When it comes to boxing training, there isn't a more basic piece of equipment than the slipping cord. Made up of rubber cord or a simple piece of rope, it is simple, inexpensive and easy-to-use, yet it has dynamic applications to boxing. There are numerous ways it can be incorporated into any workout that can add sound technique to a boxer’s training routine.
First, begin by hanging the cord/rope approximately chest high, across any area spanning at least ten to fifteen feet. The cord should be strung tight and secured at both ends.
From that point, there are a variety of exercises that can be done with a basic slipping cord, beginning from the ground up. The most basic use of the slipping cord is to practice footwork. Have your boxer position himself at one end of the slipping cord, assuming a proper boxing stance. With the cord resting lightly on his or her left shoulder, he should move down the cord making sure to step with the left foot first and bring the right foot behind it. This helps the fighter to get used to stepping correctly, with the front foot first and back foot secondly. This is also a good way to be sure a he gets used to staying on his toes and also driving off of his back foot, not dragging it.
Another lower body exercise that can be incorporated into use of the slipping cord is practicing proper technique when rolling under punches. A fighter should assume a proper boxing stance and not move his feet, not step, but roll under the cord, simulating the movement of slipping under a left hook or looping right-hand. When it's done properly a fighter will be shifting his weight forward as he rolls under the right and shifting his weight back (over the right knee) as he slips under the left hook. It is important that the fighter bends at the knees, dropping his butt towards the ground and does not bend at the waist, looking down at the floor. He should shift his weight forward and back, working the leg muscles and developing the habit of placing the majority of weight on the side of his body that he would naturally counter from.
Building from there, a fighter can then also work in a variety of punches. A good one to add onto the basic movement of rolling under the cord is the uppercut. As a fighter rolls forward, onto his left leg, he is in a perfect position to throw a left uppercut. Be sure to throw is at the opposite side of the cord. This accomplishes two things. It puts the fighter in a crouched position, out of the center line of fire and teaches the fighter to throw the punch across his body, not straight up and down, which would leave him more exposed. Slip left, throw a left uppercut. Slip right, throw a right uppercut. The uppercut can be a devastating punch and throwing it from a lower center of gravity, turning on his hips to landing it on the opposite side of the cord, constantly slipping forward and back, will generate even more punching power and better technique.
Another variation is to work down the cord and throw punches on either side of it, stepping and throwing in succession. Then, for added difficulty, pivot outside the cord occasionally and throw punches toward it. Standing outside the cord (facing it), throwing punches above and below it, changing your height and distance from the cord quickly, will help instill an awareness of range and levels of engagement. It also helps incorporate side-to-side movement into, what is otherwise, a linear exercise. Working up and down the length of the cord incorporates the best of both worlds, working inside and outside.
Without hitting it hard, an important aspect of working the slipping cord is not to be afraid to make light contact with it. The cord can be used to gauge speed of movement as contact is lightly made each time a slip is completed. From a defensive standpoint, the cord is a measuring stick to be sure that a fighter is not over slipping or under slipping, just by making gentle contact. While on offense, a small amount of contact can be made to keep punches sharp and combinations fluid. Maintaining proper distance is also easier to practice because there is somewhat of a stationary target to punch at.
Some of the most beneficial pieces of equipment in boxing are those that are the most basic. It is when they are approached with an understanding of how they apply to what happens in the ring, that they take on a new life an added significance. The slipping cord looks about as simple as it gets, but as they say...looks can be deceiving.