What are the most important fighting muscles? I will explain the roles of each muscle for fighting and how they are used during boxing.
Everybody knows that training a muscle is an advantage compared to not training it. If boxing was that simple, then training the entire body would give you the ultimate physical advantage, right? The problem is that nobody has the time to workout every single muscle. Many of your smaller muscles offer only a slight advantage if at all.
Much of the physical aspects of boxing such as balance, power, and movement will come from your lower body. The more technical aspects of boxing such as accuracy, defense, and landing punches will typically come from your upper body. Depending on what you feel your style needs, the most it is up to you to decide whether to focus on more power, or handspeed, endurance, or all of it.
The key to effective boxing training is understanding how your muscles are used in boxing and to be able to decide how to train them to best fit that purpose. Smart athletes will know that certain muscles should definitely be given priority over the others.
By “legs”, I’m referring specifically to the quads and the calf muscles. This is something that should be ingrained into anybody ever wanting to learn how to do anything powerful with their body. ALL power comes from the ground, nowhere else! Because your legs are connected to the ground, they are most responsible for pushing off the ground to generate power throughout your body. Your legs also happen to be the biggest muscles in your body, which is why all proper boxing punches are typically thrown with the legs pivoting and rotating.
Again, the legs generate the most power! Not the chest and definitely not the triceps. If you look carefully at many of the most dynamic and complete punches or boxers in history, you will see that they have great legs more often than great arms or big chests. Look very carefully at the typical boxer’s body and you won’t find over-developed pecs or huge triceps. Marcos Maidana, Manny Pacquiao, Thomas Hearns, Julian Jackson, and Felix Trinidad are some names of guys that immediately come to mind. These guys did not have big upper-bodies but they carried HUGE power in their fists. Even Mike Tyson, as dynamic a puncher as he was, was still more muscular at his legs than his arms!
Hips (Balance & Lower Body Core)
The hips hold your lower body and legs together. They also generate a huge amount of power by pivoting your whole body when you need. Another important function is that your hips have to do with how well you are balanced. Since your hips are very close to your body’s center-of-gravity, stronger hips would mean that you have better control of your balance. I shouldn’t have to stress that balance is definitely one of the most important factors in boxing. Balance essentially determines the effectiveness and efficiency of your offense, defense, movement, and overal fighting ability!
You can also think of your hips as your body weight. By using the muscles in your leg to move your hips with every punch, you will be able to put your entire body weight into each punch maximizing its power.
Abs (Frontal Body Core & Snap)
The abdominal muscles are a very powerful set of muscles that hold your whole body together. Every limb in your body generates a certain amount of power individually but it is your abs that allow you to combine the force generated by every limb into one total force. Simply put, your abs allow you to connect the force generated by all your limbs into one powerful punch. Some bodybuilders bulk up to improve their body mass and strength. Of course, you have the choice to either adopt the dirty bulk or clean bulk, as both have their own benefits. However you build your mass, the abdominal muscles help you breathe and allow you to take frontal body shots.
Back (Rear Body Core & Punch Recovery)
The back also funtions as a total body core muscle by holding your body together and combining the power generated by all your limbs. Another little known (BUT VERY IMPORTANT) fact is that the back helps a lot in punch recovery–which is the speed of how fast you can pull your hand back after a punch.
Many fighters are too busy building the front of their upper body through push-ups and punching at the heavybag but very few of them focus on building up the back of the upper body like the rear shoulders and the back. I’m going to explain something very important, when you spend all your time hitting the heavy bag, you may not realize that the heavy bag is bouncing your hand back at you on the recovery phase. By neglecting to workout your back and rear shoulder muscles, you will have weaker punch recovery muscles. The moment you start missing punches during a real fight, your arms will tire very quickly because your gloves become very heavy as you have to pull your punches back with your own muscles instead of having them bounced back at you.
Shoulders (Arm Endurance)
The shoulders are most important for punch endurance. Yes, the shoulders do generate power and snap for the punches but to me, they are most important for endurance. Typically when boxers’ arms become too tired to punch or hold up to defend their head, it is usually because the shoulders that are tired! Think about it: when your arms get tired, it is usually always the shoulder that is the first part of the arm to get tired. From a physical standpoint, it makes sense since it’s a relatively small muscle on the edge of the arm that has to hold up the entire arm. From a physics standpoint, it’s not hard to see why the shoulder can get tired so fast.
So if you want to be able to throw more punches and hold your hands up for a longer amount of time, you better start training your shoulders for endurance. Don’t worry about making the shoulders stronger, they only add small amounts of punching power compared to the leg muscles.
Arms (Power Delivery, Speed & Snap)
The arms are all about power delivery! By power delivery, I mean that the arm’s most important boxing function is to connect the power to the opponent. The arm is not responsible for generating power, that’s what you have your legs for. All your arms need to do is to connect the power generated by your body to your opponent!
So all your arms really need to do is to just reach out and touch your opponent, nothing else! Now that you realize your arms are meant for connecting punches and NOT generating power, you’ll see that it’s more important to have fast arms than powerful arms. Fast arms give you that speed and snap. The speed helps you sneak that punch past your opponent’s defense. The snap helps you recover that arm quickly to defend yourself after punching.
More specifically, the triceps are for speed of straight punches. The biceps are for the speed and snap of your hooks and uppercuts. Don’t try to bulk up your arms for power, keep them lean and fast so you can get those fast punches and fast combinations in! Let the lower body add power and the arms add speed.
Chest (Upper Body Core)
The chest muscles are your upper body core muscles. Their most important functions are to connect your shoulders, arms, and lats into one combined force. They also generate the most punching power out of your upper body muscles.
The neck is for punch resistance. You’ll see many fighters strengthening their neck so that their head doesn’t get whip-lashed and left in a more vulnerable angled position when it gets hit by punches. The forearm muscles are for tightening your fist harder when you punch. A tighter fist means your hand will hit with a more solid punch. At the same time, a tighter fist means your hand is less likely to be injured since the bones don’t have much room to move around and get misaligned.
Nice article, I’ve seen people ask about this all the time and you’re the first one to give a detailed answer. Would you recommend body weight exercises though, to keep from gaining too much unneeded weight?
So a few questions
First, what is more important? Power or balance?
Secondly, I’m confused. You said ALL power comes from the ground and nowhere else and that’s why your legs are important. But you mentioned that the chest generates power. So I’m confused. Can MUSCLES OUTSIDE of your legs generate or produce power?
Thirdly. When you talk about your back, are you talking about lats, lower back, trapezieus, or middle
Lastly, it seems like the legs are more important than anything else. If that’s the case, why are military and law enforcement recruits doing pushups, situps, and pull ups instead of strength excercises for their legs?
Balance is definitely more important than power. Legs generate the most power. Sure, some power is generated by the back, chest, and arms as well. When i say back…I mean generally all muscles located on the back. I’m not gonna spell out the scientific latin name of every group. Just as I also didn’t do so for the legs.
The military (as well as boxers) do all those exercises because they matter for overall body fitness. In case you haven’t noticed…absolute power isn’t the only thing that matters for body conditioning. You also want speed, coordination, endurance, etc.
I know pull ups and pushups and situps matter for overall fitness. But how would that have to do with a soldier or a law enforcement getting hands on with someone? If pushups and situps and pull ups won’t add much power to their punches compared to working out their legs, why are they doing pushups, situps, and pull ups instead of say strengthening their legs?
Yes, and speed is PART of power (the faster you hit, the more powerful). Quite frankly, the more power you have, the more endurance you’ll also have (well for the most part).
You actually DID latin name the muscle groups in your legs (calves and quadriceps). lol
Overall fitness matters because your whole body is making many movements during a fight, not only punching. Overall fitness matters. If all you care about is punching power, then by all means do only the exercise you want.
Punching power is not the same as power. Endurance is split as well…leg endurance vs body endurance vs arm/punching endurance.
At this point, I recommend you get in the gym and just follow along some exercises. Your questions are getting too basic that you’re wasting more time asking and trying to understand them in text when you would understand faster easily within a day of actual boxing class.
I actually did take fighting classes (never took boxing specifically, but I took taekwondo and krav maga and tried one class of muay thai).
I understand that overall fitness matters, I just hope that military and law enforcement recruits are getting helpful results from pushups, situps, and pull ups. They need to be strong if they are getting hands on with a combative person. They also might have to carry heavy stuff or people. I wonder if they should strengthen their calves and quadriceps more though.
When I go to the gym, the muscles I’m prioritizing are my abs, biceps, calves (as that’s the closest muscle group to the ground and that’s where power comes from), deltoids, glutes (make me kick harder and maybe run faster), inner forearms (forgot the formal name), lats, lower back (forgot the formal name), middle back (forgot the formal name), obliques, outerforearms (forgot the formal name), pectorals, quadriceps, and triceps
cuz they’re not boxers – boxers punch, LEOs restrain
LEOs also have to punch people. Same with military.
Power comes from technique. Minimal power is generated by slow twitch muscle. Thats why a 12 year old can drive a golf ball 300 yards or why a female bantam can knock the average guy through a wall. It’s technique, the proper cascading release in order to generate speed with optimal conservation of energy as you tighten the arc of your moving parts. Like every swinging sport from frisbee to golf to baseball to boxing. Thats why you throw a hook the way you do and why it’s so powerful.
The weight of muscle helps with force, and certainly all other aspects mentioned like balance and resistance to hits. But nothing will improve your power like your timing and technique. You don’t see fighters in the gym squatting their 3 rep max for a reason.
super komentar paci sa mi to som boxer boxuje rok a pol a mam na plane sta sa majster slovakia
Hi Zach. I think you’ve just inspired me to write an article on bodyweight exercises. For the time being, it’s push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, dips, pull-ups, and plyo-metrics. That’s it!
are u good in pull-ups
Yes, I am.
Your Answers are very cute johnny
U re doing cool job
Hey johnny. Id really appreciate if you could explain to me how the power from your punches is from your legs. I always thought that punching power was determined by the speed of your arm flying into your opponents face. Thus i always focused on the extension of my arm. I admit ive never really grasped the concept of using your “hips” or “legs” to punch.
Trying punching while in mid air.
Specifically when you have no traction to the ground.
Ever gone ice skating? Throw your arm as hard as you can while on Ice.
