5-Minute Footwork Drills This Boxer Swears By

By Chanel Dror
easy and quick footwork cardio exercises

In sport, footwork is essential to elevating performance by improving overall speed, and the ability to start, stop, and change directions quickly, leading to an advantage over an opponent. Mixing in footwork to your regular fitness routine is a great way to improve speed, coordination, stability, and cognitive abilities. Change things up, and add these three footwork drills between sets of your regular workouts to keep your heart rate up, and burn a few extra calories!

demo and instructions by Morgan Miller; photography by Dagny Piasecki; location Align

Speed Skater

From a standing position, slightly bend the knees.

Take a big step to the right, and sweep your left leg behind you. Either keep your hands above the heart to keep the heart rate up, or bring the left arm across the body.

Then, step to the left, bringing your right leg behind you and your right arm across your body or in front, above the heart.

Continue alternating sides, building speed, for 20-40 seconds. Rest and repeat.

For a challenge, hop side to side. Jump wide, and land securely. Keep the back foot from touching the ground, if possible, to challenge balance.

Lateral Boxing Footwork

Begin in boxing fight stance – If you are right-handed, the right leg steps back, and if you are left-handed, the left leg steps back. The front foot faces forward, and the back foot creates and L-shape in relation to the front foot. Stance should feel strong, stable and mobile. Keep a slight bend in the knees, and weight shifted slightly to the balls of the feet, feeling grounded, yet light on the feet. Elbows in and hands up by the face.

Step the left foot first when moving left, then immediately follow with the right foot, quickly moving into the fight stance position. During movement feet stay relatively close to the floor, mostly sliding instead of stepping. (Think floating — “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”)

When moving to the right, move the right foot first, then left, quickly moving into fight position. Do not cross the feet or bring the feet too close together.

Ali Shuffle

Keeping weight on the balls of the feet, scissor legs front and back. Ideally, this footwork is light and fast.

For more challenge, begin moving laterally in one direction, then the other direction, keeping shoulders, hips, and feet facing forward.