*This was 10 years ago when I thought lifting weights made me a stronger puncher.*
My body isn’t like that anymore and yet I’m so much more powerful now even without trying. Earlier this year, I wrote a controversial article explaining why lifting weights doesn’t increase punching power.
A lot of people disagreed,
many got angry.
One person called me a “stupid kid that doesn’t know anything about sports science or boxing.”
…this guide is not to convince ANY of these individuals.
For everyone else willing to READ and LISTEN and set aside your bias for a split second, here are some more explanations as to why I stand confidently at this conclusion today.
I write it because it might change the way you think about training, change the way you fight, and help you punch harder than you ever could.
1. Power comes from the ground
To be more precise, power comes from your RELATIONSHIP WITH THE GROUND (in relation to gravity.) And not just punching power, but ANY kind of power.
It doesn’t matter what type of force you use to punch (push, pull, lift, drop, rotate, etc)…you will have to do it USING THE GROUND AS YOUR REFERENCE. (push from the ground, pull from the ground, etc).
The ground is your point of reference,
from which to generate powerful force.
The point of reference is NOT YOUR BODY, it’s the ground. Do not forget this. The moment you forget about strengthening your contact to the ground, your power will fail. Imagine if I was to be swinging in the air with my legs off the ground, I wouldn’t be able to generate ANY POWER AT ALL (regardless of my punching technique).
2. You can only go UP OFF THE GROUND, or DOWN INTO THE GROUND
Remember, the ground is your reference point.
All *powerful* movements you make must originate from the ground or else it’s “ungrounded” and won’t have any power. (If I was to punch on one leg, it wouldn’t matter what technique I used; the punch would be weak.) Being that the ground is your point of reference, all movements are either going away from the ground or into the ground.
ALL POWERFUL MOVEMENTS are either going UP off the ground or DOWN into the ground.
The choice is yours. Obviously going down when you punch is so much more powerful than going up. You have the added force of gravity to increase your body mass (making you momentarily a heavier object) and aid rotation. You can also punch going up (useful for some tactical purposes) but much of your energy would be spent just to OVERCOME gravity’s forces and then whatever’s left is applied to the punch.
A forward movement is still an indirect angle of going UP off the ground. The reason being that there is nothing behind you to push you forward. So the only way to go forward is to either push yourself up at a diagonal angle from the ground or to push yourself UP off the ground and then fall forward. It’s not a fall in the sense that you lose balance but it’s a fall because you’re letting gravity project you forward rather than you being able to move yourself forward.
So let’s review again:
- GOING DOWN uses the added force of gravity
- GOING WITH gravity takes less effort and increases body weight
- INCREASING BODY WEIGHT gives you more punching power
Quite simply, going DOWN IS BETTER THAN UP!
3. Punching power comes from INCREASING YOUR BODY MASS
Your ability to punch harder,
comes from your ability to make yourself heavy
at the moment of impact.
Your punching power is a resulting combination of your grounded body mass, rotation in the hips, speed of the fist, and controlled tension at point of impact. There are many forces at play but for the sake of easier explanation, I have over-generalized it to these 4 major ones.
a) GROUNDED BODY MASS – means how heavy and how dense you can make yourself.
The heavier you are at impact, the more powerful your punch (which is why big guys naturally hit harder than small guys, they have the weight advantage). Likewise, becoming a dense object at the moment of impact makes you more powerful than being loose (just like how a tight fist transfers more energy than a loose fist).
b) HIP ROTATION – refers to the circular acceleration of your hips in force generation.
Of all the accelerating forces in a punch, this one is probably the most important…NOT FIST ACCELERATION. Fist acceleration alone does not guarantee hip acceleration; which is why some fast-handed boxers still don’t have any power. The hips are rotated to the spine, and rotating the hips powerfully rotates the spine powerfully which sends out the hand with power instead of only speed.
c) HAND SPEED – refers to the speed at which your fist travels when it makes impact.
Hand speed alone however does not guarantee any added power. What matters is THE ORIGIN OF YOUR HAND SPEED. If your hand is coming out fast because you have fast twitch muscle in your shoulder and triceps, it won’t add any power. Only when your hand speed originates from your CORE ROTATION, will you have more power from faster hand speed. Nonetheless, any hand speed (whether from the arms or core or both) is useful because it can catch your opponent off guard and surprise punches tend to hurt more.
d) IMPACT TENSION – refers to the integrity of your form at the moment of impact.
This is THE ONLY TIME when you should be stiff during a punch—it’s right at the impact. The reason you must become stiff is to transfer energy. Just like how when you play pool, the white ball must completely stop in order to transfer all energy to the ball it hits. If your white ball was still moving after hitting, that means it retained some energy still. Likewise, a puncher that doesn’t stiffen his punches will only bounce the energy off his opponent when landing a punch. Boxing, however is a tricky game, you most “stop” only long enough to transfer energy and then must keep moving again for fighting purposes. The fight itself is still constantly flowing, but do know that there are microscopic moments of “stillness”. Too many people overdo the impact tension and say things like “you must push punches all the way through!” which only wastes energy and slows down your combination rate because your fist is unnecessarily waiting around after impact.
Punching power IS NOT F=MA ( force = mass x acceleration )
I laughed when I saw all the references to the basic velocity equation in disagreeing comments from the first guide. Here’s what many people said,
“BUT JOHNNY, YOU’RE WRONG! Force equals mass times acceleration! More muscle equals more mass times more acceleration equals more power! You failed!”
No I didn’t. Yes, the equation is correct. But it’s application to the physics of punching motion is not that cut and dry. Comparing the complicated mechanics of punching to a simple linear physics equation is a failure.
F = MA is assuming a linear vector movement
How is this equation relevant to punching?…I see only one object and one force at work here!
- Does the MASS refer to the weight of the fist or the weight of the body?
- Does the ACCELERATION refer to the acceleration of the fist or the acceleration of the hips?
- If we’re talking about hip rotation, wouldn’t it be circular acceleration (aka linear tangential acceleration) instead of linear acceleration?
- Does the FORCE refer to the force transferred through the fist? Or the force generated through the body?
- Is a punch a series of combined forces or just one force?
- What if there’s a curve in the motion of the fist?
- What if there are gravitational forces or other external forces affecting the resulting force?
WHAT ABOUT THE FACT THAT PUNCHING MOVEMENT is nothing at all like a straight linear movement?! If punching was only a combination of pushing motions, then why isn’t the best punching position me crouched up like a sprinter and then springing forward out of the blocks? (I’m kidding here.)
A punch requires multiple accelerations
of different masses
working together simultaneously.
A punch requires several forces to accelerate and decelerate from different areas simultaneously.
- The force equation for a simple linear acceleration is F=MA.
- The force equation for punching is WAY MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.
4. The MOST IMPORTANT MUSCLES for Punching Power
As I’ve explained before, punching power comes from:
- increasing body mass
- hip rotation
- hand speed
- impact tension
If you don’t know how to punch, it will sound like 4 separate movement principles. First, you’ll waste your time with squats to build leg muscles. Next, you’ll waste your time with the bench press to build a stronger upper body. Then you’ll do some cable pull-downs and push-ups to strengthen your triceps. And finally with the last of your energy, you’ll rush through the crunches.
You’ll soon find out why this is a GIANT WASTE OF TIME.
If you DO know how to punch, then you’ll realize that all these movements are basically ONE MOVEMENT. Yes, it’s beautiful—grounding, rotating, hand speed, impact tension—ALL THAT CAN BE DONE WITH ONE MOVEMENT!
The core ALONE can increase body mass,
rotate the hips and spine,
release the hand, and create impact tension.
The secret to punching power LIES IN THE CORE
The core alone can make ground you, making you heavier and denser as you punch. The core alone can rotate your hips. The core alone can send out your hand quickly. And the core alone can tense up your entire body at the moment of impact.
Haven’t you ever noticed that when you’re tired of punching, your stomach is tired or you’re out of breath or you lose balance? It’s because your muscles at your center are no longer holding you up. You’re punching like a hollow skeleton which falls and bends as it struggles to move. The other muscles of the body such as the arms and legs fail too, but your punching suffers the most when your core fails.
Try running or squats until you collapse and then throw punches. Then try doing sit-ups until you collapse and then throw punches. And tell me which exercise affected your punching power more. Tired legs can still punch and let you fall into punches…but a tired core will always be too weak to do anything!
But what about other athletes that lift weights?
Yes, I’m aware of sprinters, gymnasts, basketball players, football players, and dozens of other athletes that lift wights for increased power. There is one fundamental difference between THEIR MOVEMENTS vs a PUNCHING MOVEMENT.
All those other athletes ARE MOVING THE BODY. Sprinters are pushing their bodies forward, gymnasts are swinging their bodies, basketball players and football players are moving their bodies all over the place.
A boxer throwing a punch is doing the exact opposite, he’s trying to GROUND his body as much as possible! A punch is you generating force from the ground and then projecting it, transferring all of it to your opponent. If your hips move from their position (either up or forward or back) you will either decrease the power generated or decrease the power transferred.
Other athletes are moving their bodies,
boxers are not.
From a technical standpoint, boxers actually have the tougher job. It’s very hard to generate and project power. See, a sprinter would only have to workout his legs and then run all out. He doesn’t have to worry about anything else. (I’m over-generalizing; I’m aware it takes years to develop running technique.) A boxer on the other hand, has to generate a ton of force, and then transfer this force through a very small and weak extremity (the hand).
For this reason, the power punching skill takes so much longer to develop than many other movements (like running, jumping). A trained puncher can easily outpunch an untrained puncher 3-5 times but a trained runner can only outsprint an untrained runner by 15-30%. Regardless of how powerful you are, you have to understand that muscle power has a very low influence compared to technique when it comes to punching power.
5. INSIDE MUSCLES vs. OUTSIDE MUSCLES
I know I’ve said “core” a thousand times up above but it’s actually more complicated than that. Instead of thinking about only your core, another way to look at your body is “inside muscles” vs “outside muscles”.
OUTSIDE MUSCLES – are the muscles that help you move your body OUTWARDS. Outwards movements can be characterized as pushing, reaching, forming, releasing power, and moving your limbs quickly.
INSIDE MUSCLES – are the muscles that help you move your body INWARDS. Inwards movements can be characterized as rotating, grounding, balancing, pulling, squeezing, hardening, and generating power.
Train the INSIDE MUSCLES first.
If you want to increase your power in any movement, start by training your INSIDE MUSCLES first. I would consider the following as “inside muscles”: abs, lower back, pelvic muscles, inside the hips, and adductors. The inside muscles are what make you SUPER SUPER HEAVY and hit with more torque.
Watch a pro boxer train and you will see that they all do tons of reps when targeting core muscles. It’s common for champions to do 30-60 minutes of pure core work everyday. Strong inside muscles is what makes that old former champion feel heavy when you try to move him. Strong inside muscles can make you powerful even if you have skinny arms or even bad technique. These inside muscles help you stand and balance better, too.
What about the OUTSIDE MUSCLES?
When it comes to generating punching power, OUTSIDE MUSCLES (legs, arms) are pretty much useless.
They have a low impact on punching power, maybe 20% at best. This doesn’t mean all non-core muscles are useless. It just means that you have to understand how everything fits together.
INSIDE MUSCLES generate the power.
OUTSIDE MUSCLES deliver the power.
INSIDE MUSCLES GENERATE POWER – the core anchors you to the ground, rotates your body, and hardens it for impact. Nobody can see these because they’re on the inside of your body. (For example: I’m not talking about the outside abs, I mean the INSIDE ABS, the muscles underneath that six pack.)
OUTSIDE MUSCLES DELIVER POWER – arms and legs are for extending the mass of your core (connected to the ground) toward your opponent to transfer the force. When it comes to power punching, outside muscles are most responsible for maintaining the form of your punch. For example at the point of impact, having strong triceps and shoulders would keep your arm from collapsing and breaking the transfer of energy.
You could also say that outside muscles are important for RESISTING FORCE, or maintaining IMPACT TENSION. But this still means you need a strong core first to generate the force, and then strong arms to make sure all that power transfers through. Strong arms and legs ensure that your lines of power throughout the body stay connected when they’re stressed at impact. You could say outside muscles need more ISOMETRIC STRENGTH (stationary resistance strength) than CONCENTRIC STRENGTH (moving strength). As long as your arms and legs are strong enough to resist a ton of force, they’re strong enough for power punching…you don’t actually need to be strong enough to lift heavy weights.
Outside muscles are also useful for speed and endurance. Strong arms will make sure you can throw many punches. Which is why the traditional boxing conditioning program focuses on speed and endurance. And the power and strength increase comes as a result of balanced conditioning, not necessarily because of an all-out focus on power.
So it’s impossible to generate power with outside muscles?
No, of course not. Let’s say I had no understanding of how to punch with my core. If that was the case, my only method of throwing punches would be to go UPWARDS. And if my punching technique is nothing more than pushing my legs up off the ground, then that will *unfortunately* be my punching technique.
If my legs are 100% of the power in my punch, THEN OF COURSE LIFTING WEIGHTS would in fact increase my power. The question you should be asking yourself is…”can I use my muscles in a more effective way for throwing punches?”
It’s possible to increase your punching power
by weight lifting,
if you’re punching with poor technique. (push punches)
Punching with outside muscles is not necessarily bad but it has many limits and definitely will not produce the strongest punch. Any time that you use outside muscles to PUSH YOUR PUNCH, you basically take yourself off the ground. You can try it now. Throw a punch while extending your legs. Sure, you can generate a hard punch but then you’d be shooting your weight up off the ground. You won’t be able to punch again until your legs reset. Some people argue that pushing with the legs is still fine as long as you don’t over-extend, and to that I disagree. The moment you “push” (whether a little or a lot), you upset your grounding and that alone decreases power. It’s terrible for combination punches, but perhaps useful for something like say for example: a leaping hook.
How can I tell which muscles are “inside” or “outside”?
The differentiation is simple. If the muscle MAKES me heavier and/or denser, it is an “inside muscle”. If the muscle MAKES me lighter (in relation to gravity), it is an “outside muscle”. I would imagine this to be an amazing discovery for some (open minded individuals) and a painful discovery for others (particularly, the stubborn ones).
Here are some over-generalized examples:
- My upper shoulder muscles can only project force upwards, so I would consider them outside muscles.
- Lats pull me down and tighten/stabilize my core, so I would consider them inside muscles.
The tricky one – THE LEGS!
If I’m going to punch with my legs, I would be using the INSIDE LEG MUSCLES to help me ground, pivot, and rotate for more power. Which is better than using the outside leg muscles which only pushes me off the floor and away from my center.
At some point, it’s less about inside vs outside but more-so about HOW you use your muscles.
6. The Limitations of Weight Lifting
I have nothing against weight lifting or any other forms of resistance training. There is nothing old school or new school about them. They are simply methods of strength training with many variations going in and out of popularity over the years. The way your body responds and adapts to its environment, on the other hand, has stayed constant over the years.
If you train one muscle in a certain way, you get a certain effect. If you train the same muscle in a different way, you get a different effect. Getting the effect you want depends on your understanding of boxing movements and the required training to stimulate the right muscles in the right way.
With that said, here are the LIMITATIONS of WEIGHT LIFTING:
1. Inability to prioritize the core and “inside muscles”
I don’t doubt the effectiveness of weight training to increase contraction strength and power in your muscles. What I doubt is their ability to target the MOST EFFECTIVE PUNCHING MUSCLES. If you can find an invention or method that makes my core lift weights, then by all means SIGN ME UP!
2. Ineffective in increasing torque strength
True punching power comes from rotation. If I’m working my legs, I want to work my legs so I can ROTATE HARDER not push harder. If I’m working my calves, I want it so I can pivot my foot harder, not necessarily so I can jump higher. I can see how squats might make my legs stronger and more powerful but I don’t see how they are the most effective exercise for increasing my hip rotation.
3. Poor angle coverage
I feel that lifting weights, especially heavy weights, becomes an isolation type exercise where you increase your strength at only a few angles. It’s like I can push a lot of weight at one angle but then if I shift my arms to a different angle 20 degrees away, I become much weaker. For some of you, this is the difference between free weights vs machine weights, or weights vs calisthenics and I agree. I’d rather be a monkey hanging off the trees to develop all ranges of strength than to use a machine specifically designed to develop only your best looking muscles.
On the other hand, if I have a strong core, I can just stick out my fist at any angle and generate a hard punch through the core. This is more realistic for fighting, because my core doesn’t move around much but my arms and upper body do.
4. Decrease in speed and endurance
As I’ve already said before, one of the main functions of outside muscles is for speed and endurance. The arm’s job is nothing more than to reach out to your opponent. It’s not built to generate power and it shouldn’t be. The best thing you can do for your arms is to have speed and stamina.
I should also clarify that when I say speed, I don’t mean the maximum speed of movement. I mean the overall consistency of speed. When it comes to a weaker outside muscles like the arms (and to some degree, the legs), longterm speed has a direct correlation to endurance. The better your arm endurance, the faster your hands will be throughout the fight. If your arms get tired easily, they will slow down quickly!
You’re welcome to lift weights to aid the development of MAXIMUM HAND SPEED, but don’t forget that arm endurance greatly affects their speed in a fight. Likewise, you should do the same when deciding whether to workout for endurance or power.
5. Weight lifting exercises the muscles that go AGAINST GRAVITY
The problem with weight lifting is that is has less to do with moving your body than it does with fighting gravity. Weight lifting exercises are almost always going against gravity…but the best punching muscles and best punching techniques are the ones that go WITH gravity. If you want to be powerful beyond your mind, you don’t resist gravity, you find more ways to go WITH GRAVITY.
6. Weight lifting aids only the tension aspect (LAST 2%) of the punch
This has to do with your punching technique. A punch is made up of weight and speed (mass & acceleration). If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably try to do both weight and speed at the same time which means you are using 100% tension throughout the punch (“push-punching”). The other option, and far superior option, is to be a snapping puncher where you are using 98% relaxation and then 2% tension.
Snapping punches are better (faster, more powerful, using less energy) because you are relaxing during the first 98% which builds tremendous speed and saves energy and then applying tension only at the very last 2% of the punch which adds the weight for explosive effect. On the other hand a push-puncher will never be as fast because you will always move faster without a weight than with one. And then in the moment that you need a weight, your applied tension won’t be as effective because your “weight” is already in motion.
So it really depends on how you punch. Is your punching technique 100% tension? Or is it 98% relaxation and 2% tension? And if it’s only 2% tension, then weights won’t make that much of a difference because lifting weights doesn’t improve 98% majority of your punching movement. Have you been able to master both? (Snapping punches are much harder to do, btw.) And which method do you think the pros are using? Ask them and find out for yourself.
So lifting weights is OK for boxing after all?
Well, yes. You can do whatever the hell you want. You can train, squat a thousand pounds if you want to. But if you wanted to be effective, developing the inside muscles would come first and then outside muscles come second. If you prioritize your training this way, I GUARANTEE IN TWO MONTHS…you will quickly realize how unnecessary it is to develop excessively strong outside muscles.
I like weight lifting for stabilization strength, injury prevention, integrity of impact tension, and overall core strength assistance. Having strong outside muscles can help you stabilize your joints to ensure better energy transfer and withstand repeated impact to your joints/tendons/ligaments.
If you do any heavy weight lifting, it should be limited to only 5-10% of your boxing training. I wouldn’t recommend doing so much because: 1) lifting heavy weights makes you sore and hampers your ability to do other boxing training. 2) you might gain weight which is terrible for fitting into smaller weight class, any increase in punching power rarely beats the naturally bigger guy.
Strong outside muscles are not required for power punching at all. I don’t bench, I don’t squat, I don’t do any of that stuff…and I STILL HIT REALLY FREAKEN HARD. I’m a trainer now and I still hit harder than my boxers who train 30 hours a week and outweigh me by 10-20lbs. Granted, I have superior technique, but still: I know the right muscles and how to use them.
The beauty of inside muscles (RECAP)
Your body is NATURALLY DESIGNED
for downwards power!
All your inside muscles are functionally stronger than your outside muscles. Notice how muscles that project downward force are stronger than their counter-parts. The legs are bigger than the arms. The back is stronger than the chest. The lats are stronger then the shoulders. The butt is stronger than the hip flexers.
The best to way to stand/punch/move/etc is to go DOWN (with gravity) rather than to go up (AGAINST gravity). Therefore all the muscles you should develop are muscles that make you project downwards force, muscles that make you HEAVIER. If you’re going to train, train to increase your downwards force (not upwards or forwards).
Develop the muscles that make you heavier!
Strengthen the muscles on the INSIDE of your body, before the outside. Try to develop muscles that are around your spine, also on the inside of your abs and hips, NOT THE OUTSIDE. Also work on the muscles on the inside of your legs (adductors). “Outside muscles” are only good at going UP and OFF the ground (terrible for max power, and fast combinations).
It’s not that “outside muscles” are useless, but they are more for moving purposes like hand speed, running, jumping). If you want true power, you need muscles that drop you, help you grab the ground, and make you a “HEAVIER” mass as an extension of gravity.
How to FEEL your “inside muscles”…
A good way of discovering your inside muscles is to stand on one foot (the ball of your foot) and lifting the other foot up next to your standing knee. And then twist your hips CW & CCW a FULL 180 DEGREES while holding your upper body stationary. It helps to maintain a straight spine while being perfectly balanced on one foot. Wear socks so your feet can pivot easier.
Don’t hang onto anything. Start off rotating your hips slowly and rotate your hips 180 degrees back and forth, then speed it up without breaking form. You should feel the INSIDE of your core burning (the SPINAL MUSCLES). That inside muscle is what matters. Too many people work the outside abdominals (crunches) or even worse (weights) and it’s not as effective.
SOME OF YOU CAN’T EVEN DO THIS! And if so, it’s clear you don’t even have the muscles to maintain a strong axis. And how exactly do you expect to have a sharp powerful rotation if you can’t maintain the strength and clarity of your axis? I’d be more worried about balance and footwork than power-punching if I were you.
Do you want to punch like me or not?
Ultimately this article is an explanation behind different methods of punching, not necessarily different methods of training. If you want to punch like me, then listen to me. If you don’t want to punch like me, well then you should disregard all this.
This article isn’t even about lifting weights. It’s about identifying the right muscles for power punching. Weight lifting is STILL an effective way to develop powerful muscles, unfortunately it just isn’t the best at targeting the most powerful punching muscles.
Great article, Johnny, but it almost seems redundant to the article you already wrote about weight lifting. That made sense at the time, and this goes further to explain the same idea. As always, I appreciate the time and effort you took putting this together for people like me.
Thank you, O.G. It only seems redundant because you understood it the first time! 😉
Thanks a lot mate. Ive just got started with boxing and I’ve been reading most of your articles which are pretty interesting! Especially these ones on weight training. Yeah, well even i had the wrong impression that weight training is good and one can develop solid. hard powerful punches like Iron Mike or Ali or Sonny Liston:) lol.. I lift heavy weights, hit the bag as hard as i can and i was trying to figure what my trainer meant when he used to say “make you punches snappy, move your shoulders, rotate your hips, pivot” etc.. haha.. I was thinking, damn, why do i need to do all that when im hitting hard man.. ! yeah, i got that habit of pushing while punching.
I spent a couple of hours going through these articles of yours and I now realize why you shouldn’t lift heavy weights. Your articles helped me a lot. Just a couple of questions Johny.. In guard position, do you need to keep your fists clenched tight or do you make them tight just before impact? How should I plan my workout schedule? I go 4 days a week..:)
I tighten my fists only at impact. The workout depends on your level. How is 4 days working for you? If it’s too little, then increase. If it’s too much, then decrease.
4 days is working out alright but the problem is I get time to practice only for an hour and a half during the evening.. So I kinda got to squeeze in everything possible within that. But I get about 2 hours on sat and sun mornings.
My workout right now is 2 days weight training along with shadow boxing and the heavy bag workout and 2 days cardio along with shadow boxing and the heavy bag. I haven’t started with the double end bag and the speed bag yet since my trainer hasn’t yet told me to.. Is this current workout schedule of mine ok?
When are the exercises coming out?!
I don’t have a set date for these particular exercises but I will get to them eventually.
train like the athlete you want to be, sports have changed, professional hockey players do not train like power lifters or bodybuilders, If top nhl, hockey players trained like these athletes they would soon be on the 4th line, and then in the minors.
If your sport is Boxing train like a boxer. Core inside muscles, rotation and torque, balance, stabilizing muscles, Generally all the traditional type of movements found in Gyms today.
You can incorporate weights and resistance but it will look very different than what it would look like for the other two “sports” mentioned”
Here is an example from hockey.
In Body building a lot of what they do would be considered incorrect. Here in lies the problem, function v.s. generalized exercise. If you do wish to use some form of weights you would best get advice from a strength coach that knows your sport specifically. Body building and Power lifting will be time wasted.
Be smart and train with a purpose always. Chance are you would probably gain more by doing Yoga.
Most sports require you to be on one leg at least temporarily, exception would be rowing or similar sport. So boxing can benefit from this balance and stability exercises, when it comes to punching both feet are on the ground grounding you, the power comes from the torque, just like the box of kleenex flying off the back seat when the car stops firmly. Like the kleenex the arms do not do the work. It is the body force and the stop motion and twisting that generates the power. Not the arms, biceps help recoil the arm only.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9zKtLUz8jg Henerik Zetterberg
Johnny, thank you for being so scientifically accurate. I love your website.
But you forget to mention that is the LARGEST MOST POWERFUL muscle with most important Kinetics energy linking is the BUTT (Gluxus Maximus).
It is where the energy from the floor back to the ground store the most.
You agree ?
That muscle is definitely important and plays a big role in power generation. That’s for sure.
All I have to say is the stronger your muscles are, the more speed they can handle. And if you prime your CNS using weight lifting, the higher power the power output. If you are a true athlete weightlifting can only help. If you have already trained your body to throw a good punch then doing a total of 30 reps of a compound exercises won’t change the way you move. I’m going to guess you were doing bodybuilding workouts. That will water down your fast twitch muscles. I listened to what this article said and in my opinion wasted a year of boxing. Since I’ve started my weight program I went from 8 punches a second to 12 a second. And that’s not mid range that’s between mid range and full extension to save my elbows. You can google me if you want I’m rather formidable on the speed bag if that gives me any credit. Anyway assuming you care about my opinion id recommend hang cleans, power cleans, push presses, landmine presses, and squats. 5 sets of 5 is enough to prime your CNS without gearing your muscles towards weight lifting. As long as you box frequently you won’t gain a pound. I fight at 178 and went from a 175 hang clean to 275 and I weight 184 without cardio. Lifting weights does not mean you will gain muscle as long as you watch your diet. Btw bench is useless, never do bench. You are dead on for the physics of punching though that helped me for sure.
Great aritcle really enjoyed it !
John this is absolutely brilliant!!! I love your ideology on power generation, and it’s ironic how much it resembles many of the philosophies of other martial arts. Like Wing Chun for example. They use bones and gravity to generate power, because muscle gets tired, and bone on bone contact hurts like hell, lol. I agree with you for the most part, but you did leave out the value of eccentric movements in weight lifting for core stabilization of the serratus, rectus adominus, tranverse adominus, and the erector spinae. And even with all the evidence against me, I’m still trying to get the Yujiro Hanma 265lbs, mixed with the functionality of a Bruce Lee, lol. Even at 220lbs, I still do alot of core and bodyweight movements that kills most people my size, and my clients who tend to be alot lighter, unless they are obese. Keep up the awesome work. This trainer certified by three nationally accredited agencies commends you!!!
Isn’t it funny how many people still don’t know how to move their own body around and yet they want to lift a weight even heavier than their body?
Thanks for the comment!
Hi mate jus come across your website and you do seem to talk a lot of sense. I was wondering if you could give me some advice, ( or anyone else for that matter) im thinking of taking up weight training to get bigger muscles but also fit as well, but i want to look more like a boxer or a fighter from that film warrior with Tim Hardy,more cut up and not one of those excessive looking freaks that just look fat and mean ( i think they get so big just to feel macho and calm the scared little boys they really are ).Do you know any good workout routines, would be much appreciated-…Jim from wales
Read up my “EASY Boxing Workout”
One of the finest,versatile and helpful articles regarding this topic. Moreover I have also been applying this theory since the start of my amature career but my coach never understood it because of my limited knowledge and poor explanation power
Great work mate! Helped me a lot in getting out of this dilemma.
Johny, finally I found someone who could explain this to me and my opponents about weight-lifting and boxing. This is generally known idea in Russia, where I developed as a kick-boxer and boxer, but not so much in the U.S. I just followed instructions from my coaches about limiting my weight exercises but never asked why. Finally, I got explanation for all my questions about weight-lifting and boxing. Thanks!
The lifting of weights can enhance punching power.
It depends on how it’s done and the timing(when you do it).
If you lifted heavy (1-6 rm) as a base and get plenty of massage
and/or stretch you can retain (and actually improve) elasticity.
This is provided that you train reps in the 1-6 range in the 70-90%
of 1 rm range and not as a body builder. The positive or concentric
contraction must be at maximal speed and exercises for relaxation
and flexibility between sets will help. In addition you should stop the CONVENTIONAL
style of lifting about 30 days before a fight and start to emphasize the throwing of med balls,
jumping (including the depth jump) and sprints in various directions.
This will net you a musculature that is relaxed and elastic BUT has
retained and even improved maximal strength(improved 1 rm) and the best part
of it is you can now use this improved strength as it will translate into improved
POWER(fxd/time) of your punches. Another caveat would be that now that you have increased
power you must alter technique and timing to use this power as the limbs now have different
force/time characteristics. The same would be true for sprinters as well as competitive Olympic weightlifters. Last thing- Just like in the Olympic weightlifting Jerk ,the press over head (as a test)
cannot be greater than 50% of the maximal Jerk. Otherwise you risk “coordination enslavement”.
In boxing this would translate to being a “body puncher”.
Completely agree with Dave.
One thing that I’ve always found curious was that many people look at Karate or any other Martial Art and immediately assume it will take time to be proficient in it, but look at boxing and think it’s easy: I’ll train to be as fit and strong as possible and I’ll kill my opponents.
No. Doesn’t work that way!
I’m forty, heavy set, built more like tank than a Ferrari, when I try to explain to people that it took me years to learn how to NOT use force (as normally perceived) to punch and I’ve became a stronger puncher for it, they get this puzzled look.
John, have to admit when I look at your picture I thought “another kid, self-nominated guru”, but you’re hitting the spot.
Specially because of all the young kids, let’s face it, that have stupid ideas about boxing and get hurt.
Many simply don’t have the means to have a good trainer, this will help.
Keep up the good work
I am 63 yrs old. I boxed amateur as a teen and young adult and studied Okinowan Goju. I have been working the heavybags now for 45 years. I started with a 70lb canvas bag and I weghed 135lbs. Thriugth years I have been in many gyms and learned a lot of different punching techniques. I always would work the bag because it not only gives you power and stamina, but feedback on what works for you. I gradually over the years went to heavier and heavier bags. I at one point was working a 245lb bag for 10 rds at a time. 4 days a week and have become a tremendous puncher. I ramped it back over the years because the laws of diminishing returns was apparent with that ridiculous amount of rounds on the bag. Now I do 15 minute straight and that’s it. I also tried various strength building workouts always to increase punching power. I tried strictly pushups and dips and pullups, weights both heavy with low reps and low weights with a lot of reps. Here is what I found. The weights tire out the muscles and the stronger you get with them, the less sharp and crisp your punches become and the more easily winded you are. I can throw upward of 250 punches a round if just working the bags, but lose endurance and pop if adding weight training. Everything this gentleman is saying is true. Far as I am concerned, If I were fighting pro and wrote a book, I would tell everyone to go out and lift heavy weights. This way, I could sabatoge their skills…lol. Heed this guys advice he knows where of he speaks.
^^^^^^ Well said, sir
it was all because of gravity
This is unbelievable. I’m from Northern Ireland, just finished my boxing session at Enniskillen ABC tonight and was wondering how to increase my punching power. I knew that ‘weights slow you down’. The science behind what you’re saying makes logical sense. I also do Japanese Jujitsu, and used to do Judo. There, they always talk about taking energy from the ground, and of course, utilising hip movement to generate power. You, Johnny, have explained it very well here (inside muscles vs outside muscles), better than anyone else has tried to explain it to me in the past (not that i’m ungrateful for how other coaches have helped me, they’ve helped me a lot.). A very informative article, it makes a lot more sense to me now. Sorry if this sounds stupid, but what other exercises can I do that work my inside muscles. Chin ups that work the back? Can push ups help? I’d like to take you up on the offer of trying this out for the next two months in order to improve my over all game. Thank you very much for a very informative, and helpful article. Best Regards, Andrew Gallagher.
I will showcase these special exercises later with pictures and video. It’s very hard to explain because almost nobody works the correct muscles. For now, you should try the exercise I mentioned near the end of the article.
I will, Thank you.
Hurry up with that article!!
Will there be a video of the “stand on one foot and rotate hips CW and CCW” that you mention in this article?
As a current amateur boxer, and former power-lifter who dead-lifted 520 lbs @168 lbs 100% raw……I COMPLETELY agree with Coach Johnny. Boxing history, and currently, proves he has done his homework. Not ONE of the ALL-TIME great champions from each weight class and current all time greats lifted weights on a regular basis, if they did at all. And they definitely, never lifted HEAVY like a power-lifter or Olympic weight-lifter. I love the look on people’s faces when I show them a prime Joe Louis at 200 lbs, demolishing 250 lbs + men who had incredible muscle mass and strength.
Keep up the great work coach!
Actually Mike Tyson would squat like a body builder on a regular basis
To clarify, my comment is referring to the #1 top boxers from each respective weight class. However, the prime could have been all-time great Mike Tyson (1986-1990), only used weights for very high rep shrugs, NOTHING else. This is very well documented and easily re-searchable. Besides, relative to my original comment, the greatest heavy-weight of all time was Muhammad Ali, who NEVER touched weights.
ali was not a power-puncher; he was a footwork guy. foreman punched (much) harder and he had poor technique. look how he destroyed frazier compared with how ali struggled against frazier.
and ali is not inarguably the greatest. many objective people would probably give joe louis or jack johnson a bit more props.
You gotta be fair with this. Frazier had Ali’s number and matched well against him stylistically. Ali was one of the few guys who could knockout opponents WHILE GOING BACKWARDS. And he hurt plenty of power punchers in his time. He might not be the most powerful but it would be wrong to say he didn’t have any power.
With that said, a lot of boxing has to do with styles, not power.
Ali ran from Foreman. Refused a rematch even while (and likely because) George destroyed Frazier and Norton. Ali knew rope a dope would no longer work. And apparently, did not believe he could beat George straight up. Of course, no one thought he could the first time! And George had gotten considerably better. So that is what history must remember. So, I partly agree with Mayweather. And to be sure, he gave every tough opponent a rematch. A truth Ali can never claim. And he won with pure skill alone. Which is especially significant given Ali’s disgusting, and pro wrestling inspired, ring tactics against the man he refused to rematch.
Mike Tucker, author of CHIEFTAIN, www.amazon.com
Coach Johnny, you are right on the money–so many great fighters who had one-punch KO power in each hand–Dempsey, Marciano, Duran, Ezzard Charles, for instance–never touched weights. Dempsey, by the way, had freakishly strong tendons in his arms and shoulders, which came from a helluva’ lot of chopping wood (as you know, chopping wood for an hour a day was part of some fighters’ routines, back in the day, builds stamina, hand-eye and strength). Marciano famously got into a pit and tossed boulders out underhanded, to improve his uppercut, and did the weighted vest routine in a swimming pool, water up to his neck, throwing punches underwater for up to an hour at a time–try that for even 20 minutes a day, your hand speed and your power both get ramped up. Your first article on this topic was solid, too.
first of all tyson didn’t need weights,the first time on the bench he did 250lb 10 times! ali didn’t lift weights and he couldn’t punch either.you disproved your own case.
“first of all tyson didn’t need weights,the first time on the bench he did 250lb 10 times!”
You disproved your own point by admitting that one can develop strength without weight training.
As for the statement “Ali couldn’t punch” it just shows how you don’t know the first thing about boxing. You can say “Ali was not a power puncher” or something similar but never “Ali couldn’t punch” for crying out loud. You just don’t know what “punching” means.
I live in las vegas where Tyson and I worked out at the las vegas sporting house for 15 years. I talked to him many times. He did not lift weights. He said he did dips and the heavybag for strength and a very heavybag at one point. He only used a 25 lb plate to do situps on a roman chair and they had him do some shoulder shrugs when he was young. . He was already out of jail and basically on his second career and told me he only just started using weights, but light, and never over 60 lbs. the weights were becoming the craze with the new strength and fitness boxing guys some of the fighters were using. so I think he was experimenting.. or whether he stuck with the weight training or not. He said weights were not needed, just the bag ‘for developing natural power’
Go on you tube and look at the builds of some of the most devastating punchers in history in the sport. Guys like Arguello, Olivares, Robinson. They were skinny as sticks and never touched a weight.
Mike Tucker, author of CHIEFTAIN, www.amazon.com
Amen on Ali, he had a devastating short right hand, the best short right hand of any heavyweight since Joe Louis.
hate to break it to you but louis developed great strength from his job of carry 100lb blocks of ice up multiple sets of stairs(in the old days there were no freezers,they had ice boxes) and he worked at a ford auto plant “pushing” car bodies that were on chains,he said it gave him power in his shoulders,back and arms.he was so strong he picked up 250lb primo carnera like a child.that was from his lifting heavy,as did all past champs.
