Three Boxing Footwork Drills with an Agility Ladder

There has never been a great boxer with poor footwork, which is why it is important to make sure that yours (or any fighter you are training) is flawless.

An agility ladder is a fantastic addition to your training arsenal as it can be used for a multitude of drills, three of which we will walk you through below. Performing these boxing footwork drills will keep your in-ring movement slick and train you to keep your balance, reducing the risk of getting caught off-guard by your opponent.

Stepping and Punching

With your agility ladder, begin by placing your front foot in the ladder and your back foot outside of the ladder. If your back foot is inside the ladder, directly behind your front foot, then you are going to be off balance. Neither will you be able to generate as much power in your punches as your body won’t be able to rotate as much as it would with your back foot to the side.

Once you have adopted the correct position, the drill is to throw a simple one-two combination, stepping forward on each punch. Your feet should land on the floor at the precise moment your punch lands. If you adopt an orthodox stance (leading with the left jab), your left foot should be inside the ladder and your right foot behind and to the side, so it is outside of the ladder. Punch with your lead hand and step at the same time and then with the second hand and back foot.

You should punch and step forward simultaneously as if you step forward in the ring, you are stepping into range of your opponent. Without a jab, you present an opening to your opponent. If you are punching before stepping forward, then similarly you are likely to get it and the punch you have thrown before stepping forward is wasted as it is out of reach of the opponent.

Repeat this drill several times stepping both forward and backward.

Combination Steps

This second boxing footwork drill progresses nicely from the first exercise. Instead of a simple one-two, you will now perform a combination of punches, stepping forward (or backward) on each punch.

You can decide on your combination of punches, so you may choose to throw a jab, jab, hook, jab, upper-cut, or whatever you want. The most important thing is to master the art of stepping on your punches, and retaining your balance and footwork.

Just the same as the first drill, this can be repeated several times going forward and backwards. You should aim to mix up the combination of punches you throw because you are unlikely to throw the same order of punches in the ring…otherwise, your opponent will quickly clock on to your plan of attack!

Cut Down the Distance

The third exercise in this set of boxing footwork drills is designed to help you cut down the distance when your opponent steps back in the ring, keeping you on the front foot. When your opponent steps back, it is because they want to move out of range of your attack to regroup. Perfecting this movement means that you can either stay on the attack or quickly reverse the tempo of the round when your opponent steps back from throwing shots of their own.

This time, you begin by standing side-on to the agility ladder in your preferred stance with both feet outside of the ladder. You throw a simple one-two-one combination, stepping forward on each punch. On the first jab, your leading foot enters the ladder before your second punch brings your back foot to the line of the ladder. On the third punch (second jab), your lead foot steps forward in front of the ladder. After the third punch, come out by stepping back and take a step to your left or right (depending on which way up/down the ladder you are working) and repeat the combination.

Rather than the hook in this combination, the power punch is the third punch (second jab). The hook is a set-up shot leading to the second jab, which is where you can come in with plenty of power to unsettle your opponent as you step back into range.

Whether you are training to win trophies and medals, or purely to keep fit and have fun, we cannot recommend these boxing footwork drills highly enough.

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