A little while ago, I wrote an article on Top 10 Techniques To Increase Punching Power which demonstrated brief but useful tips.
This guide on how to punch harder is a much more comprehensive guide where I’ll break down each component of internal and external factors that make up a fighter’s punching power.
Ultimately, your entire body should be acting as one to deliver energy all the way from your feet to your fist.
- Watch Your Opponent: Keep your eyes fixated on your opponent at all times. It’s dangerous to close your eyes or look away because not only will it make your punches inaccurate or completely miss altogether, but you’re also more likely to get knocked out if your opponent comes with a counterpunch.
- Tuck Your Chin: Doesn’t really increase your punching power, but just for a precautionary measure. No matter what punch you throw, you should always tuck in your chin. If you’re throwing a jab or an overhand, tuck your chin under your shoulder for protection. Your chin should never be sticking out in the air.
- Turn Your Shoulder: When you turn the shoulder of the arm you’re using to throw a punch, it adds momentum and torque into your punches. For example, if you were to throw a straight right, then you would turn your right shoulder into the punch, which also helps to guard the right side of face as a result.
- Fully Extend Your Arm: This only applies to straight punches. It doesn’t mean overextending, which leads to either being off balance if you miss, counterpunched, injury or all three. You should always make sure your opponent is within range, so when you do fully extend your punch, it will travel through the target.
- Relax: Don’t tense up your arms before you punch because you’ll unnecessarily use up energy and your punches will come out slower which means less speed and as a result, less power. Only tense your arms just before the point of impact.
- Don’t Load Up: This is also known as telegraphing. Before you throw any punch, never cock it back as it’s just a dead giveaway to your opponent that you’re about to throw a punch. A good rule when throwing a cross is to throw it from your chin.
- Loosen Your Hands: Make sure that your hands are loose before you throw a punch. Don’t clench your fists until just before the moment of impact.
- Rotate Your Fist: You should start with your hands being at an almost vertical angle and when your clench your fists (just before impact), you rotate so your palm is facing downwards. This is essential for straight punches, but the exception can be made for hooks.
- Strengthen Your Hands: Boxers often have hand injuries due to having brittle hands, which would obviously affect how hard you can punch. Implement a training regime for strengthening your hands (e.g. digging hands in rice).
Waist and Hips
- Add Rotation: Throwing a punch is a similar motion to swinging a golf club or a baseball bat. They all require you to rotate your waist and hips simultaneously to add velocity to the action. Of course, in boxing, this results in more speed and an increase in power.
- Bend Your Knees: Your knees should always be in a position where they’re already bent slightly, and as you throw a power punch (any punch other than the jab), you bend your knees even further, but not too far down. The added body weight to your legs adds stability and balance to the foundation of your body.
- Keep Your Weight Centred: When you hear someone telling you to sit down on your punches, this means bending your knees and also keeping your body weight at or around the center of your body, your legs being the support for this. Don’t put too much body weight in one direction otherwise you’ll be off balance resulting in a reduction of your punching power.
- Pivot: As you’re throwing a power punch, your feet should pivot in the same direction as where your punch is heading. For example, if you’re throwing a cross, your rear foot should pivot so it faces forward (with your heel lifted), and your lead foot should as well if it’s not already facing in that direction.
- Feet Positioning: Your feet shouldn’t be too close or too far apart from each other. They should just be slightly wider than where your shoulders are.
Speed and Precision
Anyone throwing a well-placed punch with good speed dramatically increases their chances of hurting their opponent, no matter how hard they can or cannot punch.
That’s why you should always focus on your speed and accuracy before power. One way you can improve on your hand speed and precision is by working the double end bag, which also helps to improve your timing.
If you want extra power, then always make sure that you’re in the right position to throw a punch. This means that your opponent should be within range and directly in front of you. If he’s too far to your left or right, it doesn’t mean you won’t catch him, it just means your power will be reduced.
Remember to exhale everytime you throw a punch, and inhale when you’ve finished. If it helps, make a noise to exhale, but whatever you do, do not hold your breath because it will quickly drain your energy.
No matter how fast your opponent is, you can always beat him if you have excellent timing, and timing is necessary for counterpunching. You probably already know that the punches that hurt the most are the ones that you don’t expect.
Being a good counterpuncher means that you’re more likely to catch your opponent off guard, which not only causes more pain, but will usually make him reluctant to attack.
- Standing Upright: Power is generated through the legs. If you stand upright with your legs straight, you won’t have the strong foundation needed to produce maximum power.
- Leaning In: When you lean in, this usually means that you’re putting too much weight on your front foot, which causes you to be off balance and you may just end up falling into your opponent. Keep your weight as centralized as possible as I mentioned above.
- Lifting Feet: This is a bad habit which some fighters have when throwing the cross. They would lift their rear foot which minimizes power. Keep both feet on the ground at all times when you’re attempting to throw a hard punch.
- Telegraphing Punches: This means cocking back your arm to punch, which allows your opponent to easily identify when you’re about to throw a punch. If he’s quick enough, you’ll get countered.
- Reaching: Anytime you have to reach to hit the target, you’ll reduce the power of your punch significantly. You can gauge range by using your jab before firing any shots.
- Squaring Up: When you stand with your feet or shoulders aligned horizontally, you’re squaring up. This is bad because you won’t be able to get the correct technique to throw a punch and you can easily get hit and knocked off balance by slightest push or punch.
- Closing Eyes: This is another bad habit some fighters have when throwing a punch. It’s difficult to hit the target when you’re not looking. Also, remember the punches that hurt the most are the ones you don’t see.
- Trying Too Hard: Punching hard is about technique, and when you try too hard to knock out your opponent, you get sloppy and end up winging punches and missing wildly. Keep calm and take the time to set up your power shots.
Types of Punches
The rules above to punch harder are generally the same for all types of punches, however, the technique of each punch is different, so I would recommend that you check out these other articles to understand exactly how to throw a specific punch.
- How to Throw a Jab
- How to Throw a Cross
- How to Throw a Hook
- How to Throw an Uppercut
- How to Throw an Overhand
While it’s true that some fighters are naturally heavy handed no matter how incorrect their technique is, you’ll find that the majority of fighters that punch hard and have good knockout power, it’s due to their technique of throwing a punch.
Anyone and everyone can and should work on this because not only will it increase your punching power, but it also makes you a better fighter.
To get the most out of your training, I highly recommend the following articles:
► How to Increase Punching Power
► 10 Tips to Improve Boxing Footwork
► Boxing Basics
► Top 10 Best Heavy Punching Bags
► Top 10 Best Boxing Gloves