You’re making the absurd assumption that lifting weights at the gym will be equivalent to the workout that Louis achieved in his work… Do you have a special training program to simulate that, really? If not then you don’t have a case.
Resistance is resistance your muscle don’t care if it’s squats of stirs with weight on your back,stop being silly.
zeus,can you disprove weights aren’t similar? why does every athlete from boxing, football, soccer, mma ,shot putting, gymnastics,sprinting ,baseball ,hockey, basketball(and there are many more!) ALL USE WEIGHT TRAINING!
Frank, not EVERY athlete does it. That much I know for sure. (I’ve done or had friends in all of those sports…regional and national level guys. Anybody who’s actually been in any of these camps could easily see that they don’t all believe in weight training.) Of the ones that do it, hardly any will actually lift HEAVY. And also of the ones that do it, their weight training routine is at best 5-8% of their workout and conditioning.
The difference is how they do it. Sprinters will rarely lift heavy outside of the offseason and try to prime their CNS by actually sprinting. That being said, sprinters actually aren’t pushers, Johnny, but instead snappers. You rely on a whip-like striking movement into the ground and strike the ground (called hammer motion) as hard as you can before starting your next stride. One of the many differences between sprinting and boxing versus others sports, where you can get away with lifting heavy is ground contact time. It all has to do with ground contact time for force in sprinting, just like snapping is key to punching hard in boxing. Sprinting is in many ways very similar to boxing.
Sure, you can say sprinting is like boxing in that they’re both high-intensity “explosive” movements in short bursts. But the parallels end there. When punching, you have zero resistance until the very end (at moment of impact). When sprinting, you have resistance throughout half of your stride (the back-claw during ground contact, but nothing during the turnover-recovery).
Even if you wanted to argue that sprinting is like “snapping” during the peak period of the sprint, you cannot argue that most of the drive phase has tons of resistance…which is definitely more pushing than snapping.
Regardless of what I say, please…spend your years, try everything. Then come back and let me know what you found has worked best for you.
TO ZEUS: you misunderstand,TYSON didn’t need weights,though i have seen footage of doing squats and bicep preacher curls and neck work,BUT an ordinary man who couldn’t put up 250lb one time does! of course you can develop strength without weight training! any form of resistance builds strength,some better than others,punching in water like marciano,farm work and tree chopping like shavers(he DID lift weights as well) or archie moore,.i assumed since the article was about weights and POWER punching ,you would pick up the meaning,i have boxed and been a fan since 1980.
Wasn’t Louis that delivered ice. It was two ton tony Galento who fought Louis.. asked how he trained for a bout he said he carried two tons of ice up stairs, and that’s how he got his nick name. People think he got the moniker because of his girth.
BEAUTIFUL article, as always Coach Johnny! It puts into great detail a lot of things I have tried to explain to my friends about power in punching. (And BTW O.G., this article is way more fleshed out than the previous one. It uses the same basic concept but explains it in much greater detail.)
I have a comment/question on the inside vs. outside muscles. I started out boxing with a pretty strong core and a relatively good understanding of generating power. However, I ended up injuring my shoulder (coracoid process)about three times, twice one one arm and once on the other, because I believe my outside muscles (specifically my pectoralis minor) were not developed well enough to handle the power I was generating from my core. So my question then would be, shouldn’t one develop both the inside muscles and the outside muscles at the same time? It seems like if I had strengthened my chest more effectively I would have prevented injury. Just wanted your thoughts on this, and thanks again for the time you devote to this website!
Injury has more to do with poor technique than poor conditioning. Stronger muscles do allow your body to handle more stress. But your technique needs to be effective in the first place.
Proper technique if anything, is the efficient use of leveraging your bone-structure to apply force. Suppose I want to be in a standing position. “Good standing technique” would mean to straighten my legs so that the vertical position of my leg bones would take all the stress and my leg muscles would only work very little. Now “bad standing technique” would be if I were to bend my knees and try to stand like that. The force would go to my muscles and they would eventually be overworked. And if they’re not supremely conditioned, it can lead to cramps and pains and other injuries.
I see what you’re saying. I thought I was using proper technique, but now that I think about it I was probably hyper extending my chest and digging my hooks in with push-punches (on the heavy bag) rather than fully rotating my body and using snapping punches. I was thinking of my pecs as the weakest link, so that’s where I got injured. But you’re probably right. I haven’t injured myself since I started following your advice on this website. 🙂
Wonderful article, I’m glad you went into this in depth. For your next article, can you go in depth about exercises you use to train these inside muscles?
I agree–would love to know.
Probably not the next article but yes, sometime in the future, I can share some of my specific exercises. 🙂
Again, briliant article and it definitely answers the doubts raised by theory-oriented guys. Offhand though, I think Mike Tyson used to squat heavy when he was training. Evander Holyfield also used weights but I think he did that mainly to gain poundage since he was a natural light-heavy or cruiserweight. Joe Calzaghe was quoted as never having lifted weights a single time in his life, relying mainly on what the british call “pressups” and plyo squats. He has said that lifting weights will slow you down and is never a good idea for a boxer’s training routine.
There’s plenty of research you can do on the claims of Mike Tyson’s “heavy lifting”. Mike Tyson said that lifting weights has about as much resemblance to punching as cheesecake. I totally agree with this brief explanation: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080403181821AAZRXtH
And even then, he did 2,000 sit-ups everyday (which took just under 2 hours) so you can see where he really focused his training time.
There will always be some people who believe in the weights. In Mike Tyson’s case, he was a naturally powerful puncher as a kid already….long before the weights ever happened. But you can look into his training history and read how he lifted the weights and for what purpose. It’s all out there if one cared to research.
it’s all resistance training!
“If your hips move from their position (either up or forward or back) you will either decrease the power generated or decrease the power transferred”
One question Johnny:
So increasing muscle mass will NOT increase power, except for the core?
Muscle mass refers to the mass of all your muscles. So if you’re building up the right muscles, then yes you will punch harder. The core is the best muscle to use for punching. But sure, you can punch with the arms, with the legs, etc. If you use the core for punching, then building up core muscles will increase punching power. If you build different muscles, then you have to punch differently to use them.
At the same time, Mike Tyson was a GIFTED athlete and a freak of nature who was naturally strong and powerful. Majority of fighters are not blessed like Mike Tyson or any other blessed athlete and would have to devote at least some of there time in the weight room, they’d have to get stronger and transfer their strength into power.
so you do think weights build power.
My experience tells me you’re right on the money; punching power is best developed on the heavy bag, and an aptitude for punching helps, which means I don’t think people are born with a punch, but maybe an aptitude which assists in development. Lots of factors with the way a person’s body is constructed are important too. As for weightlifting; body building out, power lifting, too bulky and slow, but Olympic Weightlifting could possibly play a role. Strength is not important in sports like power and power is what is needed for all sports, especially boxing. That can be developed quickly through Olympic lifts and may add something to a punch, but one would have to work the bag as well. Boxing’s greatest punchers ironically though, i.e. supporting your stance, have not used weights. I would leave it to the heavy bag for a punch; off training maybe some clean and jerks and squats, but no weights during preparation for a fight. Good article. Thanks.
boxing’s greatest punchers,at least in the heavyweight division,were either natural strong or did some form of resistance training including hard heavy labor.
That statement is true. Dempsey worked in the mining towns. Frazier did farm work. Marciano used to walk pushing his fathers wine press. They used to use animals to do that in the old days. Probably why his legs and core were so strong. Walcott worked as a long shoreman. No doubt hard labor builds a strength that is unlike weights. I remember as a teen back in New York, the old timers were scary strong and never weight lifted, but worked menial jobs. Take a champion weight lifter and give him a 90 lb jack hammer and let him bust concrete for a day. Watch how long he last.
Johny wad do u tink about Gluteus muscules?
Glutes are useful when activated correctly. They can stabilize the core, increase punching power, etc.
And wat do u think about plyometrics and sprints for boxing?Manny and JMM are doing a lot of tis exercises.JMM said plyometrics helped im a lot.U saw last figt…
I love plyometrics and sprints. DO THEM.
Regarding plyometrics: In order to get significant benefits from plyo’s i.e. improved rate of force development / explosive power, one needs to be reasonably strong first.
My coach is the same way. We never mess with weights and e really imphasizes on the fast teitch muscles so everything we do is fast movements.
so how exactly do we train those inside muscles ..can u give us any workouts..?
In the future.
Wow, that is amazing. Thanks for your time and another great article.
Great read, Johnny
But I got a question. You drop your hips in a relaxed state to add weight to your body via gravity, but let’s say you stick your right foot in the ground hard and pull with your right hamstring(as a right hander) as you drop. You don’t propel yourself forward because your foot is planted firm, instead you use that tension(flex at the knee, pull hard with hamstring) and the ground to rotate your hips faster then release it on impact. So now my question; wouldn’t a heavy glute-ham raise increase punching power?
I know what you’re saying and the answer is no. The glutes are still only part of the resistance and support muscles in a punch. They need to be strong enough to CONTAIN the power generated. They’re kind of like shoulder muscles of the lower body. Your shoulders don’t generate power but they should be strong enough to support the power transfer without breaking at impact.
To generate power, you have to look even closer to the core. Wrap your hands around your leg and then mimic the movement of a punch and see which muscles twitch the hardest. Some of them you can feel, some of them you won’t be able to. Follow my images above and FEEL those areas. Dig your fingers into your muscles if you have to. So many people aren’t developed there and weren’t trained to activate those muscles and so they won’t feel anything. It’s an unfortunate cycle.
Great article! I’ve been shadow boxing for quite a few months just in my own home and doing some boxing exercises to keep fit/ improve my confidence and some of the tips you’ve given have helped me greatly ( The downwards punching article really opened my eyes to where the power comes from). I’m very skinny for my height ( 6 ft and only 9 stone) and I feel too small to join a boxing gym although i’d love to take it up more seriously. I’m also very interested to hear what exercises I should be doing in regards to core training, I’ve been doing a mixture from your training guides but I’m not entirely confident if I have the right balance.
And someting tat i dont get it ..”” Too many people work the outside (crunches) or even worse (weights) and it’s not as effective.” You mention crunces.Don`t they target the core muscles??
I’m talking about the INSIDE core muscles. Outside core muscles are nothing, you have to dig deeper. Try the exercise I mentioned near the end of the article. And if you do it right, you will see that it targets a different and much deeper core muscles.
Hi jonny, after reading this article I agree entirely with what you have said. However I do physics at colleague and your explanation on why f=ma has no application was abit long winded and rubbish (in the nicest possible way) I only mean to be constructive, you should just include newtons 2nd law on pairs of forces which explains the importance of grounding, other useful basic physics equations would be 1/2 mv squared and newtons 3rd law. Also why f=ma is not relevant is because here it would apply to the fist. Far as I know there is no way to bodybuild your fist or increase it’s mass by lifting weights. Sorry if this was a bit of topic but I share your frustration when someone tries to use the completely wrong application of physics in their argument. Very good article, keep up the good work 😉 and a merry Christmas.
First off love all of your stuff I’ve been looking at it for years now. Anyways I’ve been boxing for about 2 years now and I’ve had 14 amateur fights (10-4). I severely broke my nose last fight and had to get surgery so I’m done fighting now :(. I love training so much I still want to keep training but I also want to hit the weight room to gain size since I’m done fighting now. My question is is there anyway this is possible or am I wishfully thinking?
You’re not competing any more so you can do whatever you want with your body! No negative consequences as far as I can see.
I totally agree your point. Actually, I lift super heavy weight like squat and bench press. After start doing some medicine ball rotation exercise and practice more on my form , I find my punching power and speed increased a lot. Probably, some of functional training like TRX, TRX rip trainer(lots of body rotation movement) is good for punching power.
Hey Johnny, Thanks so much for this article! Just last week I feel like I finally started to get the corkscrew-like feeling behind more powerful punches, so the timing of this info was great for me!
I tried the exercise you described above for “feeling the inside muscles,” and was hoping you might add a quick video of it? I read and re-read the instructions, but when i did it, I didn’t feel anything, could barely rotate, etc. Thanks in advance for any additional info and/or hopefully a video??? 🙂
Try lifting the heel of the standing foot and try to stand really tall and straight up. Look at yourself in a mirror, don’t look down at your feet. It’s very hard to do because you don’t yet have the muscle developed. 😉
OK, so ideally the knee of the leg that is raised is swinging back and forth from left to right as the lower body rotates and the upper body stays stationary? Could doing this exercise as part of a training regiment, be a good place to start in strengthening these muscles? Thanks again! 🙂
Yes, the raised knee will swing back and forth with the hips. And yes, this exercise is one of many of help develop those deep inside core muscles. Do you feel it yet? (This is an easy one, actually.)
Ha! Yes, I think I got it now…only I can only go about 30 degrees in each direction…and I feel like a ballerina…guess I have a lot of work to do! Thanks so much, I’ll be keeping an eye out for any future articles/videos you have on training these “deep inside core muscles.” LOVE your website! 🙂
Great article johnny. But ive been around weights long enough to know that deep squats and deadlifts help develop all the inside muscles you mentioned. And they work the inner core muscles. So wouldnt doing squats and deadlifts help with punching power?
The short answer is no, squats and deadlifts are nowhere near effective at targeting those inner muscles. You should try the exercise I mentioned in the article and see for yourself.
Thanks! You are Dead Right. I see the strongest punches come from smaller fit guys. i mean guys with less out side muscle mass. Just look at Bruce Lee for example. He is indeed not a heavy muscled guy, well he is fit well built and shaped but his muscles are not bulky at all and I bet you he couldnt lift one-third of the weights that the low ranked Weight Gym guy can lift. Bruce Lee trained with light weights as a little part of his wholistic training aside from bag work, shadow training and other body weight movements. But never dedicated his self to a body bodybuilding style training – which got very trendy during the last three decades but again now it is going out of trend because many people realize that training with other means like body weight excercises, and speed polymetrics, swimming, walking or going up the stairs with a heavy bag and rock / truck tire hammering….etc develops a less bulky yet much faster body with tons of fitness and stamina. That is how the incient warriors trained.
Imho just a short look at Bruce Lees pectorals and overall body composition tell you that he was rather built and bulky for his kind of frame and base…
Great article, I love your web site, thank you very much for this great contribution, very helpful for amateurs !
Just one quick remark, you use the formula that expresses the force, i would have considered the formula of kinetic energy : E = (1/2) m * v ^2.
It clearly shows that doubling the mass only doubles the energy, while doubling the speed quadruple the energy, to me it proves that speed is more important than mass in boxing, and that all you say about hitting harder is about speed and acceleration is true !
Thanks a lot !
Put aside the physics equations for a second. Lifting weights is still one attempt of increasing mass and acceleration….but using the inside muscles does it much better.
Well … you can say anything about the equations 🙂 they are still there …
Of course the physics still exists and still applies to everything regardless of whether you look at it or not. I’m saying to shift your focus away from physics equations and over to the technical understanding of how your body works. Less mathematical and more mechanical. Yes, you can sit there and add and multiply numbers. Or you can think about where and how to produce certain forces in your body.
You are right, the equations do not give all the answers, and that is why i read your articles 🙂 but i thought it was nice to know that every thing you say has some sense from a “physical” point of view.
It gives even more credit to your article.
Great article, very specific. However, weightlifting done in a proper way will not make you bigger, slower or lower your endurance. In fact, the only thing heavy lifting will do is making you stronger. Absolute strength is the foundation of all other physical abilities. Speed, technique, motor control, balance and endurance would all be impossible if you had no strength at all.
Increasing your maximal strength, should be a part of every training method. Listen here, I don’t mean using a bodybuilding routine, while I respect anyone who compete in any sport. Bodybuilding will NOT make you a better athlete. However, you can achieve incredible motor control, power, speed and even endurance with a proper resistance training.
I like how you point out the fact that weightlifting is not the KEY to punching with power. It however have it’s place, I suggest you try a 6 month program from a GOOD sport strength coach, and how his teaching can bring your game to the next level.
Hey, Jean-Paul Trudel,
it seems you didn’t really get the point of this article… read carefully one more time. While you can train whatever way you want, and also very welcome to any respectable boxing gym at least to spar with guys. The sport of boxing popular and old enough so many various ways have been tried out and researches have been done… even I have been lifting weights with the same expectations it would benefit my boxing… all I can say now and all the recognized boxing coaches around the world would say that lifting any heavy stuff, be it olympic lifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding doesn’t get along with boxing at all… and actually I wish it would…
It can get along well, and many top ranked fighting athletes are doing olympic weightlifting variations as a part of their training regimen (and also other kind of stuff like smashing a sledgehammer on a tire). I don’t think I missed the point of the article at all.
hey, smashing a sledgehammer has nothing in common with lifting heavy weights at all… hitting tires with hammer is a good useful exercise. Yes, some guys that fight at UFC MMA do lift heavy weights, because some of those guys have no clear background in any fighting discipline, not even to talk about striking sports, those guys are just tough brave guys that are used to lift weights from their young days because of the fashionable trend… but as strikers they usually look just miserable in a cage or ring… some american wrestlers in UFC MMA also tend to be the ones that lift weights… but strikers or those really successful fighters champions do not lift heavy weights.
Yes the sledge hammer is great. But for it to be an effective exercise, ALMOST everyone has to built a good strength base first. If you don’t have a sufficient strength the tire hitting will work the wrong energy system and you’ll get slow. This is exactly why I choosed this one as an example. Guess what, a good strength base is most effectively built with weight lifting or as an alternative, one can also use gymnastics exercises.
Powerfull punching is the meal, and weightlifting is one of the ingredient you need. Not the most important ingredient but still needed for a great receipe.
Sorry bro your wrong, Anderson Silva lifts heavy weights, GSP, Jon Jones, Frankie Edgar, dos santos and many other fighters in the UFC. I’m not trying to be rude but get your facts straight before you make claims!
Jean-Paul, I have to ask: did you try the example exercise at all?
Because for you to claim that lifting weights can effectively strengthen THAT particular muscle would show that you didn’t fully read the article. And if so, I’d be curious to know what weights. In the future, I’ll share some special exercises that target muscles that NO weight can and then you can see for yourself.
I have nothing against strength training for boxing. The article is about bringing light to developing specific muscles a specific way to fit a specific technique, specifically for power punching. If you choose to punch differently or train differently, then you are doing something else. What I’m teaching is simply one way of doing it. And the way that I’m teaching renders heavy lifting practically useless. Unless you punch exactly the same way I do, you might never see why heavy lifting won’t apply to me. And I’m pretty ok with that. 🙂
Thank you for your comments!
