T Nation

Punching Power, Any Martial Artists wanna answer?

Where does punching power come from?

I heard that it comes from the shoulders, and partially the legs, but others say its from practice and gradually getting stronger at throwing punches.

Whenever i get in (street) fights, i notice that i have muscle soreness in parts of my back. Is this from using muscle that hardly get used or just from moving strangely?

Are there any excersizes to improve punching power?

Any answers would be great!

About the back soreness; I’ve noticed the same thing. In the street fight scenario, I think it may be due to a lack of a warm-up that you would normally have whilest in a regular training session.

Some people just naturally hit hard and others do not, it can be taught though. Virtually all punching power comes from the hips and legs, period. If your hips are out of alignment it doesn’t matter how strong you are in your shoulders and arms, you’ll still hit like a 10 year old girl. Your back is probably sore from pulling on the opposite side of the punch in an effort to generate some extra power. In some ways an excessive amount of upper body mass is actually detrimental because it slows you down. Don’t get me wrong, a strong upper body is very important but there is a point of diminishing returns. The only way to really improve your hitting power is to be taught by someone who knows like a boxing coach (best) or a good martial artist, and practice. That being said, the human body really wasn’t designed for hitting things (particularly the hands)and you can easily train yourself to hit way harder than your hands can withstand (broken wrists, fingers, etc.), hence the reason boxers tape their hands up. Therefore, my advice is to avoid street fights. If you really like to fight join a boxing gym or martial arts studio. Its just a matter of time before someone pulls knife or gun and then it really won’t matter how hard you can hit.

Take Care

technically the legs and hips.
it all starts with the feet actually, but there are many who defy the laws of physics.
george foreman had terrible hand speed, terrible foot speed and technically sucked but could hit very hard.
louis,tyson, and marciano were guys who could get alot of momentum moving behind their punches and could hit harder than most bigger men.
ernesto hoost is not a big puncher but has scored some great ko’s with his hands(as well as his legs) because of his great timing ability.
so many things go into hitting hard.
your back could also hurt from pulling back your punch.
you can get a great back workout shadow boxing if you put as much emphasis on pulling the punch back as you do throwing it.

I agree with everyone below. In terms of punching, I am probably the strongest puncher in my school. It comes with lots of bag work and learning to throw from the hips more than the arms…and yes your lats are involved in a big way…ever see a boxer who didnt have a great set of lats? I haven’t! In terms of street…as was stated…avoid the hell out of it…or one day you will get wasted in a big way. Always remember there is always bigger and badder than you out there…just ask Jean Claude Van Damme!! If you have to street fight…I prefer elbows and open hand strikes…I hit so hard I tend to get fractures on my hands…not bragging…just saying elbows or open hand (palm heel strikes) are much more effective and do a lot less damage to you. Just wait until the day you throw a punch at a guys head and he lowers his forehead…the shattered hand you will own will teach you very quickly!! lol!

i remember about 2-3 years ago reading an article in ring magazine about a middleweight from the 40’s(i think) that had to fight lt. heavies because he hit so hard.
they said he had to take 3-6 mos. off after every fight because of the damage he did to his own hands because of his power.
different fighters can have different power punches also.
i for one believe that i have average heavyweight power with my head shots but i have really good power with my body shots.
i may just understand the dynamics of body punching better than i do head punching.

I agree with the others. A “full body” punch is a chain reaction starting from the feet, thru the hip, back, arm and fist. A flicker jab or arm jab is initiated with the arm and is used more for distraction. Timing, distance, rhythm, initiation reflex speed, and range control are very important but often not taught. Try hitting focus mitts; the mitts should snap back when hit. Too much work on the heavy bad tends to ingrain the habit of pushing. A solid punch is also about minimization of extrainous motion, ie: don’t let the elbow flare out, don’t drop or pull back your fist prior to hitting. Speed = relaxation = power. The fist should travel on a straight line to the target and a straight line back to the guard position (a lot of people hit and then “pose” in an extended position). People have the tendency to tense up prior to hitting, often tenceing the triceps and biceps. The biceps are flexors and will slow down a punch when tense. Numerous reps of perfect punches will ensure proper punching when under stress.

Hey Jimmy read the article about abs by Chris Shugart. Read the section on Full Contact Twists, I use them all of the time and have had great results with my punching power.

Hey Jimmy,

First off, lots of excellent advice already given in the previous posts. As said before punching power is generated from the hips. I believe heavy bag work is the best way to train for this concentrating on putting your “hips into it” it takes some practice but well worth it and you WILL feel it in your abs and back if done right. Another method that I recommend, that I’ve used for about a year now is take a bicycle inner tube (a large one from a 10 speed) cut it to were it’s one long piece of tube and nail the middle of the tube to a tree or post and tie on some “handles” using rope or something. Now stand with your back facing the tree and grab one side of the tube in each hand and start punching away while concentrating on using your hips. This is a tough ass work out and develops punching power very well with the resistance provided from the tube but it isn’t hard on your joints. If you give it a try and like it let me know, I’ve got lots of exercises like this one.