There are many attributes that a fighter needs in order to earn success in the ring - with speed, footwork and fitness being important aspects.
But the key trait that most boxers crave is punching power; the ability to end a fight with one single punch or hurt an opponent.
BOXRAW outline six training exercises that can help to improve overall punching power for boxing and boost a fighter’s potential for scoring a knockout in the ring.
Starting with a basic training method that can be done anywhere at any time. Adding further intensity and ensuring more arm conditioning from a normal push-up, use claps in between reps to improve strength.
The exercise: Begin with a normal push-up position and bring your chest close to the floor. Once down, push yourself off the floor and quickly clap once while your upper body is in the air. Keep your core engaged and back straight throughout your set; using the force of each press-up to drive yourself for the next.
Medicine Ball Slams
As well as building up your punching power, this exercise really gets your heart rate up and helps boost your stamina for a real fight scenario. Exerting maximum effort for short bursts will replicate the experiences in the ring and bolster the muscles needed in those situations.
The exercise: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and the medicine ball directly in front of you just a few inches away. Quickly reach down while bending your knees and grab the medicine ball with both hands before raising it above your head then slam it back to the floor with as much force as possible.
Barbell Push Outs
Strength in punches is built up through fast repetitions here; once again using quick-fire bursts with maximum effort throughout your sets. Arm muscles will be conditioned with both the weight of the barbell and the motion of the exercise combined.
The exercise: Standing shoulder width apart, hold the barbell across your chest and begin to push it out with force. Get into a rhythm for your set and maintain a slight bounce in your feet with every push out in order to keep in a synchronised motion throughout.
Sledgehammer Tire Slams
An old-school method of building punching power; in the same style as past fighters would chop trees too. This exercise continues to improve that rotational movement needed to generate more power in your punches, while conditioning your arms and hands in the process.
The exercise: Raise the sledgehammer above your right shoulder and slam it down as hard as possible on to the tire, turning on the ball of your back foot as you would in a punching motion to hone technique. As the sledgehammer bounces from the impact, use the motion to swing it back over your opposite shoulder to assure both arms are being utilised.
Single-Arm Kettlebell Swings
Punching power and overall strength for boxing stems from building a strong core. With single-arm kettlebell swings, the hips are mainly used to generate the swinging motion rather than the knees. The bending and straightening of the knees in a squat motion is replaced with the initiation of the movement from the hips.
The exercise: Placing the kettlebell in front of you, with knees slightly bent and arms straight, grab the handle with one hand and hike it back between your legs while swapping hands each time. Snapping your hips as you reach a standing position with each swing, keep your core muscles engaged throughout the exercise.
Shadowboxing is a key training method for any fighter, one which has been used from the early days of the sport to work on technique and hone skills. But to start building strength and generating power in your shots, adding some weights while throwing punches can be a great conditioning exercise.
The exercise: Conditioning is the main focus while using heavier dumbbells or hand weights to shadowbox; slow it down and up the force in which you throw rather than trying to punch quickly. Drill the basic combinations while holding your weights - including the jab, straight back hand and hooks and use your hips for full rotation on each punching movement.