In fact, I do use the technique of ‘imploding’ punches that you are teaching and I do think it’s a far superior way to punch. I also did that example exercise that you mentioned and felt those inside muscle.
And yes heavy weight lifting can also help those. Let’s not forget that in your background, you did lift heavy stuff. Training is not only about what you do now, but also about what you did before. Have you ever thought that this also could be one of the reason you punch harder ? Because strength is like an empty container, when you are strong you can then fill that big container with more specialized skills like speed, balance, endurance, torque etc.)
For boxing strength training I would rather suggest Gymnastic rings and planche training. But heavy bulgarian split squats (using proper techniques to keep the core tight) will also skyrocket those inside muscles strength. One key, use LOW volume and LOW reps. 3 set of 3 reps maximum. This also should not take much time and the low volume will keep the pain away. Also I suggest not doing more than two or three exercises in your workout not per body part but for your whole body. My personal favorite workout is planche work, front lever (rings) and Bulgarian split squats.
I have to backtrack because I think many people are still missing the point.
The ultimate goal is to punch harder in whatever way you can. Everyone is at different levels, different points in their boxing knowledge, their understanding of the game, and their athleticism. It’s our job to keep improving in any way that we can. It’s not about KNOWING the best way but always to keep pushing for something more effective.
I didn’t write this guide to say weight lifting was bad. I wrote this because I understand what took me to the next level. I understand what method it takes, what attitude, and what type of training. I was once at a different level of thinking, and then I had to try something else because I wasn’t happy with where I was. It seemed stupid and didn’t make sense but I kept my mouth shut and listened even when I disagreed. And 50% of the time, I was right. But 50% of the time, boy did I learn something new.
IF YOU ARE 100% HAPPY WITH YOUR PUNCHING POWER, then by all means…PLEASE DISREGARD EVERYTHING I’M SAYING.
(But if you think there’s a chance for you to improve, well then give me a chance to share something I think many people don’t realize.)
For people to sit there and defend weights until the end of time, they just limit themselves and it’s so painfully obvious that their own minds are stopping them from understanding different ways of training. You have to think beyond what you know in order to grow. There will be MANY MANY MORE theories you must adopt in your boxing career. And this limited way of thinking is what keeps so many boxers/fighters at the noob punching level.
Did heavy lifting help me in the past? Maybe it did, at least it doesn’t harm me today so that’s nice. But I know for sure it’s not needed because I’m training plenty of fighters with my techniques and they’re improving so much faster than I did…and they’re doing it without the powerlifting background or track & field background I had. All I’m trying to share is a different way of thinking. I’m not trying to force anyone and I’m definitely not trying to clash with everyone.
I think if people really wanted to learn, they ought to stop clashing my theories with their own and just listen. What I’m offering is a different way of thinking, ENTIRELY DIFFERENT. It’s not like mine and yours are the same and you can argue which is better, they are DIFFERENT. So you have to put everything else into another box and keep it separate. Try it my way and then go back to yours. Whether or not it worked for you, you now have the added benefit of MORE UNDERSTANDING.
I agree with you, if half these guys understood physiology and the science of sports i feel they would be a bit skeptical on this article
Clearly, the guy who called u names, is getting confused with boxers who DO lift weights in order to gain physical strength, in order to step up a few un-natural weight classes to compete, (I.e. Holyfield, Jones Jr. Ex cetera)…but ur totally correct on this…
COLLINSWORTH BOXING EST. 1937
which are core muscles?
The best definition of core I ever heard was that the core run from the tip of your toes to the end of your fingers ! Visualise this and you’ll know what is your core.
even a very huge hammer weights 10 kg or approximately 25 pounds… while when you punch basically you don’t have to overcome any resistance… just for you to think a little bit…
This is a very true statement and actually much more revealing of punching technique than most people realize. The best way to punch is to go down. And so if you feel like your body has to overcome ANY resistance with a punch, that means part of your body is projecting “UP” somewhere and going against gravity.
The ONLY RESISTANCE anybody should feel during a punch is from the ground!
And your legs are already built to naturally “resist” the ground just by you standing, so it shouldn’t require much effort at all there either. Remember you only have to resist the force of the ground, you’re not required to project your body away from it (like a jump).
Don’t know if they heavy squats and weightlifting routine helped JMM’s punching power but it sure didn’t hurt it either. Just ask PacMan. teehee.
Johnny, youn did it again. i have ahandfull of questions but im just gonna email them to you hope you can help me coz just finished my 1st amateur fight, and even though i won, and when i wathced my video, i didnt seem like to like it that much. i dont know if its just me or its on how i box. btw im 5’7 235 lbs and win over to a 6’1 237 guy btw 🙂
Great job! Post up the video!
how can a heavy weight pro boxer have a very muscular body if they didn’t lifting weight ?
Yes, of course. There are many ways to develop through other type of resistance exercises. And there’s also genetics.
Great analysis man,but no disrespect,disregarding what I just read,Last week Pacquiao vs Marquez 4 shocked us all.Marquez came in looking bigger and stronger than ever.During the show 24/7 the man talked about working more on the weights and strength,as a result he floored Manny twice the second time for good and before he was’nt successful with that and he landed alot of clean blows in the past.I think if you mix up your cardio or speed training with weights it’ll add more power to your punch like marquez.Do you agree?If not can you please get back at me so I can understand.You seem to know alot judging by the way you explain things(jus sayin).
I can agree that perhaps Marquez is stronger, but then again Pacquiao is also at the tail end of his career and got hit with some pinpoint accurate shots.
He didnt lift weigts.He does plyometrics and core work.You can see exactly in 24./7
So you do know that plyometrics are almost useless without a good strength base right ? Ever heard about complex training ?
This post right here is the key to lifting in most sports! Complex Training. Everybody here should read up on that, alot of which is bases on PAP(Post Activation Potentiation. Yes Heavy weights, low reps, paired with plyometrics is a wonderful tool.
He did lift weights, he did heavy partial squats!
your wrong he did heavy partial squats. Get your facts straight before you make claims, im not trying to be rude im just pointing out actual facts
Jean Paul i guess u`ve never boxed before.U dont know what are u talking about…
I’m far from a professional boxer, but I do have some experience. But you are free to think whatever you want.
And I`m near to the proffesional figting 🙂 So you are not right 🙂
Very funny 🙂 lol But explain yourself a bit. On what exactly am I not right ? I did only say that weightlifting CAN help punching with power. And I did experience some solid gains even using good technique. Just for a bit of background I have two years of boxing under my belt, 6 days a week. I would say I’m an Okay amateur boxer. Sparred a lot, no formal matches. My nose is still intact so i guess my defensive is not that bad.
Ah come on guys it’s not a big deal.So what you’re saying is weight lifting can be good if used correctly?Yes?No?
@ Johnny : I do understand what you say and well, it may come as a surprise but I do use your teaching and think you have great advises. I am just arguing a bit about the benefits of weights, but believe me when I say that I will commit to the exercises you will publish later and think outside the box.
I always looks for ways to improve myself and I always at least give a chance to new thinking. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m just pointing out some less understood facts about strength training. But I do think you are right even if in my post I do argue.
You couldn’t have said it any better. Thanks for commenting. 🙂
Now in boxing, there is a lot of S&C coaches.Coaches with degrees and a lof of scientific new knowledge .. if you like these words.And they still dont tell to they figters to lift weigts.The tell them to make plyometrics and core training.Look Alex Ariza , the S&C coach of Pacquiao, Angel Hernandez, the coach of JMM,Michael Bazzel, the coach of Nonito Donaire..These coaches are coaches with years of experience and knowledge..they know what they are doing..Look all of them.That is my point.I have another,which is personal mine, but my english is not very good and I`m afraid I will not explain it very well.Cheers
Where are you from asdsadas I’m from Montreal. My english is not good either as you may have noticed. Maybe we could spar someday if you are in my area !
The problem is that a lot of the fighters head trainers and the fighters themselves do not like heavy weights because of the bad rep that weight training gets in the boxing community! With that being said the strength coaches still wanna get paid from the fighters, so their S&C coach implement calisthenic and plyometrics to get the fighter so called more conditioned and stronger. At first the plyometrics may yield results but after the initial compensation phase any individual will experience a plateau and the only way to get benefits from plyometrics is to get stronger by strength training which is best done with heavy weights. Although you can lift moderate loads with progressive overload ensuring an individual gets stronger the best way to get stronger is with heavy weights because of the neurological demand!
JMM was doing barbell squats and dumbbell clean and jerks on the 24/7 episode I saw along with box jumps(plyo), exercises with the rope, and punch/press hybrid thingy they do with one end of a barbell loaded .
Laura Te Aho White
I see where you’re getting at Johnny, although I 100% agree with you that weight lifting will not make you a better puncher (that’s technique) but I’m not convinced that weight lifting doesn’t have its benefits.
For me its helped strengthen my joints and has helped me with my complex nerve syndrome (which is a syndrome that affects the nervous system and overtime, muscle tissue and bone – I was doing Boxing well before I was diagnosed with this). Thanks to weight lifting, my Boxing has improved and so has my general health. For some, weight lifting can be a great option for those that do Boxing, especially for those that have psychical disabilities. For an example because I have complex nerve syndrome in my legs, I’m unable to do things such as plyometrics, or skip (even running can be painful for me these days), so weights has helped in areas that I can’t necessarily do body weight exercises for.
I have nothing against resistance training or strength training for all the other physical benefits. Please, do not abandon strength training!
Laura Te Aho White
Maybe to help clear up the confusion that’s going on around here, you should do an article covering the pro’s of weight lifting, or even better, how to weight lift for Boxing (what you should be doing and not being doing, and what exercises you think would be most beneficial for a Boxer for those that choose to life weights).
Great ideas for future articles, Laura! Unfortunately I had to chose this title to be a troll and stimulate some interesting discussions on here.
Great in depth article Johnny!
I really like how you’ve highlighted that going down is better than going up. What many people do not understand is that the more power you want to generate is determined by how well you decelerate the load. As I mentioned in your first post- bones move, joints feel and muscles react. Therefore, I this look to ensuring that the necessary motions in the foot and ankle, hips and thoracic spine are optimized so that this can happen. For example, if you lack range in hip internal rotation, a highly important motion for loading (eccentric action) EVERY PUNCH the external rotation that follows as we unload (the concentric action) will not be optimized. That is to say, the concentric action will be sub-optimal and the speed and power of the punch will not fulfill its potential.
I’ve already backed up your point on hip rotation. Added to this is the importance of the motion of the thoracic spine. In a jab we generally see what is called a Type 1 Thoracic spine motion. For an orthodox fighter this will be left lateral flexion, right rotation and the opposite for a southpaw. Type 2 Thoracic spine motions are where lateral flexion and rotation are in the same direction. So, if we can optimize the movement of the thoracic spine in conjunction with that of the hips, we can really optimize the punching power of a boxer.
Simply lifting weights will have little transferable benefits in increasing punch power.
One more thing to add. Conditioning the right proprioceptors here is what is of the utmost importance.
A proprioceptor is a sensory organ that takes a physical force and converts it to an electrical signal, which is sent to the brain, spinal cord and to connections between local body parts. The Pacininan Corpuscle and Ruffini Endings are the proprioceptors which deal with speed. I’m just going to talk about the Pacinian Corpuscle.
The PACINIAN CORPUSCLE is stimulated by change in velocity. That is to say, it likes to speed up and slow down. This is – located in distal joints as these are likely to move faster. This is a key proprioceptor we should look to stimulate when training to increase punching power. Training this proprioceptive response will allow the muscles to respond in a way to deal with and enhance motions that require speed. A key feature of the pacinian corpuscle is that if the same stimulus is maintained, it adapts quickly and stops to fire. Weight training is often the maintenance of the stimulus, further corroborating the fact that weight training is not conducive for increasing punching power.
To see how I condition a boxer, please see my blog.
Thank you for this great insight, Kemo. It’s amazing to be able to break things further down into little tiny scientific details. Nice site, btw.
Do you have any exact links as to how you would approach speed training? I’m really interested to see how you would further unlock this difficult ability. Teaching power is easy, but speed, not so much.
Basically the nervous system!
It seems your against heavy weight training because i looked at your youtube page and dont see anything that require you lifting up a heavy weight!
It’s really this simple.
A) If your punching technique is 100% tension. Then lifting weights will increase your power because it increases your ability to create more force through tension.
B) Now if your punching technique is 95% relaxation and only 5% tension, then lifting weights won’t do much if anything because the tension is only 5% of your punching technique.
So it depends on how you punch. Now here’s the real question…which method do you think the pros use to punch? Which one is more effective, more efficient, and most importantly–which one is more powerful? Try both, master them and see for yourself.
Hey Johnny i’m not trying to discredit your knowledge at all so lets get that out the window although i do disagree with you on this topic! I can agree with you about relaxation but more times than not every explosive athletic movement requires relaxation as a matter of fact if an individual is not relaxed he/she can actually inhibit there power. Think of almost every explosive movement any sport specific coach will tell you to relax and get rid of the unnecessary tension because tension usually causes energy leaks eg. running, jumping, swimming, takedowns and punching. Overall power is power whether it is upper body, core or lower body. Maybe what confuses individuals is they may think because they got brutally strong through weight training then they automatically become explosive, physiology doesnt work that way, you must transfer your strength to power with plyometrics, and explosive exercises. With that said heavy weight training can slow a fighter down with a phenomena that is called ESD (Explosive strength deficit) this happen when maximal lifting is done excessively without any explosive type training! Believe me bro i know my shit and the S&C for boxing is outdated!
Much respect to you. I’m not trying to discredit your knowledge or even convert you either. It really comes down to how you understand punching technique. If you view punching technique to be of a certain way…then you will feel like lifting weights has tremendous benefits. (And you would be right…obviously, because that’s how you punch.)
Obviously, I understand punching mechanics in a different way from you do. (Although you may think we see punching technique on the same plane, we obviously don’t.) Because the way I punch, I could care less about weights. Weights is the last thing on my mind. I still care about speed, I still care about power, I still care about strength. But I just don’t care about weights. Obviously, I’m generating my punching power in a different way than you do.
Imagine if I had a car that runs on water and you kept trying to sell me gas and saying that gas is the best fuel for my car. I won’t buy it. It doesn’t mean your fuel is useless. It just means I’m doing something different. I don’t punch like you…and for that reason, I will never need to S&C to be crazy powerful.
Sure weights might add 5% difference or something…but nowhere near enough that I would take time away from skill training and switch it to weight lifting. I’m still up for S&C but not for heavy weights. And remember…I CAME FROM HEAVY WEIGHTS. And then I converted. And now I’m happy here. 🙂
I am from Europe, Bulgaria
Johny, Is plank good exersice?You have left a lot of questions after this article.You said squats and deadlifts and crunches are no good, but you dont mention specific exercises for the inner musclces..
Whoa whoa, squats still have their place in normal conditioning. I’m not saying that’s a useless exercise. But I will discuss my exercises for the inner muscles in a future article because it’s too much to cover here.
Assuming that by ”inner muscles” you mean the core muscles(Muscles connecting your spine with your pelvis, legs and torso), squats is a tremendous exercise for those muscles. If you can do a heavy squat you absolutely MUST have a strong core in order to maintain your posture and move the weight. Squats can improve your athleticism and can absolutely help you strengthen your core. I understand what you are saying about relaxation and about letting go of your own weight, but in my point of view, the ones that transfer your own weight from the ground to your opponent are your own muscles. Proven by science, your ”fast twitch” or ”white” or ”anaerobic” muscle fibers can be stimulated by lifting heavy weights(compound movements). Technique is the most important tool for a boxer but weights is an additive that can absolutely help you improve as a fighter(not talking about punching power). About punching power, in order to push your own weight against the gravity and transfer it to your opponent, it requires perfect coordination of your whole body. Proven by research, heavy compound movements can stimulate your nervous and hormonal system, thus improve your overall athletic ability. Given that, heavy compound movements can help your own body to transfer the force of your weight from the ground to your target by ”waking up” your sleeping muscle fibbers. To conclude, I think that most boxers need little to no lifting. But lifting can absolutely have a possitive effect on your body, granted that it doesn’t interfere with your regular boxing training. You learn to punch by punching, not by lifting.
What’s your opinion about russian twist to develop strenght in the inner muscles?
Hehehe, that’s a good exercise and does reach SOME of the inner muscles but there are still far better ones.
Hey Johnny, now you have to hurry up to post a selection of the best exercises for those inner core muscles. You have started and made a huge intrigue with your article, now you cannot leave the public wondering… :))) although, you might keep a secret until you write and sell a book on the subject – success is guaranteed…
A good core workout for a boxer should work the core in motion. The inner core muscles respond to movements of the spine. Therefore you should move the core under resistance. Exercises like the plank will not transfer into the core strength a boxer needs- you need core strength standing up!
Check this video out as an example
YES! True core strength can only be developed with an upright spine position, the way our bodies were intended to move and be developed! It’s about time someone has brought that to our attention.
THANK YOU KEMO
Great advice as always !
I am trying to do the core exercise where you stand on the ball of one foot and raise the other but don’t quite understand how to do this exercise ? Does the other raised foor press against the knee with the arch of the foot ? And do you switch from standing on 1 foot to the other when going clockwise or counter clock wise ? When you turn it is virtually impossible to keep the upper body motionless ? Is there a video clip or diagram that could explain to all who I am sure are having difficulty understanding this technique !!
Also, what other exercises would you suggest for starting to develop core if crunches etc are not the best ? What would you recommend as the article is great but you don’t really mention what exercises to do that will build the core strength up ?
I will make a video for you guys after the holidays are over. No switching of the feet is needed. Stay on one foot. This article is to serve as an introduction to new concepts of how the body moves and generates power. An article to explain the exercises will be have to be made separate.
I do applaud your attempts at trying the exercise. It’s almost impossible for people have never tried using those muscles. But once you develop them, you’ll never want to go back to old way of moving.
How much did you weight in that photo?
Probably only 146. The funny this is I way around 142 now but I look so much lighter (probably because my lower body is far more developed).
Johnny, please help i’m a heavyweight figher 95kgs 6’0 i’m very fast with good footwork but my punching power is shocking do you know anyway i can improve it? And my technique is brilliant i always land but with no damage and because of this my opponent loses respect for my power and comes in i lost my last fight because of this my first loss out of 4 and i was dominating him lost via TKO, please REPLY!
… “95 kg, very fast, good footwork, brilliant technique”… even without watching video i can tell you have no good footwork, and of course your technique is non existed… because good punch comes from the ground only and footwork only, while good technique itself allows you to have a good footwork… upper body with hands basically just follows the punching movement that comes from the ground and foot… and you say you have fast hands… If you aren’t trolling here, you just think about your technique way too good than it is… there is no other way around this.
