Boxing isn’t just reserved for the ring anymore—this form of exercise has become a fitness phenomenon, invading gyms across the country with high intensity workouts that leave us feeling empowered, motivated and super fit. A workout that’s got the lot, boxing helps to build muscle, increase cardiovascular fitness and bring some serious mental clarity (and you’d be surprised how fun it is to punch stuff).

Steph boxing

We chatted to Steph Claire Smith, model and co-founder of Keep It Cleaner, who was hooked as soon as she put her gloves on for the first time. Steph says, “if I’ve had a stressful day or I’m feeling a little nervous about something, I’ll go to my boxing gym and punch it out,” and while “boxing is one of those exercises that you feel a little funny doing at first, it doesn’t take long to see and feel an improvement in your coordination and technique.” Great, glad it’s not just us who feel totally unco when we try to hit those combos.

Steph has shared four boxing combos for beginners to help get you started punching your way to fit and strong.

Jab cross

Begin with your feet hip-width apart and opposite leg forward. To jab, throw a punch with the lead hand from the guard position with your fist rotating to become horizontal. As the punch reaches full extension, the lead shoulder can be brought up to guard the chin, while the rear hand remains next to the face to guard your jaw. Then to cross, throw a straight punch across your body originating from your strongest hand (rear hand).

Shadow boxing with dumbbells

 Begin with your feet hip-width apart and opposite leg forward. Hold weights at chest height with elbows bent and palms facing each other. Extend your left arm across your body until weight is in line with your right shoulder – your thumb should be facing down with your arm parallel to the ground. As you return to the start, repeat with the right arm.

Jab cross slip cross

Go the distance with this combo. Begin with your opposite foot forward. Repeat the jab cross move. Then to slip, transfer the weight from one leg to the other while subtly moving your upper body to avoid the opponent’s punch. Finish this combo with another cross.

Jab, cross, left hook, right uppercut

This combo introduces the hook and uppercut, and requires a little more coordination. Begin in fighter’s stance and throw a jab cross. To add a hook, shift your body weight to your lead foot, pivot and use the power from your hip and torso to swing your fist horizontally towards your opponent. Then to throw an uppercut, start with your left elbow against your ribs and your knuckles turned up, then punch upwards as if you’re punching someone under the chin. Keeping your core tight, pull back as you bend your knees, sitting back on your heels.

Not sure where to start? Keep It Cleaner includes weekly boxing sessions to help women get strong, fit and happy.