Home » Advice » Want to increase punching power? Follow this simple checklist

Want to increase punching power? Follow this simple checklist

Increase punching power by stepping, pivoting, and shifting your body weight.

Even if you don’t have access to a boxing gym, you can hit harder by polishing your punch until it is the picture of perfection. The pointers in the following checklist don’t apply to every punch, but if you don’t understand each concept, one or more of the punches in your arsenal will probably be as weak as water.  Make sure you regularly run through this checklist whenever you change some aspect of your training.

Don’t arm punch

Most novices and untrained fighters are guilty of arm punching.  That is, they swing or poke with a single arm without involving the torso and legs.  Arm punchers rely on their relatively weak shoulders and triceps instead of using their powerful leg, back, and core muscles.

To increase punching power, never arm punch.  It’s that simple.

Although it is sometimes acceptable (and often necessary) to arm punch while you throw the jab, this is a special case.

Shift your weight

Make every punch except the two uppercuts more powerful by shifting a percentage of your weight from one foot to the other.  Get your body weight moving with the punch or you’ll end up arm punching.

Once you learn how to transfer your weight from foot to foot during a punch, you will be one step closer to successfully stringing several punches together into an effective combination.

Step with the punch

Increase the power of every punch except your uppercuts by stepping with the punch.  Even the left hook — which was traditionally used in situations when you were close to your opponent and rooted to the ground — can be supercharged with a step.

Pivot with the punch

Everyone knows the value of a pivot during the left hook.  But fewer folks understand that a pivot significantly strengthens the straight right, both uppercuts, and even the jab.

Odds are the power of the punch you’re working on can be  increased with the addition of a slight pivot which begins with the unweighted foot and continues up the body.  Pivot to get more body mass lined up behind the punch, and your power will skyrocket.

Use footwork to maintain proper range

When you reach with a punch, you create several problems:

  • You alter the technique, thereby weakening it.
  • You create huge defensive liabilites that a competent counterpuncher will capitalize upon.
  • You hamper your own footwork and make it hard to get back into your fighting stance before being countered.

When you punch from too close a range, your power never gets a chance to fully develop.  If you are too close to throw a good, technically-solid punch, you should either use footwork to maneuver yourself back into proper range, or choose a shorter-range punch.

Increase punching power gradually

Anyone can hit like a rhinoceros if they ignore defense.  Remember that power is useless if you get KOed.  Don’t ruin proper technique just to squeeze a bit more power out of your punches.  Instead, use the checklist to intelligently examine your technique and tweak it to perfection.

Not having any success learning to fight from the internet?
Check out my review of the best boxing training DVD.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

HerbM February 22, 2010 at 12:34 am

Nice ideas — reading “Champion Fighting: Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defense” by Jack Dempsey 1950 will help any boxer improve punching power.

Reply

Danny Johnson November 9, 2010 at 1:24 am

Hi, I don’t want to come across as a dickhead but I am not quite sure what you are talking about when you use the word pivot. can you please explain exactly what you mean as i am a slow bastard who is hard of understanding.

Reply

admin November 9, 2010 at 1:45 am

It’s a good question.

When you punch with power, you shift your weight from one leg to the other. For instance, during the left hook, you shift weight from the front foot to the rear foot. And as you throw the right hand (the cross or the straight right), you shift weight from the rear to the front leg.

The pivot is when you rotate your unweighted foot to get more distance on the punch. For the left hook, the unweighted foot is the front foot (the left foot), and for the right hand, the unweighted foot is the rear (right) foot.

Some people describe the pivot as “squashing a bug” or “putting out a cigarette” with the foot.

So, if you try to throw a left hook with your front toes pointed forward, you won’t be able to get as much body weight behind the punch. It will just be an arm punch. To get the most power, spin the left foot around so your left hip can swing through a full range of motion.

Likewise, you won’t have maximum power if you throw the right cross without turning your rear foot. Instead, you should come up on the ball of your rear foot and pivot so your rear hip can swing through a full range of motion.

I hope that’s of some help. In text, it’s difficult to describe something that’s easy to show on video.

Reply

Judoka November 21, 2010 at 9:36 am

yea I agree with all of what your saying, about how the power from the punch comes from the body, you can see when boxers like Mike Tyson punch they use their whole body. But there is this martial art called Wing Chun Do, and I was watching a video where they were doing a one inch punch supposd to have a lot of power. It looked quite effective, howdever it seemed it was more like an arm punch because the guy was not doint a pivot or anything he just slightly changed his position. Do you reckon this is really powerful?

