Tired of crappy guides on improving handspeed written by people with no boxing experience? This is the real deal!
Ready to Start Training For Faster Punches?
Training Quickness of Mind For Punching Faster
The Right Attitude For Punching Faster
Relaxing The Fast Punch
Releasing The Fast Punch
Quick Breathing For Quick Punches
Throwing Fast Combinations
Best Training Videos To Watch For Handspeed:
- Manny Pacquiao – watch this guy shadowbox. Focus on speed like he does! Speed Shadowboxing Video
- Joan Guzman – Quick hands, quick feet. More importantly, quick mind! Speed Punching Video
- Hand Speed Drills and Exercises
- How to Throw a Snapping Punch – Learn how to throw punches with speed and power!
great article and good image of Ali. My idol, he was my height and my weight. I will try to be more relaxed in training today
wonderful article! i know more about beeing fast.
Thanks for the compliment, Chike. Let me know how you did. I had a tough spar today too.
Nice videos! I notice though that Joan Guzman does not have as high of a knockout ratio than Pacquiao. With just under 60% ko’s, what do you think Pacquiao does different? Maybe in their mentality?
Pacquiao’s power VS Guzman’s power
I’ve never seen Guzman in person so I don’t really know for sure. From the videos I’ve seen, it seems as though he doesn’t commit his body weight into his punches like Pacquiao does. He likes throwing a lot of flashy arm punches and keeping his body out of range as much as possible.
Another likely scenario is that maybe he damaged his hands a long time ago and now has to pull back his punches a little to keep them from getting more damaged. And yes, mentality is part of it too. Guzman doesn’t really need to go for the knockout.
I like your tips and your videos. They make a lot of sense and can be applied with a lot of commitment and discipline. What I’ve learned from boxing, especially in the beginning stages, is that footwork is key. Mastering your stance and the position of your feet when you punch and when you move is crucial to being able to land and evade punches. Can you talk more about the importance of footwork and show some videos?
i am 13 🙂
if i was a pro bexer that is my wish
i train alot , real lot
started when i was 9 and i have a 8 pack i am very muscular and have amazaing speed and powerfull punch… i need to train on punch accrucy
my msn is [email protected]
^^^^ your so kool baby ;-), i love yu!
Chasing chickens also improves hand speed. I live on a farm and that’s what I do.
also in rocky lol
This can help me.
ive never really felt so light and neither have i ever punched so freakin fast! thx man your the best!!!
Hey so some of your things like when needing another person (trainer) can a speedbag or double end bag be a backup? I am 14
Those are good training alternatives, yes, but you should also be doing them regularly.
great job, Phantom
Keep it up! 🙂
thanks for this!
i’ve been trying to find new ways to improve my speed and this is a great way of starting, thanks!
pac man quick i ll never wanna make him angry he raw
Wouldnt it be smarter to work on type 3 muscle fiber to punch faster and harder.
@kyle – this guy was just a theoretical one. I wrote another one for actual training methods and exercises.
Hi my name is Lucas Dillon I’m 19 years old I want to be boxing can you teach me to punch , kick , heads and that’s all I need met me at San Ramon valley high school tharpt’s my school I needed to met with you please I beg you for everything I needed help me for my boxing skills and the boxing match can I see you what is it was 12:00 thank you see you soon thank you for everything my house is at 148 Leona court Alamo ca 94507 my phone number is 925 553 7650
I’m just going to go ahead and bookmark this based on the solid advice you seem more than happy to dish out.
i see now it is in both body and mind 8):-)8)8)8)8)8)8)8)
punch faster jab jab hook hook:P;-);-);-);-);-);-)
Nice column, by the way iv just watched kids play in the arcade this tekken?? The guy there steve fox , kinda represents all famous boxers and has a perfect form and puch speed, neat i didnt know videos are that good now, ,
So when you said the difference of being relax and being lazy you mean relaxing the unnecessary muscle for that particular movement and lazy is being sluggish and just swinging wild.
Being relaxed means without tension.
Being lazy means without control.
