How To Proper Way To Punch

Factors of Punching Harder

One of the earliest studies, if not the earliest, looked at contributions to punching forces in different levels of boxers (experienced, intermediate, and novice) and in different styles of boxers (knock-out artists, players, and speedsters) [3].

They identified 3 different components to an effective punch: 1) the arm musculature into the target; 2) rotation of the trunk, and 3) the drive off the ground by the legs [1, 3].

Experienced boxers had greater contributions from the legs (38.46%) compared to other levels of boxers and compared to arm (24.12%) and trunk (37.42%) contributions.

They also showed less involvement of the arm musculature compared to other levels of boxers (intermediate = 25.94%; novice = 37.99%) and compared to trunk and leg contribution.

In regards to the different styles, knock-out artists had greater contributions from the legs (38.65%) compared to “players” (32.81%) and “speedsters” (32.55%) along with a higher contribution than the trunk (37.30%) and arms (24.05%).

More recent research has investigated the strength and power qualities of elite amateur boxers from the Brazilian National Team [2]. As the research above indicated about legs being a primary contributor to punching power, this study observed very high correlations between jumping performance and punching harder.

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Furthermore, upper body propulsive forces in the bench press and bench throw showed very high correlations with punching harder. These correlations indicate that 78% of punching harder can potentially be explained by jump performance.

A correlation is an indicator of how 2 different variables interact with each other. If the correlation is 0, then both variables are independent and have no relationship with each other. If the correlation is 1, then the 2 variables share a mutual relationship.

Another study investigating the Brazilian National Team found short-term jump squats and half squats performed at optimal power load (load that maximizes peak power) transferred to punching impact force [7].

Interestingly, this study did not find the bench press at optimal power load to transfer to punching impact. Perhaps the load was too light as bench press velocity at 80% 1RM has been highly related to punching velocity.

It is suggested from these data presented that harder punchers have greater contributions from their legs which indicates these combat athletes have better coordination between the various body segments [3].

The impact forces from the punch are the resultant sum of forces applied simultaneously by the upper and lower limbs [2, 3]. In essence, effective coordination of the body links increases “hitting mass” [3]. Why is “hitting mass” important? We can look at Newton’s 2nd law.

Force = Mass x Acceleration

The size of an athlete does not always equal a harder punch.

If we can increase the mass behind the punch while maintaining the same acceleration, the impact force of the punch increases. However, that is not to say being a bigger athlete means you automatically increase the mass behind the punch as evidenced by body mass having a weaker correlation to punching harder compared to the strength and power variables [2].

Furthermore, throwing a punch as fast as you can at an intended target but contact is only made halfway through the punch, then mass cannot be maximized due to the musculature being relaxed and the summation of forces from the ground not being applied appropriately [4].

This is where the concept of “effective mass” comes into play and could be a key component to punching harder.



Western Boxing is the science of hitting without getting hit. Emphasis is placed on footwork, head movement, speed, power and efficiency. Most classes consist of footwork drills and proper punching technique as a warmup, then progress to partner drills on punch-mitts, heavy bag drills, and during certain classes, optional sparring will be available.

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Correct Way to Hit a Punching Bag

Proper use of a punching bag can build strength, endurance, power and technique. Punching it wrong is, at best, a waste of time. Boxing coach Bill Packer notes that just about anybody can punch a boxing bag around. However, knowing how to hit the bag right is a rare skill. Proper use of a punching bag can build strength, endurance, power and …

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Open Hand Strikes Alone Will Not Win A Fight!

In a real self defense situation, you need to be able to hit your opponent, from a diversification of angles vantages and ranges of combat. The only way to accomplish this essential requirement is to include fisted blows that can shower the opponent with hits from all possible angles. There’s good reason why mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters and boxers rely heavily on punching skills and techniques. When executed correctly, punching techniques are a highly efficient and potent form of fighting.

So what’s the bottom line? If you want to learn how to fight and prevail in combat sports as well as reality based self defense, you must understand and master the science of punching! Incidentally, the Body Opponent Bag is also a great tool for safely learning how to throw punches without injuring your hands. Once you feel comfortable with the Body Opponent Bag, you can then graduate to the Heavy Bag Training

What are the Fundamentals of Learning How to Punch?

So what are the fundamentals of punching? And what is the correct way to throw a punch? Well, to some degree, the answer is relative. Meaning, it will largely depend on the specific body mechanic or individual punch you are trying to perform. For example, the body mechanics of a boxer’s jab is going to be much different from that of a rear uppercut punch. However, there are some important foundational concepts and principles that must be used for any punch to actually work or be effective.

