Improve Your Pace with Gloveworx Coach Shaq Williams

To perform well in the ring, you need a balance of speed, agility and coordination while incorporating as much force as possible into your throws. Speed, in particular, can help you put your footwork to good use and get in a few hits in the blink of an eye.

To develop your speed, you need to push yourself to pick up the pace in your training sessions. By pushing yourself to increase your intensity and engaging both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, you can improve your speed and become unstoppable.

Below, Gloveworx Coach Shaq Williams shares some of his favorite techniques for improving your pace while boxing.

Jump Rope

If you’ve ever watched a boxing movie, you’ve likely seen some serious jump rope moves. While not everything depicted on the big screen is accurate, jump rope is a commonly used cross-training exercise for boxers. Jump rope is an excellent warm-up exercise that engages the aerobic energy system, with the option for incorporating high-intensity bursts. In comparison to other forms of cardio, like running, it has minimal wear and tear on the body with a quick recovery period.

Jump rope also helps your pace and coordination when moving around the ring by helping you develop a back-and-forth rhythm and learning to shift your body weight from side-to-side. This helps you improve your footwork and develop spatial awareness surrounding your pace and rhythm.

Heavy Bag

Bag work is essential during a boxing training session, with the heavy bag being a coach favorite. To get the most out of your session, don’t just work the bag. Instead, incorporate different bodyweight exercises-- such as burpees, mountain climbers and squats-- into the rotation between bouts on the bag.

Incorporating different movements into your session gives you a break from punching, reducing the incidence of poor technique as a result of exhaustion. It also helps mix up your rhythym for when you’re in a fight. Boxing matches move back-and-forth, so working on the bag this way simulates these motions and helps you prepare for variance. For best results, practice punching the bag for sets of ten before moving onto an interval set of body weight workouts. Mountain climbers are ideal as they work both the lower body and the core.

Speed Bag or Double-End Bag

Like the heavy bag, the speed bag and double-end bag are staples for boxing training programs. The benefit of these bags is that they are always moving, requiring you to be ready to move as well. The movement also improves your hand-eye coordination and reaction time. These bags are ideal for training if you plan on sparring with an opponent, as it helps you get used to having a moving target in close proximity. With time, you’ll get comfortable with this experience, allowing you to relax and improve your pace.

Remember to Relax

As counterintuitive as it may seem, learning to relax is a significant part of boxing. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean kicking your feet up and having a nap. Instead, it’s about learning to release tension from your muscles at the appropriate time and remaining fluid in your movements. While you will need to incorporate some tension into your delivery for certain movements, you should try and maintain a relaxed-- yet alert-- stance when boxing.

The main reason for learning to relax is that it will improve your speed. Remember: loose is fast. When you’re boxing, you must be able to read the environment and react accordingly. This means anticipating your opponent's move-- be it a sparring partner or a double-end bag-- and finding your opening. You must be able to adapt, make quick decisions, shift your weight and react to any sudden changes in direction. If your muscles are tense, your ability to move becomes restricted. If you relax, you can move smoothly and quickly.

Take a moment to look at Coach Shaq’s examples of a relax stance versus an unrelaxed stance. Evaluate your stance in the mirror and note any visible tension. Even if you can’t see any tension, remind yourself to breathe and relax your shoulders-- you may find that the tension was tension was visually unnoticeable.

Unrelaxed - Improper Form

Relaxed - Proper Form

Every time you go to work the bag or get into the ring with a partner, take a moment to remind yourself to breathe and release tension. By consciously incorporating this into your routine, it will eventually become a habit that you won’t need to think about.

Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger

As your speed improves, so will your confidence. As you learn how to improve your pace, you will also learn the valuable skill of pacing yourself and knowing when to exert energy and when to save it. With time and dedication, your training at Gloveworx will help you become bigger, better, faster, stronger and whatever else you aspire to be. Be sure to stop by the Gloveworx Century City location for a Boom Session with Coach Shaq and put his methods to the test.