Man Training Boxing Gloves

Can You Learn Boxing By Yourself?

Firstly, let’s address the naysayers. I know that despite my best efforts to convince you otherwise, some people will remain sceptical about self-directed learning.

I get it. Boxers spend years of their life in a gym honing their skills under the tutelage of battle-hardened coaches. Now, you’re trying to tell me that I can bypass all that and learn boxing on my own?

YES.

What, even if I’ve never boxed before?

The answer is still YES.

You don’t need to attend a boxing class or put up with an instructor yelling in your face. You can learn boxing in the privacy and comfort of your home, at your own pace, whenever it suits.

Self-taught boxers will be able to beat most untrained guys their size.

But let’s be clear on one thing – you’re not going to become a world champion boxer by smashing the bag in your garage for fifteen minutes a day. To be a fighter, you have to train like a fighter. However, you can become a self-taught boxer and be able to beat most untrained guys your size.

Also, know that boxing at home is no walk in the park. Just because you’re learning in a convenient and comfortable setting, you’ll still have to bust your balls if you want to improve.

Now you know what to expect, let’s move on to the advantages of boxing from home.

Advantages

Training at a boxing gym will be the best training you’ll get, and it’s the fastest way to improve. However, at-home fitness does offer several advantages, and there’s nothing wrong with it forming part of your training routine (or all of it if it’s done correctly).

Unbeatable Workout

Boxing training is one of the most challenging workouts. Period. I challenge you to find another sport that pushes you to your physical and mental limits the way boxing does. This is true regardless of whether you train on your own or with a coach.

To endure the hardship, people who regularly train in boxing benefit from excellent cardiovascular health, develop an incredible physique, and gain through-the-roof self-confidence. What other sport produces results on this level?

Boxing workouts are also highly efficient. You would have to spend hours jogging to burn off the same amount of calories as a 30-minute heavy bag session. It’s ideal for people with limited time to train, but who want maximum bang for their buck.

Boxing is also a workout that remains challenging. As you become fitter, you only end up being pushed further, and the routines never get any easier (trust me, this is a good thing). You’re always forced to your limits which makes the workouts exciting while helping you to sustain motivation.

Flexibility

Learning boxing at home allows you to train around life’s obstacles. You have the flexibility and convenience of being able to train whenever you want.

Not having enough time is no longer an excuse. Everyone can find at least 20 minutes a day to squeeze in a session on the bag. If you can’t, then you’re not making boxing a priority.

Boxing from home means you can work out a routine that fits into your existing schedule. You don’t have to miss your favourite TV show, give up your social life, or stop spending time with the kids.

All it takes is to block off 20-30 minutes a day (more if you can spare it) to dedicate to learning boxing.

You’ll still have plenty of time for all your other commitments, and your usual routine isn’t disrupted, so you’re more likely to form a long-term habit.

Makes Boxing Gyms less Intimidating

Being a beginner at anything and joining a club full of experienced members can be intimidating. When the club you’re signing up to fight for fun, that experience can be incredibly nerve-wracking.

Learning to box at home is a great way to learn the basics before training with experienced boxers. You’ll have the valuable foundational knowledge and a right base level of fitness to hit the ground running.

Having a little bit of boxing know-how and being in reasonably good shape can give you the confidence you need to join a boxing gym.

Disadvantages

Learning to box at home is by no means a perfect solution, and it isn’t without its drawbacks. Here’re four reasons why home-schooling doesn’t cut it.

Training Solo

Many people would struggle to find a committed training partner outside of the gym. Training without a partner can be limiting, and at times, BORING.

No partner means you’re training will be limited to road work, skipping, exercises, and hitting the bag. It also means you’ll be missing out on mitt work – which is useful for improving hand-eye coordination and lets you practise hitting a moving target – as well as one other fundamental part of your training, sparring.

No Sparring

If you don’t spar, you’re skills remain untested in a fight setting.

While you may be able to make the heavy bag beg for mercy, I’m willing to bet that you’re boxing skills would be useless for self-defence if you aren’t sparring – assuming you didn’t get the first punch in.

Dodging, blocking, parrying, and countering are essential boxing skills that will be missing from your repertoire.

Lack of Motivation

Another big flaw of training at home is sustaining motivation. Unless we’re being challenged and feel as if we’re making progress, it’s natural for our cause to dwindle.

You may begin enthusiastically, but give it a week, month, or year of training by yourself, and you may find that you’re training sessions are shorter, fewer, and further apart.

Girl Towel Sweat

No Coach

Without an experienced coach to correct you, you will have to educate yourself on proper form. It’s so easy to pick up bad practices that can take months to unlearn when you’re your own teacher.

