Guide to Mitt Holding for Boxing

There is more to boxing training than just hitting the bag. Of course, bag classes and drills have a place in your overall training and naturally offer a great workout dynamic. But, if you really want to build your boxing skills and learn how to punch well – you need to train on mitts. Mitts are also referred to as focus pads and focus targets.
Here are the benefits of mitt training for all levels of boxing:
1. They offer a more realistic experience of boxing than the bag.
2. When implemented properly, they force the striker and mitt holder to use footwork, which progresses your overall skill set.
3. You are able to throw punches close to full power (depending on mitt holder’s capabilities) without anyone getting hurt.
4. You are able to experience various defensive maneuvers based on the mitt holder’s skills. But even a beginner can incorporate slips and ducking drills into their mitt workout.
5. You will actually learn a real boxing stance and how to transfer your weight.
6. You will learn how to gauge distance for your punches moving in all directions.
7. You will learn how to aim your punches – so hand-eye coordination is improved.
8. It is absolutely a BLAST!

Boxing mitts are padded targets with a glove attached to it.  Some are flat and others are curved. The width of the mitt ranges between 6 inches to 10 inches.  The person holding the mitt is called the feeder.   There are several tips for properly holding mitts.   I have included a list of tips, but the video gives you three important tips to consider every time you do a mitt workout.  Naturally there are many more details, but these three tips (on the video) are critical for throwing successful straight punches.  It is important that the mitt holder remains safe during the training round.  Their job is to properly position the mitts so the striker can successfully practice and drill their punches.

Mitt Holding Tips:

  1. Make sure you adjust the mitt for your size hand.  I personally have three different types of mitts.  I use them for different reasons.  But I always make sure my hand can comfortably insert into the glove.
  2. Hold the mitts in front of your body and face, not on top of it.  There needs to be space between your mitt and face.  This will prevent injuries and accidental hits to your face.
  3. Begin each round or new combo/drill by having the puncher mark (or slow slowly through the combo and the correct alignment) out their distance from the mitt.
  4. Begin each round/combo drill at about 50% speed and power and then build throughout the round to allow the mitt holder to make adjustments with the mitts without the consequence of getting injured.  The puncher should never build past 75% speed and power unless they have control to aim and understand the technique of the combo.
  5. The mitt holder should be in the same fighting stance as the puncher and remain in a fighting stance for the entire round.
  6. Hold the mitts no wider than the striker’s body and slightly angled inward.  Avoid flaring your elbows out to the side when framing the mitts.
  7. When absorbing or receiving the punch, the mitt holder should catch the punch , NOT slam into the punch.   Learning the proper amount of resistance to provide the mitt holder is tricky.  As you bring each mitt forward to catch the punch, think of catching a baseball.  Do not smack or whack the striker’s gloves.  The real secret behind properly mitting and finding the right amount of catch, is to be an active mitt holder.  You should be absorbing with your entire core and upper body strength.  It is not an independent action of your arm (and shoulder).
  8. The mitt holder is in control and sets the speed.  Be an active and busy mitt holder.  By moving your feet constantly, you are not only getting a better workout, but also practicing your footwork.  I consider it an active rest.  BY moving your feet is also gives your arms a chance to recover quickly between combos.
  9. Keep your eyes on the puncher.  Your job is to be engaged during the round.  Try to get as much out of mitt holding as you do punching.
  10. When you feed the mitt for straight punches, hooks and uppercut- make them three distinctly different positions.  Not only does the mitt angle change, but the body’s preparation to catch hooks and uppercut is different.  A basic guide is:
  • Straight punches – lead and cross jab: At forehead height, angled forward and inward towards puncher.
  • Hook punches – either at the height of ear/temple or ribs, turned perpendicular to the ground, but placed on the inside of the punchers body.
  • Uppercuts – for head only – place it center to the puncher’s body so it lines up with the puncher’s nose/mouth and turned it down or parallel to the ground.


revgear_economy_mittThe Economy Mitt, $39.99

curved_mitt_revgearThe Curved Mitt, $69.99


If you are looking for a comprehensive DVD that breaks down Mitt drills I suggest Ryan Hoover's DVD.  It is extremely thorough and offers amazing progressions. 


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