During most punches, especially to the body, leg muscles r important. Because it gives u the extra thrust for a powerful blow. Not only that but legs muscles helps us to roll more quickly and more efficiently.
look up “kinetic chain”
hi . i’ve recentley entered the maximum stregth phase of my weight training .. i’ll do it for 2 months and then i’ll go for speed-strength training … according to ur opinion i have to work for allthis muscle groups on strength ,, the all for speed generating except the shoulder part .. do i have to do strength – endurance training instead of strength speed for the shoulder group ?
if it is true .. how to ? it’s a little confusing 😀
mehran, you should actually spend more time on the speedbag trying to get faster than stronger.look at all the old boxers, all spend more time working on speed. thats because the hardest punches, or the punchest that are more likely to knock your opponent out are the ones they dont see coming. like a straight right coming from the 1-2. thats why the left hook is so effective, because you dont see it coming. so work on speed, then strength. good luck
Hi Mehran – for the shoulders, I would prefer working endurance…which in turn does help the speed a bit. Focusing the shoulders purely for strength would diminish the speed a bit.
this was a great read….thank you for posting it….i have trained briefly in boxing, but my primary emphasis is on wing chun kung fu, which is also referred to as chinese boxing. Much of what you say here applies directly to what we train. I guess there are similarities in all effective fighting styles. Peace.
Yes… the more I box, the more I realize boxing has a lot of similarities to other martial arts. Good luck with your wing chun kung fu and do feel free to share some awesome tips with us. I’ve always been fascinated by some of their techniques.
I really liked your input, I have started boxing last month and hitting the punch bag is always on mind but now on will definetly look to other exercise.
Do also mention the activities we carry to make our calfs and thighs more powerful
Thanks Johnny… :-).
Hussain, for powerful calves and thighs, I recoommend sprints, plyometrics, and jumping rope. When you do sprints, keep them at around 50 to 80 meters max so you can work at top speed with each sprint. As for plymetrics, lots of box jumps are great. Jump downs are better than jump ups.
Hello, is that good? youtube.com/watch?feature…0-mC6iM#t=481s
they do left rotations neck-50 reps,
and lifts-50. what you think?
or better to do harness? whats are cons ? and .
The link doesn’t work.
Thanks a lot… It was very helpful.. nothing new for me, but I’m simply glad than you pay an attention to the things like these are.. scientific boxing needs to be developed duly. thanks for taking part in it..
Back Strength/Punch Recovery
In the paragraph about the back, you mentioned that hitting a heavy bag doesnt really help all that much. Im 17 and all that I have is a heavy bag (and I have some bag called an accuracy bag, made by everlast). I want to get the most punch recovery possible. With the things I already own, what can I do?
Thanks for your time. 8)
@Vas – thanks for recognizing my efforts. ExpertBoxing has been my mission to contribute REAL technical knowledge anyway I can.
@Ethan M – to build those punch-recovery muscles: do lots of shadowboxing, work on that double-end bag. You can also step one foot onto a bench, bend-over and lift some light 5-10lbs weights as if you’re pulling the weight off the ground. (I forgot what this exercise is called) Any exercise where you’re mimicking a pulling motion with your arms or pulling something at you is going to build those punch recover muscles. Make sure you keep the weight resistance LOW! You do NOT want to be pulling 100lbs or anything near that heavy.
Any pulling motion that is not in the direction of a pull up is called a row. In this case, it I called a bent over row. Some people also call this a lawn mower.
Hi Johnny thanks for this article. I’d like to ask about exercises to improve strength of punches: several places on the net recommend exercises that basically involve punching while holding a dumbbell (1-5 kg, depending on boxer’s weight). I’m wondering whether that’s actually safe, especially when punching at max intensity, which means that your arm has to violently pull back a moving weight to overcome the inertia.
@ Gia – I personally don’t like throwing fast punches with weights. The weights don’t add proper resistance because gravity is pulling the weights down. What you want is resistance that goes against the direction of your punches. I also don’t like the weights because they harm my wrists–many other fighters feel the same.
em truth 28
Great article as i am reiterating i have power tower bar and i build muscle quikly are those excersices good for punching power pullups dips and pushups i feel stronger and faster what do u thnk
Great article, cleared up a lot for me.
I’ve been using a pair of weighted gloves, 2 pounds each, made for MMA training and they seem to be helping with punch speed and the pullback muscles. Holding them seems to help shoulder endurance, and trying to accelerate a 2 pound weight forward and backward adds resistance.
I use them for shadow boxing, and obtain some leg/calf training by bouncing around from side to side as I punch against multiple imaginary opponents. I had found rope jumping difficult to do for several reasons, but don’t mind jumping around while throwing punches.
The jump rope is difficult but the amount of coordination it develops in your body is priceless. The ability to synchronize all your muscles into an effortless jump will develop far more punching power than throwing punches with weights where you’re not as challenged to be completely coordinated/synchronized in your movements.
Pull the other one it’s getting your hip in body mechanics key in power punching Peter Consterdine British Combat Accociation
Pull the other one SKIPPING!!! it’s getting your hip in body mechanics key in power punching Peter Consterdine British Combat Accociation.
I saw a youtube video last year demonstrating the use of resistance bands behind the direction of the punch to improve speed. I don’t know if it would improve power. Personally I’ve had resistance bands snapping on me, the last time had my fist smashing into my chest, A few inches higher my jaw would have been busted as well a few teeth I think. The speed of the impact was shocking and no warning. I stick to cast iron now on steel bars.
If I was going to use an educated guess, I would say fast press-ups on closed fists would help, as too would those half pull-up things with a bar you above you while you lay on the floor …. pulling yourself up with heels on the ground, etc.
Perhaps my biggest asset is my foot speed and i was wondering if weight training for stronger legs (squats, lunges, leg extensions,etc) would slow my feet down? I was also wondering if working out my forearms (for stronger fist) would slow my hands down?
Training for stronger legs won’t slow down your footwork but it won’t help you either. Same goes with forearms. I have a crazy intense footwork training program coming out soon. Check it out if you’re serious about footwork.
absolutely love the site btw, thank you
@Paul – I do feel that excessive weight training will definitely slow your legs down. You want quick and swift movements. Lifting weights makes your legs stronger, so I’m not sure how doing them would make your footwork better. I imagine dancing would be a better way of improving footwork than weights. (This is just an idea, don’t take it seriously. Haha)
As for the forearms, yes you should work them out. They are small muscles and not really big enough to stiffen your entire arm.
what are the best exercises for forearms?
You wrote that the power comes out from legs and core. What are the best exercises?
Check out my guide called “EASY Boxing Workout”. There are many good exercises in there. For exercising your forearm muscles, you can do forearm curls and jump rope.
Excellent article, Thank You
Hi, regarding this comment you made in an earlier post…”Make sure you keep the weight resistance LOW! You do NOT want to be pulling 100lbs or anything near that heavy. ” When you do pull ups you are pulling over 100lbs if that is what you weigh. Maybe you could clarify what you meant by this? Thanks again for this great article.
Hi Keith. Heavy weights shouldn’t be used but it’s ok if you’re doing pull-ups, it uses more than one muscle group as opposed to many weight exercises that isolate to only one muscle.
Alright, that is what I figured you meant but wasn’t sure exactly. Thanks for the quick response. Also I would like to recommend jump squats, a few sets of 10-20 reps of those and you will feel like you just ran sprints and hundreds of squats afterwards.
Oh yes… jumping squats are awesome! Jumping switch lunges, too.
Do you know any exercises for the hips? Super cool article by the way!
@Charles – squats will target the hips very well. One-legged squats. Footwork drills are great.
If one is to avoid weights, how would you train the biceps? pullups are more back orinted, no?
I’m looking to improve handspeed.
@kryptonite – resistance training, which includes weights, is very useful for increasing your physical performance. I just don’t recommend overly heavy weights. Pull-ups are great for both your biceps and back. You should feel it after about 10.
hey john, im a beginner boxer and i just want to know a good workout regimen you do, if you could link one to me that would be great, thanks.
@Caleb – have you checked out my EASY Boxing Workout? https://expertboxing.com/boxing-training/boxing-workouts/167-expertboxing-easy-boxing-workout
oh thanks a lot bud ill look into that:-)
Question about working on these muscles
Hey John I need some help if u can…I’ve been boxing for 4 years now and I liked ur article and I’m reading and working on gettting my back shoulders and legs stronger as well as quick hand speed….I know u said resistance workouts and avoid weights but is there any way you can break some workouts down for me?? That can help me out before my next fight regarding getting all these muscles stronger?? I can give you my email if that would help…I really would like your help and would appericiate it
@Yasir – back workouts….jumping rope, pull-ups, reverse situps (have someone hold down your legs as you lie face down with your upper body hanging off the ring), do those cable pulls. leg workouts, jump rope, plyometric exercises (watch videos on sprinter’s plyometric training)
just wanted to add that i am in the best shape i have been in for a while, thanks to boxing and kettlebells. the movements in even something like the swing allowed me to get fitter and strong enough to have the confidence to join a boxing gym (at 39!) and in particular i credit the kettlebells with keeping my shoulders injury free.
aside from that, its all boxing and bodyweight for me!
@Rod72 – awesome personal story. I’m currently learning the kettlebells as we speak and enjoy the exercises. I wish I tried this sooner.
Im about to go head to head with this gorilla in a couple of days. Need some help on how to beat him in a fight. Thanks. What exercise should i do
what fighting style etc.
@Phillip – LOL. I’ve never coached anyone to beat a gorilla. But ok….can you describe his style? What is he good at? What are you good at? That will give me some ideas of what you can do.
Hey im 12 years old, I cant do weights yet because they will stunt my growth. What muscles should I train and how? I have already done many pushups so not pushups. Thanks
@John – try the jumprope! I think you’ll like it.
Thank you very much, I have been doing the jumprope since you suggested it. Are there any other workouts you have in mind?
@John – the list goes on and on. You should check out the EASY Boxing Workout…it’s a good starting point.
Hey thanks a lot, the Easy Boxing Workout helped alot! Cheers again!
Are you a trainer? If so, are you in NYC? And if so, can you be my trainer.. you really know your stuff and I need someone like that on my side
@John – you’re welcome!
@Eli – sorry, man. I’m in LA and I’m also not a trainer! I’ll do my best to train you through the site, though. Good luck and I wish you the best.
hey man im fifteen. I’m 5’3. Wil dis xercises afect my growth. Wat exercises wud u recomend.
@dayne – what exercises were you referring to? Generally you want to avoid exercises that pull on your back or downwards towards the ground (when you’re standing up). That’s my guess.
i was referin to exercises like squats. They stiffen ur calves. Ive heard it affects the growth.
