Elite boxers combine speed, power and agility with pound-for-pound muscle that’s difficult to match. But  even the best occasionally get punched in the face – so get the same results without the concussion by following our no-nonsense guide to learning boxing in the gym…

Forget the TRX, the gymnastics rings, that weird machine you can’t quite work out how to wedge yourself into – the humble punchbag, dangling there largely unused, is the most intimidating bit of kit in any modern gym. Sure, you could just go over and give it a thump – every man has at least a vague idea of how to do that, surely – but what if you miss? Hit it wrong? Do some other thing known only to gravel-voiced old-school trainers that marks you out as a bum? First, you need to get over this. “Boxing is a perfect form of high-intensity training, with well-documented benefits that include fat loss and VO2 max improvements,” says Gideon Remfry, head trainer at London’s KX Gym. “It’ll also help to improve your ability to deal with lactate build-up, as well as improving your insulin resistance – helpful if you’re trying to lose weight.” Second, don’t fret. We’ve assembled all the expert information you need to go from pretender to contender in a few short sessions using nothing more.

The Punches


Master the big four, and you’ll be in with a fighting chance of
impressing anyone.

ONE
THE JAB
Your quickest punch comes from your lead hand and should dent the bag. “Always throw the jab from chin height and return to the same position,” says Andrade. “As you throw it, dip your head slightly, keeping your chin tucked in so that any oncoming punches miss your head.” As you get more confident, try to string together two or three jabs.
UPGRADE TO. . .
THE JOLT
To throw this harder version, take a step forward with your lead foot as you throw, dropping your bodyweight slightly to take your head off your centre line.

TWO
THE CROSS
This comes from your rear hand – if you’re standing with your left foot forward, drive off your right foot and rotate your right hip and shoulder forward, and throw your right hand out, turning it palmdown at the end of the motion. “Your arm should travel in a straight line across your body at chin height,” says Andrade. “Keep your back foot in contact with the ground, twisting it
as if crushing a cigarette.”
UPGRADE TO. . .
THE 1-2
It’s the classic combination for a reason. After a jab, your hips are twisted in the right direction to unload with the cross. Throw a jolt or two, then switch back to a quicker, more upright jab and
immediately follow up with a right cross. For extra style points, bob and weave out to your right: most opponents will follow up with a left hook counter.

THREE
THE HOOK
You’ll normally throw these with your lead hand – rear hand hooks are trickier. “Bring your elbow up to face height and rotate your entire body in the direction the punch goes,” says
Andrade. “Some people throw the hook with a horizontal fist and others with a vertical fist. There is no right or wrong way.” Keep your elbow bent at 90˚.
UPGRADE TO. . .

THE RUSSIAN HOOK
To throw a hook at long range, turn your fist further over and bend your elbow less. Russian fighters are known for throwing hooks with their thumbs pointed down and arms almost straight.

FOUR
THE UPPERCUT
The trickiest punch to master, but the nastiest when it lands. “It’s usually delivered to the lower part of the jaw and will require you to bend your knees and tilt your body to the left or right
depending on which hand you use,” says Andrade. “When the punch is travelling up, keep your elbow close to you until the very last moment, then raise your heel – keep the ball of your foot on
the ground – and thrust your hip in the same direction.” Ideally, practise on a curved bag.
UPGRADE TO. . .

THE DEMPSEY ROLL
Invented by American heavyweight Jack Dempsey and used by Mike Tyson. Keep both hands close to your chin and your elbows tucked to your sides, then weave your body in a figure eight in front
of the bag. Once you’ve mastered the movement, add uppercuts at the “bend” of the move. options available, allowing you to make the right decision to get the results you want with minimum time,
effort and expense.