Does that help?
an exercise to building confidence that you can be fast
perfect advice. i suggest an exercise with a buddy to increase any boxers confidence even a moderate. get someone to put both hands right under their chest like 6 inches from each other. tell them to try and catch your hand as you throw it. as coach says relax your self totally. make sure your stance and everything are right you dont want this to be a theory move you cant do in practice. the aim is to throw your left hand like a jab, with hand open, just touching the friends chest. anybody can be your sparring partner for this. relax. hand open. dont close the fist. your aim is to touch him like a snake and get your hand back without him grabbing it. you gotta be relaxed. and remember-hes scared cuz if he cant catch your hand with both of his 6 inches away he will feel like a loser. youre in control. psych yourself in and him out by just turning your left shoulder (ortho) a twitch. see him clap his hands. now throw your hand, no fist just a limp relaxed hand, lightning fast. imagine as coach says he cant see it. to prove you can be fast, i suggest newbies to cheat. hit his belly not his hands. he wont be ready and the shock will make you feel good. plus it takes the stress off. TRY IT AND SEE HOW IT FEELS ONCE YOU GET THE FIRST HIT EVEN IF IT IS A CHEAT. youll feel relaxed. he will complain, say `well its fighting and in fight-‘as your talking throw the hand again, relaxed, open this time right between his hands on target. he wont be ready. you feel more confident. you relax more. and you know you can hit him. and you know hes thinking you can go up down or feint and make him look like a moron. the more confidence you have, the more success, the more you feel you can do it.
now the real thing. confidence that you can do it=relaxing=speed. the proper movement. the fastest punch is confident, relaxed and straight. make sure you dont mayorga the move. straight from wherever your guard hand is to the target. now heres the trick-focus ON PULLING YOUR HAND BACK TO YOUR CHIN AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, not on throwing it. think `ill throw it fast but ill pull it back even faster, imagine your shadow pulling your hand back that fast.
when you throw it, straight relaxed and concentrated on pulling back, you will have the fastest punch your genetics allow you. theres no power but most guys are amazed how fast they can be. and thats more confidence more relaxation.
now add in the power. you dont need a partner for this. you can practice on the heavy bag. throw the punch from your stance never pull back or cock a fist. wastes time and telegraphs. breathe out fast as you do it so hard your body shakes. and if your jabbing allow your fist at the last second to PRESS TIGHT SO HARD YOUR FIST PRESSING MAKES YOUR ARM SHAKE. just for that split second when you hit. it takes a little time to get it right, but when you exhale so hard at the moment of contact your body shakes and press your fist so hard your arm shakes at the moment of contact you get good power and speed.
to add more power.
on the jab, put 70% your weight on the front foot. totally relaxed, confident, visualise yourself so fast you cant see your shadow when you punch its like it never happened. imagine it. get in position. breathe out suddenly just like the punch and IMAGINE you just punched. straight, no cocking, fist closing, breathing out hard, and pulling back faster than the punch itself. imagine it happened but it was so fast you didnt realise. it boosts confidence. i did it so many times i started to believe when i punched i wouldnt know myself unless i saw it on slow mo film 🙂 really does wonders
now for max power. as your hand extends straight no cocking right from its guard positon turn your shoulders just as fast so your shoulders are perpedicular to the target. this makes your hand straight as an arrow so you can look down it like its a gun barrel. when the hand is extending take a 1 fot step with the front foot with its 70% weight forward so as youre hand is in the air you you got 0% weight on the back foot and are in free fall. there should be no weight on the back foot, your left in the air. you will fall for sure on your face if your left foot doesnt give you balance when it lands. there should be 0% weight on your back or right foot you are just falling on an outstretched hand. just as your fist hit and you exhale and tighten your fist as hard as you can and your foot should come down to make sure you stop from falling. at your fastest your shoulder turn, foot raise, exhale, will all be together and the tightened fist a mlillisecond later and immediately after tightening pullingi it back faster. as if that was our whole aim, how fast you can pull your hand back. this fast hard jab can stun opponents its not just speed.
on the cross you do the jab, all that weight on the front foot, after landing from a jab. now the right turns forward and you exhale, relaxed, close fist. everything except the step.. ere the point is to pivot off the floor with the front leg.
the the back leg bent and giving a push forward.otherwise its all shoulders. with that firm grip imagine you are pulling back faster than you throw, more power snap and speed.
hook is about throwing from your left glove up near the chin. 45 degree turn, fist horizontal or vertical. explode off the front foot if you dont land the front fot youre falling. done wiith practice its impossible to see it coming if your genetics are right. your upper body should turn 45 degrees more than square, other hand up. springing from the ground increases power, but its upercut like skill.