Dayne, squats are awesome. Don’t use weights OR at least not heavier than 25% of your weight. They don’t stunt your growth unless you’re using weights so heavy that you can’t hold form and it bends your back.
thankyew so much johny..ill keep in ,mind. .
i had dislocated my shoulder and im trying to get my punching endurance back up. what shoulder exercises would you recommend?
well, the speedbag is great. how did you dislocate your shoulder?
i had hurt it spiking a volleyball, then when i was sparring i threw a left hand and it dislocated.
Ouch! Well, the speed bag will be fine for you. I highly recommend it. Jumping rope helps, too.
Thanks for this great article and great website. I’ve been hovering for a while and your information is not guesswork. This article means a lot to me because although I knew the information already, there weren’t that many people reflecting the same thoughts I have which is odd given that we do the same sport and people don’t still understand. I’ve come over from Thai boxing to amateur boxing so the legs are surely where it’s at. Thanks again, I look forward to adjusting my workout to eliminate my ego for huge arms 😉
“eliminate my ego for huge arms”…. I wish every beginner would listen to you. It makes all the difference in punching ability.
Hi Johnny, what do you think the function of hamstring and gluteus (maximus & medius) in boxing??
Ales, those muscles are very important core muscles. The hamstring helps to propel your body forwards as well as helps to hold your body together, balance, power generation, etc. The gluteus muscles do the same, they help you move your hips for the purpose movement, balance, power generation. They’re all very important.
u can never find anything that is exactly what u want on google or any search engin these days .thank god i found this . u have an answer for everythin you shood be in the next fight night
Thank you, dev!
For John (12 years old):
On top of what Johnny N suggested, i would also recommend you find someone who’ll do mitts for you. And lots of shadow boxing too. Those two will develop your form and speed.. you wouldn’t believe how a developed balanced form and with speed will translate directly into power in the bags once you’re old enough to go serious with bag work.
Do you think TRX is suitable to improve all of those muscles for fighting ?
If it is, what kind of exercises that will improve my speed and explosive power ?
Im thinking about getting the trx due to the lack of space in my place.
The TRX system is awesome. Lots of great fun workouts. We have it at my gym and I use it every week. Do keep in mind that it isn’t necessary but very useful in your case since you have very little space. I only wish it didn’t cost $200.
Hi Johhny, a newbie here.
I’ve been boxing for almost a year, and I am currently a lightweight @60kg, 132lbs at 5’9. I’m really skinny for my height so I want to move up weight classes. My goal weight is to be at least 67kg, ideally I want to compete at welterweight or even better if it is possible at superwelter or middleweight, if i can that is. I’ve started a bodybuilding program because my coach told me that high rep low weight can build hard muscles while bodybuilding can build soft muscles. I’m 16 years old so right now I’m just trying to build muscle mass. By the way I haven’t started amateur yet, I’m entering this “practice fight” on Sunday where I compete against people at different gyms to test my strength(there are wins and losses of course). I’m gonna be competing in couple of those fights before I start going amateur so by the time I start my real fights I want to compete at welterweight.
Is bodybuilding the thing I am supposed to be doing if I want to move weight classes? Thanks a bunch and god bless from Japan 🙂
I really don’t believe in moving up in weight and especially not through bodybuilding. You can still gain weight and perform well but never as good as fighting at your true bodyweight, that’s just my opinion. Since your body is still growing, I would let it grow naturally and fight at whatever weight is most natural to you. Trying to gain weight to fight at a heavy weight class sounds like learning how to be a great artist when your left hand when you’re naturally right-handed. Good luck on your smoker fight this weekend, Taisei! Let me know how you do.
Hey mate, I am 14 atm and just wondering if pushups / situps will stunt my growth thx.
Push-ups and sit-ups will definitely not stunt your growth, Phillip.
Hey, im 16 years old, 6’1, 170 pounds and im very new to boxing. Everytime i punch a heavy bag i feel like my punch has very little power.. Ive already looked up correct stances, but im beginning to think I have weak wrists.. Im confused! Can you please give me some advice to make my punch stronger? Thanks
Hey, im 16 years old, 6’1, 170 pounds. Everytime i punch a heavy bag i feel like my punch has very little power.. Ive already looked up correct stances, but im beginning to think I have weak wrists.. Im confused! Can you please give me some advice to make my punch stronger, Or maybe some workouts that you think would help me? Thanks!
It might be to do with your punching technique. Are you wrapping up your hands and punching with straight wrists? Do you have a pair of gloves that fit snugly? You could try doing pushups with push up handles (that way you aren’t bending your wrists but rather keeping them straight) usually that will help with strengthening them. But yes, straight wrists and relaxing while punching might help.
Brandon, work on shadowboxing. Develop your form and technique by hitting the air. When you punch, try to explode down into the ground instead of pushing the bag. If you don’t understand this, you have to do more shadowboxing until your air punches feel powerful.
It also helps to breathe explosively. Take small short breaths when you punch.
Okay, il do that! Thanks johnny and laura.
Before i go to boxing which is in january 2012, I would like to get ready first.
Can you plz tell me how i can build some oblique as they are thinner and smaller than hips(it looks like a girl but not too bad) can u give me some excersices that will help my obliques to get bigger and level them up with the hips. I do side push ups while leaning against the table which stretches my obliques but what do u recommend.
Also my back of legs, calves are weak. Can u giv some excercises that will enhance them faster plz. I heard u dont like weight resistance, am i allowed to use weights for calves or obliques.
What do u recommend plz reply.
For obliques – do side crunches and trunk twists with a weight or medicine ball. I can’t guarantee they’ll get bigger but they’ll definitely become stronger and more conditioned.
For your legs and calves – do more jump rope and lots of plyometric exercises.
These exercises are with performance in mind, not looks.
Jason…While I am no expert, it’s best that you simply work on your technique, stance and conditioning for now (jump rope, etc) before you start. There is a lot you can do on your own to prep yourself.
I’m adding my opinion since I used to make the mistake of trying to “look” good before starting wrestling, Kickboxing etc when I should have been more concerned about skill training. Now that I’m getting into pure boxing now, I’m more concerned with mastering the basics. Thankfully I am in decent condition, so that will enable me to focus more on the fundamentals.
Once you actually begin boxing, concentrate on the basics and skills. Everything else will take care of itself and fall into place in time. In all honesty, no one will really care what you look like, but the fact that you are working hard and trying to learn will be far more crucial.
I’ve never seen any fighter win by his or her looks. I can’t remember who said this..Maybe my friend Ross..”Skills pay the Bills”. Truer words couldn’t have been spoken. Just my .02 and hope this helped.
thanx dude ill keep that in mind ill focus on basics and master them and thers so much to learn on this awesome website. Johnny it would be appreciated if u could answer my question too. What do u recommend.
dbb boxing miguel
What do you think about weighted squats for the quads?
I don’t like heavy weights so I wouldn’t recommend them. I’m sure there are other boxing coaches who might disagree.
em truth 28
I dont lift weights never liked thm is pullups dips and pushup good for punchin power and speed. when i do lift weighys i do shoulder and bak excerises are ok for example shoulder lifts shrugs
Pull-ups and dips will help power a little bit, speed not so much.
I really like your article. I do kyokushin karate myself, but admire boxing and other martial arts.
When I throw body punches, my opponent doesn’t seem to be too phased. Should I aim for the ribs instead of the abdomen, or keep the punches lower? (We dont punch to the face in kyokushin)
Overall, this is great, useful advice. Thanks bro.
Target the solar plexus, stomach, ribs, or liver. All those areas hurt. If your opponent isn’t feeling them, then you might need to learn how to punch harder.
im aspiring to be regarded among the greats Deran, Chavez, Hagler, Hatton and so on but im looking for that exstra feather in my cap, i want my body punching to be my A game and for me to be mentioned along these too. so what muscles must i be exsercising and what activities should i be doing to train them to the full to increase my skills body punching? I’ve heard crouching puts lots of stress on the legs should i train them? hope to hear from you soon, merry christmas by the way.
Legs and core.
Hey johnny, I got bashed by the gorilla. Needless to say I need to work out to bash him. what work outs should i do. Im doing pushups and situps ( I dont have jumprope and I dont have weights) Also i cant go to gym. And no bars to do chinups or pull ups. what should i do
Look up bodyweight exercises, Phillip. There are plenty of calisthenics that develop your entire body without requiring a gym or weights. Even still, developing that muscle doesn’t guarantee you’ll fight any better against the gorilla.
Are there any exercises to train those neck muscles? Also, is swimming a good way to develop chest muscles?
Happy new year by the way.
Swimming is a good exercise for conditioning. Is it a good way to develop chest muscles? Do you mean grow bigger chest muscles? (Maybe not) But if you mean to condition the chest muscles, then probably yes.
You can train your neck muscles by doing neck bridges or using weights attached to a strap that goes around your forehead.
what about a strong chin? How do i develop that?
The chin is a bone, not a muscle. Most fighters will exercise their neck muscles to help take punches better.
Johnny how can I get my calves bigger?? What are some workouts? Also what about arms, what workouts would you recommend to build speed?? Thx.
Standing calf raises, seated calf raises and jumping split lunges.
Standing calf raises place more emphasis on strengthening the gastrocnemius (which is the larger muscle in the calf). Seated calf raises place more emphasis on strengthening the soleus (which is the muscle that helps support your body weight when you bend your knees).
Jumping split lunges will exercise all the muscles of the calf including the Achilles tendon while offering a great cardio workout, it will also help you with your foot work. This is a very popular excise in Muay Thai Boxing which is preformed on a large tire, its a great alternative for skipping especially for those that are overweight or have knee problems as the tire takes allot of the impact, and not only that its pretty fun too. Its like jumping on a trampoline but with all the fitness benefits.
I agree with the exercises Laura mentioned. Generally the calf muscles get bigger from slow painful exercises like calf raises…or even just walking (ever look at the mailman’s calves?). Explosive workouts will shape the calves and make them ball up more but the slow exercises will stretch it and make it bigger overall.
For speed workouts, I have some listed in the Hand Speed Drills and Exercises article, have you read that one?
I’ve heard that stretching and doing calve raises is bad for quick feet as it will mess up the ankles over time?
Not true at all! If anything, it will strengthen the ankles which is what more people! Strong ankles allows for more power transfer and control through the foot.
better to do slowly or normal speed? Slow makes you slow.?
calf raises you do them with weights or not?
No weights needed. Start at a slower speed to develop form and control. Speed it up when you get better at it.