Reply

admin November 22, 2010 at 6:12 am

I don’t put any stock in the so-called one inch punch. I view it as a carnival trick, not as something useful.

Reply

Erik January 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

@ Judoka

The one inch punch uses the WHOLE body to generate power. It comes from a rooted stance that allows power to be generated from the legs and core.

Not necessarily the most practical of attacks (though I suspect a similar philosophy of generating power could be useful during a clinch, where you don’t have much range to generate power in a punch)

@ site owner
This site is awesome, thanks for having it up. I’ve been getting some solid info after having been training for a few months :)

Reply

Dave January 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

When I punch, I do a modified falling step, moving my bodyweight forward so that it’s like I’m stepping off a box with the punch to get my full bodyweight into it as I pivot. When I punch, you can more or less draw a line ‘tween my back leg and my fist. All in all, I like it, it gets the bag moving like nothing else.

Reply

Richard August 27, 2011 at 12:11 am

@judoka the concept of the one inch punch can be used in boxing in a couple ways.. 1_example: when dropping ur weight and throwing your jab, as well as when stepping with ur jab.. (coming from a martial arts background and picking up boxing..) gotta say the body mechanics for boxing are dead-on

@danny johnson the pivot starts with ur footwork and as long as ur on the ball of one foot, you can plant the heal of the other one and throw(rotate) the hip inwards in a circular motion—-> “pivoting”

Reply

Tom November 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm

This might sound like a stupid question, but I’m an absolute beginner, so bear with me. If I want to step with a straight right, should I step with my rear foot or lead foot?

Reply

Tony November 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm

The one inch punch is, yes, a powerful punch. Do not confuse it for being a power attack. The steps above on this site teach you how to throw good straight jabs, hooks, and uppercuts to KO your opponent and make him feel like he got hit by a ton of bricks. The one inch punch is not used to knock out an opponent, but to throw him off balance and/ or cause him to stagger which will open him up for other techniques. It is used to catch an opponent off guard and by surprise, not to remove him from a fight.

Reply

Max December 1, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Judoka
the one inch punch isnt an arm punch it comes from the legs hip waist etc. just like any normal punch
to do it you must learn how to do all that within a short motion/range i guess you can call it.
one inch punch can be applied to all punches. such as you don’t throw a punch with a tense arm throughout the entire punch. you tense up at the last moment before impact.

Reply

War Scorpion December 16, 2011 at 5:13 am

Great info here but i fell there is a fundamental element missing…Legs. Real devastating, fight stopping power is generated by the legs. Lots of fighters use lunges, squat jumps, squats, leg press, box jumps, sprint training and even horse stnace to develop leg strength to driver the whole body at the opponent. the fist is the outlet of the power that started at the feet. Now it is important to understand we are not bodybuilders and huge jeans busting quads aren’t gonna help in boxing so there needs to be a balance of endurance exercises and low power exercises. Ive just touched on the topic but you get the idea.

Reply

Tripu_x January 4, 2012 at 11:06 am

@richard.. I realy appreciate d usefull infos. How about kicks because i prefer that to punches and dis leaves u out of reach to ur opponents

Reply

Hard Puncher January 16, 2012 at 10:56 am

I just want to say that every one likes to have a good punching power to knock someone out, but in my idea first learn how to punch in a proper way dont think about the power because if you know how to punch you can yourself even can get the control of your punching power if you want to increase your punching power you should do different kinds of push-ups to increase you punching mass and also your punching power depends on your punching speed the more your punches are fast the more power you will have behind your punches.

Reply

Ken April 4, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Admin, would like to give me your full name/last name as I want to cite this article? Thank you.

Reply

stephen rains June 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I don’t know if the born or made theory is true, but I have been able to develop quite a bit of power in real world situations without any formal training. Either in self defense, defense of others, or during the coarse of occupational defense ranging from bouncing to bounty hunting. It was natural from childhood before I ever lifted any weights. Obviously, weight training made more power. Then at some point, I got a heavy bag and really learned more about how to develop that power. Later, I got a speed bag and began working it with weighted wrists for as long as I could hold my arms up. But as I said, the ability to somehow create effective form seemed to come naturally. I have no doubt that without formal training I am still operating below full potential and I’m not sure I even WANT to hit that hard. It could be a huge liability and I don’t really get off on seriously injuring people anyway. Just my thoughts and the reason I was researching this topic out of curiosity.

Reply

solomon March 5, 2013 at 8:14 pm

awsome advice and completey right body weight breathing and foot work make a perfect punch

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: