You are on page 1of 24

au t h o r n a m e

Book template
An InDesign template for books, eBooks, papers and reports

This template is designed by Otto Coster and provided to you by Smashing Magazine

Welcome and Preparation


• I recommend buying practice dance shoes (get ones with a low heel)

• You can also use ballet slippers ($25), or socks on a smooth floor (FREE)

• You can use any combination of shoes & floor as long as you can spin on the floor.

• If you don’t have a smooth floor, you can still use socks and get up to one full spin.

Other Helpful Equipment (OPTIONAL):

• thin stick about 4 feet long (you can use broom handle, wooden rod, anything you find)

• elastic resistance exercise bands (PURCHASE LINK)

• foam roller (PURCHASE LINK)

• foot massage ball (PURCHASE LINK)

Thank you for your support!

I’m excited to my share my dance training routines with my fellow fighters. Dance has been
a growing passion of mine outside of boxing over the past few years. Hours spent in the
studio and hours spent at home aching in pain (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?). The workouts
are tough but with enough dedication, you too, can developed rock hard calves, and
catlike balance.

Wishing you success inside and outside of the ring,

Johnny Nguyen
Founder of

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  2

DAY 1 - Posture
Straight Posture (for balance and mobility)
Stack the head on top of the body.

STRAIGHT SPINE DRILL: walk around with stomach in, hands on shoulders.

You are OFF-AXIS if: you are using muscles in your traps, back, or abs.

Being straight improves:

• efficiency - lets you relax & save energy

• body movement - slipping & footwork

• rotation - punching power

Use a stick to straighten your spine.

Body is lengthened, ribs pulled in.

Bring awareness to your back.

Core Presence (for balance and power)

Your entire body is connected through turnout.

Exercise #1 - Hip turnout (feet together)

• Rotate the entire leg form the hips, not the feet.

Exercise #2 - Hip turnout (1 leg forward)

• Try exercise from both FORWARD & SIDE positions.

• Strengthening your turnout muscles will increase core presence for more balance.

• Straighten your leg and point the toes as far as possible.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  3

Calf Exercises (strengthen connection to the ground)

Keep your weight over your heels during calf raises, not over your toes.

Place your weight over your heels, then lift your heels over the balls of your feet.

Exercise #3 - Calf raise

• COMMON MISTAKE - Trying to pull your body up. This creates upwards tension, usually
causing lifted shoulders, and less balance overall.

• Come up by pushing down. Your whole body, legs, lats, shoulders, everything should be
pushing down at the ground.

• Lift your heels as high as possible.

Exercise #4 - Pivoting from calf raise

Leg Awareness (strength & coordination)

Exercise #5 - Leg points (forward-side-back)

Exercise #6 - Leg circles (front to back)

• Hold your body straight, activate the core muscles.

• Point the foot as straight as possible.

Core Strengthening (while in movement)

Exercise #7 - Hip drop (feet together)

• Lower your tailbone straight down, don’t stick out your hip.

Exercise #8 - Hip drop (feet apart)

• Knees should point straight over the foot.

• Maintain a straight spine when going down.

Breathing Technique (for body movement)

Relax when you breathe, but don’t collapse, maintain a relaxed control.

Lower your tailbone straight down, don’t stick out your hip.

Become aware of your breathing throughout your day.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  4

Being Heavy (for balance)

Being heavy or more grounded, gives you more balance, mobility and power.

Become heavy by allowing your weight to fall straight down.

Use both sides of your body during all movements.

Don’t try to go down (lower your body), try to send only your energy down.

To become more grounded and balanced, you have to develop muscles that allow you to
project energy downwards.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  5

DAY 2 - Advanced Posture

Leg Warm-up (hips and calf muscles)
Exercise #1 - Calf raises (feet together)

• Push down at the ground.

• Legs as straight as possible.

• Ankles as high as possible.

Exercise #2 - Calf raises (feet apart)

• Support your weight in the middle of the foot.

• Don’t allow ankles to roll to the outside or inside.

Exercise #3 - Calf raises (one leg)

Exercise #4 - Leg points

• Point your entire leg and foot sharply. This develops total leg strength and coordination.

• Always activate both legs.

Half-Step Drills (moving your axis with balance)

Exercise #5 - Half-steps (forward, side, back)

• Drop your weight down the center.

• Land with a straight leg to resist the impact.

• Bending the knees at impact makes you fall over.

• Straighten your legs at impact but relax, don’t lock your knees.

Exercise #6 - Half-steps (with crosses)

• Focus on your feet, not your legs.

• Push the ground with your feet.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  6

Foot Exercises (calf strengthening and feet coordination)

Exercise #7 - Foot gripping (sideways)

• Grab the ground with every step.