Johnny, just a bit of sharing: I’m 46 years old and started getting into boxing this last year. I’m part of a small class that does all kinds of cardio, technique, etc. I’m fortunate to have found the trainer I did after having just a so-so guy who was certainly in shape but knew little of boxing technique. You speak above about shoulder endurance. (Mine definitely grow tired faster than I’d like.) To build shoulder endurance, do I understand you correctly that you suggest working more with the speedbag? Anything else? Your knowledge, your passion, and your exceptional manner to your website visitors set you apart and above any other I’ve come across. Your parents must be very proud. PS- Waiting on that Boxing Fundamentals Guide. Quit changing the launch date and get it done!! (-:
Richard, I recommend the speed bag and jump rope. Sure there’s other things that will help too but those 2 exercises are the best ones. Shadowboxing a lot also helps.
Thank you for the kind words and support. The book is finally launched. 🙂
Hi, thanks for the great article.
you mentioned earlier that boxers should stay away from bodybuilding, thought Mike Tyson trained at the gym at the end of his career ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CdRq_v0cH4 ) even in his very youth as an amateur and through his career and until now, he has an incredible biceps peak that no other boxer had at any weight division,and still he had a lightning speed, So do you think that he lifted weights in a different way that increase speed and power, and is suitable for Boxing.
Mike Tyson was a stocky kid and impressively muscled before he started boxing. Everybody saw that he had raw physical advantage. With that being said, I don’t think lighting weights contributed solely to his advantage in speed in power. Maybe it helped, maybe it was just for working out. Either way, it’s only one piece of a giant equation. Conventional advice from every trainer would be that weights are the least important part of your training routine, if they are to be there at all. I stress that because to my knowledge and past experience, it has shown to be incredibly true.
Man I love your site so much! Its like looking through an art gallery filled with a particular artists painting from his early days to his perfected paintings! I’m 14 years old and live in London and train boxing where David Haye did! And I am rather well conditioned ( trying to avoid arrogance ) but as I read your article you mentioned that the two main sources of power are the legs and hips! Now to train the legs is easy ( one leg squats, jump rope, running… ) But how about the hips? How on earth do I build muscle in the hips?
Again man I think your site is truly amazing and you’re a great man by helping out hundreds of people!
Oh and could you install a currency change thing because for us Brits who use pound the Ebook ain’t really available!
“…like looking through an art gallery filled with a particular artists painting from his early days to his perfected paintings…” — WOW! Awesome comment.
I’m amzed you train at David Haye’s boxing gym. How do you like it there?
About developing hip muscles. This is your hip flexors, glutes, adductors, and abductors. Find exercises that target those muscles and you’re well on your way to stronger hips. If anything, try to increase your hip control and functional movement. It’s not so much about power or building muscle.
About the ebook, there have been several people from the UK who were able to buy without problems. Are you telling me it wouldn’t let you pay through Paypal because you couldn’t change the currency? Please get back to me on this because you have me worried.
Hajime no ippo
Some people say planks (one of my favourite exersices) help developing hip muscles too.
Hey johnny, im 76. Dont judge a cover by its book. I have been into boxing for about 54 years now with 23 of these long years being a coach. I was browsing the internet yesterday ( Old people do indeed also have the internet) and I saw your posts. They were good and I enjoyed them. thank you for the read.
Simon, I have a lot of respect for your time in the science. Thank you for reading and commenting. What gym do you coach at?
Yeah its called Fitzroy Lodge ABC its lots of very hard work and strict discipline but I love it! Well to be fare I haven’t tried yet and I was just wondering if you could make life a little easier! But I’ll try it out and I’ll tell how it goes! Again thanks for everything man 🙂 !
HI Johnny , I fractured my wrist last year its been seven months since i have been back to my amateur boxing club.The funny thing is, it was only a small fracture but at the time i couldnt even throw a punch(rotate my wrist) or put pressure on it. The doctor I saw thought it was just ligament and tendon damage and refered me to a physiopherapist. It was only due to my insistance that it was discovered that the wrist was actually fractured. I have a resistance band and a hand grip, are there any specific exercises I should be doing.
That’s a serious injury, Tony. I would do whatever the doctor says is necessary and give your wrist extra time to heal. It’s easy to aggravate the injury with hard punches. I would use the heavy bag a lot less during the recovery period.
Hello Johnny. This is an amazing site; you should be proud of what you have accomplished here.
First time poster, been reading this for a couple of months now. Boxing is something I have only recently ‘discovered’ after trying out some training with a friend who has been doing boxing training for a couple of years (classes mostly). Now I am hooked.
I have a question in regards to this article. You mention in the article that almost nobody has the time to train every muscle and I would agree with this. However after reading it, I noticed that every muscle or muscle group was mentioned in the article and deemed important to certain degrees. What I got from the article is that legs and core are the most important muscles for a boxer, followed by the shoulders and back muscles. I can’t help but think I have misread or misinterpreted this article as everyone else who has posted it seems to understand haha.
Anyway thank you for your time.
Welcome to the sport, Ryan! Prioritize your workouts towards the most import muscles first. If you can get to everything great, but even if you only hit the major groups you’ll still be fine. Beginners should be more focused on learning the drills and having fun. They’ll be plenty of opportunity to get in shape later, developing the skills is what takes a long time.
The reason why you might lose balance is probably because you dont have as much strong muscles in your legs or calf muscles. The legs generate the power and give you balance. Try bending your legs more as well. My trainer first looked at me and told me that I have a good upper body but just my lower body wasnt all that great. It has muscles but I jsut jogged and did jumpropes and thought that was my leg workout. A house is built from the bottom to the top remember that. Legs are very important. You have to be more muscular at your legs than in your arms! Look at Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao and youll see what I mean. You have to have muscle strength in your legs!
Yes you are right with that. Stance has been one of the hardest things for me so far. I tend to start losing balance when throwing combinations (working on 1-2-3 at the moment).
Thank you for your clarification mate.
in gymnastic strength training first they build maximal strength to a very high standard (using more and more advanced bodyweight exercises i.e. plance press up) before starting to add in power movments .
wouldnt the same method be good for boxing ie build raw strength then once a high level of strength is achived to then add power to legs endurance to shoulders etc. If all ur fittness requirments are ticked but u have aditional strength that cant do nothing but help punch power can it ?
im new to boxing and this article has been very enlightening cheers :]
Proper punching technique relies on proper leverage of the body weight and not so much about the muscular strength. With that said boxing is more about endurance power than strength power. Additional anything (strength, speed, power, endurance) will always help but do know that strength is not the priority.
em truth 28
I had a question do workouts like pull ups and dips and pushups make u punch harder and give you more speed are these workouts good fir boxing i kno ut might seem like a dtupid question just askin
Hey dude, thats a good question! The answer is yes. Those are good workouts to strengthen your arms and so forth. Make sure you work on speed at the same time though. For boxers, they have to work out those fast-twitch fiber muscles. In other words, do them explosively and fastly. Mayweather does dips but he does them fast too. The reason being is that they make you stronger and work out your arms to be faster. For pushups, try doing clap – pushups because that will make you faster in handspeed and give you strength. Boxing has to have explosive and high-intensity workouts bro. Make sure you do those workouts fast and not just slowly because that will just make you buff and stronger! For the question down below about the heart muscle, youc an work that out by cardio. Jumpropes, sprints (especially) jogging, footwork, and so forth!
thats the problem i dont know what to do. Enudrance is important but doing 70,80 push ups is for endurance and if i want to do one arm push ups then i cant do that much beacuse if i will do 1 or 2 one arm push ups then it will be muscular strenght not endurance and if you say that muscular strenght doesnt help for boxing then shall i stop doing one arm push ups??
Check out my boxing workout article and go from there.
could i get the link to make me sure..?
It’s called the “EASY Boxing Workout”.
thanks a lot
What about the heart? The heart could be the most important muscle for boxing literally and figuratively.
The heart will get an article of its own!
I’m a taekwondo practicioner and amateur boxer, so my routine in boxing has been lacking due to my TKD training. This has helped enormously, but any advice on cross training?
What advice are you looking for specifically? I only train boxing so I wouldn’t know too much about combining workouts for other fighting arts.
I cross trained in boxing and tang-soo-do for a while, and the more I got into boxing the more I realized that I would need to devote more time to it in order to get good at it.
Doing both meant that I wasn’t doing justice to neither, and I had to make a choice based on which art I enjoyed the most.
I chose boxing, and haven’t regretted my decision at all.
Nothing wrong with karate, if that’s what you enjoy, and you may be able to train both, but one will be your main thing, and the other will take somewhat of a back seat.
How can I gain muscle weight without doing any weightlifting? I mean I know it’s hard to grow bigger muscles in boxing training but what is the right way to do it?
You can gain muscle even with simple calisthenics but many MANY repetitions.
Can a soft heavy bag mess up your punch technique as far as bringing punches back to where they came from I work on my back more than anything and it feels like my punches are coming back slow?or am I pushing?
A soft heavy bag doesn’t bounce your hand back at you so your recovery muscles will be forced to work harder. As always, try to snap instead of push.
you need to add FLOYD MAYWEATHER to your examples. how are you going to name paq, mike and all the others without speaking on the Great?…Who’s hand speed is CRAZY!!!
hey johnny my shoulder endurance is really awful even if im shadowboxing i start to get really tired i keep my hands relaxed and my form is good the only problem is shoulder endurance. Do u know any exercise or routine that could help me increase my shoulder endurance aswell as my leg endurance . Thanks for the help in advance 😀
I actually have a guide on this website to help you with that. But for now, try more speed bag and shadowboxing! Throw lots of punches. Don’t use weights!
Hi Johnny, i have been training / sparring for just on 8 months now, my first fight is nearing. Coaches are great and believe my form / technique is looking good. I’m 180 pounds and around 187cm in height. I am wanting to speed up my jab and also increase power in it, any exercises / ideas on how to go about this? It isn’t super slow but would really like to improve speed / snap of it. Thanks for your time!
I have a guide on this website to improve hand speed. Please check it out, Chris.
Johnny, what the function of trapezius?
For moving the body or parts of the body or generating power. There are many uses.
If you do dumbbell shrugs, how much the weight should be the maximum for each dumbbell Johnny? and how many repetition?
Generally, you’re not supposed to use that much weight that you’re reaching your muscle’s maximum weight load capacity. Something around 3 sets x 15 reps is a good starting point.
Is 7 kilos for each dumbbell good?
