4 Best Boxing Head Movement Techniques You Should Learn


Working on your head movements will free you from potential hits. So whether you’re a boxing trainee or just want to learn how to move your head evasively, you’ll better your defensive game, which is sometimes more valuable than your offensive skills.

The best boxing head movement techniques are:

  • Slip&Pull
  • Duck
  • Pull back
  • Slip&Counter

Before we jump into the article, let’s summarize each in a sentence. Then, we’ll go over each and some common questions at the end of this article.

Slip&Pull Moving your head to the side and then to the back.

Duck – Changing from a standing position to a squat/head-down position.

Pull back – Transforming weight to your rear leg and pulling your head backward.

Slip&Counter- Tilting your head to the side and return a counter punch.

You’ll improve your defensive abilities drastically if you know how to execute these techniques. For instance, some boxers focus on their offensive game more than their defense. Consequently, they may throw fierce punches but won’t evade punches.

As such, these boxers may lose more often since they can’t dodge their opponents’ punches, which will cause more losses than not knowing to be on the offense.

Now, let’s go over the different techniques in-depth to ensure you know how to use them to your advantage.

#4- Slip&Pull

The Slip&Pull is a defensive technique that many boxers use to evade many punches. Thus, those who invest time learning and practicing it will drastically improve their defensive abilities.

The Slip&Pull is a 2-step technique. First, you begin by tilting your head to the side to avoid a jab or straight punch. Later, you move your entire body backward, leading to your head and also creating more distance. As a result, you’ll be capable of dodging a powerful combo from your opponent.

Learning it- will take some time since it’s a 2-step movement. Nonetheless, if you dedicate yourself to practicing it, you’ll master it shortly after.

You’ll notice how the elite fighters constantly move their heads to the side while watching boxing competitions. That’s because they’re ready to execute the Slip&Pull if they feel they need to.

If you want to learn how to slip better, watch this video. You’ll notice how the coach uses original training methods to plant the slip technique in your brain and make it second nature.

#3- Duck

The duck is a technique that I don’t see many boxers use because of one primary reason; it’s risky. Yes, the duck is risky, but its reward can be detrimental to the fight.

So, let’s go over how to duck and how it benefits us.

To duck, soften your knees and drop with a squat movement. But, of course, don’t squat in a full range of motion. Rather, you need to squat enough that a jab to the face will miss. Then, you have evaded the punch and have a couple of options: you can counter or continue the fight.

I believe that if you have successfully evaded the duck, you can easily counter and cause massive damage. The primary spot you’ll cause the most damage after a duck is a straight punch to the body, as you’re already in a position to execute it.

For instance, imagine you duck, and your face is in front of your opponent’s body. As a result, if you want to aim at the face, you’d have to return to a standing position, which will risk you if your opponent throws another punch.

The following video demonstrates how to perform the duck and counter to the body. I encourage watching it if you’re interested in learning the duck. Heck, even if you’re not interested in learning it, it’ll benefit you.

#2- Pull back

The pull-back is one of the best defensive head movements in boxing. In fact, you’re most likely familiar with it since Floyd Mayweather, one of the most famous boxers constantly uses it.

The pull-back is when you evade a punch by moving your head backward. Usually, such action is followed by a straight counter punch. As a result, you transform your opponent’s energy to cause more damage. That said, you don’t have to follow up with a counter, as it can sometimes be risky.

Honestly, this technique will be the hardest to learn since it requires understanding complex weight-shifting. So, let me explain what weight-shifting is and why you must know it to learn the pull-back to a counter.

When you perform the pull-back, your rear foot will be further than a regular stance because you’ll pull back in a few moments. Then, you transform your weight into your leading foot, hence leaning forward.

Following that, your opponent will likely throw a punch since you’re leaning forward, and he sees you as an easy target. Immediately, you shift all your weight to your rear foot, thus executing the lean-back position.

Finally, you can finish the technique by countering or not. So, we created this process by shifting our weight backward and forward, and we repeat that until our opponent takes the bait.

This video showcases what I explained by analyzing Mayweather’s execution of the pull-back to a counter.

#1- Slip&Counter

Lastly, we have the Slip&Counter. Although similar to the previous one, which is the pull followed by a counter, the Slip&Counter provides the boxer with more follow-up options. So, let’s examine what it is and why it’s highly effective.