Technique is meant to increase leverage, not necessarily just to look good, so it’s supposed to serve a purpose. So if you still don’t have power, then your technique needs improvement. I have several guides and videos on Youtube addressing punching technique. Look through those and see if that helps.
maybe you dont land correctly.Maybe you dont grab your fist when you connect.Or you dont land on the correct place.Or you dont put enoug weight and speed 🙂 Show video 🙂
Johnny… Great article. You have further clarified everything I have tried to pass on to the younger guys that seem obsessed with having a physique based, in my opinion, mainly on how you look rather than actual strength. When I first started boxing I had a great coach that emphasized to me what you layed out above. For the first month of practice, my training was proper movement and form, proper grounding and proper rotation (hips, arms & shoulders)… not once did I step into the ring. A couple a months ago, I started Caopeira Angola, which really emphasizes proper grounding, flexibility, body control, and core strength. I have seen a HUGE difference in performance in the ring. My punches flow more fluidly, I can go more rounds, and my rhythm is totally different then before. I’m not saying everyone needs to go out and learn capoeira but core strength and discovering “real” control of your body makes a huge difference… it is far more effective than simply lifting weights and eating thirty chicken breasts a day. Thanks Johnny for the Great articles.
Max, you were blessed with a great coach! I wish everyone was as lucky and open minded as you.
wow you are very persistant in your beleives and alot of work and thought has gone into disproving all your doubters.where your theories fall down however is your convinient assumption that core muscles outside muscles and inside muscles are all somehow different from each other and all behave differently with different properties.when in fact they all work exactly the same with exactly the same makeup of fast twitch and slow twitch fibers.every complex movement listed above can be enhanced with greater or more targeted fast twitch involvement.it seems to me your taking this particular subject to heart johnny.where your missing the point is fast twitch targeting for speed not strengh .more speed plus proper technique using gravity equals harder punch
As initially stated in the article, I didn’t write this to convince the doubters. If what I’m saying is different from what you know…then take it for what it is. It’s a different opinion and a different way to look at things. Or well, you can argue until the end of the time. I’m pretty happy either way.
The benefit of this article is that it will still help thousands of readers who want to listen. And for the doubters, it will still bring thousands of traffic to my website. Even they disagree here, they’ll still comment and still read many of my guides and learn something even they don’t like this one. New opinions will be shared and much learning will be made. I couldn’t ask anymore of an article. 🙂
Johnny alot of this stuff on this site is good info. But i truly believe your opinion is overall subjective to be honest with you. The foundation of all human movement especially ATHLETIC movement is STRENGTH. In sports science and physiology it is easily stated that to increase power one must first increase strength and then transfer it into power. Basically one can get freakishly strong and then tranfer his strength into power through methods of plyometrics, dynamic weight lifting(explosive lifting with loads of 40% to 75% of an individuals 1rm), olympic weight lifting(which is hard and technical which can possibly take away from an individuals technique training). These are some of the ways a boxer or any other athlete can be more powerful and there is ways to lifts weights without adding unnecessary bulk. And as far as so called inside muscles there are plenty of rotational strength exercise such as wood chops, barbell russian twist and more! I love boxing and am involved in the sport of boxing but i truly believe boxing is outdated when it comes to S&C! I just feel the title of this blog is far too opinionated especially when all your so called scientific explanations are ones that came from your own experiences and has no actual scientific proof( although i feel science is over rated in some ways). Yes weight lifting can slow an individual down but only if it is done incorrectly! But i really know why you actually made this article its not because you actually have proof but because it will have your website buzzing whether your assumptions are correct or not. To conclude there is no uniform way to train and technique does come first!
my last comment to everyone is,in my 35 years of following boxing almost every outstanding puncher,especially heavyweights were born strong and/or trained with resistance i.e. weights.go to a library read about: JOHN L SULLIVAN,TOM SHARKEY,JACK JOHNSON,SAM LANGFORD,DEMPSEY, they all had tremendously hard jobs that built strength! coal mining,lumberjacks,stevedores,longshoreman,farming.even sullivan who had great natural strength lifted kegs of nails and wrestled with world champs to build more strength! ROCKY MARCIANO was a natural but he would run sprints and punch underwater! TYSON a natural still lifted weights as did GEORGE FOREMAN and BERT COOPER(he benched 320ln at age 15!) i myself with absolutely no guidance or coaching or even street fighting experience could punch very hard according to the trainers watching me hit the heavy bag for the first time.i was asked about turning pro and oh by the way i could bench press over 400lb and squat 500lb military press 255lb do you think there is a correlation to my strength and my punching power?
Thank you Bro, please educate the ignorant and uninformed people! Its simple physiology! 255 lbs OHP, that ridiculous!!
fast twitch doesn’t mean they are very fast… you can train them to contract faster or slower… lifting heavy you train them handle heavy load easier but contract slower and so on… but if you rely on muscles for a snapping powerful punch they will still be too slow even if you train them to be faster… Proper boxing technique makes you punch fast, efficiently and relying on muscles as little as possible, and powerfully… muscles just have to support that minimum which needed to execute right boxing technique… and the upper body in particular has to be relaxed – muscles not tensed when you generate the punch… If you want to be a good puncher you have to train by punching, if you want to be a good fighter you have to train by actually fighting… All other things are secondary or unnecessary at all. Doing “magic” exercises for your core will also not make you really punch better… having conditioned core muscles is obviously needed, but the core works a lot already when you are doing those direct boxing drills… but again, doing any additional exercises for the core muscles will not make a miracle and you will not start throwing better right hands than Mohamed Ali…
On the money. While I do think weights can and should be used by fighters albeit sparingly, lifting weights surely won’t make someone a better fighter or say a better baseball player if some kind of skill set isn’t already there to begin with. If you want to improve your swimming then you devote most of your time to swimming and not running. Speaking of Ali, not only did Ali not use weights but the only calisthenics he used while training were strictly “table work” or abdominal exercises along with a traditional boxing routine of bag punching, sparring, roadwork, and rope skipping. I’ve read Ali did do a lot wood chopping not so much to build punching power but to increase strength in the upper body and for cardio conditioning. Ali’s trainer the late Angelo Dundee stated that he never saw Ali even perform a pushup the whole time he was with him. Weights aren’t some magical pill that will make someone be talented at performing various sports but are tools like pushups, pullups, wood chopping, etc., that can be used to condition a fighter or athlete. What confuses the hell out of me is someone who swears by the bodyweight stuff like pushups, pullups, and the like but swears at or condemns weights???? Your body and muscles have no idea where the resistance is coming from whether the resistance you use comes in the forms of free weights, machines, weight vests, or your own bodyweight.
Bodyweight exercises are not heavy lifting (where you sometimes lift several times your body weight).
Is this what chi kung (qi gong) is really about? They talk about grounding and focusing on the ‘dantien’ which is below the navel.
Oooooh, this is a good question and semi-related. The dantien has more to do with breathing and how you generate power from your breath rather than your relationship with the ground.
” I would consider the following as “inside muscles”: abs, lower back, pelvic muscles, inside the hips, and adductors.”
Those are the last thing a bodybuilder type works on. They want big guns and pecs but the last thing they wants is a big butt and abs/obliques (which is why they do tons of light crunches).
Exactly, “body builders” not boxers, body buiders are slow and are strong at doing very slow strong movements in a short period of time while boxers are powerful fast and have lots of muscular endurance.
Well, yes, that’s the thing. Bodybuilders are less concerned about moving their bodies than they are about fighting gravity. Their entire workouts are all about developing muscles that go against gravity rather than muscles that go WITH gravity….which then results in a totally different appearance.
The KO Kid
I attribute my awesome punching power to cooking most of my steaks and hamburgers on my George Foreman grill. Like George, I have a large stomach and yet my punching power is TOTALLY AWESOME. I’ve probably never done more than 100-reps in my whole life of any abdominal or core exercise and yet I’ve torn up several heavy bags and have run all the other heavyweights out of my gym.
The KO Kid,
absolutely true!… I am also sure that cooking your steaks on a George Foreman grill will contribute to possessing a powerful snap punch thousands times more than lifting heavy barbells or doing other “magical”, “functional” exercises…
Haha, I wish I could “like” this post
You found my technique! You know what else? I love to eat sugary things like candy and white bread. Gets me ripped out of my mind!
In fact Johnny, the more I read of your work, the more convinced I become that you lack any REAL depth of understanding of some of the topics you are talking about (not just this article).
How many bouts have you had ? Others have asked you this yet I have never seen reply. I don’t believe you have boxed competitively at all yet have a site called “EXPERT” boxing.
I don’t want to be negative as some of your articles are very good and I have learnt many new ways of looking at things. However, over time your articles are becoming more and more preachy as if you are an authority on boxing training when this clearly isn’t the case IMO.
A lot of what you right is very good so keep up the good work mate.
You can look up my background information yourself (try clicking on my name). I took the name “expertboxing” because it sounds so much better the averageboxing or beginnerboxing or even learnhowtobox. The name is just a name, nothing more than random letters organized together to form a word. I like to imagine the name is what we all strive for…to be better educated in this sweet science in any way that we can. But yes, I can definitely accept the fact that I don’t have anywhere near the experience of my coaches who have been in the game for 30-40 years. This site serves as a highly ambitious start for my involvement in the sport I love.
As of right now, I’m a level one amateur boxing coach and working my way up. I preach the very best of what I know as of this moment because that’s all my capacity allows me to explain. As time changes, what I teach will naturally evolve along with it. And people are free to read and agree or disagree as they please.
It’s statistically impossible to agree 100% on anything. Compare all the boxing styles and tactics of just the current champions right now and you will see there are endless ways to achieve success. What I share is my way and I do it with 100% honesty. If you have great authority, then I beg you please to share your knowledge for the good of all boxers around the world (myself included). Better yet, start your own website and record your own instructional videos so I can learn from them! Coming on here to tell me you disagree with my opinion doesn’t help me in any way other than to show that you and I were trained by different coaches.
Would you ask the same question “how many bouts have you had?” lets say coaches like Cus D’Amato??? Approximately a half of the best couches in the history of boxing didn’t have any official bout… What I would appreciate form you though, if you shared your knowledge on this particular topic about lifting weights and boxing. If you don’t have enough knowledge and that is why you don’t say anything about the subject then I respect you for that, but then you should also stop expressing doubts about Johnny’s competency.
I have just read your profile Johnny and I have to apologize as you clearly detail your involvement with boxing and where you are currently, making no claims of grandeur.
Fair point regarding naming of the site.
Quote “I preach the very best of what I know as of this moment because that’s all my capacity allows me to explain”.
I know mate, and like I said most of the time I agree with what you have to say and get a great deal from your articles. It’s a great resource for boxers and coaches of all levels. You are doing a very good job and I was out of line. I’ve had a bad day please accept my apologies mate.
I have thought about doing some instructional videos / articles mainly for the boxers at our club but I may upload them on Youtube when complete.
To be honest, no I wouldn’t ask Cus how many bouts he had taken part in because it’s irrelevant – silly question on my part, see above. I don’t actually believe one needs to compete to be a good coach – in fact I know of several excellent amateur coaches who have never even sparred yet could teach us all a thing or two.
I will come back to addressing the points I disagree with in this article another day when I have more time.
Apologies again Johnny – I was out of line.
No worries, Coach. But do share your knowledge when you have some time. It would be greatly appreciated by all.
I agree with the technique of punching, however im weightlifting to increase my strength for things like being able to bully other fighters, being able to shrug guys off of me, having stronger legs for closing the distance and using my footwork to maintain distance ect. so while weightlifting and having physical strength is not the most important thing for “Punching power” it most certainly does apply to many aspects of boxing. it is a fine line becasue as you become more muscular your cardio suffers becasue you have more muscle to provide oxygen too ect but just ask any top level boxer if they have a weight training program. the answer is Yes. good article. I agree with your points.
You can get stronger without gaining muscle. Ask any rock climber or wrestler. Mass is the last thing they want. On the other hand, don’t expect to be a powerlifter.
Hey Johnny. I have to say that I totally agree with you concerning heavy weights, but there is one thing that I noticed: every time I train hard my forearms and grip with exercises like wrist rollers, hand grips, hanging and fingertip push ups my punches are much faster, my weight (leverage) is delivered harder through the punch also I have more snap in my punches. Do you think the forearms and grip would be the exception to heavy training? Great article by the way, whenever I have something I don’t know I go to this site and I find good information. Keep it going !
Well forearms and grip exercises are not heavy lifting at all. And then are highly functional exercises that help support the power transfer and power delivery. Just like how a weak forearm cannot support a heavy weight for you to bench press it, a weak forearm cannot support the arm pressure to deliver a strong punch.
The important thing to remember is that strong forearms don’t add power, they simply prevent the LOSS of power during delivery.
nice reply johnny my sentiments exactly.ANTONIO your comments are so far of the mark its ridiculous its absolutly impossible to fire fast twitch fiber slowly and yes they are called fast because they are fast lol.all muscle has different sized fibers in them and our brains fire them sequentialy SMALLEST FIRST period.these fibers have no concept of speed whatesoever nor our brain firing them only how much force is required.we have named them fast twitch but a more accurate desciption would be explosive twitch because they are biggest.they also require huge energy and mental WILL to use them.now if any athlete any sport wants to get OPTIMUM results they have to utilize them.body builders target slow twitch fibers and supersize them thats the very nature of what they do more and more repitions means LESS AND LESS INTENSITY so smaller and smaller fibers are recruited because thats how are bodies save future energy/this also creates most bulk.FAST TWITCH TARGETING DOESNT CREATE BULK PERIOD. theres far less of them and they dont restrict movement range or elasticity.in fact all these are vastly improved.JOHNNY your very humble in you replys so this explanation is to help you and your site
ps johnny this isnt my opinions its biological fact and i have years of experience and proof of this concept and im sorry but im not going into details of how .come up with ways to use this knowledge im sure your capable.im as sure of this as the sun rising tomorrow morning altough tomorrow is 12/21/2012 the mayan doomsday fingers crossed
Fastest MMA HW ever.His boxing skills are admired by Vitali Klitscko and David Haye.Your thoughts Johny?
I do love his boxing. He’s one of the few guys in the MMA doing it right. He has great snap for a big heavy weight. I wish more MMA guys would hit the mitts like him.
Something that helps me with technique and to a lesser degree, power, is hold a pair of hand weights (2 pounders) and practicing the 1-2 combination VERY VERY Slowly, concentrating on every muscle from the legs, hips, abs, shoulders and arms. I do this for one hundred reps.
Thank you for emphasizing the VERY SLOWLY part. So many people try this fast and hurt their wrists.
The Widow Maker
What puzzles me is I read some posts here describing how ONLY people who know nothing about boxing or who have never boxed would recommend a fighter lift weights, and then I view numerous videos showing present day fighters like the Klitschko brothers, Tyson Fury, Timothy Bradley, JMM, and several other top level professional fighters lifting weights. No disrespect to the posters on this site, but I highly doubt anyone of you is or has ever been a world champion or even a world ranked fighter, so please explain how lifting weights is part of these highly ranked pro boxer’s routine but isn’t something you would recommend for boxing?? If lifting weights was so detrimental to fighter’s routine I seriously doubt that even a novice would go near a barbell much less a world champion or highly ranked contender. Earnie Shavers has even recently came out and spoke against lifting weights for boxing which is indeed quite odd because Shaver was one of the few boxers who actually lifted weights back in the Seventies.
I think the confusing part is that some boxers lift for overall strength and power conditioning and others literally think the training was for punching power.
Jonhy I mean what do you think about the fact he is lifting weights
He’s doesn’t appear to be lifting heavy to me.
Just my two cents… Lifting weights for a heavyweight MMA fighter or even a boxer between the bouts is quite normal… it’s a small part of a big routine of general conditioning… he doesn’t lift like crazy though, I mean those dedicated iron lifters like bodybuilders or powerlifters… On the other hand, this is just a commercial clip… and the fact that he says – “I worked my triceps so now my punches will devastate the opponents” explains that this is just a joke for that beautiful journalist lady:))… Lots of famous boxers like two times olympic champion Lomachenko also go for long distance swimming… but the idea of swimming as a conditioning for a boxer probably isn’t interesting for the public:))…
great article… but… could you suggest how train the inside muscles?
(maybe my english isn’t good enough… but I can’t find what kind of exercise I should do to train these muscles…)…
I’ll be sharing some of those later.
Ook, thanks!!! 😉
I am surprised to read this article showing that the author of this writing understands the anatomy and mechanics of human body perfectly. About a decade years ago, I was taught about this in physical medicine and rehab class of my medical school. it was about walking and running (gait), but the core knowledge is same. I thank you for good article.
Mr. Johnny you certainly explained the science of punching boxing style very acurately. Im just curious how does it differ to a karate punch? and which among the two have more power? which has more speed? I think there are similarities in delivery but karate start from waist with additional spining of fist wheras boxing starts from the gaurd area, correct me if im wrong im not a karateka.
I think this theory applies to both styles of punching, karate and boxing. As for which style has more power, I believe karate’s reverse punch is the single most powerful upper-body technique, if done right. I think that if the feet remain in the same place throughout the punch, karate’s reverse punch finds close competition in boxing’s cross, but if a drop-step is added, the reverse punch’s mechanics are perfectly suited for transferring the most possible weight from the body to the target, rendering it the most powerful punch. However, performing this technique correctly and at maximum speed requires, in my opinion, a lot more training than what is necessary to master a cross. Therefore, a cross will almost always be quicker, and safer, to use. I can perform a slow, drop-step reverse punch that could shatter jaws, but unless the opponent is already stunned, I will get totally clobbered before landing it. There are two instances in which this punch can be used: when the opponent is stunned or confused, and when the opponent launches an aggressive but uncoordinated attack. If one could become capable of performing this technique at the same speed at which a boxer throws a cross, they’d pretty much be invincible. But until then, I’d say boxing has an advantage in speed. All this is based on the assumption that the boxer and karateka have the same body type and physique.
A good punch is a good punch regardless of what you call it. The name of the movement matters not so much as knowing how to use your body effectively. In general, boxing punches are far superior to karate punches because they are more versatile and have more range. Boxers only throw punches, so they should be stronger, faster, and more effective punchers in combat situations. I have no idea what karate people do and so I won’t try to speak on their methods.
It seems that a karate punch was designed to break wood. They focus all their power to destroy a much thinner but very hard target.
Yeah, I agree that a good punch is a good punch regardless of what you call it. However, it’s useful to name different movements different things, so that you can actually study them and work with them. Just like naming animals or elements or whatever. I would agree that in general, boxers punch more effectively than karateka. This is just because most karateka are totally useless in combat anyway, tactically and technically, because of poor instruction, and also because of having different motivations and aspirations. The thing about karate and other East Asian martial arts is that if one has the right drive; the right instruction; a practical, pragmatic, and open mind, and no small amount of talent, the level of effectiveness that can be reached, even just in punching, is pretty much unparalleled.