@saber – these are some fun tips!
Training with Hand Weights
I am naturally quick and staying relaxed has never been a problem. I just want to faster with my punching. My coach tells me that I can train my hand speed by the same way using the double end speed bag and the regular speed bag. My question is this, is using hand weights a help along with shadow boxing? I use 2 1/2 lb hand weights when I shadow box for like 5 an then 5 without. Any imput will be helpful and taken. Thank you.
the double end bag is the best way to improve FUNCTIONAL speed. speed bag training is just arm punching from 3 inches out its good warmup and a good rhythm creator but its not boxing. it wont make u functionally faster.
u could be faster than bruce lee on that bag; but in boxing u gotta be fast when the range is there. u have to understand range to go with speed of hand AND speed of foot..
so if u work the double end bag, when youre punching, dont hit it clean in the center hit it a little to the left with your left and a little to the right with your right. the bag spins to the side after every shot, it doesnt go directly backwards as much, and you get to practice against a bag that’s mimicking to some extent a fighter who’s slipping and rolling.
have someone spot you from the side, have a sparmate or a good willing coach (if u get that lucky) on the side with a video recorder, always turning with you. have them tell you stuff so you can get feedback on what youre doing right, what you can push yourself on a little. have em tell u:
if youre hitting at max range, or if youre trying to hit it when its closer
if youre form on the punch is right or ure sacrificing technique for speed
if your messing up your guard when throwing a punch, not bringing the hand back in time
if your feet are moving to maximise your range your mobility
if your combos are being too easy, add in one more shot
have them bark out actual instructions like:
`try to hit it when it’s further out’
`wait a little more till it gets to range’
`keep balance after the 2nd shot’ or `keep balance after the 1st shot’
`cover your left when you throw your right’
`use your left foot to get more range’
`bring your right foot in’
* as it’s coming in or going out practice going circling and punching, moving in and punching, moving out and punching. dont be mechanical. the aim of speed fighters is to maximise their range, to hit 2 or 3 times before the other guy comes close enough to hit back so you gotte learn to hit something that JUST comes into your range or is retracting from you (as if it hit you and is retreating) and see if u got the speed to make contact in that split second equalise the points the guy gained. and you gotta do it not just while its infront of you, but while you are strafing it sideways.
* practice WHILE MOVING SIDEWARDS and FORWARDS/BACKWARDS/DIAGONALLY:
Potshotting the bag at range as it’s moving out
Potshotting the bag at range as it’s moving in
Potshotting the bag as you are moving away (you will need it someday probably).
Throwing 2-3 even 4 punch combos from outside range
Throwing 2-3 punch combos as you’re moving in (with more hooks)
Throwing 2-3 punch combos as the bag is coming at you
Throwing 2-3 punch combos as the bag is coming into you and real real close (like you’re infighting and trying to beat someone to the punch)
Throwing 2-3 punch combos moving left on 1st punch, moving right on the 2nd, moving left on the 3rd and create variations for yourself
so you get to build range, good coordinated hand and foot speed, u’re not sacrificing your technique. speed is not so useful if you cant use your feet, not using judgement of distance, not moving side to side and moving in moving out, using it in different situations. you can throw in your own stuff like slipping the double end bag or rolling against the bag and throwing counters and combos with same hand, opposite hand, etc.
also visualisation really helps. visualising yourself throwing punches really really fast. beating guys like sugar ray leonard taylor mayweather. just imagining things really helped me to get better at moving in and out, just watching patterson tyson hagler chavez and then imaginning myself doing it over and over and over. visualising is something that works in ANY sport try it out and really concentrate on it, u’ll feel a difference when u do it it’s like u already did it in some other life 🙂 and double bag, thats speed you can use.