I beg to differ with your assessment on Thomas Hearns. Hearns had a relatively massive upper body in relation to his toothpick like legs. Hearns had pretty good development in his upper body especially throughout his upper back and shoulders even as a skinny welterweight, and this development increased as he jumped weight classes but even as a light heavyweight Hearns still had incredibly thin legs. Other power punchers noted for their “chicken legs” have been Bob Foster, Bob Fitzsimmons, Jimmy Wilde, Sandy Saddler, Carlos Zarate, etc., there probably have been just as many chicken-legged power punchers as those with thick legs like Marciano, Frazier, or Tyson. Bob Fitzsimmons like Hearns carried all his development in his well muscled upper back and shoulders developed as a blacksmith and credited this occupation for helping him develop the kind of punching power that helped him knockout world class fighters often weighing more than 50lbs. heavier than himself. Matter of fact the aforementioned punchers Foster, Hearns, Fitzsimmons, Wilde, Saddler, Zarate are not only power punchers, but without a doubt some of the best punchers of all-time and pound for pound some of the greatest punchers in boxing history.
Here are my thoughts, Eric.
– When I say Hearns didn’t have a massive OVER-developed upper body I meant that it wasn’t built like a weight lifter. Yes it’s well developed and ripped and all that but it’s not big like a bodybuilder. You can see an image here: http://ringtalk.com/wordpress/http://ringtalk.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/hearns-duran.jpg
– You can have chicken legs but they still must be strong legs. The majority of your punching power will always come from the legs. The matter is not how big the legs are but how powerful they are.
will not one leg squats slow me down? i mean the pistols.
why dont you do pistols?
I don’t see anything wrong with pistol squats.
so i was wondering do you have any other good exercises for shoulder endurance?
The speed bag and the jump-rope. Double-end bag. The best exercises are the ones with a great range of motion, because real fighting requires you to move your arms and shoulders from all sorts of angles.
You just named all the muscles in the body aha, your whole body works together.. just say that instead of wasting your time in an article
teehee. Charlie brown you’re right. haha……
I wish I could just say that and save thousands of hours of writing articles. Hahaha!
Is the chest muscle useless for boxing?
Every muscle is useful…when used properly.
would a gymnastic style strength training be any good i know the training for it is usualy very low reps but once u go from a planch press up back to a normal press up they become very easy
woiuld 20 reps of 5 sets of handstand press ups on paralet bars (to do full range of motion) be good for endurance for shoulders
for power in the legs can i do heavy squat deadlift and olympic lifts ty
how would i go about gaining weight in a manner thats boxing friendly
thank you for your time crackin post :]
Handstand press-ups are great for strength but not so much for endurance. I don’t recommend heavy lifting. Gaining weight and boxing don’t exactly mix. Most fighters will be losing weight to get into raw fighting shape.
So how much kg do you recommend to do deadlift? and reps?
do 15 reps means endurance?
How about 15-25 reps. Use a light weight at first and work your way up from there. Start with half your body weight or less.
so not more than 25 reps and not less than 15 reps or:
Well, you can do whatever you want. I’m only suggesting a range for you to start out with.
nice article ive bookmarked this page on my computer just in case i need more info lol but wouldn’t your forearms produce some type of power with your’e punches?
Never mind, i just read the “small Muscles” part
Well sure, every muscle contributes SOMETHING. But how important would the forearms be in comparison to the hamstrings? There’s gotta be some sort of priority for the bigger muscles here.
which muscles are very important in light-fly weight (49 kg)??
Doesn’t matter what size you are. You need your muscles in order to move your body.
I enjoy your page, you get right to the point and actually answer the question that many have and you do it intelligently and non-sarcastic. Your love for boxing and teaching shines through. I have been doing fast rope climbing with two climbing ropes jumping with both hands as I go up till I reach the top not using my legs. This exercise has been greatly beneficial for my hand speed, grip, reflexes, balance, and punch recovery. I recommend that if you are in good enough shape (light enough) to do this give it a shot. GREAT WORKOUT anyway that’s my two cents great website!!!
Thank you for the suggestion, Josh. I’ll have to give it a try.
ty alot for the article. a question
neck muscles r only for punching resistance or r they also good for evading punches… i mean fast (and balanced) head movement?
Neck muscles are for more for having strong control and not so much about head movement and punch resistance. Ultimately, it’s best not to get hit. The head movement is from your body movement, not from your neck muscles.
Appreciate if you could share with me any video on youtube that teach leg work out? Since leg is the main muscle to generate punching power
I will try to make these videos in myself. 🙂
Im almost 18 and want to become a boxer, before i start i just want to find out some exercises to help the muscles which i will be using for punching, recovery and taking blows. What exercises can i do for the muscles you have named in your article?
For punching and recovery, do a lot of shadowboxing and double-end bag work. For taking blows….do defensive drills! If you want to target everything, I suggest reading the “EASY boxing workout” article.
If chest muscles are so significant for punching power, what would be the best strength workout regimen for a cruiserweight with a smaller chest.
The chest muscles are not so significant for punching power. But anyway, to exercise them you can use push-ups and plyometric type workouts to strengthen that area.
Thomas Hearns had very skinny legs and a wide back !!!! Julio Cesar Chavez had skinny arms and legs. Eric Morales was skinny overall. All those had knockout power !!!!
Skinny legs or not, the legs are still the biggest muscles in your body and you still have to use them.
hey johny i do weight training monday to saturday.i want to gain 4kg weight.plz can u give me some weight training tips?
For gaining weight? Make sure you work the legs. Do some squats (WITH GOOD FORM), 45-degree leg presses, leg curls, leg extensions, adductors, abductors….and eat more carbs and protein. Of course, none of this meant to improve your boxing though.
basically am vegetarian so no eggs and meat :-(… so what will be the best diet i can keep up
and whats the good way to increase speed and stamina????
Nothing wrong with being vegetarian. Make sure you have all the necessary vitamins and eat right. Speed and stamina can be improved with regular conditioning.
Thanks 🙂 🙂
I am a boxing vegetarian too, and, I found that supplementing creatine has a very noticeable effect on my stamina. Creatine is an energy reservoir for your muscles. Omnivores get it from eating meat, a vegetarian’s body can synthesize it by itself, but doesn’t seem make a lot of it.
Some Random Kid
How would someone go about making their neck stronger?
Use a weight strap and start with low weights.
Nothing better than back bridges or front bridges(make sure you spend equal amount of time on each exercise) *also known as wrestler bridges or neck bridges. Also do headstands for time periods. Another great exercise is taking a towel and using manual resistance, exercise the neck in all 4 positions front, back, and each side. Also certain weight training exercises indirectly work the neck. Exercises like shrugs, upright rows, cleans, snatches, and overhead lifts will also strengthen the neck indirectly while strengthening other muscles more directly.
Bridges are a good exercise but I fear too intense for the average beginner. Using a towel is a great idea.
Is it bad when i go 100 % on pad work/bag work that my shoulders start to hurt? I have my technique down, and i use 16 oz fairtex gloves. But also i have a lot of punching power. I just recently bought fighting 16 oz gloves, but you said in a post that i should go with 12-14 oz gloves for pad work/bag work to get use to snapping your punches(I really like working with 12 oz) . but Is it that i need to build my shoulder up more or gloves(My fairtex are done btw)? I’ve been training for about a year in Muay thai and your advice will EXTREMLY help! Please anwser!
Training with 16oz is fine! You’re getting pain because you keep going 100%. That’s the best way to get injured.
What exercises do you recommend for the hips?
Jump rope, and lots of it! Start there.
Johnny, what number or reps would you reccommend when lifting weight? I’m quite unathletic, but I feel strong for my weight. 5’9” 120lbs (wrestling). I can hang with my 140lb friends—maybe I have fair technique, but I’m not sure. I have been out of competition for about 4 years, so I’m a kind of a couch potato. I have CHICKEN LEGS. What would you reccommend?
This is a whole other article in itself. I don’t do much weight lifting though.
To elaborate on my question; what can I do to make my legs stronger. Of course the simple squats, running, etc. But how heavy should I lift? I have a membership at BodyPlex, but I don’t want to hurt my joints lifting heavy and also hinder my boxing abilities. I start at 12 reps and usually work down to about 4 reps on the last set. Being so damn skinny, would it be okay to lift heavy for mass gain? Again, the last time I played a sport was 4 years ago, which was Basketball and even then I was totally out of shape. My friend wants to gain size and would like me to join him 3 times a week, but I’m not that concerned with getting “huge”. I feel very big and strong for 120lbs and I’m hoping that advantage will translate well into Boxing when I sign up next week. I carry most of my weight in my back. What do you recommend Johnny? Plyometrics, Isometrics…? I know these will only help, but what should I do to maximize my size advantage and increase my speed, coordination, etc? I know there’s a few questions scattered throughout my babble, but if you could answer each I’d really appreciate it! I love the work you do Johnny! You have the best Boxing content on the web, hands down! And trust me, I’ve seen A LOT to be such a noob in the sport of Boxing!
I don’t recommend lifting heavy for boxing. For mass gain, it can work but that’s a whole other area of expertise. Speed and coordination is increased through more sport-specific drills.
HEy whats is better for streetfighting defense? to hit: jabs or right straght or hooks?
All of them.
Johnny N is completely right here. And I will break down the boxing science for you
Muscle fiber can be broken down into 2 categories. Slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers. Obviously slow twitch muscles allow one to move slow and fast twitch fast. So what does this have to do with boxing and weight lifting. Well weightlifting builds slow twitch muscle fibres. To have punching speed,power and KO power, you need fast twitch fiber.
Force = mass x speed. However having a high mass with low speed will knock someone over at best, but not out. Think Ernie Shavers, who notoriously would knock down boxers only to later lose to them. I was in the hospital the other day, and a guy came in with a broken leg because he got run over by a bus. Well in theory if you can hit like a bus, you should be able to knock a guy out, but instead the bus just knocked him over. However, had the guy been beamed in the head with a very small mass at a fast speed, like say a baseball or even a golf ball, he’d likely be out cold. Further it is way easier for 99% of the population to move their hand at 100 km/h than to hit with the power of a bus. And lets say you are just trying to increase your mass through weightlifting. You are failing to recognize that throwing slow punches aren’t going to hit a skilled opponent. You are also failing to recognize that if you lack the hand speed you cannot knock a guy out, because the mass required to KO someone is relatively small (baseball or maybe even a gold ball weigh can do it). But the speed is likely upwards of 60-80km/h. Further you are also missing the point that if you can hit with bus like force, your opponent is going to move around and you will get muscle fatigue much more quickly.