Very good article — excellent for people who are new to the concept, and even had some good tips for someone like me. There is a lot of value in learning how to effectively push off the ground and generate energy upwards — this can make for some great K.O.’s — but this should only be pursued AFTER having mastered the downwards approach. The upward techniques are only ideal for very specific situations anyway, and will be used a lot less frequently than ones in which you drop your weight. Hip rotation, however, remains present always.
thank you for sharing your expertise:):):)…
If you can call it that… 🙂
I need to ask a question, How would I measure the power of my punch like, how can I come to know that is it able to knockout someone or not. Tough I know that a knockout comes form good timing and force of impact , but is there some method or criteria by which I can know or measure my punch’s power?
there used to be an old fashioned but reliable way to measure your punch by hitting a brick, if you brake a brick with your fist you have a decent hook, if not you have to bench press more heavy ass weight in a gym… on the other hand, you may have a decent headbutt you just don’t know, try to brake a brick with your head, if you can brake a brick then you think twice if you really need that powerful hook at all… I hope it helps you in your progress… best wishes
Thanks for the reply, good to know a good technique… will surely try the same… just tell me one more thing do I need hit the brick with bare hands or do I need to wrap it and wear a glove…
I am waiting for you valuable reply, will surely appreciate that.
WHAT THE HELL! This is boxing. Wrap your hands, put on a glove, and hit the bag or hit a person…but not a brick.
The power of your punch has to do with the amount of force you can generate.
Your ability to produce a knockout punch has to do with your punching skill to deliver effective force.
And the effectiveness of your strike depends on many things: power, timing, angle, target, etc. The skill matters more than the pure brute force itself. Heck, even the average street fighter is strong enough to knock somebody out. Knocking out a trained opponent is an entirely different matter.
part 2 couldnt say it better hahah:) What i also believe is that really heavy weight affects your flexibility thats reallty underrated. believe me flexibilty there comes alot of power from that.
Forgot to tell, you must wear 16 oz boxing gloves, and wrap your hands, while for measuring the power of you headbutt wear a military or similar helmet. Also take two guys from your gym to assist you, they have to move the brick slightly towards you, while you have to choose a perfect timing to hit it, timing is everything in boxing… and if you don’t brake a brick from the first blow then try a couple of more times. Would be very nice if you take it on video and share with other boxers on this site.
Best wishes and good luck
Big Thanks to clarify the doubts, will surely try that and make the video..
what a great artical, ive learnt a great deal from you and ive advanced at an unbeleivable rate since getting your point. ive only trained body weight using no weights for 3.5 years and now i have a fully functioning, powerfull body. this is the best boxing knowledge on the net
all it takes is sense to stay fit costs nothing, all you need is gravity and your body is the perfect weight at any given time of training. its about kinetic energy ( body working together) like a car all the parts must be evenly balanced to ensure it works. no person can evenly work they re muscles to imititate a kinetic movement because balance and tendons are almost always left out… thats the only way these deluded people can lift weights sooo heavy. Thats why allota them snap there backs and end up fat bit the 70 year old next door who ran and only did press ups, pull ups, squats and sits is fine.
personally i think the gym (weights and machines) is a con and so is most products apart from whey if u really really dont know how to cook a chicken
hello which exercise would you recomend for better punching power(inside muscles)?
To be shared…later.
if you could tell me about water consumption. Is it good to drink water durign boxing training i mean boxing exercises like jumping rope, , pads, boxing the bag, pull ups, push ups it is not good to drink while boxing exercises? better to drink much water before workout?
Drink water before you workout. Once you’re in the middle of training, you only need small sips.
if you become relatively good at 2-3 miles running, and 100 meters sprinting, then with proper boxing technique and timing you will have the power of a typical pro boxer… Running is created for boxers, it’s a magical exercise, routine… the better you become at it the more benefit you get from practicing it… if one just does only running for his conditioning, of course besides sparrings and various punching drills, this would be sufficient enough to win world boxing titles… Just don’t confuse running with slow pensioner’s jogging which is not the same thing at all… Boxing world, and my own experience in boxing knows lots of stories of talented boxers who robed themselves gold medals just by skipping runnings and trying to “outsmart” their coaches by hiding around the corner when the trainer told them to run three miles…
YOu say so okey! thanks and if you could tell me about water consumption. Is it good to drink water durign boxing training i mean boxing exercises like jumping rope, , pads, boxing the bag, pull ups, push ups it is not good to drink while boxing exercises? better to drink much water before workout?
why for the fuck you would drink that water during the training? If you concentrate on the training you forget about that water… the session lasts only about one and a half hour, you drink two – three hours before a lot, and the then you drink after the work out. If your sessions are take longer time you can drink a half of a glass… why you just don’t try yourself and see how you feel when you drink during the training??:)) my advice would be just don’t drink vodka before a work out.
How much water before and after ? you drink
ok, I will reveil you a big secret which actually I got from famous pro boxer Manuel Marquez. Before each training I drink one glass of my own urine and then one glass of pure water. After work out I again drink my own urine but only a half a glass, and then two glasses of pure water. It works for Marquez, it works for me, it will work for you. Best luck. There is video on youtube Manuel Marquez drinking his own urine to increase performance, you can also look at it.
Hey. Johnny thnx for this tips you are a Smart Guy .
My question is i want work with weights in a Fitness gym
What i Must Sayn to the fitnessTrainer there that he make a Platin Ideal plan Where
I train muscle that increase me in boxnig?
Tell him you want a training plan to increase your physical performance, mainly speed, power, and stamina.
oki and johny how i can go up to higher weight class with out to get fat
You want Dealifts, ATG Olympic Squats, Bench Press,Cleans, Maybe Overhead Press, And Pullups( Or Lat Pulldowns). Heavy weights, low reps. 3×2 is preferred but no more than 5 reps in a single set. Eventually pair them with plyometrics. Other Assistance exercises would be Bulgarian Split Squat, Front squat, Swiss Ball dumbbell press. Resistance Bands and Medicine Balls have tons of great exercises for explosiveness and and rotational strength. Kettlebells, Sledgehammer, Prowlers/Sleds, and Battle Ropes for Conditioning. Strength Training shouldn’t be more than an hour, if not 40 minutes about 3 days a week, and conditioning should be after boxing. Sorry if it seems long winded but this is a topic most people on this board don’t seem to know much about.
It seems like your one of the only few that actually know what there talking about. A lot of people on this topic really dont know what they’re talking about! It’s sad when you think about! They all need to take the time and do the research and maybe they’d be enlightened!
Nice article bro. Just wondering if you have anything that demonstrates the best exercises to be doing for the core (to build/strengthen the core for more power in punching). Looked but couldn’t see anything on this?
Will be shared in a later article.
Hey Johnny !
Your article is very interesting and helpful !
But do you have any advice for lower back pain .. that would be cool if you could tell me some tips to prevent it 😉
Lower back pain can come from many things:
– bad form (the way you stand…if you tilt off center alot)
– bad technique (the way you punch, or slip, or move…if you tilt off center a lot)
– weak muscles (weak legs or weak calves can contribute to lower back pain)
Will most deffo get the hips consistently turning a lote for much more powerful crosses.
Very relevant not just to Boxing but also to Kick-boxers like myself and also for MMA.
This one is most certainly getting shared on our Fb page for sure tomorrow morning.
Great site and HNY – keep up the good work
amazing article and website. Your website is awesome and has been really helpful to me. I disagree with a few points, though. For example, the pulling muscles (lats, erector spinae, etc) you say are important inside muscles, but they are useful at contracting (strength) in several pulling AND pushing movements. Basically I think your article sheds a lot of light on the issue and is right in many ways (eg weight training is NOT the best way to train for power) but it makes the whole ‘x muscle for x movement’ too black and white. Assuming that weight training of all types (heavy load, high-rep, plyometric) is just one of many types of training, wouldn’t the extra inner AND outer total muscular contraction be just THAT much stronger due to increased strength if tensed at that right moment of impact and not tensed unnecessarily before or afterwards?
That aside, heres some weight exercises I think aid a lot with core power or plyometrics.
Oblique rotation machine – should be at your local gym. You sit on a chair and rotate your core. Perfect for spine alignment and general core/spine health too.
Deadlift- self explanatory. Works a lot of core stability.
Bench press Incline with bar only. This one’s kinda dangerous, but great for speed, warmup, or plyometrics. With only the standard 45 lb olympic weight bar, perform a full rep, and at the end, throw it up in the air a few inches in a controlled explosion. Catch it as it comes down and go start another rep immediately. This is done fluidly and with great control.
Any solid weightlifting program should cover ALL muscles on a regular basis. If not then a muscular imbalance will occur (e.f. push muscles overtrained compared to pull muscles) which leads to injuries.
Let me know if u get to try any of these. In exchange, I’ll start jump-roping everyday 😀 lol.
Already did this nearly 10 years ago.
“If you can find an invention or method that makes my core lift weights, then by all means SIGN ME UP!”
Weight training on unstable surfaces will do just that.
Lunges while holding weights landing on a air cushion, squats while standing on a “half moon” platform, bench presses with the back on a round ball, push-ups on a medecin ball… etc etc.
Weight training on unstable will work the core.
Not a bad attempt at all!
Johnny, what would you say about my workout:
3 miles of running at 7:30 pace
10 minutes jump rope
crunches to failure
pushups to failure
dips to failure
squats to failure
pullups to failure
2 rounds shadowboxing
thanks for any and all replies
It’s better than nothing. There are probably far more effective ways of doing this. Please check out my “Easy Boxing Workout”
hey man pts 1n2 have been good reads but if you’re sayin bigger guys hit harder bc of their weight advantage, how else are smaller guys gonna get big ya know lifting weights is the fastest way to gain muscle. I understand you could build a relatively small bit of muscle through training but not enough to turn a small guy into a big guy
In your article you stated that there a punch basically goes from the ground, through your legs, then through core rotation, and then through arm extension. I think that a properly made strength and conditioning program with assistance exercises will help with punching power. The reason is that it is possible through weight training to increase leg strength (which helps with driving power into the ground, core rotation, arm extension, and an increase in mass.
For example, Starting Strength could help with Punching Power:
Bench Press 3×5
Power Cleans 5×3
With Assistance Exercises such as the Ab Wheel/Barbell Wheels (which is using barbell and plates in place of the ab wheel), Twisting Crunches, Russian Twists, and other exercises that focus on rotational core power, it would be possible to increase punching power.
Consider this, a pitcher in baseball goes through a very similar motion as a boxer who is throwing a punch. Baseball players use weight training to increase the transfer of power from the ground and into the ball to make it go faster; why would it be different for boxers who use weight training to increase the transfer of power from the ground, through their bodys, and transfer the power into their opponents?
All of the things that you say that increase punching power: increased mass, increasing the amount of power driven the ground and through the legs, rotational core strength, arm extension speed, etc. can all be done through proper weight training.
I believe that the reason why many people believe that weight training cannot have a positive affect on boxing is that many people don’t train properly.
Ur right and the article is incorrect! believe me! Swinging a bat or throwing a baseball is similar to throwing a punch. The S&C for boxing is outdated!
Smurf, tell me, why is punching the ONLY thing that isn’t affected by strength training? Hell, if strength isn’t important lets just make steroids legal in boxing and see what happens, if getting stronger, faster and more explosive doesn’t matter, steroids shouldn’t have an affect on the outcome of who wins.
Peter if you looked at all my comments you’d recognize that i am actually one of the guys that’s in favor of strength training for boxing, take the time to look at all my comments! I truly believe being the stronger and more athletic fighter gives an individual an advantage in the ring be it that an individual does not neglect there skill training! And from my experience HEAVY strength training can aid an individual in performing better in the ring, as long there is not too much hypertrophy and the fighter is not concerned about the aesthetics and especially if it is done right this i believe it can do wonders for a fighter! I said S&C for boxing is outdated because heavy weight training has been stigmatized as bad in the boxing community!
Or are you agreeing with me by with a hypothetical question?
I’m agreeing with you with the hypothetical question. Almost everyone thinks that steroids should be illegal because it gives people an “unfair advantage” by making them stronger, more explosive, etc. but when you talk about doing S&C to get stronger, more explosive, etc. then they say it doesn’t help. That answer makes no logical sense. Sorry for taking so long to respond.
Have you considered cross training in other sports that utilize the core and resistance? The one that immediately comes to mind is canoeing and kayaking, but thats what I’m most familiar with.
The power of any stroke in a boat comes from the waist and the core. The repetitive nature of these sports lends greatly to strengthening the muscles involved.
That said, I think that initially, strength training can do a lot to get your punch started, but it is studying the mechanics and working those muscle groups that are key to the mechanics that launch your punch to a higher level.
Glass is half full
Great website! I am an ex judo & kickboxing practitioner w/ a strong wrestling base, and you have nailed it. The martial arts, boxing included, is about physics and science. The UFC proved a long time ago that the smaller man with TECHNIQUE will outperform the bigger, stronger man without. All other things being equal size and strength are a plus, but not at the expense of technique.
Keep up the great articles, and know their will always be knuckleheads who will argue with you, until a smaller man beats them silly with technique.
Glass is half full
P.s. I have forwarded this article to 3 of my friends. It was a very well written piece.
Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
appreciate if you make some video how to developed the inside muscle? Thanks
Johnny, I agree with your conclusions, but I’d like to help you out with the physics arguments.
What were trying to do when punching, is hitting the target for a specific amount of time, (dt), and we’re trying to impart the most amount of change in velocity during that time. What your critics are saying is that we can do so by applying a force F over time dt. The units of this equation are Newtons * Seconds (Force * Time). That is the units for an “impulse”. And it is indeed what we are trying to maximise. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impulse_(physics)
Now it turns out that theres another way to impart momentum to a moving object. And this is an equation used in calculating the result of impacts and collisions (think car crashes and billiards). These equations revolve around the transfer of momentum : p = mv. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momentum
Now what this tells us is that during an impact, depending on the rigidity of the objects in question, momentum will be transfered from one object to another. In an over-simplification, you could say that your fist will stop moving, and his head will start moving during the impact, due to transfer of momentum.
The momentum equation is mass times velocity. Here’s where what Johnny is trying to say is the most important factor. Getting your whole body to participate in the movement is imparting _speed_. Tensing your muscles at the end of the movement is making your whole body as rigid as possible, ensuring that most of your mass is participating in the “rigid-body” part of the transfer of momentum.
To clarify, both force over time _and_ momentum participate in the impact, or damage, that the punch will cause.
Think of it as this damage equation: p = m*v + F*dt, where F is the “pushing” you do while your fist is in your opponents face, and v would be the speed of your fist at the start of the impact.
Considering the length of the impact in question, it is much easier to transfer momentum, then it is to push really hard for that small amount of time and expect to do much damage.
Hope this helps to clarify a few things, from the physics standpoint.
Very helpful explanations. Thanks for sharing this.
Spot on, There was actually an article in T-nation talking about how there was no correlation between how hard you could push from a standing position and your bench press, it was all to do with wait.
Try training with Kettlebells. They focus on compound movements, that are explosive. Many kettlebell exercises focus on momentum, and simultaneously strength and cardio train.
Kettlebells utilize many of the same ideas presented on this article. Many of the movements work stabilizing muscles like the abductors, hips, lower back, abs and glutes. Many MMA fighters train with kettlebells because they do not emphasize on pushing power, but rather generate power from the ground, allowing the entire body to propel the bell. This is seen in exercises like the Kettlebell Snatch, Swing, Goblet Squat and Clean + Jerk and Row.
Since hip rotation is a big part of generating power for the punch, and since core muscles are involved (Abs, Lower Back, Inner Thighs, Glutes), and since those muscles are used in one continuous explosive movement…kettlebells seem to be the best way to use all of those muscles together in one exercise in that very same explosive manner.
I’m 100% with you on this. I once did some kettlebell swings that left me feeling like I went horseback riding for 2 weeks.
Hi, can make a new video how to train with kettle bell to for inside muscle and implosive power? if i’m 65kg, which kettle bell weight should i choose?
I don’t use kettlebells for that.
Could dumbbell swings be a good alternative in case one does not have kettlebells?
Yes, it’s possible. I don’t see why not. But there certain angles that are easier with the kettlebell because it of its shape.
hi jonny, I come to you with 2 different questions, one relevant to this article one not so but rather thought i’d gather all my thoughts in one place! so first off I’ve been boxing for roughly 5 months now and when sparring I like to throw lots of jabs and straights I try to be the one pushing the pace however I find my shoulders tire out quickly. I asked a few of the more advanced fighters in my gym to look at my technique for improvements but they all said my technique was on point. I’m 5’10 and 64kg I was considering doing weight training on my shoulders to build up some strength and endurance. What are your thoughts on this?
Q2: i’ve just been given my first fight, it’s in 2 months whey! so i’ve been sparring a few of the more advanced guys from my gym just for more experience. no matter how hard I try to put on pressure and aggressive I just find myself getting countered and ending up on the backfoot. What strategy would suggest for people really good at countering?
cheers for any wise words in advance, love your site and your articles. pcccceeee bra
Your shoulders get tired because of either A) bad technique or B) poor conditioning. Or maybe even a combination of both.
From a conditioning standpoint, you could benefit from more shadowboxing and speed bag work. The weights won’t do you as much good as the speed bag because that’s circular motion and gives your shoulders more flow. From technical standpoint, check out my helpful Youtube video on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCMF_KAaj_8
DEATH ROW K.I.N.G
what should u do when your trainer only trains somedays out of the week?
Either wait for him, train alone, or find another trainer to be with on the off days.
Really like your Articles John.
I am not sure if this question is answered in any other posts, but I guess its the age old question, I have always been told to workout, then take day off, then workout etc. Is Boxing something you can go hard at everyday ?
Thanks for all yoru work to bring the most amazing FREE boxing advice anywhere on the web. And the web is a DAMN big place.
You can go hard everyday but you can’t go 100%. Thanks, Phillip.
Sir Johnny, Ive watch the training scene of Rocky 6 and I’ve noticed that Rocky was using lots of weights heavy ones in there. Is it wrong, we all know its wrong, but whats the logic behind it? when all the previous rocky movies (1 to 5) have different training regiments, the rocky 6 emphasizes on weights. whats the purpose?
Rocky is a movie and something I wouldn’t take seriously as a representation of actual boxing training. I’m assuming the movies showed different things to fit with the times.
Hey Johnny, thank you for such an informative article.
I’m 24 this year, and i’ve actually JUST started boxing classes. I’m planning to compete as an amateur, and your website is a fantastic treasure trove of information.
I lift weights on a regular basis, and while this article has left me a little scarred within (I thought muscles helped with punching strength), i’m starting to see the value of rotary and not linear movements in boxing.
Would it be a good idea to use light weights to help me with muscle endurance though? (Ie high reps for the deltoids and forearms) I went home feeling destroyed for the first time in awhile after boxing training.