• Grip with your feet to push and pull.

• Activate your adductor muscles to help you “grab” the ground.

Exercise #8 - Foot gripping (forward/backward)

• Keep your spine straight, and the hips in.

Jumping Exercises (holding the core while moving)

Jumping technique: straighten your legs before you come off the ground.

Exercise #9 - Straight jumps (feet together)

• Hold your core in during jumps.

Exercise #10 - Straight jumps (feet apart)

Exercise #11 - Switch jumps (one-legged)

Exercise #12 - Downward switch jumps

Active Feet (constantly engaging your feet)

• Always activate your feet.

• Practice activating your feet in your normal walk.

• Always practice your balance and posture in your daily life.

2 Balance Exercises
1. Train with a stick.

2. Train with your eyes closed.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  7

DAY 3 - Walking
Walking Technique and Footwork
(how your walk affects your footwork)
Walking is your body’s most natural movement.

Becoming aware of your walk helps you become more aware of your body.

Heel Walk Technique

Exercise #1 - Heel walk

• Imagine a line from the back of your head down to the back of your heel.

• Use the hamstring to pull your body forward, instead of only relying on the quads.

• Feel your knees brushing each other on every step.

Toe Walk Technique

Exercise #2 - Toe walk

• Stepping with your toes gives you more control, allows you to change direction/speed.

Basics of Turning Technique

Exercise #3 - Turning walk (in-line)


• Pivot your hips to pivot your feet.

• Divide your body into 2 parts: UPPER & LOWER

• Use your core to create movement, not block movement.

Exercise #4 - Turning walk (small steps in-line)

• Stretch your core with every pivot step.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  8

Walking in Turns (square walk and triangle walk)

Exercise #5 - Square walk (forward only)

• Stay on your axis. Don’t lean into the counter.

• Use the natural counter-twist in your upper body, don’t be a block.

• Pivot your standing foot on every step.

• Bring your knees past each other.

Exercise #6 - Triangle walk (forward only)

• Focus on being heavy as you push off the ground.

Importance of Walking
(practice walking to improve footwork)
Use upper body movement to help lower body movement.

Instead of thinking UPPER & LOWER body, think of all movements as a total body

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  9

DAY 4 - Advanced Walking

Special Walking Exercises (advanced toe walk technique)
Exercise #1 - Cat walk

• Lift the back heel before lowering the front heel.

• Use control to slow the weight change.

Exercise #2 - Projection walk

• Extend the front leg as you bend the back leg. Then push as you straighten the back leg.

• Keep your hips moving forward when you lower onto the back leg.

• Slowly pass your hips from being over the heel of the standing foot (back foot) to over
the toes of the standing foot before being pushed off onto the front leg.
• Also remember to keep your upper body with a straight spine. The natural tendency is
to lean slightly forwards or backwards during this projection walk.

Exercise #3 - Running walk

• Lift the free foot into the air. Then lift the standing heel when the free foot passes the
standing knee.
• Point your feet as much as possible.

• Lift the standing heel as high as possible.

Turning Walk (walking in square turns & triangle turns)

Exercise #4 - Square walk

• Stay on your axis, don’t lean into the center.

• Twist your upper body to help you move.

• Push from your standing foot to move your body to the next foot.

Exercise #5 - Triangle walk

• Don’t tilt your head down.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  10

Walking Footwork (slow walking footwork exercises)

Exercise #6 - Walking front crosses

Exercise #7 - Walking back crosses

• Use the moving leg to “push out” the standing leg.

Exercise #8 - Square walk (with front crosses)

Exercise #9 - Square walk (with back crosses)

Day 4 Recap (controlling weight change, turning walk)

Keep your hips stable during turns and crosses.

Any twist in your body should come from the core.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  11

DAY 5 - Footwork
Warm-Up (feet gripping drills)
Exercise #1 - Feet gripping (all directions)

• Keep your feet on the floor.

• Grip the floor by pinching inwards with your adductor muscles.

Footwork Drills with Crosses

Exercise #2 - Step & two crosses

Exercise #3 - Step & two back crosses

• Tip for FRONT crosses: twist the upper body to counter-balance.

• Tip for BACK crosses: rotate the leg inwards to tuck easier.

• Tip for ALL crosses: keep the knees close.

Footwork Drills with Leg Circles

Exercise #4 - Step, half-circle

• Don’t let your hips rotate out of control. Counter the swinging leg with the standing hip.

Exercise #5 - Two steps, two half-circles

• Imagine BOTH hips opening and closing at the same time during the leg circle.

Exercise #6 - Foot taps

Needle Turns
Exercise #7 - Needle turns (three-quarter)

• Keep your weight on the standing foot.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  12

Lifted Walking Drills

Exercise #8 - Lifting walk (F-S-F)

• Don’t let your hips rotate out of control. Counter the swinging leg with the standing hip.

