How to Use Focus Mitts Properly

Focus mitts (also called boxing pads) are a key piece of workout equipment in all types of martial arts. Focus pads offer many benefits; they boost coordination, technique and stamina, and can provide a much more dynamic workout than a punching bag. Fitness trainers use focus mitts as a tool for weight loss. Many professional boxers and kickboxers say that training with pads is their worst nightmare – as these workouts drain strength from every part of the body.

Using focus pads requires a very high level of concentration. Hitting, moving and breathing in very short terminals requires a lot of energy. Utilizing both your body and the pads to their fullest potential is essential. Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate fighter, these tips should help you achieve that perfect workout:

To use focus mitts, you’ll need a partner. Before we get into proper punching technique, we’ll explain how focus pads should be held.

When holding focus mitts

It’s often said that holding the mitts is as exhausting as punching them. Whoever is holding the focus mitts is in control of the workout. They dictate the flow, the intensity, and should constantly monitor and correct the punching technique of their partner. Most importantly, the holder dictates which punching combinations are thrown.

Remember that the left boxing pad should be punched with the left hand, and the right pad should be punched with the right – like a mirror projection.

Every exercise begins with focus on proper technique. This means that punching intensity and power are not at their peak, and one should simply focus on throwing technically sound punches rather than powerful punches.

For a punching power workout, create slight resistance as your partner is connecting his/her punches.

Don’t keep the boxing pads up all the time. Lifting the pads should serve as a signal for the start of the combination to your partner. Plan your combinations ahead. Start with simpler combinations (for example, two jabs) and progress to more advanced ones. Don’t throw more than four punches in a single combination. Take 2-3 second breaks between any two combinations. This will help your partner gain explosiveness in transforming from defense to offense.

Create resistance at the moment of impact. Monitor your partner at all times, and correct his technique if necessary. Not only are you helping your partner, but this also helps you gauge some common mistakes your opponents will make.

After every combination, make your partner move by by moving in towards them. You can also use focus mitts as an attacking tool in order to incorporate evading and blocking into your routine.

When punching focus mitts

Always concentrate on the center of the pad. At all times, aim at the center, and try to hit as precisely as you can. Try being fast and explosive – but never at the cost of proper technique. If you’re a beginner, don’t get discouraged if you make a mistake. Even hardcore professionals can slip up during pad practice.

When striking, keep your guard up and stance in check as if you were in an actual fight.

Stay on the move constantly, and do your best to move as if you were fighting a real opponent. After throwing a combination, move to the left or to the right. Keep your hands on your head at all times. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t throw punches while moving – it will throw you off-balance and result in weak punches.

The sound of your boxing gloves connecting will let you know if you’re punching properly. The sound of the boxing glove meeting the pad needs to be sharp, and bursting.
Stay concentrated at all times, and don’t think about anything except the exercise. Keep your eyes on the pads at all times, focus on the reaction time between your partner lifting the pads and you connecting with a punch.

Time the force of each punch thrown. Only the last punch is thrown with 100% power.

Some boxing pad combinations for beginners:

If you’re a beginner, we’d recommend three rounds a day – three minutes per round, with no more than three combinations used in each round. The combinations you’ll throw are up to you; here are some great boxing combos for both beginner and intermediate fighters:

  • Front jab
  • Front jab – power jab
  • Front jab – front jab – power jab
  • Front jab – front hook – power jab
  • Front jab – front hook – uppercut
  • Front jab – power jab – front hook
  • Front jab – power jab – evade to the right – power jab
  • Front jab – power jab – evade to the left – front hook
  • Front jab – power jab – front jab – hook (or uppercut)

You can mix these up in any way you like, but we recommend starting every combo with the front jab. Work out regularly, patiently, and don’t rush it. Very soon, you’ll start seeing progress in both power, precision, and stamina.

Train hard, and train smart. Good luck!