Everything You need to Know about Choosing Boxing and Martial Arts Gear…

How to Improve Reflexes – 5 Incredible Methods

We train for more powerful punches, quicker footwork but without good reflexes, they don’t mean much at all. We sometimes need to act before thinking during sparring and boxing matches. And if you can dodge, attack or regain your balance even a millisecond before than you normally do, it would be just priceless.

These incredible methods below will definitely help you for improving your reflexes. Some of them are for defensive reflexes, some of them will improve your attacking reflexes and even some will improve both of these as well.


Let’s start with one of the most effective methods for how to improve reflexes…

1. Focus Mitt Training

According to me and many other boxing authoritative sites, focus mitt (punch mitt) training is the best for improving reflexes. Since the trainees have no idea where will be the target or where it will move next etc. So they need to punch or dodge when they need to and they need do it fast. And that is exactly what happens in a boxing match and this training is very close to real thing except sparring. However unlike sparring you will have a lot of chances to learn how to react and improve reflexes during this training. And keep in mind that punch mitt training offers you absolutely endless striking, defense and timing options.

These are the reasons why it is one of the best training types to improve it.

If you are interested doing this amazing and fun training have a look at these punch mitts and you will also need suitable boxing gloves and boxing hand wraps to do this training as well.

However trainers definitely should keep in mind that they should always change the combinations, distance to the target, timing etc. With more variation your reaction time will definitely get lower. I also found a basic training video yet trainer definitely knows what he is doing. He does not only improve the boxer’s punching skills and defense but he also provides a suitable training environment to improve reflexes as well. You can check out this short video below.



2. Sparring

When you spar, you taste the real environment and well when an opportunity for punching arises you take it as soon as possible and you concentrate for these opportunities to arise. Let’s face it when we train with any kind of bag we generally don’t focus %100 during that training. However during sparring we can get punched anytime and that possibility alone gives you a lot of rush so as a result you are more focused. After all you prefer punching instead of getting punched right?

The best side of sparring is that you improve your reflexes for the right stimuli. Your sparring partners move, try punching you… All of these are right stimulus which you need to practice.


3. Speed Bag

During speed bag training your hand eye coordination improves a lot and the target is small and we need to punch it in a certain way to continue our training session properly. With that we can’t always punch it perfectly and when it does not have perfect swing, you punch it accordingly. And you need to do it before thinking. This is another crucial aspect for improving reflexes. You should act before thinking but you need to do it in a right way so speed bag can continue having a proper rhythm.

However punching the same speed bag won’t improve your reflexes after a certain point. So you need to train with smaller or faster bag to continue improving it. This changes the swing rate of the bag and thanks to that your reflexes will even improve more. Also some bags just give weird rebound rate and don’t have good balance whatsoever however these speed bags have it.


4. Double End Bag and Reactor Bag

Double end bag is really nice place to train for improving reaction time. It is fun and unlike heavy bag it can hit you back. So you are alerted while training and double end bag just shines here. Thanks to that your eyes also will be “sharper”. This is actually one of the most important reasons why people need to give more importance for it.

You will punch faster, slower with different techniques (uppercuts, hooks, jabs etc.) and you can also do many different striking combinations with double end bag. Every time you need to response to bag and dodge from it accordingly. If you want to improve your defensive reflexes for boxing, double end bag training is truly the best way to do it.

how to improve reflexes for boxing

When you get used to training with your current double end bag just get smaller or larger model.

Why should you do that?

Because when you get used to punching or dodging while having certain bounce rates, after that point you won’t be able to improve it and this is why you should definitely get smaller or larger bags. If you are looking for a good quality bag, which have smaller and larger sizes, have a look at these double end bags. And you need suitable gloves for this training as well. You can check out these training gloves for this training,

Reactor bags also lower the reaction time and basically it does what double end bag does. However as a plus reactor bags are taller so you can practice punches for large strike surface and obviously it is same for defense. However it has a negative side as well. You can get only one size of reactor bag. So you don’t have many different stimulus. With that there is only a few quality reactor bags on the market and couple of days ago I reviewed the most quality one. For that you can have a look at Century Reactor Bag.


5. Balance Boards

People always talk about having better reflexes for attacking, dodging etc. However hardly anyone talks aboutbalance (wobble) board training improves reflexes improving better reflexes for balance. When you get punched or try avoiding punches, you can lose balance in no time and your feet need to react accordingly. Well balance boards will exactly improve that.

Imagine that you can regain your balance sooner than normal. This can even save you from a knockout punch and I am sure that many people prefer it 😉


Final Thoughts

Response time and reflexes are depended on genes as well and obviously these have more than vital importance for boxing. But keep in mind that the reaction time varies only 0.2 to 0.3 seconds. So you don’t have much room to improve it anyway but even that small improvement can make a huge difference. When you have better reflexes you will regain your balance faster, dodge better and counterattack more efficiently and accurately. So all boxers should include a routine for improving their reflexes. Always remember that you can throw very powerful punches but it does not mean anything unless you have good reflexes. Also keep in mind that reflex means doing before thinking so when you train always try changing everything about the stimuli. For example train with a larger speed bag or tighten the double end bag’s cord etc. There are many training types for everything including improving reflexes and each one benefits you in a different way. According to me this is why boxing training is great. I really hope that you enjoyed reading and if you have any questions, experiences just have a comment below.


Image Courtesy of DRYY® and HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE via Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved
Spread the love

Reader Comments

  1. Furkan Thanks for this post on improving reflexes it is really really helpful and informative and seeing the video gives me something to go and practice. I haven’t used a balance board before and I hadn’t really thought about it but balance is one of the most important things to having good reflexes. You always need a strong base right? I have always wondered about other things like breathing. Does controlling your breathing help and what is best? Thanks again for all this great information

    1. This video really helps, I also watch it and practice accordingly. Yes, a strong base is needed.
      Also when you first start doing balance board training, you will probably have hard time. But trust me on this, just keep going and it will get better 😉
      Of course, controlling the breath also helps.

  2. Hi Furkan,
    This is a really interesting read.
    I enjoy fitness training in particular Bodyweight training which I believe compliments boxing training very well.
    Looking at these five reflex training techniques, they all look to provide a good workout as well as the intended reflex improvement.
    These drills could be incorporated into a general fitness routine to improve fat burning as well could they not?
    Nice work, thanks.

    1. It compliments it well and you can combine these to your bodyweight routine without a problem. And these are great for fat burning. I just came from balance board session and man, I really sweated 😉

  3. I’m a tall guy so balance is something that I struggle with. I’ve tried doing a lot of cardio and some explosive drills, but even that that doesn’t help too much so the balance boards look promising, How are they used? I know you probably have to get on top of them, but for how long in general? And is there a weight requirement?

    1. Balance board will help you achieve your goals in no time. Man, I just wrote a blog post about this subject. You can have a look at the quality balance boards. There you can find all you need to know and I will also provide a link within this content as well.

  4. That’s excellent Furkan. I loved the video, really cool. A great way to improve your reflexes, and the balance board is just great too, but how much of practice you would say we need to become perfect at it, or at least very good?

    John ツ

    1. Hey John man it is hard to tell everyone has different skills etc. But based on my experiences, I would say you need to train with a couple of different balance boards over a year then I am sure that you will be really hood.

Leave a Reply to John ツ Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. For more information, I refer you to GDPR requirements cookie and tracking law When you don't want cookies place then you are free to leave this website. DECLINE COOKIES