Exercise #9 - Lifting walk (F-F-S-S-S)

Lifted Crosses
Exercise #10 - Lifted front crosses

• STEP (lift) - CROSS - CROSS

• Come up straight to avoid falling during the cross.

Exercise #11 - Lifted back crosses

Moving Crosses
Exercise #12 - Forward crosses (going backwards)

• Keep your knees close to cross faster.

Exercise #13 - Back crosses (going forwards)

• Keep your hips straight, don’t bulge your hips forward.

Exercise #14 - Turning with crosses (in-line)

• Forward step with BACK cross. Then back step with FRONT CROSS.

Two-Footed Turns
Exercise #15 - Two-footed turns (feet apart)

• STEP, then pivot quickly with weight at center.

• Squeeze your adductor muscles during the pivot.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  13

Coordinated Jumps (with or without a jump rope)

Exercise #16 - Common jump rope tricks

• single hops

• twice on each leg

• boxer’s bounce (RIGHT-RIGHT-LEFT-LEFT)

• alternating

• criss-cross

• scissors

• 180 hip-twists

• jump-kick, jump-kick

• run in place

Day 5 Recap
Always use the core to move and stabilize your body.

Squeeze the adductors and keep the knees close to stabilize the lower body.

Use all sides of your legs to maintain control.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  14

DAY 6 - Advanced Footwork

Advanced Footwork Drills
(speed, power, precision, core control)
Exercise #1 - Step, 2 crosses

• Keep the upper body facing forward.

Exercise #2 - Step, 4 crosses

• Hit the ground quickly.

• Keep your legs close to go faster.

• Close your rib cage during fast pivots.

Exercise #3 - Step, 2 back crosses

• Put your weight on your toes without tilting your hips.

• Turn your leg inwards to tuck neatly behind.

Exercise #4 - Step, 4 back crosses

Exercise #5 - Step, leg circle

• Use the core and standing leg to hold your balance at high speed.

Exercise #6 - Step, 2 leg circles

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  15

Speed Drills (footwork exercises for speed)

Exercise #7 - Forward, forward, back, back

• Keep your upper body facing forward while your hips pivot.

Exercise #8 - Forward, forward, back, cross

Exercise #9 - Forward, cross, back, cross

• Take smaller steps to go faster.

Exercise #10 - 3 crosses, side-point

• Stop with a sharp point on the ground.

Exercise #11 - Pivot, 2 toe-taps

• step - touch - touch

• Point the foot and bounce lightly.

• Keep the swinging knee NEXT TO or BEHIND the standing knee.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  16

Speed and Power Drills (explosive footwork exercises)

Exercise #12 - Step, twist-brake

• Use your core to oppose the twisting motion.

Exercise #13 - Step, forward cross

Exercise #14 - Step, step, brake


Exercise #15 - Step, together, side

• Go forward with a lot of energy, then brake as you go sideways.

Exercise #16 - Step, back cross, side

• Focus on the quick changes of direction.

Exercise #17 - Step, back cross, push 180

• Use the front foot push to spin your hips away.

Exercise #18 - Forward & side, back & side

• Keep lifting the standing leg.

Exercise #19 - Forward together, back touch

• Don’t put weight on the touching foot.

Calf Footwork Exercises (footwork drills on toes & heels)

Exercise #20 - Footwork on toes

• Do drills on your toes for 5 minutes straight.

Exercise #21 - Footwork on heels

• Do drills on your heels for 5 minutes straight.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  17

DAY 7 - Pivots
Forward Pivot Drills
(exercises turning into the standing leg)
Exercise #1 - Forward pivots (90-degrees)

• Pass your feet next to each other.

Exercise #2 - Forward pivots (180-COLLECTED)

• Keep your upper body facing forward.

Exercise #3 - Forward pivots (180-FLOWING)

Exercise #4 - Forward pivots (180-LIFTED)

• Use the standing foot to turn the lower body, not your hips. (HARD)

• Use a stick to practice stability.

• Pivot your hips a full 180 degrees.

• Use the core to hold your upper body stable, which frees the lower body to pivot freely.

Backward Pivot Drills

(exercises turning away from the standing leg)
Exercise #5 - Back pivots (90-degrees)

Exercise #6 - Back pivots (180-COLLECTED)

Exercise #7 - Back pivots (180-FLOWING)

• Pass with the heels close.

• Push off the front foot before you move it.

Exercise #8 - Back pivots (180-LIFTED)

• Lift the leg before you pivot.