Facing Your Fears

 

Look, I understand. I have been there too; every person who ever considered training in any martial art has considered it. “I’ll just train on my own for a while, and I’ll go to a gym when I’m ready”. There is nothing wrong with training on your own as you begin gaining interest in boxing.

However, know that you could be limiting yourself by not going into a gym as soon as you decide to train. The first thing you should do when you think, “maybe I should train myself” is this: ask yourself why. What is the real reason that you don’t want to go to a gym yet? You’ll find that the most likely cause is an irrational fear.

It is entirely normal to feel anxious, nervous, and even scared before joining a boxing gym. But it would be best if you also understood that not joining a gym is cheating yourself out of progress in boxing.

Also, gyms that spar hard aren’t even that common anymore. Beginners will usually be welcomed and never forced to spar or fight with experienced fighters.

Training by yourself through online trainers will never be comparable to an in-person demonstration of techniques. Not only that, but building a relationship with your trainer is very beneficial to your progress. A good trainer will correct the things you do wrong, and encourage you in the things you do right, aside from motivating you.

I’d recommend making the jump and trying some gyms out. Many gyms have the first week free trials, and this is a great way to find a gym that is comfortable and conducive to learning and progress.

The Benefits

Despite everything I’ve said up to this point, there are some benefits to training yourself. Of course, the most obvious one is to calm the nervousness about joining a gym without knowing anything, which is understandably intimidating.

A lot of the fear associated with joining a combat gym for the first time is looking out of place or having terrible form. If you train correctly, training at home will help you understand the basic movements involved in boxing, which will make you look a lot better when it comes to your form and perceived skill level.

The two things that should be worked when you train on your own are fitness and skill. Your fitness level will gradually increase as you begin exercising consistently and should be less of a worry than skill. Skill should be the primary focus, as good fitness can be achieved while learning boxing drills.

Skills in boxing, such as knowing different combinations and proper form, will help you fit in quickly at your boxing gym. If you train yourself correctly, you will be able to land shots as the trainer/partner calls them out. Your shots will be tighter and quicker when compared to a true beginner.

How You Should Train

While it is true that new people will look out of place due to their form, it should still not be a concern before joining a boxing gym. However, if you want to work on your form and fitness, here is what you should do, and how it will help.

Jump Rope

Jumping rope is an essential part of any boxing workout. I can almost guarantee that whatever gym you join, jumping rope will be involved. This is an exercise where your coordination (or lack thereof), will show.

Therefore, if your fear is based on looking uncoordinated, then start jumping rope. I’d recommend any type of unweighted speed rope if you’re a beginner.

Use any online boxing timer, and set it three rounds of three minutes each. This is the typical round time for most boxing competitions, and will also likely be the round length in your gym.

As a beginner, you probably won’t be able to complete a round without stopping, and that’s fine! This is normal. When I first started boxing, one of my goals was to jump rope for just 3 minutes without tripping!

A speed rope will help you get your timing and rhythm while also strengthening your calves, which are used extensively in boxing.

Although jumping rope is a generally a leg centred exercise, it engages many of your body’s muscles. If your goal is to lose weight before joining a gym, a jump rope will be one of the most helpful tools you can use.

Shadow Boxing

Drilling techniques by shadowboxing is an excellent way to get the muscle memory needed to create basic combinations. It will also help you get conditioned if you use it with a timer.

To learn the techniques effectively, I would recommend dedicating some time to learning one specific technique. For example, I would take a couple of days to focus on only your jab. Watch every video you can find on perfecting, executing, and moving with the jab.

Then, after you have practised using your jab, study the cross, and focus on only your cross. After a few days with each technique, including stance, movement, jab, cross, hook, uppercut, and bobbing and weaving, you can start to combine them into combinations during shadowboxing.

I would also recommend doing this in a mirror or recording yourself while training. This way, you can compare your technique to the trainers or fighters you see online and see the differences.

Shadowboxing

Running

Running is one of the best exercises for boxing conditioning. It is the staple exercise for many professional boxers during preparation for their fights. Running will give you the stamina that you need to last more rounds in the gym and the mental focus to push yourself in any endurance related activity.

Running should be your go-to exercise whenever you are unsure what to work on for the day, aside from skipping rope. Conditioning is a significant part of boxing, and running is by far the best method of achieving it.

The Benefits of Joining a Gym vs. Working Out at Home

Deciding to start exercising is easy. It gets more complicated when you actually have to do it, the first question being: Where are you going to exercise? It’s easy to join a gym, of course, but it’s also easy to pay for that membership while never using it.

