Getting your body out of the way can be as effective a defense in boxing as blocking a punch. Bobbing and weaving, also referred to as slipping and rolling, simply remove the target your opponent is aiming at while simultaneously giving you the opportunity to come back at her with something of your own. Increasing your flexibility and reaction time can help you bob and weave faster and more efficiently.
One of the keys to an effective and speedy bob or weave is to use your legs and not just your upper body. Dropping your body from the knees gets your head out of the way while still letting you keep your balance. Bending only from the waist to move your head throws you way off balance in whatever direction you move and this can slow you down as a result. Slipping often means leaning in towards your opponent instead of away from her. Moving forward is a faster and more efficient movement than drawing back all the time or leaning completely sideways. Taking your body towards your opponent takes you right up against her so there’s no time wasted in recovering your balance or trying to move back inside to launch your counter-punches.
Being stiff as a board is a sure way to slow your movements. Staying loose is imperative for building the speed and efficiency of your bob and weave. Research indicates that increasing your active range of motion through stretching increases your overall speed. Making sure the quads, hips and calves are well stretched and loose means you can drop from the knees quickly to execute a swift bob or weave without resistance from your body.
Plyometrics build muscle elasticity and increase muscle response time through explosive movements. Box jumps, squat jumps, lunge jumps and long jumps are examples of challenging plyometric moves that help train your body to drop down and explode back up with lightening speed. These exercises help increase the speed of the eccentric, or loading, phase of a bob or weave when you drop down at the knees. They also improve the speed and efficiency of transitioning from the drop down to the roll through or slipping the body around the punch. The explosive drills pay off when you let loose with a body shot, an uppercut or a hook that your opponent never saw coming.
Practice makes perfect. Take the opportunity to incorporate bobs and weaves into your workouts. Throw them into your mitt workouts and practice them even on the heavy bag. Work with a double-end bag if you can. The bounce-back on a double-end bag is fast and furious and is highly effective for training you to get your body out of the way. There’s nothing like a kiss from the double-end bag to encourage you to get your head out of the way on the next shot. Make friends with your shadow or your reflection and shadow-box with a mirror. Seeing your moves will help you determine what you need to work on and what aspects of your bob and weave may be slowing you down.