Since my gym is connected to at-risk students, it’s closed over the holidays. Which simply means I train in a horrible, cheap-ass purple and yellow joint (because it’s $10/month), or in the park. All of which was fine, or so I thought, for the 3 weeks I was doing it.
And believe me, I was NOT slacking out. I have a fight coming up in a few weeks, so I did my hill sprints, my ab work, and so on. I might could be accused of being a little proud of myself.
Then I got back to the boxing gym. Whew.
Since I knew I wasn’t going to be sparring, and I’m not a huge fan of extended heavy bag work, I set up the ring for my favorite shadowboxing exercise, which I call the X-Ring.
It kicked my ass for me, absolutely free of charge.
How to set up the X-ring
If you’ve ever tied up a rope to bob and weave under, you’re gonna like this one. We have a bob-and-weave rope, so I tie that from one corner of the ring to another, and then, since that’s the only rope I can ever find at Second Round, we tie together a couple of old, ratty hand wraps and string those across the other way, creating the “X” formation like you see in the picture above.
The ties sit just below shoulder height for me, which makes this exercise good for someone my height (5’8″ or so), but not as good for someone smaller. So you’ll have to do your X-Ring exercise somewhere else in the gym where you can tie up lower, or out in a park between trees.
Careful, don’t clothesline anyone.
The X-ring workout
Before you actually set up the ring, do a round or two of ring slides. That means you slide in a big circle, calves touching the ropes on each side, hands in high guard. Use small, quick slides, and switch directions regularly. Pivot and advance quickly to the center of the ring, throw a jab, then reverse out and continue your ring slides.
Now do a couple of rounds of regular shadow boxing.
Once you’re warm and ready, tie up the first half of the X. Start at one corner and bob and weave your way to the other corner, throwing a shot or combo now and then. Pivot and return with the same. Don’t be a metronome; mix up your timing. Jabs and power hands go straight ahead; throw hooks over and under the rope. Keep your guard up.
My coach likes to walk the rope with me and smack my ear when I drop my guard. Thanks, coach. (No really, it helps.)(It also stings.)(But my damn guard goes back up.)
Tie up the second line of the X. Now it gets complicated and delicious (and your coach will leave, but will continue to harass you from the ringside). As you shadowbox around the ring, you have to keep bobbing under those ropes. The closer you get to the center of the ring, the tighter your pivots and shots will be. Work the whole ring, and gain a fresh appreciation for boxing-specific training, which will kick your everlovin’ ass.
Here it is in bullet list form, because you love bullet list form.
- 2 rounds ring slides (both directions)
- 2 rounds regular shadow boxing
- 2 rounds bob and weave under single rope
- 2 rounds shadowboxing with the X-ring formation
Then do the rest of your workout, padawan.
Put this on your faves list
Here’s the thing. This exercise is SO much more like actual boxing that most of the rest of the non-sparring work you do, which is what makes it so damn useful. It’s complex, it’s fun, and if you’re a gamer the slightly chaotic pattern and the possibility of getting clotheslined may juice you right the hell up.
And hey, you don’t even have to be an actively sparring boxer to do this one, and it will give you a real feel for what it’s like to work offense AND a little defense in the ring.
And it’s kinda nice that the clotheslines won’t punch you, either.
Your turn, young Jedi
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