If punching just required lots of big muscles, then in theory top boxing trainer’s should be just finding big strong guys like weightlifters and body builders to fight. The reality is they tend to throw very weak punches.
Liken it to a marathon runner vs a sprinter.
Is it true that front delt, pectoralis major and triceps are the most important muscles in power delivery? I encounter an article from livestrong.com that we work those three muscles when we punch heavy bag.
Here is the link:
Yes, they are critical in power delivery but not in power generation.
I respect your attitude in answering every posted question and the concern you put if you replied them late. Keep up the good work Mr. Johnny 🙂
When I heavy punch bag, the next day I have sore CHEST, TRAPS, BICEPS!, and LATS. Never ever after punching or boxing I had my triceps or front delts sore….
I am a 49 year old who plans to make his pro debut in May or June, right before I turn 50. MY old time trainer is on board. I start sparring in December. Working on getting body ready. Wish to thank you for your site and care you take in responses. You advice has already paid dividends and I thank you for this. Even at my age, let ego get to me and started focusing on bench lbs. and PR in running. Your site has brought back down to earth on what goal is. Thank you sir.
are u partisipating in any seriuose pro fight or it is specially for senior citizen..because it is amazing to know that u r participating at this age.
Greetings Vivek, thanks for inquiry. No, most assuredly for real bout. Much, much work to do. This iis why I appreciated discovering this site.
Please take good care.
How come did your promoter managed to arrange a real bout for you at your age without any previous fights behind your belt??? I can hardly believe, but if it’s true, I think it is going to be a guinness world record!
Funny you mention this. When I first thought of approaching trainer on this dream, looked up and a good number made debut older than myself. Did not find hundreds but did find a few. If I may, 49 is not the walking dead. Have lost a lot of muscle and gained fat, but pulse, blood pressure, flexibillity, and cardio is still excellent. What I am finding so far is my anaerobics has suffered much. I mean a whole bunch. Trying to help in muscle and anaerobics area since August to mid December, when plan is to start serious skill work with sparring. This is one reason why have found this site so interesting and think will prove helpful.
Am heavyweight so in ways, think this dimishes the age issue to some unknown degree. Secondly, I will not fight someone 11-0. Looking at someone like 8-3, 5-1, 11-4. Something like this. Also, trainer is most excellent and have known for 30 years. Also will have incredible sparring. Having said all of this, will have to see how I do from December into March. Will have to see much improvement.
Appreciate your interest. Thanks for this.
Well… boxing for staying fit, confident, sharp… is one thing, but competing, and at the pro level right away without any amateur record is a completely different story man, and I have never heard this before, although I have been in a sport of boxing or close to boxing for more than twenty years… maybe in America you have different system??? Here in Europe those guys who have 8 pro fights usually have AT LEAST 50 previous amateur fights as well… I don’t want to discourage you at all, keep going and you will find out yourself:)… competitive boxing is a sport that you cannot force too much, and only capable people can go forward, while people who start finding dizzy adventures in the ring too often, quit very quickly:) Best luck, and I would be very curious how it was going and to see video
I have a question. Long time ago I have discovered that simple push ups, not even explosives ones, very positively affects my punching. To me, seemed that push up is a pushing movement, very different form punching, and not that much different than benching, but haven’t noticed the same positive effect after benching… Wonder why is that? does it stimulate your muscles in a way that your hands become faster?? or something else?
This is a complicated physiological question. There are a few simple answers:
1) Push-ups may be more effective FOR YOU because they better condition your punching muscles OR better remedy your body’s conditioning deficiencies.
2) Push-ups may be more effective FOR YOU because they more closely resemble your punching technique.
The chest does not generate the most punching power out of your upper body punching power; it is infact quite the opposite.
Good article, one important major muscle group you have missed, are the lats, Bruce Lee had huge lats, if you read his book ‘The art of expressing the human body’ you will know what a huge part his lats played in the speed and power of his punches.
I grouped those into the “back” muscles.
It’s a good exercise for the neck.
Oh ok makes sense. Yeah cause I’ve been fighting for 8years now and realized that a big chest is just intimidating.
hello, what you think about https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature…0-mC6iM#t=481s
is that good for neck size? 50 reps of left neck rotations and right, then 100 neck lifts?
For what neck size? You can get a bigger neck from that but I don’t know if you’ll get Mike Tyson’s neck.
hey how are you? i was wondering what kind of workouts and muscles groups should i workout in order to improve my punching power?
Check out my article called the “EASY boxing workout”.
hey…….i have too much interest for boxing,i was imitating boxer since my 3 year old,now iam 16 years old and decided to go a coaching camp on my city,but my main problem is,my body is very weak and not stronger enough,can you please Advise what i suppose to do?,and how can gain more weight!
Go train, eat right, train some more. Just get started and don’t make excuses.
you are my first trainer through this website,and thanks for your valuable advice!
Now Johnny , the question is how do I strengthen my legs and hips !? is weight lifting the answer
Squats ,calf raises , bulgarian squats etc , what about the hips?!
Those are definitely some options. You will need several more workouts to target all the muscle groups.
Hi johnny, i hope you are still replying comments for this article.
I have these flabby arms. I don’t know how to slim it, so what I do are, I’m doing push up and arm curl to shape my arms. So I will have muscular arms which will make it tone, that’s what I think.
But after reading your articles that said muscular arms will only slow down my punches, I have no clue about what I have to do with these arms.
Should I keep doing the workouts or do you have any workout variations to make my arms lean?
Keep working out. Any workout will help. As long as you’re exercising, your body will reflect it. Throwing a billion punches a day (along with some resistance exercises) will help tremendously.
Hi johnny would just like to say what a great website you have and with so much useful info too
im 46 years old and have now started getting back into shape with the aid of a punchbag and by following the tips on your site the one question that i have which is this is using the punchbag daily doing 6 rounds at 3 minutes with combination punching too much or should i limit it to 3 times a week ? many thanks
It depends on you, Simon. You’re not a competing fighter and have no obligation to live up to any standard. How much and how little depends on your hands. Good wrists and proper protection can take more abuse. For a beginner, 3 solid rounds a day is all you need.
A quick question. I’m aspiring to learn boxing, have a great teacher and everything… However upon reading this, I do have a question or two.
First off, I was born with Poland Syndrome, which basically is a scientific way of saying I was born without my left chest muscle. Literally, it’s just not there at all. I want to find a good, comfortable stance, but I was wondering if the lack of a muscle there is going to diminish the power of my left handed attacks? If yes, I’ll find my own style to compensate.
This is a really hard question for me. I’ve never had the problem myself and wouldn’t consider myself qualified to answer that. I would check with your doctor and ask him about what limited ranges of motion to expect. There will definitely be some technical adjustments in the way you punch with that arm for sure.
Hey i’m an amateur boxer and recently had my third fight, and I really suffer from bad punch recovery, How could i work my back muscles?
Hi Thomas. I recommend more shadowboxing and more time to on the double-end bag. That would be a good start.
Congratulations Johnny..you are doing a Great job here…Keep spreading usefull information about this great sport…i am 26 years old and i am only boxing for about 2 years..and the thing that helped me the most(beside my trainer) is watching a lot of fights and observing movements of many different boxers and practicing every single day to get better and better…thanks for your time Johnny..i really appreciate what you are doing here…”
Tim T. Ebow
Is swimming a good full body exercise for targeting all muscles, and to develop overall power?
Swimming is a great exercise if you have access to a pool.
Tim T. Ebow
What stroke would you recommend for developing “boxing” muscles?
The Widow Maker
Swimming is a great “conditioning” exercise but I don’t really see how it would benefit a fighter that much other than providing some additional cardio and calorie burning exercise. The great Sugar Ray Robinson said that while swimming was indeed great exercise he would never swim because he didn’t want to confuse his “boxing” muscles. Of course swimming also provides your muscles with a good stretch and is very relaxing. I think you would do better to throw punches in the pool instead of doing a Michael Phelps impression, and try treading water for extended periods of time which will give your whole body a good endurance and cardio workout. MMA fighter Kimo Leopoldo would even tread water with his arms held straight up in the air using only his legs, now thats got to be a brutal workout for the legs.
None, there are more sport-specific and more effective exercises for this.
jonny can u please show us couple of pylo matrics workout please
Yes, I will.
Said lights out
Let me now Thanx
JONNY THANX FOR THE WEBSITE AND THE GREAT FACTS YOU’VE GIVEN US FOR FREE (REALLY APRRICATE IT). i’ve found out that shadow boxing with resistance bands and wrist weights can develop power and speed. is it true! PLEASE REPLAY fight next 2 month
hey sir ..what boxing workout is applicable in building my back muscles?
Pull-ups, and also some yoga exercises where you lay on your belly and pull up your upper body. Jumping and shadowboxing can also help. There are many ways to go about it.
Hey jonny, love the article it got me thinking, is there a certain body type best suited for fighting/boxing, forgetting about height for a moment which body dimension is best for punching power , speed, balance , the whole package, body depth or body width, I say this because I’m 6ft5 15st very deep built, but yet my brother who is only 5ft11 13st but very wide seems to be more built for fighting than me, we are both ametuer boxers turned beginner mma, so the question basically is width of overall body vs depth? Thanks
There are all kinds of fighters so the answer is no. Of course some body types are harder to work with then others but your goal should be to keep improving any way that you can.
What body type is harder to work with than others? P4P width seems to be more advantageous like pacquiao or even tyson over a Bruno type shape meldrick Taylor had a horrible body shape also, does it affect speed or agility atall? Taking away talent n fast muscle twitch fibres or stamina
Short stocky body type is probably the hardest to win with. But there have always been champions of all different kinds of body types.
Johnny- at school we bench and squat, as well as deadlift and powerclean. Using proper technique, I still feel like benching is messing up my back. At 6′ 4″, this is a big deal… Would you advise that I bench more moderately and instead focus on free weights and pull-ups?
How much times a week should I do hard sparring for a Ammy competition
At least 2 days.
I was wondering what exercises you would recommend for the back because i usually do back raises and push ups and was wondering if you had some more good exercises? Thanks
Pull-ups, dips. There are also many good yoga type of exercises.
Johnny another great article love they way you keep passing on your knowledge to everyone, just wanted to ask have you seen the size of Amir Khan’s back it just seem big compared to other fighters in his division.
Keep up the good work!
