10 Boxing Footwork Drills for Beginners and Advanced

boxing footwork drills

Footwork is one of the most underrated parts of boxing. It is not only vital for moving around the ring, but you also need footwork to get maximum power in your punches and get out of trouble when you’re under fire.

Thankfully, there are many drills that you can practice to improve your footwork and take it to the next level. With my experience, I’ve found the 10 best footwork drills suitable for beginners, all the way up to advanced. So let’s get started by looking at exactly what footwork drills for boxing are.

What are Boxing Footwork Drills?

Boxing drills are where you practice moving your feet in real-world scenarios. For example, a boxer must learn to step into punches to deliver maximum power. A boxing drill can allow you to perfect this movement and become an elite fighter.

For many boxers, footwork doesn’t come naturally. It’s something that needs a lot of work, and boxing drills will help you with that. But, even for great fighters, it always helps to improve your skills and become better in the ring.

With boxing footwork drills, you can focus on your footwork in a relaxed and controlled environment. You can then take what you’ve learned into sparring sessions before eventually using it in fights.

Why is Footwork Important in Boxing?

Footwork is vital for many reasons in boxing. Let’s take a look at the most important:

Power Punches – To deliver the most powerful punch, you need to plant your feet and step into your punch.

Setting Up Punches – To find different punch angles and create openings, you need to shift your feet constantly.

Avoiding Punches – Not getting hit isn’t just about head movement. You need to learn to sidestep and step back from punches.

Control the Ring – To control the fight, you want your opponent to be exactly where you need them. With elite footwork, you can pin them into a corner and close off their exits.

10 Best Boxing Footwork Drills

Let’s check out the 10 best boxing footwork drills out there today. We’ll start with the best drills for beginners before looking at more advanced footwork drills.

1. Step and Punch

Top 3 BOXING Footwork Drills to Improve you as a BOXER

Drill for: Beginners

This is one of the boxing footwork basics. Stepping and punching are the basic drills every boxer must practice to develop the necessary footwork. Stepping forward, throwing a jab, and then throwing a cross are the steps in this drill. This is the stepping and punching drill taught to every boxer at the beginning of their career.

Footwork Drill Steps

Here are the steps you need to follow to practice this footwork training drill:

1. Take a boxing stance, with one foot forward and the other back. You should be standing in a square position, not in a straight line.

2. Step forward with your front foot. When you take a step forward, at the same time, you throw a jab, and after the jab comes the cross.

3. Make sure you step and land your jab at the same time to get the full force of your punch.

Training Tips

To make sure that you are following this drill accurately, here are some tips you should adhere to while practicing:

1. To help maintain the proper stance, practice this drill using squares. Place your front foot inside the square and your back foot outside of it.

2. You can draw the squares in the ground with a maker, use an agility ladder, or practice by stepping on squared stones.

2. On Your Toes

Boxing Footwork Drill for Improved Movement

Drill for: Beginners and advanced

There is no surprise that boxers need to stay on their toes. This drill may seem basic and so easy that you may be tempted to skip it, but that would be a mistake. This drill is recommended for beginners and expert boxers. It develops stamina and endurance, both of which help you dance around the ring.

Footwork Drill Steps

Here are the steps you need to follow to practice this drill:

1. Keep your arms to the side or raise them to your face. While practicing this drill, you can alternate moving your arms up and down. The main purpose is to feel relaxed.

2. You should be in a square position, with one foot forward and the other back, but make sure they are not wide apart.

3. Start the movement on your toes. Slightly jump up and down, putting your body weight on the front foot and then the back. Don’t put too much force into the jump.

4. Just breathe and move around. Go forward, backward, and side by side.

Training Tips

Here are a couple of important training tips you should remember:

1. You should be in a square position, not in a single line, with one foot behind the other.

2. Don’t cross your feet while moving.

3. Don’t stay in one place; remember to move around, shuffle your stance, and throw in a bit of head movement.

3. Push Back


Drill for: Beginners

In terms of the best boxing footwork drills for beginners, you have to learn this. Beginners often use only their forearms and gloves to defend themselves, but with the right footwork, they can step back and avoid a punch.

