Footwork in boxing: how to move?


Footwork is essential in boxing

Footwork, footwork, footwork. Actually you thought boxing was about your fists and arms? Yes that's also right. But without the right footwork, you can't get the best shot. We'll tell you why boxers should always pay attention to the correct leg position and locomotion - and of course we'll tell you how it works!

What you will learn in this post:

  • What the basic position of a boxer's legs looks like
  • Why you should definitely keep this basic position
  • How to recognize good footwork
  • How to move your feet in boxing

What is the basic position in boxing?

With a correct basic position you set the best conditions for good footwork. It is important that this basic position is set in stone for you. It doesn't matter whether you want to walk sideways, forwards or backwards: you always stay in this basic position. So first practice the basic stance until it is 100% seated before thinking about boxing footwork.

How do you stand correctly in boxing? Basically, your weak side is in front and your strong side is behind. Because you use the weak side with the leading hand for a good defense and irritation of the opponent, while the strong side is brought forward with the hitting hand for the right hit. If you don't know which display you're boxing in, take a quick look at this article again.

For the basic boxing position, place your legs hip-width apart. Put the foot of your weak side (left hand on the left hand, right hand on the right hand) forward without changing the hip-width distance to the back foot. Your feet are heel to toe if you line them up in a straight line. The toes point towards the opponent. Bend your legs a little so that your knees are relaxed. Make sure that you distribute your body weight as evenly as possible on both balls of your feet in order to have a secure footing.

A little tip: you should be able to squat in the basic position without hurting your knees or losing your balance.

Why is the basic position so important in boxing?

The basic position allows you to stand stable while boxing without crossing your legs when walking forwards, backwards or sideways. That would be a stumbling block in the truest sense of the word. So you can be more agile in the basic posture and move better in the ring. The stable basic position also makes it possible to distribute your body weight well, for example if you want to dodge a punch or go forward for a punch yourself. You can also add more power to your punch by rotating your hips and pushing off the ball of your foot.

So the basic position helps you that

  • don't cross your legs and consequently you don't stumble,
  • you can keep your balance better
  • your punches experience more power.

What distinguishes good footwork in boxing?

Before we show you how to go forward, back and sideways in the basic position, we would like to explain to you what constitutes good footwork - in other words, what it should ideally be like:

Short, quick steps

Many beginners make the mistake of taking big steps towards the punching bag, trainer or opponent - and suddenly they are right in the hit zone. An experienced boxer always takes small, short steps to better regulate the distance. He doesn't sprint or dance, as it often looks like in some boxing matches or in films, but actually runs. Light footed steps that always keep the center of gravity on the ball of the foot. The bale is the first thing off the ground and the first thing to hit the ground again. The heel can always hover slightly above the ground. Why? With a center of gravity on the ball of your foot, you'll be more stable while also being able to change the position/direction of your feet and legs better - such as when hip rotating for a punch.

Upright but loose upper body

Try to straighten your spine so your torso is straight. This will help you keep your balance. It is important that you remain relaxed in your upper body. If your upper body is stiff and immobile, you'll have a harder time with footwork. Think about it: how well can you run if you have to keep your arms stiff against your body and not swing them? So it takes a lot more strength if you perceive the upper and lower body separately.

What are the gaits in boxing?

Starting from the basic position, in which your feet are slightly offset, you will now learn the two different gaits in boxing. You will learn the pace right at the beginning of the boxing training, because it is the common movement in boxing in Europe. The diagonal gait requires a little more experience from the boxer - and especially regular footwork. Because if you make a mistake here, you can quickly lose your balance.


The pacing is quite simple: you put one foot forward/back and pull the other after you. It is important with this form of movement that the foot in the direction you want to walk in is always moved first. This means:

  • If you want to go forward, you first put your front foot forward and catch up with your back foot.
  • If you want to step backwards, step back with your back foot first and then with your front foot.
  • When stepping left/right, the left/right foot takes a step first, followed by the other foot.

Why do you do the pass? The big advantage of ambling is that you don't get in your own way. Your feet always remain in the position: weak foot in front, strong foot in back. There is no risk of your legs crossing - provided you have internalized this sequence of movements.

diagonal gear

As already mentioned, the diagonal walk requires more experience from the boxer. Because with this gait, one side of the body is not always in front (left foot and left arm), but left foot and right arm. The advantage of walking diagonally is that you can put more power into your hitting hand. This gait is therefore mainly used when you make a strong attack and want to land hard punches. One thing to keep in mind: When walking diagonally, you cannot change direction so quickly - go backwards or to the side. There is a risk of stumbling here if you do not master the movement sequence.

Conclusion: Footwork is the basis for successful boxing

With good footwork you can gain many advantages in boxing, because you have a secure footing. And you can only keep your balance if you stand stable - even if the opponent deals out punches and you have to dodge. Good footwork makes you flexible and allows you to react quickly to your opponent's movements - for example changing your distance. And of course you ensure the best possible preparation for your hitting techniques with safe footwork.

In our blog you will find tips on which exercises you can use to improve your footwork.

Customers ask, we answer!

How to move in boxing

When boxing, your feet are slightly offset, about hip-width or shoulder-width apart. You shouldn't stand with your legs too wide apart, as this will make you inflexible and unstable. Bend your knees slightly and push off with the balls of your feet.

Which leg should be in front in boxing?

You can answer this question if you know your box display . Because the foot of the weak side is always in front.

How to improve your footwork in boxing?

There are various exercises you can use to train your footwork. For example, many boxers swear by jumping rope.

Photo by Antoni Shkraba on Pexels

older post Newer post