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Boxing Glove Drills For Fitness & Fighting Skills


Hi Randy.  My wife and I have been doing Krav Maga now for 3 months so we consider ourselves “beginners” relative to someone with years of experience. 

We’re really enjoying reading your book. (Toughen Up Training Manuals)

We’ve learned basic punching, kicking, elbows, knees.  We also purchased focus mits and other pads and a punching bag for home workouts and have been using those for a couple months. 

We just started doing some light boxing drills that we made up (e.g. random jab-cross or random left-right hooks) but could use any suggestions you have for boxing drills.

What are some great boxing glove drills we can do?

How do my wife and I train without hurting each other?

Here’s My Answer:

Designing Your Own Boxing Glove Drills

If you feel you’re ready to take the plunge into boxing glove work… here’s the approach I recommend to get you off to a good start.

Use the “build ups” that I describe in my Power Punching Guide… Lets use for example: a lead, cross, hook, uppercut combination.

I’ll assume, you already know the defensive actions for each of these strikes.  Here’s how I’d set things up.

=> Build up one strike at a time

Start with your first technique… the lead.

Throw a lead punch at your partner and have her block it. Keep it light and non-competitive.  You throw a punch and she “pats” it aside.  Continue with this until it that starts to feel easy…

Add the cross.  Now you throw a lead/cross (1-2) combination.  Have your partner defend both of those.  Continue that for a about 25 reps or so. Once again, keep it light and non-threatening.

Then add the hook for a 1-2-3 combo.  Block, block, block… step out of range, re-set and then do it again. When you’re comfortable with that…

Add the last punch into the sequence… Now you’ll throw a 1-2-3-4 combo… (lead, cross, hook, uppercut) and your partner will defend against each one.

=> Surf the Threshold of Error

Pace your drills based on the “threshold of error.”  In other words, if you aren’t making any mistakes, its probably too easy and you should step it up a bit.

If you’re making too many and getting hit a lot, slow it down a notch.

I suggest that you stick with the same attacker and defender until you’ve built up to the entire combo.

At that point you can either change roles and begin the build up sequence again or stick with the same attacker and defender throughout the following variations.

Also keep in mind that you can use any hitting combination you want… you don’t have to stick to mine.  I also like throwing the odd kick or tackle defense into these types of drills.

=> Punch At Your Partner

Avoid the common mistake of “punching to miss.” People new to partner training drills often throw punches that are out of range (and fall short of reaching their partner) or they aim to miss their partner rather than directly at them.

This can develop sloppy striking skills, defensive skills and a false sense of security.  I suggest if you’re worried about injuries or accidental impact … slow it down and keep it light.  You shouldn’t feel nervous, stressed or concerned about being hit during this type of training. There is merit to learning how to be hit.

Once you feel proficient with the basic drill I’ve outline above, you can mix it up with these variations…

=> Broken Rhythm

Stick with the same sequence but “break the rhythm.” In other words… don’t throw all of the punches in a smooth, timed sequence… Throw a punch, hesitate, then throw the next two… hesitate again and so on.

Mix up the timing so your partner knows what punch is coming, but isn’t sure of exactly when it’s coming.  This starts to develop more realistic defensive timing and reaction time.

=> Alternate attacker and defender after each combo

Rather than “blocking” a drill out into sets and doing a bunch of reps before switching roles, alternate the role of attacker and defender each time.  You are the attacker, you throw your combo and your partner performs her defenses.

Then switch around and now you’re partner becomes the attacker and YOU defend.  Alternate back and forth so that you’re not getting “stuck” in either the defensive or offense mode for any longer than a combination.

=> Randomize Your Sequence

Now… sticking with the same punches… mix up the order. You’ll throw the lead, the cross, the hook and the uppercut as before but not in the same sequence.

You might open up with an uppercut, then throw a lead, then a cross, then a hook.

Eventually, you’ll be able to do “free style” training where you can throw any punch or kick in any sequence and get a good workout out of it.

=> Build A Solid Foundation First

Eventually, I’ll be developing additional Toughen Up Training Guides  all about boxing glove and partner training drills. 

However, if you are just starting out, and haven’t already established a solid skills base… boxing glove drills (in particular sparring) is probably not a good idea yet.

You want to start with the basics and develop the skills and control you need to train without accidentally zigging the wrong way, stepping into a punch or hitting harder than you intended to.

My recommendations are to learn your basics well (punching, kicking etc. and the defenses for each) and start working with a partner with focus pads… They are a great tool to use when learning combinations, accuracy and control with someone without the risk of injury.

You can check out my Toughen Up Training Guides at… .  I also set up a specific page for the focus pad manual at

Hopefully it gives you some food for thought.

Take care, train smart and stay safe


About Randy LaHaie

I’m the founder of “Protective Strategies,” a training and consulting company providing self-defense and combative fitness solutions to law enforcement, high-risk professionals and private citizens since 1994. I am a retired police officer, court-declared expert in use-of-force and critical incident performance, and a life-long student of self-defense and combative fitness. “My Thing” is to help people incorporate functional and minimalist workout strategies to improve their health, fitness and personal safety.

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