Footwork Drill Steps

Here are the steps you need to follow to master this drill:

1. Stand in a boxing stance with one foot in front of the other.

2. Slightly lift your back foot and step backward, with the front foot following along.

Training Tips

Here are some basic training tips when practicing the push back drill:

1. When stepping backward, always lead with your back foot, not the front foot.

2. Don’t turn your back on your opponent. You are stepping back, not running away.

3. Remember not to cross your legs; otherwise, you may lose your balance.

4. Pivot

How to Pivot in Boxing

Drill for: Beginners and advanced

Here we have one of the more complex boxing footwork techniques. Pivoting is a great defensive and offensive footwork move to avoid a punch. It is mostly used as a defense, but with constant practice, you can take this a step further to attack your opponent or throw a counterpunch.

Pivoting in boxing means changing your angle. For example, you are facing your opponent, and they throw a punch. The way you avoid the punch is by moving out of the way in a manner that changes how you are facing your opponent. You don’t step to the side or move back. You rotate (pivot) your position.

Footwork Drill Steps

So, to understand what a pivot is, when to pivot, and how to pivot to the left and right, here are the steps you need to follow when practicing this drill:

1. In your boxing stance, when you pivot to the left, you are bringing your back foot around to your left side.

2. Your front foot does not lift off the ground or move backward or forward.

3. You only rotate your front foot when you are pivoting.

Training Tips

When pivoting, it is hard to remember that your front foot should stay where it is. The only action it should perform is to rotate. Here are some pointers to help you keep your font firmly planted.

1. Imagine that your front foot has a nail hammered into it and that it is impossible to lift it.

2. When you pivot to the left or right, remember that the pivot is a 90 degree change.

3. Your back foot should be placed in a way that results in a perfect boxing stance.

5. Side Step With Slip

Head Movement and Footwork Drills that Make you Hard to Hit

Drill for: Beginners and advanced

This is a great drill to improve your endurance, conditioning, and stamina and can be used strategically in the ring to defend and counterattack. It is a combination of footwork and head movement.

Footwork Drill Steps

If you are interested in learning this drill, here are the steps you should follow:

1. Train your body to step and slip at the same time.

2. With your back foot, step to the side, and at the same moment, slip your head towards the side you are stepping. For example, if your right foot is at the back, step to the right and slip to the right.

3. When you step and slip, you can also move your front foot backwards to create more distance or leave it in place to move back to the same position after the slip.

Training Tips

As mentioned above, this is a defensive and offensive drill.

1. First, focus on the side step and slip. Make sure you do both movements at the same time.

2. After you are comfortable with this, move to the offensive and practice counterpunches.

6. Four Way Duck

Head Movement and Footwork Drills that Make you Hard to Hit

Drill for: Advanced

This is a drill that expert boxers usually practice regularly. It requires a lot of stamina and speed, as the main aim of this drill is to avoid a combination of different punches, such as jabs, hooks, crosses, etc. You can use a rope to practice your ducks, practice with a sparring partner, or visualize yourself avoiding punches. This is one of the best footwork drills for defense.

Footwork Drill Steps

You can practice this footwork drill with or without ropes. Here is what you need to do:

1. In your boxing stance, you need to step backward, forwards, or to the side.

2. With each step, you need to duck. An easy way to remember to do this is to imagine there is a rope and you need to duck when stepping.

Training Tips

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:

1. Step and duck at the same time.

2. Before you can move on to this more advanced drill, you have to practice your footwork in all positions.

3. If you are having trouble determining how low you should duck, use a rope.

7. Step and Jab

Top 5 Essential Footwork & Padwork Drills For Creating Angles In Boxing Using Webby Agility

Drill for: Beginners

The jab is the basic punch every boxer must master and is the first punch taught. The jab may not seem like a power punch, but if executed correctly, it can knock your opponent out or help you score some decent points.

