5 Advanced Footwork Techniques To Improve Your Boxing

5 Advanced Footwork Techniques To Improve Your Boxing
Boxing Tuesday

One of the best ways to improve your boxing is by improving your footwork. Regardless of weight class or fighting style, clean and efficient footwork allows you to get into position to hit without being hit. Today, Evolve University is pleased to share five advanced footwork techniques to improve your boxing. 


1) Step Vs Push Footwork

Each footwork technique in boxing can be initiated in two ways, a step or a push. A step movement is started by the foot on the side that you are moving towards, whereas a push movement comes from the opposite side. An example of this is a forward movement. To step forward, you would move the lead foot first, followed by your back foot. In contrast, a push movement going forwards would start by pushing off of your back foot and landing on your front foot. Although this distinction may seem simple, many boxers only utilise one or the other. Having both in your arsenal will give you a competitive edge. 


2) Ipsilateral Footwork

Ipsilateral means belonging to the same side of the body. This is the most common type of footwork, usually executed with a stepping motion. An example of an ipsilateral movement in boxing is when a boxer moves forward, stepping with their lead foot and punching with their lead hand. This becomes more complicated for beginners when mixing in different kinds of punches. For example, to perform an ipsilateral movement while stepping back with the jab, you would move the back foot first, then step back with the lead foot as you jab. Beginners will often throw the jab when they move the back foot, which is not necessarily incorrect, but is an entirely different type of movement.


3) Contralateral Footwork


Contralateral is the opposite of ipsilateral. This means moving the opposite side leg of your punching arm. Contralateral footwork is often found in international styles of boxing, such as the Soviet and Cuban styles. Ipsilateral footwork can be useful for changing angles quickly and misleading your opponent, as it is more uncommon than ipsilateral footwork. One notable example of contralateral footwork is Manny Pacquiao‘s cross counter to an opponent’s jab. Notice how Pacquiao steps to the outside with his right foot while throwing his left hand. This was one of his signature techniques and he would land this quite often, even against world-class boxers such as Floyd Mayweather.


4) Pivots

Pivoting is an essential and often overlooked footwork technique that can take your boxing to the next level. A well-executed pivot can put you in a position to avoid your opponent’s punches while taking a dominant angle. We will be examining a few different types of pivots for you to add to your own arsenal. 

The first pivot is the front foot pivot. To perform a front foot pivot, start in your boxing stance. You then push off your back foot while doing a quarter turn with your body. For a split second, you will be entirely on the balls of your front foot, allowing you to pivot either to the inside or outside. It is important not to lean forwards or stand too tall during the pivot. Doing so will make the movement slow and easily counter-able. Below is a pivot drill that builds off of the step and punch box drill used for the ipsilateral movement. 

The next type of pivot is the back foot pivot. This is a more uncommon type of pivot, and can be useful for maintaining your position in the centre of the ring while tracking your opponent. The execution of the back step pivot is the inverse of the front step pivot. Start in your boxing stance and push off with your front foot, while pivoting on the balls of your rear foot. This can be used to prevent your opponent from gaining a dominant angle if they have used a pivot of their own. The back foot pivot is more commonly found in the Cuban style of boxing. Below is a short example contrasting the front foot and back foot pivot. 

The next type of pivot is called the swivel pivot. Popularised by Vasily Lomachenko, the swivel pivot allows you to quickly get to the inside or outside of your opponent’s centreline. For the purpose of this explanation, assume both fighters are in an orthodox stance. This means an inside swivel will be to the left, and an outside swivel will be to the right. These techniques can be very effective for a southpaw boxer as well, but the terms inside and outside will be switched due to the open stance. For example, for a southpaw, an outside swivel is to their right, and an inside swivel is to their left.

A swivel pivot to the inside starts with slipping your head over your lead leg. Using the momentum from the lead side slip, rotate your body in the direction of your rear leg while performing a triangle step. Your rear foot should be near where your lead foot was originally.


Front Step-Shuffle: Lomachenko’s Favourite Trick

 A swivel to the outside begins with stepping your rear foot out to the right and slightly in front of your left foot, resembling a stance switch. You can assist the speed of this step by simultaneously slipping over your right leg as you step out. Using the momentum from your slip, swing your body in the direction of your lead leg and perform a triangle step. Your rear foot will end up close to the starting position of your rear foot. 


Back Step-Shuffle: Basic Boxing Offensive Footwork

Both the inside and outside swivel involve both of your feet leaving the ground at the same time. Because of this, it is important to time these manoeuvres well to avoid being countered. Below is a video showcasing both techniques side by side.


Check Step

The check step comes from the Cuban and Soviet styles of boxing. This term is not to be confused with the American check step, which involves a step and a lead foot pivot. The Cuban and Soviet check step involves performing a back foot pivot and a stance switch simultaneously. To perform the check step, start from your boxing stance, then step out to your lead side while turning ninety degrees towards your rear side. A freeze frame of this position will resemble a backward lunge. From here, you have two options. You can either step backwards with your rear leg to return to your stance at a mid-range distance or perform a triangle step to close the distance and attack from a dominant angle. 


Getting The Most Out Of These Drills 

The combination of these advanced footwork techniques will make you a formidable boxer, regardless of your style. Outside fighters can use these movements to keep an opponent at range while peppering them with jabs, while inside fighters and brawlers can utilise these movements to close the gap and bring the fight to the inside. Try these out and add your favourites to your own boxing game. 


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