It’s also easy to set up a home gym and, of course, even easier to find a hundred other things more important than your workout—laundry, playing a game on your phone, cleaning the lint from behind your dryer, etc.

Whichever you decide, to be successful, you have to actually follow through, and part of that is working out in the environment that fits your needs and budget the most.

Pros of Joining a Gym

If these factors matter most to you, you have your answer.

  • Amenities: Exercise can be so much easier when you have lots of options to choose from. If you’re a cardio machine person, your choices at the gym abound the treadmill, elliptical, stairclimber, stair stepper, stationary bike, rowing machine…it goes on and on. You also have options for lifting weights. You have machines, free weights, cable machines, bands, and more.
  • Classes: Another big attraction is fitness classes. Sure, you can do online courses at home, but it’s not the same as going to the gym and being around people. There may be other offerings, too, like a pool, hot tub, tennis courts, etc.
  • Community: There’s something about being in a gym,
  • sweating along with everyone else, that gives you a boost. We often draw energy from others, and it can even push you to work harder. You don’t want that guy next to you running faster than you.
  • Focus: There’s not much to do at the gym but exercise, which can help you stay focused on your workouts. No chores are staring you in the face, no kids interrupting you, and nothing to tempt you away from your workouts.
  • Motivation: Paying for a gym membership can be motivating,
  • but there’s also the boost you get from working out around other people. You can pick up on that friendly competitive vibe that you won’t get working out alone.

Cons of Joining a Gym

Gym membership has its advantages, but also its drawbacks.

  • Cost: No matter where you go, you’re going to have to pay something to join a gym.
  • Hassle: Another thing you have to do if you’re going to work out at the gym is get there. Pack a bag, fill up your water, get dressed (you don’t have to match, but you do need to wear clothing), drive there, park, go to the locker room, etc. So, your total time commitment is going to be longer, just because of the drive time.
  • Other people: Here’s another thing about the gym: It’s full of people. Sweaty, earphone-wearing exercisers who are all there to do their own something. Sometimes that leaks over into your world in the form of talking loudly on cell phones, leaving sweat all over the machines, not putting away their weights, or choking you with too much cologne or perfume. It’s a gym. It happens.

Pros of Working Out at Home

For some people, home workouts are the best option, thanks to these benefits.

  • Convenience: You don’t have to pack a bag, drive anywhere, or arrange for child care. You could work out in your pyjamas, if you wanted to…something, they frown upon at the gym. You can also work out whenever you like, which is perfect if you need to split your workouts or want to work out at odd hours.
  • Cost: There’s no membership fee, and you can outfit your home gym with a few inexpensive resistance bands and an exercise ball and be set to go. You could even do bodyweight workouts that require no equipment at all.
  • Variety: There’s a different kind of variety when you work out at home. You can go outside, do exercise videos, stream live classes, exergames, or download workout apps. You can mix and match all you want—putting weights and cardio together, throwing in some yoga, whatever floats your boat. This is great for more impulsive exercisers who want to mix things up.

Training Boxing Weights

Cons of Working Out at Home

Don’t let these derail your home workout.

  • Boredom: At the gym, you have lots of scenery to distract and potentially motivate you and, sometimes, we really do need a good distraction. If you don’t have enough variety at home, you might just get too bored with your workouts.
  • Excuses: When you exercise at home, there are approximately 4,987 excuses to skip your workout. If you’re not very self-motivated, you might find yourself avoiding workouts with silly chores like filing your nails, ironing the sheets, or alphabetizing your book collection.
  • Space: You don’t need a ton of space to work out at home, but if you want a treadmill or other large piece of equipment, space is obviously essential.

But Still…

…you should join a gym. There are countless benefits to joining a boxing gym that you will miss out on if you train alone! For one, you will be interacting with other people while practising a hobby you will come to love.

This interaction builds camaraderie between gym-goers, which can motivate you, especially if those gym-goers can give you some pointers to help your skills.

Also, there are detriments to training by yourself. It is effortless to build bad habits, especially when you don’t have an expert watching nearby. The longer you go without joining a gym, the harder it will be to revert these bad habits.

The goal of training yourself is to become as coordinated and mobile as the average person as soon as you can so that you can make the most out of your time while at a boxing gym.

If you feel that you MUST train yourself before joining a gym, I would recommend limiting this time as much as possible. I would prepare on my own for at most one month. This is enough time to learn basic techniques and gain a reasonably average fitness level, while still short enough to have a malleable and growing fighting style. Train hard, and when you find a gym that interests you, take the plunge! Thanks for reading.

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