@Walter J – I don’t recommend shadowboxing with hand weights because of wrist injuries you might sustain. Shadow-box with gloves on if you must. I would recommend you just shadowbox faster without any weights. The speed is in your mind, not your hands. Think faster. Prepare some preset combinations and then release them instantly on your hands. Throw hundreds of combinations. You will reach a point when you can throw a perfect combo without thinking of it. There is speed in automation. Try to reach automation first. Saber Khan’s advice about visualizing really helps. You have to imagine how fast you are. Think about it, visualize it, then do it.
Does lifting weights decrease hand speed?
@Elias – no they don’t. It’s having unnecessary muscle or the wrong kind of muscle that decreases hand speed. It all depends on how you lift weights.
I timed my punch several times with a stop watch. With my hands down near my waist, punching the bag at my full reach. My best time was 0.15 and my worst 0.17. Is that fast? and i punched the way you told me in here. By the way, i did my left punch, because I’m right handed and it was more comfortable to time with my right hand.
Im around 210 pounds 6ft 3in…. How can work hard without losing weight?
I know clap push ups increase hand speed, but do dips increase hand speed as well?
I think dips help the recovery muscles
@Gat – punching quickly is part reaction speed, and part muscle speed. The easiest way to tell if it’s fast is to spar with somebody and see how much faster your hands are than his. Any coach will be able to watch you and tell you if you’re fast.
@Phil – I’m sorry, Phil. I didn’t get your question.
@Kevin – dips are a good exercise for strength, power but not so much speed, I don’t think.
Im 6 foot 3, 210 pounds(heavyweight). I want to workout without losing weight, how can I do that?
@Phil – if you workout, you’re only going to lose fat…which isn’t bad at all. I suppose just keep eating like crap if you don’t want to lose weight.
Was wondering what type of breathing technique was best used during sparring/fighting? I normally breathe in and out of my mouth, with breathing out when i do an attack. I heard somewhere they said breathing in with your nose and out of your mouth was better? I’ve tried in and out with my nose too. They all seem to work. Which do you do, or recommend?
@Gat – I’ve been doing this for so long I never think about breathing. My body does it naturally. I usually breathe in deep through my nose and then exhale in short spurts out through my mouth for every punch.
Do barbell curls decrease hand speed
@jacob – I think at best it might help your hook speed. But it can still be useful for overall fitness as long as you’re not lifting too heavy.
thanks for the advice
Do you feel hand speed is more of an illusion?
Hand speed is not an illusion. Just because someone knows how to throw a punch without telegraphing doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as hand speed. It’s a fact that some people have faster muscle contractions than others.
Of course there is such thing as hand speed otherwise boxers will be more like magicians rather than athletes. Ok now i know what you mean when you put your article of reflexes up saying how the speed bag quickens the mind, like you said before i believe it went like this “the first step to acquiring faster punches is to train a quicker mind” so iit may seem like an illusion to the untrained mind?
We train our minds to react faster so that we can box at a faster level. It has less to do with “tricking” lesser opponents and more with simply being faster than them.
I just purchased your Boxing course, and I’m enjoying it thoroughly. I’m glad I found your site. The quality of advice here is excellent. Looking forward to these speed drills.
I saw your purchase come through. Thank you for the support, David. The speed drills are posted but I forgot to link them so I did it just now. 🙂
I’ve gone to alot of raves and danced with glowsticks. Basic freestyle allows you to move your arm in a relax manner but you tense up with the beat. As the music moves faster, I learned to tense and relax faster. When I started boxing, I was doing slow pushing punches I till my friend told me about snapping my punches. At first I could not get the action down, but then I started dancing my punches, just like in a rave. Arms and body relaxed I till I needed them to tense. Sped up and slowed down my body as needed. While my friend has always been a faster boxer, being naturally lighter and more experienced then me, as soon as I danced my punches, I could throw out punches almost as fast as his. Also dancing had begin to teach me to understand my body, especially in a adrenline state. So I propose a good alternative to doing boxing drills constantly, every now and then go to a rave and dance with glow sticks.
i was doing clap pushups and realized i only speed up during the pushup just before i leave the ground and i cant seem to accelerate throughout the whole pushup, is there another speed exercise which i could do without a speed bag (i only have a heavy bag at home) or a way i could improve my clap pushups. and thanks a lot for the article!!
