of the cones, without touching them. If you do, you start the course again. Moreover, you must finish the track as fast as possible, and that’s when it gets difficult.
#8 – Jump squat
The next boxing footwork drill we’ll discuss—is doing explosive jump squats. If you don’t know what jump squats are, they’re when you squat and then jump while on your way up.
However, we’ll add a twist to the exercise. Once you’ve reached the bottom part of the drill, you go as fast as possible to a jumping position. That way, you’ll work on your explosiveness.
If you work on your explosiveness well-enough, you’ll notice yourself being a much overall better boxer. You’ll be able to surprise the opponent with numerous powerful hits that may end up finishing a fight.
Not all boxers work on their footwork. As such, you can gain the advantage by working on such drills. If you do that for long enough, you’ll notice how you have an advantage in all your fights.
#7 – Stepping & Punching
The next drill we’ll discuss—is called stepping & punching. While it may look similar to the previous ones we discussed, it really is not. This exercise will work on your explosiveness, quickness, and ability to improvise in high stress environments.
We all know how challenging getting into the zone is. Once you’re in your little bubble of focus, you’ll be a much better fighter, as your undivided attention will be aimed at the fight itself. As a result, you’ll be more likely to win.
Working on your ability to improvise—is critical. You don’t want to analyze every step or hit you’re about to throw before punching. If you do, you’ll look hesitant.
The step & punch drill calls for you to simply step and throw whatever strike comes to mind. You can even take one step forward, throw a hit, step aside, throw a hit, and step back while throwing a hit. This drill is a fantastic way to work on your footwork while maintaining balance.
If you do that for long enough, you’ll become competent of throwing any punch you want while having the ability to move around the ring. That will, as you can imagine, improve your ability to be unexpected and quick on your feet, literally.
#6 – Cutting the distance
This drill will utilize a move called the feint. You may be unfamiliar with it, and that’s totally fine. Eventually, this exercise calls for you to improve your ability to move forward and close the distance. That method is especially effective against taller opponents, as you want to be as close to them as possible.
To perform the cutting the distance drill, you begin by learning to feint. To execute the feint, you start by stepping to the left with your left leg and then the same with your right. Eventually, you’ll end up zigzagging your way to your opponent, which will help you remain as evasive as possible.
Once you’re close to your opponent, you can throw a hook or an uppercut. Then, repeat the drill again.
It’ll be best if you train the closing the distance exercise with a friend. If you’re training alone, you can still work on your ability to feint, which is crucial for your overall boxing ability.
If you want to have a visual understanding of the feint, here’s an example:
#5 – Jumping rope
The next drill we’ll discuss is the jumping rope. Most people have done that exercise at some point in their lives. But, few are the people who know why it’s such a solid exercise.
First, let’s understand how to perform the jumping rope drill.
Before starting to work out, you’ll need a jumping rope. Once you got your hands on one, you can start to use the rope motion (visual explanation below this paragraph) to build your initial momentum.
Once you become proficient with the basic jumping rope exercise, which is a single-jump, you can play around with the rope to keep your interest at its peak.
This exercise has the potential to improve your explosiveness, make you quick on your feet, improve your coordination. These are all fantastic traits that boxers need to ensure their ability is always at its peak. You can better your footwork by performing the jumping rope drill.
#4 – Two jumps forward, one jump back
The next exercise is simpler than most of the ones that are on this list.
If you haven’t noticed yet, some footwork drills are oriented on specifically improving your boxing quickness. Others, however, will better your overall footwork speed, such as the jumping rope one.
The Two jumps forward, one jump, is as it sounds; you take two jumps forward and then jump back, rapidly. With time, this exercise will hone your ability to move around. Of course, you can do it to increase your overall quickness, as not only as a boxer.
I don’t think we need a visual explanation here, as it’s a rather simple activity.
If you want to learn more about how to train boxing at home, follow the link to a complete guide I wrote on the topic.
#3 – Lateral shuffle
Next, we have a drill that almost every athlete that participates in a sport that requires quickness—does. You can is it too to grow your ability to move around rapidly.
The lateral shuffle doesn’t require you to have any equipment whatsoever. You can even use it to warm up your body before an intense boxing session. Or, you can use it as a standalone exercise in its own workout—to improve your agility.
To execute the lateral shuffle, you slightly bend your knees; then, you move your right foot to the left side. Next, you follow up with your right one. Finally, you repeat that motion to the other side. That way, you stay in the same place but go from side to side.
- Bend your knees
- Begin moving to one side using the further leg.
- Follow up with the other leg
- Repeat to the other side
#2 – Combination + Step
Thus far, hopefully, you’ve been able to find at least two exercises you’ll incorporate into your next workout. If you haven’t, I encourage you to see if you like this one, as it’s one of the best ones to involve in your routine.
To perform the combination + step, start by performing any combination you desire to. Then, take a step back or to the sides. This works both on your ability to move around after a fierce combination.
It’s not uncommon to see a boxer losing a fight because he wasn’t aware of his location. The boxer properly executed a solid combination on his opponent. Then, however, he stuck around only to get counter-punched.
At first, begin working slowly. Once you feel comfortable executing the drill faster, go ahead an amp up the pace. That’s a sign of improvement, well done!
If you want to progress faster in your boxing journey, I wrote an entire article on that topic. Do check it out.
#1 – Quick feet
The last footwork drill we’ll discuss—is called Quick feet. I’ve seen many athletes doing this exercise frequently, since it’s one of the best ones to improve your agility and quickness.
To perform the quick feet drill, follow the following steps:
- Bend your knees
- Begin stepping rapidly in place
- Repeat that motion with both your legs
This is one of the best drills to improve your agility because that’s all you’re doing, working on your quickness.
The Quick feet is a must-include exercise if you’re serious about your boxing training. By constantly striving to improve your skills in it, you’ll be able to improve your overall agility and quickness over time.
To end this article, I want to show my appreciation to the art of boxing. It has, truly, impacted the lives of its many trainees. And, as a result, it has, and will stay, dear to my heart for years to come.
Improving your footwork speed may be difficult. Growing your agility and quickness—is one of the hardest things you can strive for, as a boxer.
By including at least a single of these drills consistently in your training routine, you’ll be able to improve your speed and boxing ability as one. So, I encourage you to consider involving these exercises in your training.