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Best Punching (Boxing) Techniques to Get You to Your Full Potential

While boxing incorporates a variety of skills that work every muscle in your body while burning calories, it's important to start smart so you can get back on the mat the next day. The best way to build up your boxing skills is with the basics. Punching is your first step, working your upper body -- arms, shoulders, upper back and core. Punching is more than just making a fist and hitting something. Learn more about punching technique, how to start, how to improve and find out what makes the most powerful punch that will not only make an impact on your workout but protect you from injury.

How can I improve my punching technique?

You can improve your punching technique by practicing proper technique before adding in strength and power. It’s key to start with three (3) basic punches:

  • Jab
  • Cross
  • Hook

Practice The Basic Punches

Now that you’ve started your boxing journey, it’s a good idea to open up a map to see where you’re going to go. It might be tempting to try out some advanced boxing techniques, but the best way to build strength and stamina while protecting yourself from injury is to start with the basics.

In the beginning, it’s more important to perfect your technique than to go fast. But even if you start out slow with basic boxing moves, you’ll be building muscle before you know it.

1. Jab

With your lead foot forward, extend the arm on that side and use your first two knuckles as a guide. Without overextending your elbow, jab straight ahead, bringing your fist back up to guard your face. Jabs are meant to be faster than they are harder, so the key thing to remember with a jab is to bring back your hand quickly. Once you feel you’ve perfected a single jab, make it a double, always bringing your fist back to protect your face.

Power it up!

To put more power into your jab, put your whole body into it. Think of the power that is coming through your arm starting from your feet, coming all the way up through your legs, core, shoulder, and out through your arm.

2. Cross

Next is the cross. Keep the same foot leading--you’ll be using the other arm. You’re also getting your whole body in on this one. To throw a cross that won’t hurt your back, start from the feet again. When you throw a cross, turn your back foot so it faces the front. The motion will follow all the way up to the hip, which should also turn towards the front. As your body turns, throw your cross letting the power come through the shoulder--lightly at first. The punch should land straight ahead, again using your first two knuckles as a guide.

Practice aiming for one spot. As you improve your accuracy, add more power, and eventually add more speed. Don’t forget to bring your hand back up to your face.

Power it up!

If you’re feeling ready, try a jab-cross combo. Don’t forget to turn your hip on the cross--sooner or later, it will feel completely natural to do so.

3. Hook

Hooks also get the whole body working. One hint for throwing a good hook is to remember that like the jab and cross, the punch is coming from the whole body. Remember that you’re throwing punches with your shoulders and not your fists.

To throw a hook, start with your lead side. Raise your arm up to shoulder height, bending your elbow to create the hook with your thumb on top of your fist. For the motion, turn your whole body in the direction of your fist, while also turning your foot and leg in the same direction, letting your upper body follow as you throw the punch. To reset, make sure you’re facing front again, hand guarding the face.

For the other side, don’t switch your lead leg. Repeat the same position and movement on the other side, turning your whole body starting with your foot, then following with your leg, hip, torso, and finally, your shoulder and arm.

Power it up!

You can do both hooks as a combo, just remember to turn your body and guard your face.

Remembering that punches are thrown by the whole body will not only turn boxing into a full-body workout, it will keep your body safe from injury as you perfect your technique. Being aware of every move your body is making will also help your mind and muscles work together. By following good technique, you can get in the zone, learn mindfulness, and give your boxing workout your all.

FightCamp can help you develop your boxing training and act as boxing coach, with boxing tutorials and different paths to follow, applying the techniques you learn.

Build Power in Your Punches

What is the strongest punch technique?

The strongest punch you can throw is an uppercut, but it works best when it's set up by a jab and cross. Learn the jab and cross first before progressing to an uppercut -- get your body used to the motions you'll be using for more advanced moves.

How do you throw a powerful straight punch?

Short answer: From the ground up. Remember that the power comes from your feet, legs, hips, core, shoulders…and then your arms. To throw a powerful straight punch, you have to use every part of your body. After establishing a strong stance, use your legs to initiate the movement, turn your hips to continue the motion and build momentum, and finally engage your core, shoulders, and arms for the follow-through. Below, find the instructions for throwing the most powerful straight punches in the safest way.

How can I test my punching power at home?

If you're working without equipment at home--which can still be very effective since professional fighters shadowbox all the time--it's probably not a great idea to see how powerful your punch is by hitting something. One thing you can measure is your stamina and your speed. Keep count of how many punches you can do in a set amount of time, making sure to use the correct technique.

Punching technique should always come first so your body learns the right muscles to propel your punch while protecting your other muscles. For example: When you throw a punch, you should feel your glutes flexing while you turn your body. This means that multiple muscle groups are active to throw the punch and your whole body is engaged.

After you've perfected your punching technique, you can start punching a little faster. You can see if you can throw more punches in that same amount of time and continue to progress, punching with more power.

FightCamp tracks strength and speed for you while you complete your session. You don't have to worry about stats--FightCamp will take care of the numbers for you while you stay in the zone and perfect your punches.


The Author: Tommy Duquette is the Co-Founder and Head of Content at FightCamp. He is a former US Boxing Team member with 136 fights under his belt and qualified for the 2012 Olympic trials as the #2 seed. He has 18 years experience training clients in boxing and fitness.