Basic Boxing Moves for Beginners: Perfect Those Punches with our Boxing Stance Guide

Whether you’re just learning how to fight, or want to go to some cardio classes that incorporate boxing moves, it’s essential to know some boxing basics.

Practicing basic steps is the best way to get the hang of the proper form and to avoid injury. You don’t want to pull something trying to get into training without knowing what to do.

There are a few basic boxing moves that correspond to numbers: you might have heard someone call out ‘1,2,1’ in the gym and wondered what they meant.

Let us lay them out for you as the numbers suggest. This is your guide to basic boxing moves which involve the upper body: think punches.

Perfect Your Stance

You can consider this the actual first move, because without proper stance you’re nowhere. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and take a step back with the leg that’s on your dominant side (if you’re right-handed, that’s your right leg.) The toes of the foot that’s in front should align with the heel of the foot at the rear. Keep a slight bend in your knees, and turn your head towards your front shoulder. Keep your fists up under your eyes to protect your face, and your chin downward.

The perfect boxing stance is necessary for a variety of reasons:   

  • It folds your body inward, making you appear smaller and stay covered. This gives your opponent less surface area to hit
  • You maintain your balance better in this position, and can put the power from your hips into your punches
  • Attack and defense both become easier due to your fists being placed close to your face: you’re free to hit your opponent or protect yourself quickly

Jab

  • Get into the stance discussed earlier. Lift your back heel and keep your hips stable
  • Extend your front arm as fast as you can, and simultaneously take a step forward with your front foot
  • Bring your fist back to the starting position

The jab, is known as “1” in combinations. It’s generally the first punch taught to boxers and is a low-energy attack position.

Cross

  • Starting with the basic boxer stance, position yourself so that your front foot is holding most of your weight.
  • Punch with your dominant hand, extending your arm forward. As you do this, use your back foot to turn your hips forward.
  • Pivot back to the starting position.

This is called a cross because of the way it goes across your body, turning it. Usually, a cross from your dominant hand will be the strongest punch you can throw.

Hook

  • Start off in the basic boxer stance.
  • Similar to the jab, lift your back heel slightly, concentrating your weight in your toe area.
  • Bend your elbow at a right angle, and punch with your non-dominant hand. This should make your arm straight, perpendicular to your shoulders.
  • Turn both feet in the opposite direction, toward your dominant side. This should bring your front heel up and your back heel down to the ground. Remember to move your hips along with the pivot of your feet.
  • Return to starting position.

Typically, this would be a left hook. A right hook is a less used move that mostly right-handed people prefer in close range.

Upper Cut

  • Again, start in basic stance with your back heel lifted slightly. You should be balanced largely on your front foot.
  • Use the front of your back foot for turning, and turn your hips forward.
  • Simultaneously, bring your dominant hand up from below, keeping your elbow bent.
  • The punch should come from underneath and be angled to catch your opponent’s chin.
  • Return to the basic position.

This is a right upper cut, but the opposite directions can also be used for the left.

Bonus: Train Your Breathing

The moves discussed above are used in combinations for all your basic boxing needs, but one thing you need to remember is how breathing also comes into play along with these moves.

  • To get ready for a punch, inhale.

When you throw the punch, exhale through your mouth, while keeping your mouth as closed as possible.

Leaving your mouth open makes you vulnerable because your jaw can be broken if punched in this position. Steadying your breathing engages your mind and body and keeps you focused. Trying it with these boxing moves to have a solid fighting base.