No matter which combat sport you train in, whether it be boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts, etc. Outstanding footwork is one of the most important advantages you can have against any opponent. The benefits of being able to outmaneuver your adversary to create angles that make it easier to set up your attacks is invaluable. Your attacks could be strikes, takedowns or both; it just depends on which sport you’re in.
If you’re not already doing basic plyometric exercises, jumping rope, shadow boxing, or explosive workouts, you should definitely get started. Furthermore, having calves that are strong and flexible will also make you lighter on your feet.
Let’s say you’re already including those activities in your workouts, but you still want to do a little more to give yourself an extra edge. Here are three simple exercises you can do in addition to your regular workout routine that will help improve your footwork.
1) High Knees
Stand straight up with your feet about hip-width apart. You should be on the balls of your feet before you explode your right knee up as high as you can while simultaneously bringing up your left arm bent at the elbow. Next, as you start lowering your right knee and left arm, raise your left knee and right arm in the same manner previously stated. Don’t forget to control your breathing. The faster you do this exercise, the more difficult it will be. Start slow and speed up as you get better. Do three sets and time them according to your own abilities. Try to take short intervals in between your sets so that you maintain an elevated heart rate. This exercise is also great for improving your kicking speed.
2) Step-Box Exercises
There are many different exercises you can do with a step-box. For the sake of simplicity, we’re only going to explain one of them. Like the previous exercise, this one is very simple but gets more difficult the faster you do it. Stand in front of your step-box and step onto it with your left foot. Then step onto it with your right foot. Both feet should now be on the step-box. Step off with your left, and then step off with your right. Sounds simple enough, but it can get very difficult when done quickly for long periods of time. You should try to stay on the balls of your feet during this exercise. Try three timed sessions. Take short breaks in between your sets to maintain an elevated heart rate.
3) Ladder Drills
Like the step-box, there are many different drills you can do with the ladder to improve your footwork. The good thing about ladder drills are that they force you to actively pay attention to where you place your feet. This kind of focus and concentration is great for your coordination and balance.
Here are some ladder drills from Headwaysports.com: