How Do Boxers Stay Balanced?
Balance is one of those things that many people don’t think about – until they don’t have it. Suddenly the importance of balance is paramount is one’s mind.
All athletes need to work on their balance, and this is especially true for boxers.
The intense power and lightning-fast moves of champions require a very acute sense of balance, which is achieved through practice. Beginners should incorporate boxing balance drills early on in their training in order to establish a sense of balance for fighting.
Why Is Balance Important In Boxing?
Boxers know that maintaining good balance can be the difference between a win and a knockout in the ring.
Boxing balance keeps a fighter stable during their attack and defensive moves. Professional fighters will intentionally throw their opponent off-balance as a tactical move. Losing precious seconds to regain balance makes a boxer vulnerable and wastes energy.
Maintaining balance also improves overall performance in boxing. Awareness of your center of gravity allows you to execute every move with maximum efficiency and power.
Why Do You Need Balance In Boxing?
There are many reasons why you need balance in boxing. Here are four (4) of the top ways balance will improve your boxing:
1. Better Punching Power
Punching power is as much about skill as it is about energy (How To Increase Punching Power). You need proper balance to execute a skillful, powerful punch. When a boxer has good balance, they can use the full force of their body weight behind every hit.
2. Improved Defense
When you’re balanced, you are less vulnerable to hits from your opponent because you are more capable of evasive maneuvers. If you do get hit, having solid training in balance will help you recover your balance faster.
3. Increased Agility
Balanced boxers can move more swiftly, incorporating more complex boxing footwork patterns and punch combinations. Agility is all about staying limber and being able to comfortably perform more complicated moves with confidence.
4. Superior Confidence
When a fighter knows it will take a lot to throw them off-balance, they know they have an edge. Feeling steady on your feet adds an extra boost of confidence, helping you feel more prepared for whatever might come at you.
How Do Boxers Keep Balanced?
To stay balanced, boxers take a multi-faceted approach to training that includes body awareness, footwork drills, shadowboxing, and technique.
Having awareness and control of the body’s center of gravity is first and foremost in keeping balance. In a normal standing position, your center of gravity is around the hips. As you bend your knees in a fighting stance, your center of gravity dips slightly lower, giving you more stability. As you move around, you want to consistently keep your upper body aligned over your lower body. Leaning too far back or forward can tip the balance.
Beginners may feel off-balance because they are concentrating too much on the movement of their upper body and arms. It’s important to remember boxing is a full-body workout so you have to keep the entire body active and moving throughout.
How Can I Improve My Balance For Fighting?
Learning how to keep balance while boxing requires practice. Some beginners may have difficulty staying balanced at first, but after a short time, the movement will begin to feel natural. Remember, muscle memory is key to any athletic training!
The best ways to work on your balance include:
Footwork is a cornerstone of boxing training. Practicing boxing footwork sets you up for success by increasing both balance and agility. Most footwork drills require minimal equipment.
Another foundational aspect of boxing training is shadowboxing. Shadowboxing helps to polish form and technique. Since you are going through the motions without punching a bag, you can focus more on your balance with every move.
Additionally, boxers of all levels should follow these four (4) tips to maintain balance:
1. Bend Your Knees
Your knees should never be locked when you are boxing. Always keep them slightly bent allowing you to move swiftly and smoothly.
2. Sink Into Your Stance
As you bend your knees in a fighting stance, you are lowering your butt rather than sticking it out behind you as you would in a squatting position (The Ultimate Guide To Boxing Stances). This keeps your torso in line above your center of gravity.
3. Keep Your Feet Down
Boxers move on the balls of their feet and avoid taking large steps that can rapidly change and throw off their center of gravity. Never throw a punch with one of your feet lifted.
4. Punch Lighter
Hitting with full force can easily throw you off-balance. Use less power if you feel at all unsure or unsteady.
Staying balanced in boxing is an art form, but all it takes is some consistent training. Beginners will feel the difference in every motion as they learn to command their whole body in every punch. Increasing your balance is one of many boxing skills that will prove invaluable across all athletic pursuits.
The Author: Tommy Duquette is the Co-Founder and Head of Content at FightCamp. He is a former US Boxing Team member with 136 fights under his belt and qualified for the 2012 Olympic trials as the #2 seed. He has 18 years of experience training clients in boxing and fitness.