Amir Khan is a well-developed guy. I haven’t seen him in person though.
What do you think of him as a fighter/boxer do you rate him?
He’s a good fighter. Everyone at Wildcard that’s seen him in action has spoken highly of him. Very good fighter, very talented.
Michael L. Leen
It is evident that the generation of punching power differs with each boxer. But to get to the point, I’ve always thought it’s a good idea to examine what muscles are sore after a particular workout. Common sense tells you those are the main muscles involved. After a high-powered session on the heavy bag, I ALWAYS notice soreness in my upper back muscles. Looking at the anatomy of the back on an anatomical illustration, it is the whole area of the trapezius muscles along the back. Although the soreness rule doesn’t apply, the triceps have to be counted since these muscles really come into play when the arm locks out a straight shot with good, pure extension. It might seem too simplistic, but the body doesn’t lie. A person training boxing can incorporate weight exercises for this areas maybe 2 x per week. But they should be done with no more than 3 sets of a rep count that keys power and muscle endurance equally. For example, maybe 5-7 reps. Also, be sure to include adequate flexibility exercises here. Weights DO shorten and stiffen muscles that need flow and snap in boxing.
Im a swarmer infighter.what are good weight training exercises to build strong ko power or just good excercises for a swarmer. I have a fight in 1 mnth & I want to punish him!
Good exercise for a swarmer, lots of jump rope! Actually, every fighter should be doing all kinds of exercises regardless of your style.
khushal khan yousafzai
man…..! you should be a best fighter n also a good adviser as v saw……thankx 4 all i will be working on it…
How can i make my neck muscles stronger ?????
Neck weights using a strap.
im 160 rite now i wanna drop classes to a feather weight my goal is 121 but i want alot speed power and stamina what should i do? i got 6 months to get it done
Eat right and train right and your body will reach a leaner weight.
How can I obtain 1 punch knockout power. I’m 6’3″ and 285. 19 yo. I haven’t boxed befor but I would love to start. Now if I’m not mistaking you said that your legs are your base of power, but if your not squatting with 600 lbs on your back then how could your legs have power. If you just do tyson squats your just training endurance. If legs are based on Power = (Strength x Speed) , then I was thinking heavy weighted squats combined with lots of sprinting to focus on Overall Power. But yea man I just want to know if its possible to obtain one punch knockout power? Thanks a lot for your time!
Yes, it’s definitely possible to get 1-punch KO power. Having great punching technique has 20 times more to do with it than having powerful squat muscles.
I think i have a torn muscle, when i warm up it feels a better but if i move my arm back like if im doin a pressup i can feel the slight pain.. what to do??? i can’t stop training now 🙁
You should visit a doctor and see what he says. Don’t train through an injury, you’ll make it worse and cause permanent damage to your body.
This has to be THE BEST article i have read covering boxing power. well done !!
Hey I’m 13 and really hooked on boxing I’m wondering what I should focus on as a beginner and thx for the article
Check out my “Beginner’s Guide to Boxing”: https://expertboxing.com/boxing-basics/how-to-box/the-beginners-guide-to-boxing
Hi Johnny i was wondering are trapezius muscles important for boxing and was wondering how should i exercise them if they are?
Every muscle is important for boxing and overall body movement. I would say you don’t have to worry about the traps too much. Some guys believe in them for punching power or punch resistance but I don’t feel they need to be targeted as much as, for example: the core.
Simple barbell presses where you lift the weight over your head, push-ups, jumping rope, and shadowboxing should be more than enough.
Will squats help in boxing??
I guess it could help condition the legs a bit but it’s still only 1 of the hundred exercises you need to do to be a successful boxer.
“It’s more important to fast arms than powerful arms” though I heard that big, strong and powerful legs is going to make your upper body big, strong and powerful.
Im a boxer from Taiwan, which is a small island located at the southeast of China.
So sorry first if my English sounds weird.
Im 15 and I’m going to fight for a national amateur boxing competition.
Here’s my question:
Since Im just a student amateur boxer, should I train muscles for boxing?
Or I just do more stamina training, cardio, or lung capacity etc.
The old school trainers’ theory said that training muscles can make you stiff and decrease your muscle relaxation capacity
but I thought that training muscles can increase your speed, power, confidence(especially confidence), because the article I read said that great heavy weight boxers like Mike Tyson are always training squats with super heavy weights for power punches.
However, after reading your article: Why Lifting Weights won’t increase punching power
I was more confused about muscle-training.
I’ve thought about the question but I still can’t get an answer.
My coach had said that my advantage is fast hand speed, but since I stopped training push-up, I feel like my punches have slowed down.
On top of that, my opponents will be much higher than me.
So should I train my muscle? What muscles should I train if I want to be fast and aggressive?
Or instead of training muscles, I should do more work on my stamina and skills?
…A bit long, sorry
(By the way, your articles of boxing have always helped me a lot. : ) )
Everybody has different opinions. For the beginner as yourself, I recommend starting with the standard routine…and from there you can customize it to fit your body. Obviously, if you’re going to talk to different coaches, you’re going to get different opinions. If you can’t decide who you trust more, try both and see for yourself. This is why it takes time to really learn what works and what works FOR YOU.
Johnny would front squats be good for strong, powerful legs
They’re not bad, but there are better exercises you can do.
OK SO LEGS ARE POWER NOT ARMS SO SINCE STRENGTH+SPEED=POWAH IMMA DO STRENGTH TRAINING FOR LEGS LIKE SQUATS AND AGILITY DRILLS AND BOX JUMPS THANKS JOHNNY
Hey Johnny awesome article I train at home and hopefully find a gym soon I do calisthenics and I don’t like lifting cause I feel slower but I would like to get a more diffined chest and I have a book box like the pros it has joe Frazier’s input on lifting yeah said u should only lift light and is u really wanna lift do bench press cause he said it doesn’t slow you down and it gives you strength can you justify this?
I’ve written several guides expressing how I feel about lifting weights for boxing training. Check them out, Hero.
Hi Johny, your inputs are awesome. I was never thinking of to start boxing, but last year got fascinated about it, its just 4 months since i started training and endurance, i have a great stamina, and i am an average Asain build, 5’8″ personality, but with a weaker punch… how to come off this.?
You’re a beginner, you can’t expect much out of yourself. Keep learning, training, and improving.
Any exercise i do in which arms get used like chin ups,pull ups,push ups.dips my arm gets huger,bigger,muscular bulkier than normal kids of my age(16) other’s biceps are 2-3 inches smaller than mine and i dont lift any weights only these above mentioned exercises and i think it is decreasing my hand speed also which is a huge problem and my shoulder get tired faster than others because of my heavy hands.I think its all Genetics but i dont like it.I want to build lean arm muscles and strong legs,core.Bigger ams=Just unnecessary weights.Its not fat its all Muscles.SO HOW TO KEEP ARMS FROM OVER BUILDING MUSCLES?????? SHould i stop doing these exercises Which Uses Arms?????? THANKS!!!
Don’t worry about gaining natural muscle. If you want more hand speed and shoulder endurance, try working on the speed bag.
Johnny are u saying that triceps increase punching speed, arm speed?
Having faster triceps can increase handspeed but I’m sure there is more to hand speed than arm muscles alone.
This was a great article Johnny. I was wondering if your DVDs dancers footwork for boxers and advanced footwork and punching power gives more detail in developing and working your inner muscles?
Yes, it does, Rico. There are many great exercises in there that target important muscles that nobody uses or trains. And not only that, but the special exercises help you develop the coordination to make the muscle more functional, not only more powerful.
Thanks Johnny I will be purchasing them both shortly
I appreciate your support very much!
This is a great. Only one area I didn’t see, or I missed it, is the glutes, a tight contraction on the glutes will create a stronger driving force behind the punch – the punch should never end at the target, it should always penetrate it.
Hey Johnny, i weigh about 130 right now and i want to gain about 10 – 15 pounds but i don’t know how to go about gaining this weight to make sure i’m not just increasing my body fat. Should i lift weights to gain some muscle mass to increase weight or just stick with my plyometrics and calisthenics? (Sorry for the random comment.)
Weights are the easiest way to gain that weight.
Hey Johnny! Awesome article and I love your site. I’m currently quite small but am thinking of working out to get a bit stronger. Can you check my physique in this video and let me know what part of my body looks weakest please. Thanks!
Go to the gym and start working out. Try out my EASY Boxing Workout and you’ll know for yourself what areas are the weakest. I’m all about FUNCTIONAL body development so the best way for me to tell is not so much by looking but by actually having you do some exercises to see where your performance stands.
My lats are CRYING the day after boxing – is that normal??
Yes. It’s good that they are!
Love the article. I’m actually using some of the information for a paper I’m writing. Would it be possible to get your last name so I can properly cite you?
Hi Cade, it’s Johnny Nguyen. I’m curious to see your paper when you finish. Good luck!
what exercises and drills should i do for strengthening shoulders ?
Speed bag, shadowboxing, some weights, push-ups….check out my “EASY Boxing Workout”.
Hey Johnny your really kool man. Im 21 and love boxing just found out about it recently i cant get enough. Your tips on heavy bag work and snapping punches, and balance are really helping me fight. I think i learn more here than at my gym. Just a quick thanks bro … i come from nothing i want to see how far i can take this. 5ft8 72kg natural weight. P.S I find it hard to punch while moving with any sort of real power. Maybe your expertise on the sport could help! Keep up the good work
Search my Youtube channel for “Punching While Moving”.
your articles and videos are AMAZING.
Your Knowledge is ENORMOUS !!!
Don’t forget to mention that the most powerful muscle group while punching are the Glutus Maximus (Butt) as it has the largest transfer of kinetic energy from Lower body to your fist .
Abductors are also VERY powerful .
So when I throw a right cross, is it more Abductors or quads? I watched the video and I got confuse because you said that Power are in Abductors, Abs, lats (inside muscles) but then mention in other video and article that its Quads and calves as main power source.
Please clarify when you are not busy . Thank you.
“actually at the Roy Jones Camp, they told us that 80% of POWER come from the flexing of the GLUTES (our Butt) !!!!! It explains why (alomost) all the BIG PUNCHERS have LARGE POWERFUL ASS !! Tyson, Shavers, Jackson, Roy jones etc….. so : no ass, no power as Rampage Jackson quoted in UFC … your ass is what make your hip powerful WITH the CORE …
Quads are used but do NOT try to use them by EXTENDING them.
