Punching power is an undeniable force that sees boxing fans flock time and time again for the possibility of seeing a knockout. In all its glory, the power of a punch makes for some of boxings most historic and entertaining fights.
However, often fights are won through technique, speed, intelligence and sheer perseverance. No matter how a fight is going, if a powerful punch has successfully landed, it can have devastating consequences for the opponent.
Some believe that a number of fighters are ‘just born with it!’ and that a convincing power punch is a genetic phenomenon gifted to some. This is true in some respects – talent and natural ability does play a part. However, that is not to say that anyone at any level cannot improve and train their punching power – because they can!
So, if you are like the majority of us who were not blessed with innate punching power, worry not as with better understanding, specified exercises, an adapted training program and good technique, your punch power can prevail.
Understanding the theory behind a powerful punch
There are 5 fundamental steps to a powerful punch:
1. Speed is not Power – A fast punch does not necessarily mean a powerful punch unless you put some force (body weight) behind it.
2. Agility – Move your body! Small whole-body movements are needed to get maximum force verses bigger individual movements (such as one arm or foot).
3. Use your legs – Your biggest muscles reside within your legs. Utilising these muscle groups will put the P’s in Power Punch.
4. Stay in your range – Fighting 101 says to land a hard punch it must be within reach and ideally land just short of your full range of motion.
5. Use your angles – to obtain more power, more opportunities and ultimately cause more damage.
Flow Of Energy
The reason you should consider the use of your legs to accomplish a powerful punch is because power comes from a flow of energy. Your energy should flow through your entire body from foot to fists. If there is a weak link in your chain, you should train this component harder to get better overall results.
So, let’s look at 4 key exercises to be included in your training program:
Medicine Ball Throw
A longstanding and popular training component used to increase punching power. Listed below are two techniques that can help achieve this:
1. Lie flat on your back, grab a heavy medicine ball and throw it as high as you can. Be sure to push forward from the chest and catch the ball with both hands.
2. From your fighting stance, throw a medium weight medicine ball with one hand either against a wall or to a partner. You should do this as if you were throwing a punch.
The goal here is to increase your punching power and speed by training arms, shoulders, and pectoral strength.
1. Start in your push-up position and descend into your dip as normal
2. As you rise, explode up so that your hands lift off the ground.
3. Keep your core and glutes tight
4. For variation, try a clap mid-air or against your chest after you have pushed off the floor.
Work the Heavy Bag
The heavy bag needs no introduction! It’s plain to see why unleashing your most powerful punch against a non-human target is an effective training component and staple for increasing punching power. With careful attention to technique, heavy bag work will ensure your power punches land with maximum force.
1. For 10 second intervals, hit as hard as you can using your punch combinations (straights, hooks and uppercuts).
2. After 10 seconds, do 10-15 seconds of active rest consisting of light footwork and jabs.
3. Go hard again for another 10 seconds (step 1).
4. Do this in 3 minute rounds, resting for 1 minute between each round.
Shadow boxing will help you focus on technique, proper execution and is a great way to increase punching power. When you simultaneously improve your technique and power, you stand a better chance of landing an effective punch that successfully travels through your body and finishes at the tip of your gloves.
1. Spend 2 – 3 rounds per session in front of a mirror shadowboxing. Pay close attention to the way you throw your punches.
2. For best results, have a trainer or sparring partner supervise your session and advise on any adjustments needed to your technique.
Although the above predominantly focuses on upper body strength and technique, there are other factors at play to think about when considering powerful punch. So, let me leave you with 10 additional elements to compliment your training:
1. Strengthen your legs
2. Strengthen your fists
3. Improve your upper body rotation
4. Punch through a target
5. Plant your feet
6. Bend your knees
7. Don’t overextend
8. Improve your speed
9. Stay relaxed
10. Be precise