Watch any of the Rocky movies and you’ll come to at least one scene where Rocky is told to keep his feet moving (usually followed by a scene where he’s told he’ll get murdered by the opponent). It’s good advice for a number of sports, but especially so in boxing, where a fighter who stops moving becomes a sitting duck. Boxers should work on their foot speed every day in order to get the agility and speed needed to maneuver about their foe. These footwork drills help to make sure, in the words of the Bard, that the bell rings for thee.
5 Fancy Footwork Drills, Just For You!
1) Ladder drills
Famous in almost every sport, a ladder drill resembles a particularly fierce game of hopscotch. It’s simple but effective: put a rope ladder (a metal ladder is asking for injury) on the floor and hop from one square to the next as fast as possible. Hop backward, on one foot, and then go inside and out. Keep hopping through a ladder drill until you can hop no more, then reposition the ladder to a new angle so that you can hop in the other direction.
2) Box jumps
If you’ve seen the famous video of NFL star JJ Watt jumping up onto a 5-foot box, you know how much power a set of strong legs have. Don’t start with a 5-foot box unless you want to introduce your face to the ground: find a one-foot box or platform that you can easily jump up and off. One fun way to mix up the routine is to keep one foot on the box and one on the ground, then switching them as fast as possible.
It’s a funny name for a serious exercise, where you do a push-up and then jump to your feet and clap your hands above your head. This helps boxers to recover after a fall, as well as to explode upward.
4) Jump rope
The iconic boxing exercise works to keep your feet light and your stance explosive, and every trainer will recommend it to starting boxers, usually while laughing at the incompetence of newbies. There’s nothing complicated about it: just jump like you used to back in elementary school. It improves your foot-eye coordination, furthermore, so that you know where to step to land a knockout blow.
5) Tire jumping
If you don’t work in a junkyard you may not have access to tires, so use a substitute with high rims and a wide area to leap to and from in a zigzag pattern. In this drill, the most important thing is to pull up your knees so that you’re really and truly jumping, rather than the hopping motion of the ladder drill. This provides extra burst power to your legs while increasing endurance.