How Do You Throw a Rear Uppercut Punch?

The rear uppercut is probably a bit easier to throw than the lead uppercut, but it can leave you more open to counterpunches from your opponent.The rear uppercut follows almost the same steps as the lead uppercut, but you do not need to shift your weight:

  • Start in your boxing stance

  • Imagine your opponent’s head being at close distance

  • Drop your back hand, considerably lower, about one foot down towards your beltline

  • Rotate your hips (for orthodox stance → counterclockwise | southpaw → clockwise)

  • As you turn your shoulders, make an arc-type of movement with your forearm through the point you want to punch, finishing at a 90 degree angle to the ground

  • At the end of this movement, your front hand should be tightly covering your chin

  • Quickly reset into your stance

To set it up, you need to get your opponent to get his guard high and cover up. A popular setup would be:

  • Double/Triple-Jab

  • Rear Uppercut

For a quick visual demonstration of how to throw a proper uppercut on a heavy bag, FightCamp Trainer Tommy Duquette shows you step-by-step in this video.

Tip 4: Shadow Boxing

Shadow boxing is something you can see just about every professional boxer doing at some point.

It’s not only a good exercise at practicing footwork and combinations, but it can help develop the muscles in your body that can contribute to the strength behind your punches.

One of the greatest benefits of shadow boxing is that you can swing as hard as you like.

You’re not limited to an opponent or a bag. The harder you push yourself, the harder your muscles work since you are in full control here.

Typically, shadow boxing addresses the muscles in your shoulders, arms, calves, core, etc.

Be sure to remember to move around as though you had an opponent in order to get the proper leg workout.

Pushing all of these muscles contributes to the strength behind your punch.

Consider adding some resistance such as heavy bag gloves for a harder workout.

Place your feet

It’s an old cliche that the power of a punch comes from the legs, but it’s absolutely true. You’ll want to find a happy medium between standing flat footed and taking a wide karate stance. Standing with your feet close together will make it easy for someone to throw you off balance and put you on the ground. Go too wide, and you’ll inhibit your own movement and take away power from the strike. Veteran martial arts instructor Alan Condon refers to the perfect placement as a “solid base.”

To find it, stand squarely facing your target, then drop the foot on your dominant side back and out to an angle between 30 and 45 degrees. You should keep your feet a comfortable distance apart, but the exact difference is a matter of personal preference. Some fighters, such as traditional Muay Thai practitioners and American kickboxers, tend to prefer a more narrow stance, while traditional boxers and Dutch-style kickboxers typically gravitate toward a wider one.

When you find your sweet spot, make sure that your hips are turned slightly away from the target.

Once you’re in this stance, try to maintain that space between your feet. If you have to move forward or back, make the motion more of a slide than a walk, because the latter requires you to cross your feet. You want to keep a strong base, even when you’re moving—and you can’t do that when your feet are crossed or planted right next to each other.

Bring the hand back to the face

Once your strike lands, you might be tempted to leave your fist in midair or drop your hand to your waist. That’s an invitation for retaliation. Instead, as soon as your punch reaches the end of its journey, you want to bring it immediately back toward your face for defense, whether your original punch landed or not.

As your hand comes back, reset the rest of your body as well. You want to get back to that solid base, with your feet in a strong position and your arms ready to protect your face and core. Even if you’re just hitting a punching bag, establishing good habits during practice will prepare you for throwing a punch in the real world.

Rehearse these movements many times, and they’ll eventually start to feel natural. So when you actually have to throw a punch, your body can respond automatically. To get even better, we recommend finding a reputable self-defense or martial arts instructor—rather than feeding hundreds of dollars into that punching-bag arcade game.

How Do You Counter an Uppercut Punch?

The uppercut is a great weapon to have in your arsenal, but as with any other punch, you must also learn how to counter it. Let’s explore the two (2) most basic situations where we would want to counter an opponent’s uppercut.

Lead Uppercut Counter

The jab thrown alone or in a punch combo is probably most effective at stopping the lead uppercut attack. As with most other counterpunches, you will have to time the shot properly. Usually the lead uppercut is thrown with a step, so you have to catch your opponent while their head is still directly in front of you.