Trying doing push-ups but going DOWN fast. So try it going up slow, but down fast.
I started boxing a little over a year ago. When I started I had very fast hands and feet. Now, a year on, my hand speed is diminishing. I am still in my teens so I doubt it’s age. When I started boxing I weighed around 160lbs, now I’m only 145lbs – so if physics is anything to go by I should be faster.
I don’t know if the reason is when I began boxing I’d throw my punches 100% power during shadow boxing, maybe I injured my elbow or something. I’m concerned as this is and always was a major part of my game. Have you seen hand speed diminish on someone so young before when they are not bulking up?
My two theories are:
1. I have screwed up my nerves/reflexes permanently by shadow boxing too intensely when I was a n00b.
2. I’ve stepped up training and I’m just fatigued more regularly nowadays = slower hands.
I’ve never heard of anybody so young getting slower. I’m guessing you’re better at boxing now that you’re aware of everything going on. Everything seems slower when you get better at it. You spar more and hit the speed bag to know if your hand speed is really diminishing as you say. It also helps to relax when you try to be fast.
it just amazes me how you wrote this article so long ago and i read it a couple times yet again i pick up new techniques in the comments or something i over looked in your explanatory theory 🙂 great job man! BTW how are the boxing shirts coming along? are you planning on having a survey or quick article asking for examples of shirt ideas?
Boxing shirts are still in progress! I want to make a contest and give away free ebooks for the best entries.
do i need to maintain the right form while doing the shadowboxing? The footwork, hips rotation, arms position.. Etc?
Yes. Definitely. Without proper form, shadowboxing would be reduced to almost meaningless cardio exercise.
is it possible to shadowbox as fast as manny pacquiao while maintaining the good form?
nice article and i am fan you and i am a boxer
I’m some what glad I stumbled on this page, it’s has been a great help to my speed and hand control again. My brother was basically my trainer as I was growing up and showed me a few good ways to keep my head clear and the best one I found was to have a song in my head. I much prefer my metal because it keeps me pumped and it also takes a great deal of mind power not to get to intense in throwing my punches. Thanks for the little hints and guides you supply.
Amir Khan’s hands are lighting, when he throws combinations they are just blinding. Is it possible to develop that kind of hand speed or is that just a natural thing ?
It’s always possible to develop your body. The best athletes have been developing their bodies for over 10 years. Unless you’ve spent as long as they have, I doubt you’re even close to reaching your full potential.
Just a had a thought, would shadow boxing under water help or would it develop the wrong type of muscle?
Start with shadowboxing on land first and get used to that.
Do you breathe thru your nose or mouth????
I use both. Check out my guide on breathing technique for fighters.
Is there any exercise for people with long arms? I did all the exercises you said but i guess since im 6″3 with a wingspan of 80 inches my jabs seems slow at times. i was just wondering if tall long arm people have to do something different? Trying to have the fastest jab in history
Keep working at it. I have long arms, too, and they get tired easily if I’m not well-conditioned.
What excercise should i do, if i don’t have a speed bag or a double-end bag in my boxing gym?
There are no substitutes, you’ll have to try throwing faster/lighter punches at the heavy bag and also on the mitts, I guess. There really are no substitutes, though.
I saw this video of Vasyl Lomachenko. Could this be helpful?
Sure, why not? I don’t imagine that you’d be doing more than 10-15 minutes of this every day. There’s still a dozen or more other exercises and drills you have to do.
hajime no ippo
Can you help about how must the body movement be done in speed training? Move hips slightly when throwing fast crosses or hooks? Or ok to have a full rotation to have the max range of punch? (I’m tryin this for potshots, not sure myself doing it right)
I’ve read your article “The Art of Light Punches”, i remember it is said body movement is not necessary for light punches. Is it ok for fast punches too?
You do as much or as little as you want. Experiment and see which one you prefer. I personally don’t think about it too much when I’m fighting.
