T Nation

Converted Southpaw


hello,guys,im a converted southpaw and i feel more comfortable in that stance. i do have power in my left hand but people mark out some half assed right hooks from me alot more often than my left crosses(almost like i have some sort of retard power in my right ahaha).i knocked out out people from both hands.And i have problem: i constantly hurt my left elbow/shoulder from power punches fired from the left hand.here lies the question should i move back to orthodox for more power or should i stay in southpaw for open stance and angles?


Not an expert by any means, but could you provide a little more detail:

When you say power punches from the left hand,(straight left, left hook, left uppercut?) you mean working the bag ,mitts or just sparring/fighting?

Do you have any old injuries to that shoulder? Can you have an MRI?

If the MRI/ physical is negative, then it must be something with your form or stance. Anyway you could do a video? If something is constantly causing you pain, then you are not improving, either fix it or yes, I would move back. Irish and Sento may be along, I would listen to what they advise. Good Luck


As Idaho mentioned, it could be a technique issue, and if it is, then that would be the easiest fix.

Another very real possibility though is that the connective tissues in your left elbow and shoulder are simply not yet capable of/not used to withstanding the new forces that you are able to subject them to with your left (I assume non dominant) hand being your rear “power” hand.

You have to consider that you have built up these structures in your right arm from the time you were a kid (throwing things like balls, rocks, etc…; swinging things like bats, sticks, etc…; punching things; etc…) but likely have not given the left arm nearly as much attention/usage. That you are now suddenly asking your left arm to step up and be able to perform to the level of your right arm and it is not able to do so, should therefore not come as much of a surprise.

The good news is that the body is an adaptive organism and if exposed to a chronic and manageable (but of greater magnitude that it is comfortable with) stimulus it will improve itself to be able to more easily handle said stimulus (so eventually it will become comfortable with it). The “bad” (or should I say, not immediately gratifying) news is that this will take time and there are no short cuts. Connective tissues like ligaments and tendons have no direct blood supply and therefore adapt at a much slower rate than muscle does (about 3x slower). It may take as much as 6 months (or possibly even more) before your elbow and shoulder adapt to the new demands you are placing on them. During that time you just need to be careful not to push so hard that you are walking the razor’s edge between injury and maximal stimulus for adaptation. It is ok to go sub maximal or even to keep the volume and or intensity the same until they feel very easy (and then increasing the intensity volume so that it is again challenging and repeating the process).

Good luck.


problem is im a converted southpaw almost a year and as time passed my elbow and shoulder got worse and worse,but as soon as i stop hitting anything hard with left hand it goes ok within one week. ligaments are ok,every punch from southpaw stance with left hand is quite painful.ill add video of me shadowboxing tomorrow


I would definitely look at your form/technique then, but again it is still possible that your connective tissues are being asked to do more than they are capable of. In other words, too much intensity and/or too much volume too fast and/or too often for your connective tissues to be able to adapt to.

And again, if you are feeling every punch in your joints (elbows and shoulders), then you are feeling the punches in your connective tissues (ligaments and or tendons). Whether that is due to poor mechanics and therefore improper leverage or just lack of resiliency will be more easily judged after seeing your technique.


Sento and idaho are right on, but I’ll add some related thoughts.

Volume of punching and training is a consideration. This is probably leveled out after a year of training the new stance but it bears mention nonetheless. The other thing is that your muscles and structure have probably not adapted yet and you may not be training them adequately on that side. If that is the case then an overcompensation is occurring, which also goes to Sento’s point about a form/technique issue, probably subconsciously.

An alternative scenario might be that your left side and tissues are tighter and more knotted than your right side. When tissue gets knotted up and/or tight it also exposes the connective tissue to more stress than it otherwise would see. This might shift it from being a load your body can handle to a load that is causing pain due to overuse or inability to recover.

Feeling this in your shoulder is an indication that you are possibly using to much arm and not enough hip/leg when throwing. In addition it may be that your back musculature is too weak to properly decelerate the load from your hands and that your shoulder and elbow are compensating for this by tightening up (again, what I said above). This is not really uncommon with a non-dominant hand. Typically people’s dominant sides have more muscle and/or more efficient recruitment patterns.

This is also physically explainable: with a lead hand punch you are generating less power and velocity than you are with your rear power hand. The hips and legs by definition cannot load as much force into your hand due to less distance, and less hip chambering/whip over less distance. The rear power hand has years of practice in throwing the hips and legs ALL the way behind the punch and over a greater travel distance. This also means your back musculature more practice in decelerating the hand properly.

Now switch them around: your weak side is suddenly thrown a much more challenging state of affairs by switching stances. The muscles that properly decelerate punches are not strong enough or experienced to do the job properly.

TLDR: work your back–all of it–on the left side and get it stronger combined with more conscious work on hip/leg and technique.

I’ll defer to the technicians here on punching.


Had the same issue. Had to work on control and making sure to have excellent technique at slower speeds while sparring until my arm could handle faster speeds. My body learned a left cross faster than my elbow developed, thanks to already understanding the mechanics. Have to work it up