This led me to believe i’m actually using muscles in my body other than the ones that i’ve been conditioned to train over the years. This article helped me to verify just that!
I’ll make a wild guess that the “inner muscles” can be trained either with stability type exercises (with use of a gym or bosu ball), or rotary type exercises (which i’m still trying to figure out what).
Of course, I failed your exercise at the end. I couldn’t even balance on the ball of one foot. I felt so pathetic but it enlightened a part of my mind that i’ve been too rigid to even consider.
As such, i’m really looking forward to your “inside muscle” exercises.
Thank you for taking the time to publish all of these articles! It has really helped me so far as a newbie boxer-in-training.
Welcome to boxing, Melvin! Check out my guide called “EASY Boxing Workout” and start from there.
INSIDE MUSCLES generate the power.
Any exercises ;)?
What do you think of this??
I agree with some of it and also disagree with some of it. It’s somebody else’s opinion. What I recommend for you is to try different routines and see.
Such a cop out!! lol. I ment the full contact twist for developing that rotational power and also adding mass to your core muscles?
My focus is on sharing what I do. I’m not going to write pages of explanation for somebody else’s routine. You can ask them for that. 🙂
Are you going to be writing a follow up article to this one? Found it very interesting and looking forward to reading what you recommend to develop muscle on the inside of your abs and hips, and the adductor muscles.
Yes, I try to follow up to everything. I currently have over 100 article requests. You’d be amazed at how fast the questions add up. But I do my best to explain in a functional order.
Do not let anyone dissuade you. You remind me a good deal of Bruce Lee, and not because you look alike, but because he faced the same struggles and resistance from the established, old school way of doing things. Do not let the Dinosaurs convince you that you are wrong…they will die off in time. People are resistant to change. True form is formless.
what about superman punches and flying kicks in MMA? and i asked a physics teacher at my school and he said speed and velocity make the most powerful punches. wouldn’t that count for anything in the air too?
Superman punches aren’t grounded and cause more damage from surprise than actual amount of force generated. A flying kick is different from a superman punch because you’re launching yourself…and then letting gravity drop you onto your opponent. Totally different thing.
Regardless, I don’t see how lifting weights is going to help you “fall faster”. At best, lifting weights will help you jump higher so you can fall more, or maybe help you launch with more forward momentum but even then…that’s a whole other kind of striking movement.
This is so true. This has been known for centuries in eastern martial arts yet people still refer to the linear physics equation… Great Job 🙂
Johnny, I am new to boxing and have already predetermined that I would need to focus on the inner muscles for balance and strength. Genetically, I have big legs and arms for my height and weight. I am looking for a way to trim down and cut weight but also needed some expert advice on those muscles primarily used for boxing. I dont care anymore about walking around looking “buff”. I just want to develop a body ready to box and find this article helpful. If you wouldnt mind, i would appreciate a beginners workout. If you can email it, that would be awesome. If not then I guess I will do my research and at least do that axis workout you recently mentioned above. Thanks sincerely!
There is already a beginners workout on the site. Look up my “EASY Boxing Workout”.
Hey John, nice website, lot of useful infos.
One question – like many asked before – what about the “How to FEEL your “inside muscles” video? I couldn’t figure the exercise you described at the end of the article. Can you provide a picture, please?
Yes, this will be done in time.
great article, looking forward to the article on exercises to strengthen the inside muscles.
First, i enjoyed reading your article and you have put a lot of work into your website. I was curious, when you did box as an amateur, what weight class were you in ? And your regular walking weight? Judging by the picture it seems maybe 147, but i might be way off.
This picture was before my fighting days and only around 146-148lbs. During the hardcore boxing days, I would walk around at 142 and expected to compete at 132 or maybe 136 at the very most.
Thank you for the response Johnny !
I don’t want you second guessing your amateur boxing career, but walking around 142 and competing at 132 weight class? Their is no 136 lbs weight class in USA sanctioned boxing (alteast i think so, i might be wrong), if you enter golden gloves, it is either 132lbs and if you are above that weight ,you will be competing with 141lbs weight class. Am i right ?
If i am right, are you sure it was good idea to lose that much body water and then fight? It looks like you could of whooped the skin off of any good 141lbs pounder, but dehydrating to 132 lbs the day of the fight? Im more than positive you would of been alot weaker.
Im right now 147, but i have a few pounds of junk food in me. If i eat smart next week, i can easily get back to 137 lbs if not , all the way done to 135 lbs fully hydrated WITH two or three pounds of fat on my belly . It might seem that I am stretching the truth, but i really over indulged myself on excess carbs with little to no fiber in my diet.
I want to compete at my natural weight class without losing any water weight. If i am able to make the 132lbs limit with being fully hydrated, do you think i would have an advantage over my competition? A person from my gym walks around 160 lbs and he competes at 132lbs. That is a tremendous about of water weight being lost.
If that same person at 160 lbs can do 20 pushups / 20 pulls ups / 20 sit ups ( example) but then dehydrates to 132lbs. Theirs a is a very good chance that those numbers will decrease comes fight night. Am i right ?
Now you can take his challenger who walks around 135, and is 132 at fight night. His number is roughly the same, but he can do the same about of pushups , pullups, situps AT 132. Do you think he would put up a good fight?
The main point that I am trying to get at is that there is a huge myth in boxing that losing water weight and squeezing into the smallest weight class is the most beneficial. But i believe common sense tells us the opposite.
For example Roy Jones, he went all the way up to heavyweight and won a belt. But Lennox Lewis was the real champion at that time, and was far more bigger than Roy but the point is , he went up in weight, fought at his natural weight, and won. Another example would be pac-man. When he had the proper nutrition and proper exercise routine, he thrived at the welterweight division.
So Johnny do you think its a good idea to fight at your natural weight class, or should i squeeze down to 122lbs, which seems like its close to impossible. I first have to take the fat off my belly and remove the waste from my digestive system. THEN put on a sweat suit and shed off the excess water weight. On the opposite hand, be a lean , fully hydrated boxer at 132lbs and put the pedal to the metal.
Please get back to me on your thoughts and your own experience. To me, someone like your size could of creamed people at the 141 lbs division, but going down to 132lbs? It is normal for most amateur boxers, but now looking back, do you think it was a good idea? No disrespect to you Johnny, i visit your website often and you have great SEO! Your on first page for most boxing related keywords.
Cutting 10lbs is not very hard at all so I don’t feel like I’m killing myself or anything like that. Just know that everyone’s body is different. Some guys can routinely cut 15-20lbs for a fight whereas others suffer greatly even to cut only 10lbs. You have to find out what works for you.
hey johnny…i am getting into boxing for recreational purposes and once i get a good grasp on my own i plan on persuing some kind of ammature fighting somewhere…i think your website is awesome i love the wealth of information and everything that you have provided for people like me (needless to say this has been added to my favorites). i have been lifting pretty regularly for some time and since you say that you were a power lifter before you understand that i am lifting for strength and mass. in the fundamental sence as you say the actual muscle strength itself will not increase punching power…but the added 25 to 30 lbs to my frame will increase my power correct? i understand how lifting for mass can actually decrease power by slowing you down but doesnt it stand to reason that with a good strength training regiment to add on a few extra pounds of lean mass will help punching power? im not trying to get you riled or anything i just think that that kind of clarification could have stifled the angry mob on the last post, and maybe you did i did not bother to look at the comments on the other thread…im just looking for your opinion on that matter.
If you’re speaking clearly from only a punching standpoint then yes, your punching power should increase as you become heavier. However, this is realistic for competitive boxers because increasing their body weight would force them up into a bigger weight class where they face the NATURALLY bigger and stronger punchers.
On the topic of body mass, you wrote this: “The heavier you are at impact, the more powerful your punch (which is why big guys naturally hit harder than small guys, they have the weight advantage)”, does this mean that if I gain weight, thus getting heavier, be it by lifting weights or simply fattening up, that I will punch a bit more powerful than before, since my body is heavier now? I know it depends on how much weight you gain and all, but is this possible? I hope this doesn’t sound like a stupid/repetitive question to you and I hope you take the time and answer. Thanks in advance!
Yes, this question has been asked before. Please look through the other comments for my answer.
hey johnny im 15 years old in the summer i was bodybuilding trying to gain mass since im pretty skinny at the beginning i weighed 87 pounds and at the end i weighed 107…it took about 3 months to do that with eating a lot still healthy sort of and bodybuilding type of exercises now i know though that that wouldnt help me and ive stopped doing that—however ive been tracking my growth throughout the years and i steadily gain 10 pounds a year and i should be about 95 pounds right now but im 105 since ive been trying to lose a little bit of fat……i know that once you build some muscle even if you lose it theres muscle memory so youll gain it back whenever you start weight training in some sort of way so is there a way to get rid of this bodybuilding type of muscle i have because i dont want to have to be in a weightclass 10 pounds higher than i regularly should be. also i dont think i hit my growth spurt during that time because my height didnt change much more than usual
The easiest way to get rid of bodybuilding muscle is to stop bodybuilding. It’ll disappear easily after a few months. And then what you have left is your natural muscle.
“How to FEEL your “inside muscles”…
A good way of discovering your inside muscles is to stand on one foot (the ball of your foot) and lifting the other foot up next to your standing knee. And then twist your hips CW & CCW a FULL 180 DEGREES while holding your upper body stationary. It helps to maintain a straight spine while being perfectly balanced on one foot. Wear socks so your feet can pivot easier.”
Can you post a video of you doing the exercise, and what are cw and ccw. It sounds complex when you are describing it, a pic or video would help, thanks johnny.
I’d just like to add that many of these people are silly thinking lifting weights will make them hard hitters. Don’t they see Frank Bruno and Ken Norton who were both the big weightlifters of their era, were not exactly the biggest punchers. And while f=mxa
They focus only on the mass part, you lift weight you will weigh more. They completely ignore the acceleration half of the equation. In general the fastest most people with a proper technique could move their hand is around 300 km, we know this based off of several ball throwing sports like cricket, jai alai badmington and golf etc. However we also know that 332 km/h which is the current world record for the fastest hand movement recorded in any sport who was a badmington player hitting a badmington birdie. The guys name was Fu Heifang and he is 6’0 and 150 pounds hardly a weightlifter. Most average people who aren’t regularly playing a ball throwing sport like baseball, jai alai etcare going to hand hand speeds under 60 km/h.
That is the weightlifting guys are ignoring that you can increase your hand speed with proper technique by 5 times. But at best you wouldn’t be able to increase your mass more than maybe 50%. I can’t imagine a 150 pound man adding much more than 70 pounds through lots of weight training and proper eating. No f= MxA, it doesn’t matter which one you increase more, mass or accelaration, as long as one doesn’t stop the other. In the case of humans we know having more mass makes you slower in general. When you can atmost increase your mass by 50% over years of weight training and easily double your hand speed, why would anyone want to waste their time throwing a slow punch with lots of mass. Do they not understand that even if you have lots of mass and throw a punch, it is likely that your mass will slow you down to the point that you can no longer knock a guy out but instead just beat on him until you run out of gas and get beat up yourself. Kind of like Frank Bruno or Earnie Shavers.
I’d rather be able to throw a punch a 300 km/h and land on a taller opponent (like ali did against terrel with his quick hands) than to have lots of slow power that is hard to land because my opponent moves, I get exhausted from my big mass of muscles and slow down even more until the point my punches don’t even hurt him. These people have no clue. If you lift weights it will hurt your endurance. Go watch guys running 400m+ they are all string beans, they have to run for a minute, 2 minutes 4 minutes, you have to fight for half an hour. Do you really want to be huffing for air having a smaller guy beat you up in the 5th round, throwing punches that were hard in the first 2 rounds but now have no zip. Do these people not understand that if they weigh 210 pound of muscles and can punch only at 70 km/h because they spend all their time pumping iron and getting slow, and they fight a guy who weighs 150 pounds who fist go 200 km/h, that not only will string beans punches all land first, making your punches not land, miss or lose power but by the equation f=mxa
weightlifter = mass210 x 70km acceleration= 14,700
string beans = mass 150 pounds x 200 km acceleration = 30,000
Too bad these weight lifters never bothered to apply the formula instead of just shouting it out to try to denounce you. The formula shows not only does the weightlifter end up being heavier and thus tiring easier, being slower in hand speed, foot speed, slower in reacting and defense, his punch is less than half as hard as someone he outweighs by 60 pounds! And this is why occasionally you see a great fighter who is able to destroy big competitors with their hard hitting fast hands like roberto duran or mike tyson. It doesn’t matter how big you are, it matters you accelaeration which depends on technique which determines how hard you hit. And the number for the weightlifter might even be too high, how do we even know that the weight lifter who likely is using a poor punching technique will even be able to get all his body into the shot, more than likely he will be are rabid arm puncher trying to use his big arm muscles to knock you out
frank bruno lifted very light for high reps,norton didn’t lift till after he retired he stated in a boxing mag he wished he lifted like earnie shavers because he feels that were his power came from.
Have you made the article on how to improve the inside muscles?
Not yet. It’ll be a while before it comes out.
Hi Johnny, I just stumbled across your article after getting my ass handed to me in Kickboxing by my coach. Although my discipline involves kicks, it’s practically the same as boxing in terms of stance and what not. I just wanted to tell you after reading your article, everything you said makes PERFECT sense. In addition I’ve decided to change my workout to incorporate lighter weights and focus on acceleration and speed. Of course, I’d still spend sometime doing heavy squats and deadlifts since I wrestle as well, but I just wanted to thank you for all the wonderful information on here. And just let the haters hate, there’s people like me out there who have an open mind and are searching for the truth of what works, and so far your evidence I find is convincing. I thought strength training will get me a stronger punch, but after reading your article, I’m thinking so much differently. Thanks again! And looking forward to more!
I definitely think your part 2 is better than your part 1. It also helped understand which muscles to focus on when punching. Knowing about using the inner muscles to make myself heavier and to focus punching downwards with gravity has helped me understand what my coaches meant when they tell me to bend my knee and rotate into the punch. Before I read your article I was always trying to rotate forward, but now I think I should be contracting my inner muscles to punch down.
I have a question though. Is doing 7 to 8 sets of pushups between 15 to 20 reps and 60-70 seconds rests in between until you are exhausted building endurance or speed? I have also been doing clap pushups but how many reps do you recommend for clap pushups? Thanks.
Your push-up sets will help a bit of both endurance and speed. Because part of your hand speed does come from the endurance to keep it up. The speedbag will help greatly for shoulder conditioning as well. Clapping push-ups, do as many as you can and work up from there.
Thanks for the reply! I was a bit worried my sets were for building muscle size rather than endurance and speed because they resembled the rest intervals for hypertrophy lifting. And you are saying to do clapping push ups straight through and not in sets?
Do your clapping push-ups however you want. I imagine doing them in interval sets would be more effective than going straight through to failure.
Hi,ive boxed before in the army and i wish i had read your articles then as maybe i would of done better in my fights,i’m now 27 and just joined a new club hopefully will be fighting soon and i want to put everything into it my coach actually told me to stop wieghts full stop but now iv’e read this i’m defently going to do a lot more core training going to start right now.just want to say thank you reading your stuff has made me think a lot about the way i train an think.
Im a regular weight lifter but recently ive been moving away from the weights but i will most likely always lift weights for a hobby but the problem is i cant hit the heavy bag becuase ive suffered wrist injuries and it keeps me from hitting it due to the risk of injury. Ive been doing wrist strengthing exercises but i still cant hit the bag so i was wondering if you have a possible sollution or technique to build wrist strength so ill be able to completly focus on boxing.
You need to work on technique. The wrist is a small vulnerable joint and will never be strong enough to withstance the force caused by poor punching technique. I can wrap my hands as best as I can and wear 20oz gloves but my wrists will still hurt if I hit the bag at the wrong angle.
Thank you for the answer, do you have any advice on how to develop said technique?
I have many guides and videos on my website and Youtube channel on punching technique.
try wrist curls and reverse wrist curls.
The problem with these articles is I don’t want to know if it’ll increase my power. What I want to know is how and to what extent it will hinder my boxing progress. This is what the article should be addressing.
….but the article is about weights and power.
Is it possible to increase punching power without use of havy bag?
I think yes,because punching is just technique.
But what is your opinion.
It’s possible to increase power without a heavy bag but you still have to practice hitting something.
Hi Johhny, I think you are absolutely right about lifting heavy weights, but what’s your opinion on dumbbells routine like that? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cLPpgmG_PE
It’s similar to my routine in the gym and I’d appreciate your considerations. Thank you and keep it up with your great work!
Those dumbbell routines are perfectly fine as I consider them light weights.
Coming from a background in Japanese martial arts, this makes perfect sense to me. In the empty-hand disciplines, and also in swordmanship, it has always been recognised that speed is the key to generating a hard impact. The first principle of karate that I ever learned was to stay relaxed throughout the punch, then tense up right at the instant of contact. Trying to apply a strong pushing force is really counterproductive, because the tension in your muscles ends up playing them off against each other, and slowing you down.
There’s a well-known experiment where you get someone to hold their arm out straight and concentrate on resisting as someone else pushes it down with one finger on the wrist. Then you get the first person to hold the arm out straight, relax and imagine that there’s a super-destructive-death-ray blasting out from the hand. The distraction of keeping up the imaginary light show keeps them from tensing the wrong muscles, and makes the arm harder to push down.
Having said that, I’d just like to point out, with reference to the physics, that it’s not force that determines the effectiveness of a strike: it’s energy. The more energy you transfer to the target, the more damage is done. And in the absence of death rays and exploding punches, the energy we’re talking about is kinetic energy, which is proportional to the mass of the moving object multiplied by the square of its velocity. The significant thing is that velocity gets squared in this formula, so doubling the mass (weight) will double the effect of a strike, but doubling the velocity will quadruple it. Or (more realistically) a 10% boost in speed is worth 21% more punching power. In other words, speed rules.
Keep up the good work!
hi johnny just been reading all the posts on this subject really interesting all different training styles as numerous as actual fighting styles .you know which side of fence im on if you had posted bodybuilding wont make you punch harder I don’t think you would have any comments .but you didn’t you stated heavy weights wont increase punching power.im glad you did because the comments pro and against have been fantastic well done
I’m glad I came right out and said it as well. I got a chance to share my thoughts as well as many others. And the readers can pick who they want to listen to and try it all. Very helpful discussion on a controversial topic.
On one of your post “Most Important Muscles For Fighting”, you mention legs are extremely important and “quads and the calf muscles” being the one you mentioned. Generating Power from leg. But you then in this article mention you dont do Squats and no Heavy Weight Squats either. I read somewhere that Tyson do lots Heavy Weight Squats. I am confused.
And if you dont do Squats, how do train your Quads?
And since Core Muscles is THE most important ones, would you do an article on how to train every part of Core Muscles.
