How To Box Without A Punching Bag

Any dedicated martial artist knows the importance of training, when ever, and however they can. 

Unfortunately, it's not always feasible to have a full boxing set up in the comfort of your own home. Some of the best free standing punching bags (click here to see some examples) can cost a fair chunk of change, then you've got to find somewhere to put the damn thing.

With that in mind we've created this guide on how to box without a punching bag, without even having to leave the house.

Of course, you're going to get the best training experience at the gym, when you're able to actually land strikes on different bags and get a decent feel for the movement and flow of throwing a punch.

How To Box Without A Punching Bag

Shadow Boxing

One of the most common and popular methods of boxing at home without a punching bag is shadow boxing. A lot of people prefer to do this in front of a mirror, as this allows you to see your form and also feels like your training in front of an opponent/ partner. You can also wear your boxing gloves at the same time to fully mimic a fighting experience and also to work on your arm endurance.

If you don't have any full length mirror to do this in front of, it doesn't matter too much. You could even record yourself and watch it back, as at the end of the day, the best way to learn is from your own mistakes.

If you're a beginner, start with basic punches, work on your footwork and practice keeping your guard up whilst you throw a strike.

Start off throwing single punches, such as jab, cross, hook and upper-cut. As you get more comfortable doing so, start putting them into combinations, as you would when training in a gym. Remember to keep your feet shoulder width apart and to snap your punches, i.e. bring your hand back to the guard position as quickly as you throw the punch.

It's really up to you how long you want to do this for. Typically, shadow boxing is usually carried out in rounds of roughly 1-2 minutes, but at the end of the day you can do as you like. 

If you're a beginner and have no idea, do 4-5 rounds of 1-2 minutes and go from there. If you're starting to get tired and your form is starting to slip, have a break or finish the session for the day, as you don't want to pick up any bad habits.

For beginners, check out this great video by Fight Your Way To Fit, to put your own shadow boxing routine together. 

Mistakes To Avoid When Shadow Boxing

  • Keeping Your Feet Planted - Always keep moving when shadow boxing and never keep your feet planted in one position. Not only will this make your work out more effective, but it will allow you exercise good boxing footwork.
  • Bad Stance - It's important that you make sure you maintain a proper stance through out your shadow boxing work out. Make sure that you have your weaker foot forward, meaning if you're right handed, have your left foot forward. As I just mentioned, make sure you keep moving whilst you do this.
  • Don't Look Down- This is a pretty easy one, as you don't have anyone in front of you to keep your attention. You basically want to imagine that there's somewhere the in front you that you're sparring with. This way you won't accumulate any bad habits that could take over when you're actually in the ring.

How Else Can I Practice Boxing Without a Punching Bag?


Although this isn't directly a boxing related exercise, there's a reason why you see Rocky skipping in just about every one of the 800,000 Rocky movies. 

Skipping allows you to develop your cardiovascular endurance in a way that improves both your reflexes and your footwork.

As I mentioned earlier, footwork is a pretty crucial aspect in not just boxing, but in pretty much any combat sports/ martial art.

By skipping every day at home, you'll improve your cardio and develop your footwork for when you enter the gym.

Find A Mitt Work Out Partner

A pair of focus mitts are going to be a hell of a lot cheaper than investing in a punching bag. The flip side to this is that you need someone to work out with you in order to do this, plus they need to have some form of knowledge on different combitions. 

If you can find someone who matches this criteria, focus mitt drills are a great way to practice your boxing without a punching bag.

Check out the video below for a fairly basic focus mitt drill that you can do from home. If your partner has no boxing knowledge, you can also show them this video so that they know what they've got to do.

Other Exercises

You can also partake in some of the other, more traditional forms of exercise that are designed to improve cardio and explosive power.

Running for example is a great way to develop your cardio. I personally like to implement a bit of interval-esque training into my runs -  sprinting for a bit, then jogging for a bit. This way your run some what mimics the quick bursts of intensity usually found when fighting.

You can also do a number of different body weight exercises to develop your strength, as these don't require any form of equipment. This could be push-ups, burpees, tricep dips etc. 

How To Box Without A Punching Bag: Conclusion

I'd like to wrap up our guide with one final tip: get creative, and don't let a lack of equipment prevent you from training. 

Ok, that's two points but you get the message. 

Use what ever you've got at your disposal, whether that's your imagination in shadow boxing, or a willing significant other to run some focus mitt drills with you.

When ever you're training at home, make sure that you maintain a good technique as to not pick up and bad habbits. 

I hope that you've found our guide on how to box without a punching bag helpful, if you've got any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

James Davis

A fervent mixed martial artist and avid MMA fan, James combines his experience and scientific knowledge to provide you with a unique perspective on the most popular MMA products on the market. He joins the ranks of other MMA enthusiasts in creating this website to guide and educate the next generation of mixed martial artists.

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