4 Boxing Moves You Should Know Before Taking A Class

Of all the intimidating boutique workout classes out there, boxing has got to be the scariest, because you're literally walking into a ring and punching someone (or, at the very least, something). But the good news is that, even though boxing seems hardcore, there are tons of classes that are perfect for those of us who are more like a butterfly than a bee, so to speak. And the trainers are typically very nice and helpful, even if they can throw some serious punches.

We asked one of those friendly boxing coaches, Lielen De Guzman, a trainer at Rumble Boxing in New York City, to walk us through some of the basic moves that you're likely to learn at a boxing class. The most important one? Boxing stance. Start with your feet hip width apart, with your toes pointing straight ahead. Step your dominant leg back about a foot. Next, "guard up" by placing your knuckles right by your cheekbones, elbows tucked in close to your ribs. Now you're "ready to fight," De Guzman says.

Once you've mastered the rest of the punches and defensive moves, then you can string them together into a three-to-six punch "combo," De Guzman says. "You'll feel like such a stud pulling these off," she says. Ahead, De Guzman explains how to master the basic boxing moves that go into a class.

ILLUSTRATED BY VERO ROMERO
Jab

This is the most important punch in boxing, because it's used to gauge your distance from your opponent and "sets up your power punches," De Guzman says.

How to: Begin in boxing stance, with your dominant foot behind you, then "guard up," so your hands are in front of your face.
ILLUSTRATED BY VERO ROMERO
Jab (cont.)

How to: Extend your front hand (if you're right-handed, your left hand should be your front hand) in a straight line and make contact with the punching bag. Bring your hand quickly back to your cheek to "protect your grill," De Guzman says.
ILLUSTRATED BY VERO ROMERO
Jab (cont.)

How to: When you throw a jab, you should turn your thumb down toward the floor, as if you're pouring out a bottle of water.
ILLUSTRATED BY VERO ROMERO
Cross

In boxing, there are two categories of punches: "speed punches," in which you do as many as you can to condition your body; and "power punches," in which your feet are planted and you're hitting as hard as you can in order to build strength. Cross is an example of a power punch, De Guzman says.

How to: Start in boxing stance, with your dominant foot behind you, and both hands in front of your face.
ILLUSTRATED BY VERO ROMERO
Cross (cont.)

How to: First, pivot your back foot like you're squashing a bug.
ILLUSTRATED BY VERO ROMERO
Cross (cont.)

How to: Extend your back hand (if you're right-handed, your right hand is your back hand), across your body to make contact with the bag. Quickly bring that hand back to your cheek to protect your face, and return your feet to the starting position.
ILLUSTRATED BY VERO ROMERO
Cross (cont.)

How to: When you extend your back arm, turn your shoulders toward the bag, and bring your thumb down toward the floor so that your knuckles are straight across.
ILLUSTRATED BY VERO ROMERO
Hook

If you want to catch your opponent off guard, try the hook.

How to: Start in boxing stance, with your dominant foot behind you. Bring the elbow of your front hand high, so that it's in line with your shoulder. Keep your arm bent at a 90-degree angle; your hand should be positioned like you're hitchhiking or holding a coffee mug. Rotate your hips and pivot the foot of your punching hand to make contact with the side of the bag.
ILLUSTRATED BY VERO ROMERO
Upper Cut

This is a "power shot" that you can deliver to your opponent's body or under their chin, De Guzman says.

How to: Start in boxing stance, with one foot in front of the other. Shift your weight onto your front leg, which is the hand you'll use to throw the punch. Extend your front hand up, keeping your elbow bent at a 90 degree angle and hand facing back towards your body (like a bicep curl).
ILLUSTRATED BY VERO ROMERO
Upper Cut (cont.)

How to: Drive your weight into your front foot, and then punch upwards toward your opponent or the bag.