I enjoyed your article, though I was surprised not to see any mention of the Serratus Anterior (aka Boxer’s Muscle) – Did I miss that section? It is essential for contact speed as it drives the scapula forward during the last 2-4 inches of extension. The chest isn’t all that involved at this point in the punch, or any point for that matter, aside from just keeping up with the power/rotation generated by the lower body and midsection (I don’t think I have ever seen anyone with a power “bottleneck” occurring in the pectorals as far as straight punches are concerned). I give you props for recommending push-ups, as they are a fairly good way of training the serratus anterior as opposed to benching.
You’re totally right. I definitely agree with you and for some reason when I wrote this at the time, I considered the lats to be grouped into the “chest muscle” group.
I am 30 years old and I have always wanted to learn boxing. I haven’t ever really had the opportunity in till now, is it to late to begin and have any hope for some amateur action in the ring? Also as I sit here and read this article I can’t help but wonder if I have a slight advantage in the training aspect, I am a brick mason and I have been one for 15 years and as a result my forearms are monsters lol. I have also specialized in chimneys so I have constantly gone up and down ladders all day long for 15 years carrying 80 lbs buckets of mortar and or bricks and as a result my legs and shoulders are also monsters lol.
I’m kinda dreaming and hoping that if I learn to put some skills behind the forearms, shoulders, and legs that i already have I might stand a chance in an amateur ring…..any thoughts?
Give it a try and see how you feel. Boxing is exciting and you’re certainly not too old to enjoy it.
Hello Johnny, I have been working out for a few weeks and planning on joining a boxing gym in about a month. Which type of workouts should I use to power up my Legs, Hips and Back muscles?
IM 68 YEARS OLD BUT HAVE BEEN TRAINING IN HEAVY BAGS SPEED BAGS SINCE MY TEENS. MY PROBLEM ? I HAVENT WORKED OUT IN YEARS. BUT NOW I AM BEING THREATIN TO A GOOD ASS WHIPPING BY A YOUNGER MAN 54 I NEED A QUICK QUICKV WORKOUT TO KNOCK HIM OUT WITH NO WEPONS I BEEN TRYING THE SNAP PUNCH I AM 6;185 LBS AND YES 68 YEARS OLD GOOD HEALTH ANY HELP??????
PS FROM MY PREVIOUS MESSAGE I HAVE ABOUT 2 MONTHS BEFORE I AM VISITED ALS HES 54 6’3 190LBS I HAVE HEAVY BAG DOUBLE END BAGS WEIGHTS LOTS OF VARIOUS GLOVES.WHICH HAS NOT BEEEN USED IN A WHILE NO SPARING PARTNERS AVAILABLE..
I have always been intrigued by the body mechanics of punches. I have been coaching a few years, and one of the things I have noticed in developing beginners is hip versus head location. It can be a big sticking point. Getting someone to transition the weight distribution of their hips either vertically or horizontally can be confusing. Often times when they try to bring their weight forward, they instinctively dip their heads in, compromising their defense. Anyway, like always, this site is fantastic. Thank you for what you do.
my back and my abs are strong but sometimes i feel my core speed is slower than my punches speed and i can’t turn fast enough(specially right punches) how can i fix it ? thanks
hi,i want better punching power,so i need to do squat jumps and crunches with sit-ups for core muscles?
Hi Johnny, i have a question that i can’t find the answer on the google, Power come from leg but why some hard puncher like Marquez and Oscar seem to have small leg? where does they get power from? or they are not hard puncher like i thought? or they have a big leg but i think it small? i’m really confusing right here please answer my question
Hey, I am 5’8 and am 130 lbs. I want to fight a 5’8 who is 180 lb. how do I increase my power to match his? I am in intermediate physical shape.
Hi Johnny, im training boxing as a Phys fitness but im kinda looking for strengthing rather giving weight to my punches and im more of a toe to toe type of guy so i dont out box nor run and gun…. but id love to learn speed conditioning…. can u give me basic yet effective for everyday training for both Power and speed conditioning….. THANK U….
btw LOVE THE ARTICLE MAN SWEET SCIENCE INDEED… please do post more
Check out my EASY Boxing Workout, Norman.
If you dont mind Johnny can u provide me with the link? id be happy to make those training u made as my basics. i highly appreciate it man…. please do make more article like this…. sweet science indeed
I am armwrestler, so naturaly I have very strong forearms, I can do grip with CoC 2.5, wrist curl with 40 kilos etc. I beat every powerlifter, boxer, bodybuilder in gym and I am 49. It was ridicilous to see powerlifters with 250 kg deadlift, 180 kg bench press squat 200 kg to lose from me in miliseconds. My max for bench is 95 kg. 🙂
Also, Bruce Lee was notorious for his forearm training, because of reverse efect that grip strength has on upper arm and shoulders beside other thinks. Much more training than legs. I am also training boxing but I blow up my wing chun(7 years of practicing) friends from chair just sitting(no legs, hips) – (beacuse HE insisted, he will move my hand – that was idea) and I cut true him like a swiss knife and he starts to bleed above eye. I was using just upper body so don’t overestimate legs. They are wortless in case of John Foreman – just look videos. They are absolutely crucial for moving – of course, you cannot walk on arms. And after training they burn like hell – but nothing to do with punch power. You cannot transfer ALL leg strength to arm – try to calculate if you know laws of physics and you will see that it is not so much. Why then boxers bench 150-220 kg???
U hav given us amazing tips .. But i m a beginner how much time would it take to hv normal ability
This website is great, thanks johnny
I see you mentioned about the legs but not about the ankles! That the most neglected muscle most people don’t train!
Hi johnny, so you say power generate from calve, how come Thomas Hern have a high knockout rate when hes leg is like a chop stick?and how come many boxer is see have a big upper body and small leg like lamont peterson, juan marquez(the 4thfight with pacquiao he look like the hulk on the uppa body while his calve is like a stick and yet still be able to knock pacquiao down and knock him out in the later round)?
Size is not the absolute indicator of strength. There are many scenarios where a guy with seemingly smaller muscles can produce more force. Please read my article called “Joint Strength and Punching Power”. It will answer many of your questions there.
Thank you Johnny for the answer and thank for your time, also that article educate me about punching power but i still have more question, if you don’t mind.
Does that mean if i workout the muscle that support joint like the forearm(supporting wrist?) does that help me with power delivery? since it’s help me stable my wrist better when my punch landed? is it work that way? are my missing anything or understanding anything wrong?
It will help you with power delivery a little bit but there’s no guarantee. You have to find the weak joints and the weak muscles in your body and to strengthen or re-coordinate those.
my knuckles i fat how to make pointed
Hi johnny, nice article but there is something i want to know. When blocking a punch, which part of muscle absorb most of damage? is it a shoulder or the back? or the forearm? and also how do you train them? like what excercise or workout do you do to strengthen that part of muscle?
This is a complex question due to the many ways of throwing a punch and the many ways of blocking a punch. To make this simpler, I will assume that you are not parrying or deflecting a punch in any way. It’s a great technique though as you won’t be using much force.
For blocking snapping punches, you need a counter-snap. And just like the *snap* of a snapping punch comes from the core, so does the snap for blocking a snapping punch. Simply get your hand or arm into position and quickly counter-snap by activating your core to quickly repel the shot. Sure, his hand makes contact with your hand or arm or even body somewhere, but it should be your core that repels the shot.
For blocking pushing punches, because you have to ground yourself a bit more and sustain a longer amount push and so your body does have to do more work. Your feet need to be connected to the ground and activate your lats, shoulders, and forearms a little. I don’t feel like you need to train them so much as you need to have some technique and understanding of how your body works. Sure, a strong guy will always feel strong, but the idea is your need him to feel your full body connection to the ground when he hits your guard. For a beginner, I suggest having straighter legs and activate your lats, and that might be enough. (And even then, this is way overkill, I simply parry away all pushing punches.)
How to Parry Punches is my next article that i have to read then. also thank you very much johnny your article is very good and full of knowledge, i have fun reading it.
have a good time
Hey Johnny, I have a question. Whenever I punch, i feel like my punch is so tense that it shakes my head (almost as if my chest is doing too much). It’s not as if my neck is particularly weak (i take punches fine from other people) so how can i fix this?
Connect your fist to your core, not to your shoulder. Don’t try to push the punch with your arm. Explode it with your breath and that’s it. Also, see if you’re clenching your teeth/jaw too hard when you punch. Your lower jaw should be secure but not like you biting down too had and having tension all over your body.
Does your body strength play a role in your punching power?
Natural body strength, yes, for sure.
Can we increase that? or is it just depend on person like “if you have it then you have it” like IQ?
You can always improve your strength. Keep working on it.
Excellent piece… really useful
After reading your article, i made this workout program. Tell me whether
my school of thought is correct:
1. Hill running/Jumprope: Legs’ explosive power.
2. Shadow punching/Bag punching: Swift arms.
3. Planks: Abs’ development.
4. Plyometric hip hinges: Hips’ explosive power.
5. Handstand push ups: Shoulders’ endurance.
6. Wide grip pull ups: Upper back development.
7. Neck workout.
Names of body muscles explen
Can I jump rope without rope and just jump?
What are some legs,hips,abs,back,shoulders,arms and chest exercises.
Couldn’t have a better answer to this question. Many newcomers don’t understand the physical fitness involved in boxing. Not only do your lungs need to be fit for endurance, but your legs (calves, hams, quads), hips, core, abs, back, shoulders, arms, neck, etc. You must be very conditioned and focus, bc all it takes is a split second, and your waking up with a flashlight in your eyes
It’d be good if you demonstrated some excercises w/O weights to develop these muscles. Particularly the neck.
The obliques weren’t mentioned. Can that he a future topic?
Then developing muscles to protect the liver from shots, which might include obliques.
I. Love. Boxing. Club. Because. My. Mules. Us. Going. So. Big. I. Can. Takyou. For. Helping me. But. I. Love. It. Bye
I’ve been following your videos and blogs for years. Big fan of your work and your advice has helped me progress greatly with my own training.
Anyway, I came across this and wanted to bring it to your attention. It looks like this place is plagiarizing your work (broken out into two parts). Not sure if you gave them permission or not.
Thanks for reporting this. It happens to me all the time. I’ll see what I can do.
Hi, fairly new to the boxing world. Entered the gym as a Bantam weight with no power. I have neglecting my legs due to fear of being crippled the day later but after a month or two of pushing myself with it. I can happily say i reached Lightweight. And now much more confident in my durability and power haha Great article!
This decade old post is classic and a wealth of knowledge