It is quite normal these days for people to practise boxing at home alone or with a training partner. But to get to that point you’re going to need to learn a few basics. Here, we’re going to consider what type of coach will work best for you when you want to learn boxing for beginners.
Why learn to Box with a pro trainer?
Like a lot of combat sports, boxing comes with a few risks. The basics, such as which parts of your hand you use to punch with, and applying wraps, are essential if you want to avoid broken fingers and wrist sprains.
Weight distribution and footwork are also key factors that are better explained by a professional than a vlogger. However, once you have had a couple of sessions and you feel comfortable with your grasp of the noble art, you can consider boxing at home.
Boxing is also practised in various forms such as Western Boxing (standard boxing using only your hands), Kickboxing (hand and feet) and Thai Boxing (hands, feet, knees and elbows). Each of these disciplines is different and will require a knowledgeable, fully qualified coach or trainer to show you the most effective techniques.
Learning to Box at a Boxing Club
Boxing clubs up and down the country have been teaching people how to box for decades, so they are an ideal place to start. They are very inclusive environments with people of all ages and levels turning up, to either fight or just stay fit.
Most boxing clubs will have a few trainers and coaches that will guide you through the basics, including power punching, footwork, attack and defence. In general, you will be part of a larger group within all activities at a boxing club, whether it’s a warm-up run, circuits, pad work or sparring sessions. Boxing clubs are also more price-competitive than alternative options.
If your long term goal is to take part in full contact sparring, then you should frequently attend a club and ask which days they spar, which is usually one day a week. Coaches will put you against fighters of your level, and just as importantly, a similar weight, to make contests as even as possible.
If you would like to practice kickboxing or Muay Thai, you will have to identify a club that specialises in these disciplines. It is rare to find a good club that covers all three.
Learning to Box at a Boxercise Class
If you would like to learn how to box purely as a form of fitness with zero full contact sparring, in a studio-class environment, then boxercise could be the better choice for you. Like in boxing clubs, Boxercise is generally practised in large groups and is a great way of getting to grips with the basics.
Classes generally consist of intense circuits to work on cardio, before several rounds of pad work with a partner. Boxercise classes are often included in gym memberships at health clubs and leisure centres, with sessions performed by a fully qualified trainer. You can generally find boxercise courses that specialise in western boxing and kickboxing.
Learning to Box with a Personal Trainer
If you require a little more flexibility or don’t like the idea of being part of a larger class, then learning to box with a personal trainer offers several benefits. You have the freedom to train as and when you like - and also where you like - as long as the trainer agrees, of course.
The one-on-one element of your sessions means that you will inevitably learn techniques quicker, and get through those tough sessions with the right type of motivation. A personal trainer will also be handy with the pads, and make sure your sessions and geared towards your individual progress.
There are two downsides to having a personal trainer. The first being if you want to spar, you will be unevenly matched, which will limit progress. The second is that a personal trainer will generally cost more than both boxing gym and boxercise classes.
What equipment is needed to start Boxing?
Many boxing classes will have some kit available for your first couple of sessions, but as soon as you know that the sport is for you, there are three things you’ll want to buy straight away.
If you have any respect for your teeth and gums, then a mouthguard is a must. Even if you’re not planning any type of full-contact action, shots can still be misplaced when working on pads or punching bags. You should always have one in your boxing bag, shaped to the form of your teeth and gums, ready to use as soon as you stick a pair of gloves on.
As boxing involves a lot of impact on your hands and wrists when punching, it’s really important to have something in place that offers support whilst reducing the risk of bone damage. Hand Wraps are used to support these fragile areas, much like a bandage.
They generally come in two different sizes - 1.5 metres and 3 metres - for smaller or larger hands. They must be applied in a specific way to maximise protection. If you don’t know how simply ask your trainer, who will be more than happy to help.
Boxing gloves are there to further protect your hands when practising on pads or sparring. As pads and bags are generally made from leather, you need to protect your fingers and knuckles from friction whilst reducing the risk of bruising and swelling.
Also, when you are sparring, boxing gloves protect your opponent from cuts and intense swelling. Buying the right pair of gloves for your weight is also essential to optimise protection. Check out our size chart below.
Weight Person Weight Glove
If you would like to practice kickboxing or Muay Thai, you will need a good pair of leg pads to protect your feet and shins. Much like boxing gloves, they offer further protection in sparring situations, whilst reducing the risk of friction and bruising when unloading on the pads.
Practising Boxing at Home
Once you have spent a period understanding the basics of boxing you can consider practising at home. If you like the idea of more flexible sessions in a familiar environment, that’s understandable. But it is still good to go back to your club or class from time to time to stay on top of your technique.
In an ideal world, you should attend a course or training session at least once a week, and get a home training programme from your coach so that when you are working out at home there is still progress.
When working out at home there are a few pieces of kit that will come in handy:
To choose the right punch bag you’ll want to consider how much space you have at home, and which boxing discipline you would like to practice. Longer bags should be used for kickboxing and Muay Thai, but it’s important that you have lots of room so that you don’t cause injury.
Standard western boxing bags are generally shorter. If you are well-built and heavy, choose a heavier bag, otherwise there will be little benefit in the long run. If you are lighter choose a lighter bag to avoid possible hand injuries. Still not sure? Then simply try them out at your local club before purchase to get a better understanding.
If you want to practice boxing at home with a friend, a pair of pads are a great training tool. For standard western boxing, small hand pads are a great target that acts similarly to an opponent’s head.
Kickboxing and Thai boxing will require longer and larger pads that are held on the forearms. These pads are bigger to support kicks and knees, whilst protecting the person holding them.
As boxing training is performed across two or three minute rounds, much like a fight, a timer is essential. Buying a proper boxing timer will improve your training, allowing you to focus on technique and catching your breath during intervals.
Many people like to use phone apps, but they can’t be managed without removing your gloves, which can be a real pain. Proper boxing timers are big, sturdy and more importantly loud, meaning you can blast your favourite tunes at the same time - ideal for motivation.
A simple but hugely effective way to warm up, skipping keeps you on your toes whilst rotating the wrists, perfect for boxing. A skipping rope is super easy to store and can be used virtually anywhere.