• Close your eyes to increase balance awareness.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  18

One-Legged Pivots (core and foot strengthening)

Exercise #9 - One-legged pivots (90-degrees)

• Stand completely on one leg.

• VARIATION A - upper body first, then lower body

• Use the standing foot to spin the lower body, not your upper body momentum.

• VARIATION B - lower body first, then upper body

• VARIATION C - pivot in the other direction

• VARIATION D - cross the free foot in front

• Keep your hips level.

• VARIATION E - cross the free foot in back

Exercise #10 - One-legged pivots (180-degrees)

• Upper body first, then lower body.

• Do all the variations but now with 180 degrees.

Two-Legged Pivots (balance and coordination)

Exercise #11 - Two-legged pivots (3/4-FLAT)

• Feet are close, with equal weight on both feet.

• Spin on the heel of the front foot, and the toe of the back foot.

• The turn is 3/4, not 1/2 turn and not full turn.

Exercise #12 - Two-legged pivots (3/4-NEEDLE)

• Point the free foot, and keep it close to the standing foot.

• The front foot will cross automatically as you turn 270 degrees.

• Keep the pointed foot in one place during the spin.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  19

DAY 8 - Advanced Pivots

Advanced Pivoting Drills
(exercises working the free leg during pivots)
Exercise #1 - Forward pivots (180-CROSSES)

• Back cross with the free foot while pivoting.

• Try crossing in front while pivoting.

• Try crossing both BACK and then FRONT.

Exercise #2 - Forward pivots (180-TOE-TAPS)

• Tap twice after each pivot.

• Tap once for each diagonal side behind you.

Slow Pivot Drills

(slow pivoting drills for strength and control)
Exercise #3 - Slow 180 pivots


• Reach with the hand (opposite of standing foot) to help during slow pivots.

Exercise #4 - Half-step, cross

• Reach with the opposing side when coming out of the cross.

• Use the core stretch (not tension) to pivot.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  20

Core-Twisting Exercises
(footwork exercises requiring a core twist)
Exercise #5 - Core twists (in place)

• Twist your hips 180 degrees or even more.

• Step your feet close to each other.

• Go faster!

Exercise #6 - Front cross (while turning)

• Keep crossing over as you turn to the left.

• Now cross over as you turn to the right.

• Go as fast as you can.

Exercise #7 - Core twists (moving forward)

• Keep your legs together as you pivot 180.

• Keep the upper body facing forward.

• Keep your feet together using adductor muscles.

• Pivot using the core, not by swinging your legs.

Exercise #8 - Back cross (in place)

• Step down on the balls of your feet.

Exercise #9 - Back cross (while turning)

Exercise #10 - Core twists (moving backward)

• Stand straight to work the core more effectively.

Day 8 Recap (importance of core twist exercises)

Core exercises are far more effective from an upright straight-spine position.

Doing core exercises with a straight spine targets the deeper, more important core muscles.

Use your core muscles by letting them twist, not by becoming tense.)

Become aware of and develop the internal muscles that stabilize and move your body.

Increasing your coordination and body control allows you to increase speed and power.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  21

DAY 9 - Spins
Half-Spin Drills
Exercise #1 - Continuous half-spins

• Move the upper body, then the lower body.

• Keep half of your body still, while the other half is spinning.

• Hold a medicine ball to stabilize your upper body when your lower body spins.

Exercise #2 - Continuous half-spins (with leg circles)


• Keep arms in a steady position, imagine you’re holding a tray.

• Don’t move your whole body at the same time.

• Keep one half still when the other half is moving

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  22

Full Spin Drills

Exercise #3 - Full spins

• VARIATION A - step, then collect

• VARIATION B - cross the free leg behind

• VARIATION C - cross the free leg in front

• VARIATION D - start the spin from a side-step

• VARIATION E - start the spin using the upper body

• VARIATION F - start the spin using the lower body

• VARIATION G - look in the opposite direction

• Find different spinning variations by changing:

• free leg position

• lead with UPPER vs LOWER body

• changing spin direction

• changing eye focus

• VARIATION H - keeping your weight centered

• VARIATION I - keeping your weight away from the center

• Brian’s secret to spins: maintain “The 4 Points” to spin from any position.

• VARIATION J - spin going down

• VARIATION K - spin going up

Spinning Preparation (technique for starting the spin)

Straighten your standing leg when you spin.

Transfer your weight from your back foot STRAIGHT to your front foot.

Always spin on the ball of your foot, the foot can be FLAT or LIFTED.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  23

DAY 10 - Advanced Spins

Multiple Spins (advanced spin combinations)
Exercise #1 - Multiple spins

• The goal is to get multiple spins.

Exercise #2 - Multiple spins (alternating feet)

• Try to continue your spins as you switch feet.

Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters | ExpertBoxing  24