Different Types of Boxing Stances

Your boxing stance in the ring is more than just how you stand. Your stance stabilizes your body and that stability allows you to generate force for your moves. There are two general boxing stances: orthodox and southpaw, which are chosen based on whether you're right-handed or left-handed.

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No matter which stance you go with, there are a few techniques to follow for the strongest stance possible:

  • Maintain your balance by squaring your shoulders between the outlines of your feet.
  • For mobility, lift the heel or your rear leg slightly and bend your knees.
  • Engage your core to allow you to generate force, but keep your shoulders relaxed to remove tension from the body.

Orthodox Stance

The orthodox stance is used by right-handed boxers and, therefore, is the most common stance used in the sport. Within the orthodox stance, there are two additional stances.

Upright Stance

Adopt an orthodox stance by standing with your legs shoulder-width apart and your right foot approximately half a step back from your left foot. Point both feet very slightly inward and lift the back heel about 3 inches.

Position your left fist at eye level about 6 inches in front of your face. Put your right fist next to your chin, pulling your elbow in toward your ribcage. Lower your chin toward your chest to avoid punches to the jaw.

Keep your face protected to avoid a punch to the jaw. (Image: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/GettyImages)

Crouching Stance

Instead of standing upright, you can crouch or semi-crouch during a boxing match. Your body is positioned similarly, but your knees are bent partially or totally. When in a crouching position, lean slightly forward and keep your feet close together to stay balanced.

Southpaw Stance

Left-handed fighters typically adopt the southpaw stance. It's essentially the mirror image of the orthodox boxing stance; you put your right foot forward and position your left hand behind your right hand. Although this stance is considered less effective, it can throw off competitors who solely fight in the orthodox stance because the punches come from unexpected directions. However, it makes the southpaw fighter vulnerable to the orthodox boxer's straight right hand.

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