As a professional boxer, Tony Jeffries won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games and retired undefeated. He now shares his experience, insight and advice on the sport to beginners via his YouTube channel. In his most recent video, Jeffries breaks down the four simple mistakes that he keeps seeing when people step into a boxing gym and start training with a heavy bag for the first time—and how to easily correct them. “Hitting one of these things is not as straightforward as it may seem,” he says.
The first error is hitting the bag as it comes towards you. “[People] think that because it’s swinging so much, they’re doing good, but that is not the case at all,” he says. “When you let the bag swing like that, you’re losing control of the bag. It’s on you to be able to control the bag.”
Punching the bag as it’s moving backwards helps to remove some of that momentum and “stop it in its tracks,” enabling you to keep it exactly where you want it.
Mistake number two is pushing your punches. “You want to throw it out and let it come straight back to your face,” says Jeffries. “And if the bag is not moving, that’s fine… the bag doesn’t have to swing.”
The third simple error is positioning yourself too far out of range, so that the only way you can actually hit the bag is by leaning forward—a bad place to be as a boxer. “You want to be more comfortable,” says Jeffries, recommending you stand just under arm’s length away from the bag when it’s static, so that you’re punching through it.
The fourth rookie mistake is perhaps the most common: holding your breath. “If you hold your breath when you’re punching the heavy bag, you’re going to get out of breath within 30 seconds,” he says. “You need to try and relax, and exhale with each punch… You’re not just going to reserve more energy, your punches are going to be more fluid, faster, better, and your technique is going to be better as well.”
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