Footwork Drill Steps

For ease, you can use an agility ladder to mark where you are going to step or how far you need to step. Here is how the drill works:

1. Your back foot should be firmly planted on the ground, not moving forward or backward.

2. Lift your front foot, step forward, and at the same time, throw a jab.

3. After throwing the jab, step back to your original position.

Training Tips

1. Use an agility ladder or mark the area on the ground where your front foot is going to land.

2. You can use your back foot to add some extra force to your punch, but it should change position or place.

8. Stepbox

Using a Step Box in Footwork Training | Boxing Lessons

Drill for: Beginners

The shuffle box is a great way to improve footwork in boxing. It creates a rhythm, training your feet to stay on their toes.

Footwork Drill Steps

For this drill, you need a step box or anything that provides a small step. Remember, we don’t have to jump high.

1. You ought to assume the jogging position.

2. Place one foot on the box.

3. Take a small jump and bring your front foot back and your back foot forward, stepping on the box.

4. Repeat this quickly.

Training Tips

1. Don’t focus on raising your arms to your face. You are not working on defense; you are improving your footwork.

2. Practice this until it feels natural.

9. Change the Angle

How to Change The Angle in Boxing When Fighting Inside

Drill for: Beginners and advanced

In boxing, it is important to change your angle. It helps to create space, land counterpunches, and avoid punches. If you are close to the opponent, changing the angle can give you space and a fighting chance, or you can use it to break your opponent’s defense.

Footwork Drill Steps

Here are some techniques you can apply:

1. Throw a couple of punches, a jab, and a cross.

2. As soon as you hit your opponent with the cross, step around them, with your back foot and change your angle.

3. You should be facing your opponent’s side.

Training Tips

Here are some tips you need to keep in mind when practicing this drill.

1. Don’t step very far. You should be close to your opponent.

2. If you don’t have a sparring partner, practice this drill on a heavy bag.

10. Pendulum Bounce

How to Change The Angle in Boxing When Fighting Inside

Drill for: Beginners and advanced

The pendulum bounce, also known as the bounce step, is used to quickly change directions. You can move in and out and then instantly adopt the side-to-side footwork.

Footwork Drill Steps

Here are the steps you need to follow for this drill:

1. Always stay on your toes.

2. Focus on a single type of footwork, and after a couple of seconds, switch to another footwork. For example, step in and out a couple of times, and then shuffle to the side and again step in and out.

3. Repeat the different footwork until you feel like you are bouncing around your opponent.

Training Tips

1. Don’t cross your feet.

2. Always stay on your toes.

3. Don’t bounce too high. These should be short bounces.


How can I improve my footwork for boxing?

Want to know how to improve footwork in boxing? The answer is boxing drills, of course! These will help these foot movements feel natural. Once you’ve perfected your foot movement in drills, you can then take what you’ve learned into your sparring sessions.

What are good footwork drills?

All ten that we’ve looked at here are great footwork drills. You can focus on the ones that most closely match the areas you need to work on. For example, practice stepping back if you’re struggling with your defense.

Who invented boxing footwork?

Noone invented boxing footwork, as it’s always been an essential part of the sport. As boxing developed, people quickly came to realize how important footwork was. You can’t be a great fighter without great footwork.

How can I practice boxing footwork at home?

Most of these drills can be practiced at home. If you have a garden, an agility ladder can be a great tool for improving your footwork. But you don’t need boxing footwork equipment. Shadowboxing in your room while practicing your footwork can still be an effective practice.

How long does it take to learn boxing footwork?

Once you start practicing, you’ll start to see improvements straight away. But a boxer should never stop learning their boxing footwork. Even star boxers will try and improve their footwork as there are always ways you can get better.

Which martial art has the best footwork?

It’s hard to say, but many would say boxing. Boxing probably has the most focus on footwork, as it’s vital to whether or not you’re good at the sport. If you want to improve your footwork in other martial arts, practicing boxing footwork patterns can be very useful.

Final Thoughts

Boxing footwork exercises are vital to becoming a great boxer. Whether you’re just starting out of have been boxing for years, you should always be working on your boxing footwork techniques. Hopefully, the 10 footwork drills for boxing that we’ve looked at here can help to take your footwork to the next level.

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Kenny Jarvis
Kenny Jarvis
I have been practicing and studying boxing since I was a teenager. I am passionate about the sport, along with many other martial arts. While my fighting days may be over, I love channeling my passion into my writing to provide insightful blogs.