If the opponent doesn’t return their hand quickly to guard, or you notice them dropping it too low, a few great counter options could be:

  • Step/pull back

  • Cross (provided both fighters have the same stance)



  • Slip inside (make sure your chin is tucked-in)

  • Lead uppercut

Rear Uppercut Counter

A rear uppercut is not often thrown at long-distance, so let’s take a look at counters at mid-distance. As your opponent starts rotating their body, a lead hook and a jab are closer to the target and can stop your opponent’s attack.Keep in mind that a rear uppercut in boxing is mostly thrown as a counterpunch, so your opponent is not likely to start with it. At close distance, you should always work on keeping a proper stance, with your chin tucked-in as you’re punching, as well as constantly moving around.

The uppercut is an excellent punch to use in a fight. It’s not that hard to get the basics and technique right, but it takes a lot of practice. For more tips on boxing training and technique make sure to check out the rest of our Blogand our YouTube Channel.

Increase your punching power by punching with high velocity

Looking at both the kinetic energy formula and the impact force formula it is easy to see that achieving high velocity on impact is a sure way to significantly increase the power of your punches. Here we can see the relationship between velocity and how powerful a punch is as measured by its impact force (distance and mass are fixed):

The numbers were calculated using our impact force calculator which you can use with your own input to check all calculations.

So, in theory increasing the velocity seems like a great solution if you are looking to punch harder. Explosive power training and proper relaxation before the punch should therefore result in harder punches. There is also a fixed component here – reach. Kimm & Thiel [1] found reach to be significantly correlated to velocity on impact:

The correlation between reach and velocity suggests that athletes with a greater reach can generate faster punches. This is plausible, because the further the hand travels, the more time there is to accelerate even though the fist may take a longer time to reach its target.

Fighters with longer arms, assuming equal training and relaxation technique, have an inherent advantage in punching power over opponents with smaller reach.

Can you increase punch velocity?

We’ve seen how it works in theory, put is it possible to increase velocity to a significant extent in order to punch harder in practice? Several studies suggest that professional athletes are not able to achieve speeds significantly faster than those of amateurs or even untrained control groups [2,3]. The differences observed there were in the 25% range for both studies (10.4 m/s vs 12.4 m/s in [2], 5 m/s vs 6.7 m/s in [3]).

At most, fist velocities achieved by professionals were 50% times higher, e.g. according to the data of Kimm & Thiel [1] an inexperienced fighter hits with a velocity of ~5.25 m/s on average whereas the average for more experienced fighters was ~7.6 m/s. However, they were using an experimental device for measuring the speed, so it is unclear how reliable their results are.

Even though the information here is a bit contradictory, it seems certain increases in punching velocity are indeed possible in practice. If we take the 25% number as a more reliable and realistic upper limit on how much one can improve on the speed of their fist, then following the impact force formula we can conclude that simply by increasing velocity one can punch about 56% harder. Due to the geometric relationship we get a non-linear increase in punching power which means a modest increase in velocity results in much heavier punches.

Therefore, having longer reach, explosive power training, and proper relaxation of the muscles before a punch should help you get an edge and punch harder.

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  • If you aren’t engaging in a combat sport, never punch someone unless you’re being attacked and can’t get away. The goal of learning self-defense is to protect yourself, not start an unnecessary fight.

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  • If you’re practicing your punching with a heavy bag, speed bag, hand pads, or sparring match, always wear hand wraps. If you don’t, you’re more likely to break your wrist or injure your hand.[22]

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Tip 7: Remember to Practice

Just like using proper form, a practice may seem like another obvious tip, but it’s a simple one to keep in mind.

Without practice, what good is all the exercising and toughening up your wrists and knuckles?

To know if you actually have the right form, if you’re using your body weight behind your punch, or if you’re building up your endurance and speed, you have to practice.

If you’re alone, the best way to practice is by hitting the bag. Whether it’s a speed bag, double-end, heavy bag, etc., practice your punches.

A bag can give you a good idea if you’re doing things right or not.

Sparring is ideal for practice, however, but only if you can. Practicing against a living opponent can push you to maintain your form, keeping up your endurance, and honing your accuracy.

Key Points to Punch Harder

  1. Punch More! The more experience gathered, the better the timing of the double peak muscle activation.
  2. Utilize the ‘energy shout’ It has the potential to enhance effective mass immediately.
  3. “Knock-out” artists have a greater contribution from the legs in their punching power compared to other stylists of fighters. Train your legs to maximize strength/power capabilities. But don’t neglect your trunk and arm musculature.
  4. Bigger is not better. Rather the ability to effectively transfer momentum between body segments, being relaxed while throwing the punch to maximize acceleration & velocity, and stiffening the arm at the last possible moment to minimize “wobbling mass” and optimize effective mass.

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