How old r u johnny
Johnny N, im an amateur lightweight boxer training for speed and counterpunching. I know loads of techniques but i need to work on my speed and endurance. I have been working my speed by shadow boxing and practising moves like slips and weaves whilst weighted on my chest, arms and legs. My endurance training has been in the form of having my friend, who is a deal larger than myself, knock the tar outta me for 5 rounds while i just defend. would you consider this an effective style of training? and if not, any recommendations?
i dont feel my body after throwing 1 or 3 punches
can you please help
and i give up faster please help
Man I must first give kudos to you in your accountability when instructing by verbiage only. You counted for variables in stride of conversation, and that’s the jewel of it all, in simplicity yet variable adherence you basically had a conversation with the reader. And you touched on what most… gives people range or limitations which is all Mental. You concur that you concur the world… Yours that is Lol But I’m definitely saving this, and be proud because this will be literature deserving of my life’s vault. Only because I sense an added reach that accounts for selflessness and to promote excellence to anyone or anything.
johnny, im slow.
im also fat.
is it because im fat that im slow? or just pisspoor technique?
also i realize how stupid that questions sounds.
but i would like some advice on whether ive got the cause of it down, or if theres something im missing
Ok I have a question what if you live in a small town with no gym and you dont have a speed bag then what do you do to help you punch faster
thanks a lot
What about that athletic peak performance window in a fighter’s life? Some seem to be able to stay ‘in the zone’ longer than normal like Bernard Hopkins, or Dan Henderson (UFC mma) but others peak performance earlier (ie Mike Tyson-I think he most likely saw his peak performance window early in his career). I wonder if speed and combat effectiveness for fighters isn’t really just a matter of youth because punches in bunches seems to be something the 16-24yo Cohort excels at the best. How many 40yo guy’s off the street would want to do battle in a mma cage or boxing ring w/ their 16 or 18yoversion if themselves? With fighting sometimes you see that experience and cleverness can win but it’s only a rare few who last that long (Daniel Cormier-UFC, Randy Couture-UFC)?
I know a lot of people love Ali (not saying he wasn’t incredible). I miss Ali (RIP) for how he would speak up and say things publicly other people were thinking (except they didn’t have the platform and audience he did or if they were in a place of influence they lacked the balls/courage/guts Ali had). Myself, I always appreciated a violent intense all out blitskrieg style of offense in a fighter like the young Mike Tyson, Rashad Evans (UFC& highly underrated b/c Rashad went all out and crushed lots of big names-and even argue Rashad is the guy who transitioned us from the Chuck Liddell old days to the modern Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier/Ryan Bader days-the era when smaller HWs also fight at LHW & where well roundedness is an imperative to be a UFC fighter-in Chuck Liddell’s day you could still half ass some in some areas like not be the excellent at BJJ if you were a wrestler who could box or not have much muay thai skills/leg kick defense if you were an athletic enough guy-those days are over in the UFC. Now you have to know everything & be super athletic & conditioned. For me, Rashad Evans and his fight style represents a major evolution to mma fighters). I’ll always be a fan of the explosiveness like Tyson, Rashad Evans, Tyron Woodley, etc. & for a hobbyist I’m also explosive and loved doing plyometrics, all out tabata intervals, lunch out drills, & sprints and never recall being super loose and zen chill like physically helping my speed or power. Intensity was everything. And yeah if you’re not the elite of the elite like a Dan Henderson or Tyron Woodley then that way of training leads to burn out but you can’t say people who train that way aren’t fast and explosive. Nowadays, I agree with legendary mma coach Firas Zahabi where it’s better to go at 70% most days (yeah you still do a few 85- close to 100% day here and there) in order to promote long term consistency & protect the body from long-term damage. I was surprised to learn listening to Joe Rogans podcast from famous coaches like Firas Zahabi that the best like Georges St. Pierre didn’t go all out intensity everyday or spar, lift heavy, orbit the bags everyday either. It seems like slot of the experienced top pro’s like GSP do a lot of mitt work and drilling w/ their coaches and sparring partners as well as a mixture or stent th & conditioning stuff like swimming, pool work (GSP is known for using this aquatics in pool strength gear), gymnastics, cycling, etc.