There’s nothing more definitive in baseball than a walk off homer. In fighting, no victory in sport is more resounding or provides a quicker resolution in unarmed self defense then a thundering strike that leaves your opponent unconscious.
So what is the best exercise to increase punching power?
First, before we get out of the gate I need to make a few things very clear. So much more is involved in being able to deliver a knockout that has far greater importance than any amount of power you are able to generate. Footwork and positioning, balance, timing, creating angles, technique, and just being able to land a punch, trumps any power that you could potentially deliver.
To keep it in context with the baseball analogy.
If you don’t have the ability to have the hand eye coordination to hit the ball being thrown at you, all the power you can deliver is useless. If you have that ability and add the size and strength, you can now deliver the same technique with more force. You can use that same analogy in regards to technique and throwing the ball.
Do you think the average bodybuilder could go step on the mound and throw 90 MPH like a professional pitcher?
I am sure they are much stronger. It’s because they don’t have the same polished technique to throw the ball. They don’t have the ability to come anywhere close in matching velocity even though they might possess more strength.
This article is not geared at developing or working on the technique aspect of throwing a punch. I’m looking to focus on the muscles involved in the movement. Also, how to improve body’s abilities to use these muscles when a punch is being thrown.
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What is the best exercise to increase punching power?
A properly delivered punch incorporates your entire body. It begins at the balls of your feet, through the calfs, good hip rotation with additional power supplied from your core. Next into your shoulders with good rotation, then through the biceps and triceps. Finally traveling down the arm to your fist and hopefully onto your opponent’s chin.
There is really a lot of involvement and distance for the energy to travel. This provides ample opportunity for mistakes and bad technique along the way that can dampen the ability to deliver maximum power on your punch.
I want to keep it simple and give you a program of exercises that you can incorporate into your training. Partnered with good technique will help deliver more power into your strikes.
We are going to work from the ground and warm up with some balance drills. With great balance all systems fire, when the brain and body is connected agility is elevated and you’ll see a overall improvement in physical performance.
Some simple things we can do to improve our balance.
Walk Heel To Toe In A Straight Line
Much like a sobriety test, do this a few times then repeat a few more times with your eyes closed.
Stand On One Foot And Grab Your Knee
A very simple pose to start you off, again you can close your eyes to increase difficulty. There are many more advanced yoga poses that you can easily find online and try.
You can add a larger degree of difficulty by doing these exact same poses while using a Bosu Ball.
Like balance your lower body is your foundation upon which everything is built. Your quads and glutes are the largest muscles in your body and when properly trained, activated, and integrated into your movement enhance your physical capabilities.
If you read enough of my articles you know I’m always a proponent of squats and kettlebells, and this time is no different. Read my article Your Butt Is The Key and I breakdown the importance of a strong butt and show examples of the kettlebell swing and squat. The one important exercise I do want to add to this that is not talked about in Your Butt Is The Key is the deadlift.
The deadlift is one of the most dynamic, complex exercises you can do that work everything from the hamstring to the traps.
It’s one the best exercise to do in general and will definitely be in an article to learn about the best exercise to increase punching power. If not already in your current workout routine I highly recommend incorporating the deadlift into your routine at least 1 or 2 times a week.
Your core and your hips play a vital role in how effectively you can deliver a knockout strike. Your hips are a vital key in generating power by pivoting your entire body. Delivering your body weight into every punch.
Think of your core as the connector or master link on a chain. They springboard the power you’ve generated in your lower body into the delivery system of your upper body, ending at your fist. This is a great highlight of the complexity of a punch when it’s broken down and evaluated at a micro level. Without a good base, or balance your body weight won’t shift efficiently and your hips won’t pivot properly. The chain of energy traveling from your feet to your fist is in affect, broken or inefficient. Your abs and lower back play a role in strengthening and maximizing your cores efficiency.
Simple, effective, and essential workouts we can do to improve our core.
Really a must do exercise I hope is already in your program. If not please add it and get in the habit of doing planks as often as you can.
Planks help strengthen your abs, lower back, shoulders, neck and are just a great overall workout to do. They are also a benefit in improving posture and balance.
The Dead Bug
The dead bug is another great exercise for strengthening your core and improving core stability.
As discussed, the energy to deliver a powerful strike begins at the balls of your feet and is released at the end of your fist. It’s often surprising but your arms are really just a conduit for the delivery of energy that the rest of your body created. Time focused on strengthening your arms in regards to delivering a stronger punch could be better utilized for training in other areas of your game.
The effort on your arms should be focused on developing speed and endurance as we now know power is generated from our lower body. Important but to a much lesser extent than your lower body, the shoulders and the upper back play a role in providing power to your punch.
A Couple Workouts You Can Add For Upper Body
Lat Pull Down
Keep your head back and chest out while focusing on pulling down with your elbows and not your biceps. The lat pulldown is a compound workout that that trains multiple muscles. Primarily the lats of course and also several muscles in the rotator cuff.
A great old school standard workout that will never go away. Pull ups increase strength in your arms, back, core, and also help improve grip strength which I’ll talk about next.
One thing I have to mention, grip strength seems to play a role in hitting hard. I’ve never found any science to support this but consistently witnessed this and have heard this spoken often by fighters that I know are knowledgeable. I tend to believe that there is some correlation between a strong grip and punching hard.
Simple Routines You Can Do To Increase Grip Strength
As simple as it gets but very effective at increasing grip strength. As the name suggests, just grab two dumbbells and start walking!
Play With Your Grip
Try alternate ways to hold the dumbbells, or any alternate object with some weight on it. Be careful not to drop it on your foot!
I really hope this article helps in explaining the best exercise to increase punching power. Depending on your current program you can add these workouts in throughout your week or you can use this for a routine as one of your regular training days.
Special thanks to Calvin for demonstrating some of these workouts for us. Funny guy who is doing great work bridging together mental health and physical fitness for the betterment of our community. Follow him on Instagram: Loading.24.7