The Slip&Counter is a highly effective defensive head movement that you execute by moving your head to the side and countering your opponent’s punch. As a result, you’ll be in a superior position since you dodged your opponent’s hits and catching him off-guard.

Many boxers use the Slip&Counter since it provides a platform for fighters to catch their opponents off-guard.

How often do you think boxers expect their opponents to dodge their fierce punch while countering it with another hit? In most instances, the opponent won’t expect you to execute such a movement.

Nonetheless, most of the head movement techniques we discussed require the knowledge of footwork and weight-shifting. As a result, if you’re a beginner, you may want to avoid these, as it’s unlikely you’re familiar with these techniques and ways of moving.

Eventually, the Slip&Counter is one of the best head movement techniques you can learn to better your defensive game. If you do, you’ll enjoy dodging your opponents’ punches while causing more damage.

The part you should watch from the video is when the first boxer executes a jab. Then, the other boxer throws a fierce punch since he wants to make the first pay for being aggressive. Finally, the first fighter uses a Slip technique followed by the counter.

Frankly, the first boxer gained an enormous advantage by performing this act.

How do you get good head movement in boxing?

Different coaches will recommend different ways and exercises to better head movement. However, some ways will do that regardless of your position or skill level. So, let’s look at a few exercises that make evading punches a second nature.

Using a rope

To better your head movement with a rope, you first need to hang a rope or a string between two walls at the height of your neck. As a result, you’ll be left with a pulled string or rope that you can use to practice.

Now, begin by standing close to the rope and being in a fighting stance. Then, step forward while ducking beneath the rope or string, which will resemble the action of slipping. Finally, repeat that motion on both sides and ensure to play around to examine which movement will improve your skills.

Hanging an object on the ceiling

The second way to improve your head movement abilities is to tie a string to the ceiling and tie any object to the rope. As a result, you’ll have a hanging thing that resembles hits coming your way.

Once you hang an object to the ceiling using a rope or string, you can give it a push and let it run backward and forward. So, the object resembles hits coming your way. As such, begin using the head movements we discussed to ensure the object doesn’t hit you. If it does, reset and do it again.

With a coach

boxing fight
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

The absolute best way to improve your head movements is by having a qualified coach instruct you. Therefore, the coach will be able to correct your mistakes while optimizing the way of training to best suit your needs.

A qualified coach will have many ways to help you improve your defensive head movements, such as using pads. For instance, he can force you to adapt to punches and situations and react to each appropriately. For example, if you can’t dodge unexpected hits, you won’t be able to evade punches in a real fight.

Should you move your head when punching?

As a general rule, you should always be moving your head in boxing, even while punching. As a result, you change yourself from a standing target, which is easy to hit, to a moving target, a much more challenging one to hit.

That said, you’ll need to practice it to get the hang of it. For example, some boxing trainees won’t be able to both move their heads and land a solid punch on their opponent’s face. As a result, it’ll be best if they stick to what they feel will be best for them in the long term.

In most cases, learning to move and thus evade more hits constantly will be wiser in the long term.

How do boxers move their head?

Boxers move their heads backward and to both sides. Consequently, they become moving targets, which are more demanding to hit. Hence if you constantly move your head to become a moving target, the chances of your opponent hitting you decrease.

Using the techniques I mentioned in this post will help you gain control over your defensive game. You’ll stop relying on luck to aid you in dodging powerful punches. Instead, your ability to evade your opponent’s punches will increase, and with that, your chances of winning.

Final words

Whenever I speak about defense, I get many comments that offensive means are more important to a boxer’s skill set.

Nonetheless, I must disagree.

Your ability to fight immediately decreases if you get hit by a fierce hook to the jaw. Therefore, your chances of winning are lower as well. So, if you can evade the hook and counter it with even the weakest jab in the world, your chances of winning will increase.

So, as the famous saying goes: Offense is the best defense. Or, in our case, Defense is the best offense.

If you enjoyed reading this article, I would encourage you to read a piece of mine about the deadliest martial arts in the world.


I've served in the military as a special forces operator for 4-years. In that period, I've trained in many martial arts, including karate, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and even Krav Maga. I want to share my passion with you, so here it is!

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