To start with: weight training is not the only way to develop strong, coordinated, and functional muscles. There are many things you can do…calisthenics, plyometric exercises, isometric exercises, jumping rope, sprinting, jump rope, there are many things.
Hi Johnny I realized lately that my body is very disproportioned i’m around 5’8 but my reach is 74 to 75 inches and im 145 pounds. I’m just curious which punches would be my most effective because i heard that hooks and uppercuts are more suited for shorter to average length arms arms even though they are my favorite.
I don’t know where you heard that advice but it’s BS. You need hooks and uppercuts no matter how long your arms are. Long arms are great for hooks if you ask me. You can throw hooks from longer range whereas short guys have to get all the way inside. Your long arms can reach around your opponent’s defense better and sneak through different angles.
The hardest MMA hitter I ever saw was Fedor Emelianenko. If you look at this body , He looks like a skinny dude , but he has knocked many opponent double his size or taller than him. Johnny is absolutely right , when it comes to striking hard it involves your core muscles to the best. Look at Fedor , he didnt have huge arms , neither he was ripped but he was hell of a fighter.
but fedor was tremendously strong,it’s not muscle size it’s strength.
Hey Johnny. So if core muscles are the most important in generating power, do you think that the standing ab wheel is a good exercise to do for core strength in addition to punching with correct form?
The standing ab wheel is helpful but not as effective for developing the core as exercises where the core has to twist from an upright position.
just reread this post again and its excellent but its purely about technique.why its titled using heavy weights etc.beyond me you need to rejig your biase and rethink.this is purely based on any one that uses heavy weights (for explosive/implosive speed).isn’t capable of using proper technique its ludicress
This article is not to accuse weight lifters of having bad technique but rather point to the idea that any punching technique that could be vastly improved by weight lifting might not be the best possible punching technique.
Anyway, it’s simply an idea. An opinion from another mindset. It’s not meant to be biased or tell you how to punch or how to train. If you enjoy it and learn something, great. If you know the best way for you and prefer to stick to that, that’s ok too. This article is me sharing my experience and opinion. It’s what I believe in. And I wrote it because I know it’s so different from how many others see things.
johnny i think your getting it wrong. “any punching technique that could be vastly improved by weight lifting might not be the best possible punching technique.” it’s not that any resistance training improves technique.it improves strength that,with practice,increases punching power.
No, I’m not getting anything wrong. I know exactly what I said and I understand it’s very different from how you think. I’ve written a whole article to explain it and it’s totally fine if you feel different. We are talking about 2 different things. You are free to choose the way you think suits you best.
Johnny did you know that strength is the foundation of all athletic movements! So in other words if a person increases their strength, they also have the capacity to improve everything from power all the way down to endurance? I jus wanted to see what your response would be to that?
Smurf….being strong and delivering a coordinated strike generated from muscle effort are 2 entirely different things. There are correlations, sure, but there are also many other variables that contribute to the final effectiveness of a punch.
With your logic all athletes should be as strong as possible to be effective in their sport. Are you trying to say marathon runners, tennis players, dancers, swimmers, etc…ALL need to be maximally strong to be truly effective in their sport? Your logic is flawed, my friend.
As for responding to everyone. I don’t need to. People can say what they want. They have a right to their view and at some point I shared that view, too. And now I share a different view…which runs parallel to many coaches that I respect. The only thing I can respond to is people trying to understand my view. If somebody wants to believe something else…that’s their business. I’m only here to share my opinions.
Firstly, i’d just like to clear up somethings you may have gotten confused! I never once said that any athlete needs to be MAXIMALLY strong as possible for them to be successful in their sport, if that was the case every athlete would train like a powerlifter, that would be stupid, powerlifting is a sport in itself! Just to add tennis players, marathon runners and swimmers are now beginning to see the benefits of strength training, research and you will find out, by the way lance armstrong lifted heavy weight relative to his own body weight and strength(although he cheated)! And to be honest i think all the best athletes are strong whether they obtained it or if its natural posessed(Lebron james, kobe bryant, serena williams, floyd mayweather and so on). Johnny i said strength is the foundation of all athletic movement, that doesn’t mean boxers need to start training for the powerlifting nationals it just means that added strength can be a supplement to their sport specific work to gain an advantage! Yes im a firm believer in skills pay the bills but i also think strength is an advantage as well! To conclude there is a difference between subjectivity and objectivity, and i do believe in physiology and science which is full of objectivity and this article is a totally subjective opinion which goes against human physiology and science and that why your opinion is flawed and mines is not! To put in other words johnny your article has no FULL proof and there has been studies and research that totally go against what you are claiming!
What you said was “strength is the foundation of ALL athletic movements”. Which I feel it is not. There are many athletic movements that rely on other things since as speed, relaxation, flexibility. Strength alone isn’t all that much…and by your sentence, it’s like saying, “You cannot be a good athlete without being strong.”
In any case, I appreciate you leaving the comment and don’t really have anything else to say to you. I’ve said everything I wanted to say in this article and made myself as clear as possible. If you have completely different opinions, please feel free to share them as long as you can keep it respectful.
Everyone else is free to choose the method they like. What is definite is that there is always more than one way to look at things.
So Johnny, you say that exercises like swinging a sledgehammer horizontaly, like hitting a heavy bag or chopping a tree is a more specific and appropiate exercise for generating punching power?
There are many variables to be considered but yes, to me, swinging a sledgehammer is better than a benchpress.
I’m 48 yrs old, I’ve been boxing and competing now for 4 years. I have your 30 day Fighter’s diet book. Love it! in my 20’s I was into body building, all natural thankfully, and I can tell you via my personal experience weight training does not equal punching power. My first fight as a masters amateur was against an opponent who thought strength meant power in the ring, this guy had huge arms and legs. I knew when I saw him that I would dominate him, and I did. he couldn’t move, he did not know how to extend a punch. they gave him a standing 8 in the first 10 seconds, his second standing 8 came with seconds left to go in the 1st round. after the fight his comment were ” I cant believe how hard you punch, I underestimated you…. I know from experience, it is functional strength not brute strength that make for a hard punching fighter. You are definitely on the right track Johnny. You have a great business and your programs are perfect for anyone who want to be a faster, stronger, smarter, hard hitting hard to catch fighter. Keep up the good work!!
Mike, congrats on the success at your advanced age!
Great article. Just ask your self one very simple question; The ancient warriors and gladiators they were for extremly strong in hitting with their sword/weapon and they could fight for hours. Did they do weight training for that?!
Hell NO. They indeed did train very hard, but didnt do that modern-style weight training. They did tons of shadow fencing, hitting targets with their sword / weapon, wood chopping or rock breaking (with hammer) lots of body-weight training, wrestling (to develop muscles, balance and stamina) and perhaps they lifted some sand bags, rocks or tree trunks. Kettlebells only came arounf 1700 and The barbells and dumbells came but actualy got popular only after the 40’s or 50’s.
So why so many brain-washed people of today think that lifting weight is the best way to train?!! big thanks go to the media and marketing.
I agree with all your points (in both parts) to some degree. I really just have a problem with the framing of the article. I mean the very title of the article suggests that it is not possible to increase punching power with weights, yet you then proceed to say how it will help indeed.
I will put it simply how I see it though:
Why not have both?
Why not have strength and also your combo of technique+traditional boxing muscular development?
Then you can really win. Thus making your articles a part of a formula for creating a truly pwoerful punch.
A more appropriate and accurate title for the article that would still demonstrate your points would be something like this:
‘Why lifting weights is not the be-all end-all of developing punching power’
I like your title suggestion, Ken. Something to keep in mind if I ever continue along with this series. Aside from that, I’m just happy to have an article that’s worthy of discussion. Controversy aside, it’s an important topic and very divided debate among all fighters, recreational, amateur, and professional.
just wondering does situps with wheights and wheighted crunches plus back wok help with this
Hi Johnny, great explanation on proper punching technique , i know
so many people out there who don’t understand this and are looking to heavy weights
for increasing punch power which is a mistake.
Now in saying that after getting the technique down and already having already built a strong core, which will take years in it self, certain types of heavy weightlifting eg. squats will build tremendous amounts of punching power on top of what you already have, from the muscle mass in your legs and hips that you can pivot into your punch,
This is the reason most pro heavyweights do some kind of heavy weight trainning, but i do agree exercises like the bench press and curls is detrimental to boxing.
Just adding my 2 cents from years of boxing,
Great article Johnny.
Dave W (DrDax)
I liked your article. I’ve just started working with a female boxer who is looking to build more strength, I’m aligning her nutrition with her training schedule (I’m from a body building background). First time I’ve worked with a boxer and its very interesting how you emphasized the importance of core strengthening work and how it’s the basis for powerful punching.
This is what I tel most people is build core strength and stability first before going for the muscle building.
Very interesting article especially about the outer-muscles which can slow down a boxer.
I’ll be reading a lot more from your site.
– I started lifting weights 2 weeks back and I admit that as I have put on weight, I lost the snap in my punches and hand speed. I also gained body fat (ewww!!) which in turn affects my endurance. I am thinking of leaving this gym and start going back to boxing (yaay!!).
– In my opinion, lifting weights is so BORING because you are repeating the same exercises over and over again.
– Should I focus A LOT on pulling exercises like pullups, chinups, etc. as boxers use their shoulders extensively? I do however, use grippers for forearm strength and endurance and that is alright to use?
Take a look at my EASY Boxing Workout and structure your boxing workout around that. Pull-ups and chin-ups, forearm stuff, are all OK but they aren’t the backbone of your training.
Hi Jhonny, my name is Rahul and I am from INDIA, First of all I want to thank you for the efforts that you are making and what ever you are contributing towards the sport it is really incredible, what I want to ask you is that I 27 and I am doing weight training for last few years however I am not a bodybuilder and I don’t want to be a bodybuilder my weight is 92kg, and for last 5 months I have started boxing and I have developed a very big interest for it and I want to take my passion to the next level, but I don’t want to leave weight training completely cause it gives good shape to my body and clothes look good on me, though I have reduced lifting heavy weights as well as I have reduced weight training drastically, still I don’t want to leave it completely for the reasons I have mention you able………….and I am in a big dilemma now. please tell me a mid way so that I can maintain proper physique and take my boxing to the next level and also I want to know that you have use the word conditioning in many places in this website, so what do you mean by it.
Thank you so much for providing expertboxing.com
I don’t know how to help or even that it’s possible. If you want to train for muscle size, you need a particular workout for that. If you want to train for boxing, you need a particular workout for that. If the workouts are different, you will have to sacrifice or compromise somewhere which will get you sub-standard results in both.
If you find the way to do both, let me know, because I don’t know it. 🙂
Fantastic article, it finally explains punching power in scientific detail. Something boxing trainers either could never clearly explain or simply were flat out wrong.
Can you become faster just by lifting light weight more than lifting heavy
There are many aspects of developing speed and while weights may help, it might not be the factor that you need to work on. You’ll have to look at your entire training as a whole and work on everything: technique, muscle conditioning, etc.
I see you refer to ‘weight lifting’ but are rarely referring to the actual sport of weight lifting. It’s such a different beast to your average power lifting based gym routine that includes benching and limited ROM allure heavy squats. Olympic weightlifters remind me a lot of boxers in that they are weight classed, and you see guys who are ‘tiny’ by traditional gym standards yet use the ground so effectively in hugely fast twitch bias movements which don’t require lots off muscle mass but generate a heap of power. Granted its lifter vs gravity, which is unlike boxing, but the explosiveness of the snatch for instance, with the snagging full ROM would make one heck of a duck-uppercut. The ability to squat down and pop up very fast while remaining balanced is surely a huge advantage, developed particularly with the only lifts where you pull yourself down to the floor going ass to grass before popping up with huge force to shift the weight. Core stability developed through oly lifting and training transformed everything for me, right through to posture. Please make the distinction in your article because to turn people away from proper weight lifting taught by a proper coach would mean many people could lose out on developing very effective explosively stable cores so integral to boxing.
I’m referring to HEAVY weight lifting. Nonetheless, my thoughts are explained throughout the guide as well as in several comments above. Take a look and enjoy it if you can, even if you don’t agree.
This is a very stupid article.
David Haye, Mike Tyson, Evenxer Holyfield, Manny Pacman…….
Shall I add more names?
They all lift weights.
How you think he got to 85-90 kg? Eating Mac d?
You are very VERY ill-informed my friend. Roy Jones is a big proponent AGAINST weight-lifting. You should do your homework before spouting off names. It would help your credibility a bit.
What about the other boxers I mentioned?
Today, almost in every sport.
Weight lifting is a must.
Now, I am a boxer myself and I don’t lift weights.
It’s just that Haye Tyson Holyfield are professional boxers and they know how to add weight lifting and speed.
So you can’t say that lifting weights makes you slower because that was proven wrong.
For amateur boxers I don’t suggest lifting.
Learn the basics first, and when boxing is what you living from, believe me you’ll have enough trainers and team members that will make you the right training including weight lifting.
What about them?
Different fighters believe in different things.
One thing I can say is that Roy Jones is easily faster than all of them.
You can believe and choose anything you want. That’s what I do and I’m happy with my results. And so I share what I think just in case anybody wanted to know what I did. But if you do something else and you get great results, hey that’s OK, too.
I’ll give this one a go too… “A boxer…”
Tyson lifted minimal weights, his muscularity was mostly natural and he did not lift particularly heavy.
Pac-Man lifts SOME heavy weights in a periodised fashion that is phased out toward fight time and is not done for power.
Evander Holyfield lifted extensively but HOLYFIELD IS IN FACT THE MOST PRIME EXAMPLE OF HOW WEIGHTS DO NOT HELP YOUR PUNCHING POWER! Why? Because although building him up to a HW (and no doubt increasing his power by virtue of his bodyweight), it can be shown conclusively how Holyfield’s KO performance drops massively with his step up from CW to HW. Holyfield is in fact a HW featherfist with a KOratio less than 50%!
David Haye is in fact your only example, and in fact the only example I can think of off top of my head who lifts very heavy and possesses some of the fastest speed and power after his step up to HW. Definitely not a representative sample and especially considering..
(a) Haye has not had that many fights at HW to draw strong conclusions about his power/ KO performance an HW.
(b) He performs to my knowledge only a few exercises of heavy lifting which is not really significant including Squat and Pull Downs which are less controversial and Bench Press which is considered more questionable for boxing.
There are also many professional boxers who still do not lift heavy weights even for general prep, even some HW’s such as Chris Arreola! And you will find that of the pro boxers that DO lift heavyweights, there will always be 2 elements involved..
(1) It will be done to move up in weight, for general prep strength for other work and injury prevention, never for punch power as an immediate goal.
(2) It will be part of a periodised program that will have the “heavy” max strength lifting phased out as the program progresses toward the fight and includes more skills/speed and REAL power training.
makes sense….reminds me of MLB pitchers….almost all of them are tall, wiry, lanky guys, yet they can throw a baseball 100+ MPH…. I have not seen a single roid freak meat head who can do that.
Hey johnny I was wondering when you train the inside muscles (which builds power) is there a limit to how much power you can generate from those muscles? because if I did reps only , my core would get stronger to a certain extent unless I add weight right? And if I did add weights I would do it so that it builds strength (not muscle mass) when working with inside muscles (low reps , high weight). Because I want to get the most powerful rotation. Will it work if I were to try that? * I just want an answer to this question I also read about the other stuff you posted* Please reply to this question asap , Thanks in advance 🙂
I wouldn’t focus so much of the idea of weights and lifting heavier. What you want is functional strength (which is not only ability to push but also the ability to move and coordinate all that together). With that said, as long as you’re doing the right exercises, you will become stronger. Look at breakdancers doing “airflares”…compare their core-strength to a weightlifter and you tell me who has a stronger and more functional core.
I also go to a gym and do exercises as well as boxing since I want to be strong and a hard puncher as well (for boxing I do plyometrics and Isometric training) and for workouts I exercise every muscle but I do it for STRENGTH *not muscle mass* (High weight and low reps) I was wondering can my strength exercises interfere with my boxing exercises? And if it does will it make my punches harder ? what if I were to STOP strength training and just do plyometrics and isometrics for boxing will I still punch hard just like I did when I had strength training? I want to punch hard and also be strong at the same time like bruce lee. please answer this question thoroughly 🙂
Try both, Jason. And then keep adjusting your workout until you end up with something you like. Keep refining your workouts!
what about bruce lee, he lifted weights. low reps, high reps and he was as fast as you could get. He could curl 115lbs, and he weighed about 125lbs. I do agree it doesn’t increase punching power, but it does prove useful for conditioning.
I haven’t seen Bruce Lee box for 12 rounds so I can’t say his workouts were proof of success. But perhaps you can try it and then get in the ring with a real fighter and see if that holds up. It does sound effective to some degree.
contrary to what this guy states strong muscles are important for striking force for one simple reason
a stronger muscle means you can move said arm easier and quicker. but its not about lifting mass amounts of weight but the proper amount of weight bruce lee increased his striking speed by doing curling and four-arm training
a stronger arm means you have a better ability to move the weight of your arm.
Bruce Lee also permanently injured his back weight lifting.
Two questions would you consider bench-pressing ,leg-pressing,squatting your body-weight as heavy-lifting. The other question is why were you so serious in those pictures. I myself believe lifting heavy wont make you into a puncher , but my cousins seem to think it does.
1. It’s about the weight load and in what manner you set up your sets and reps, not so much about the exercises themselves.
i read your article and you are correct it is way more important to get used to basic body/joint movements
first by getting used to your own body weight and such before touching the weights i actually experimented with this theory in the last 3-4 years of my life first i did a unfuctional body builidng weight only routine for a year and a half and got up to 205 with some cardio then i joined a old school boxing gym for 6 months and stopped lifting for those 6 months i lost 25 lbs and weighed around 185
i got used to relaxing my entire body to generate more force into strikes it worked and after that i stopped going to that gym and did muay thai for 3 more months to perfect my technique and started lifting again
with low reps high sets no machines and continued my boxing routine with plyo 3-4 times a week and 100 push ups a day with 30-40 pullups a day depending on how sor i am though i only lift weights twice a week so i can focus on skill and cardio now i am 225 lbs and my punch is as fast as a light weight boxer and i can hit the heavy bag with almost perfect technique for 2 hours with no breaks at a regular intensity
El Loco Drogadicto
Hola Johnny. Well, just turned 42 and recently took on boxing. Always been a fan and played all kinds of different sports like soccer, basketball, track and field, surfing, water polo, squash and bodybuilding. I like your articles because you always respects other coaches and trainers opinions. Having all that background and trained with so many different people has taught me to be humble and always listen to the more experienced athlete. Also, to realize that what Works for you not always Works for other individuals. When bodybuilding reached the 210 pounds in 5´7″ frame but was feeling sick all the time…too much protein, too much food, very heavy weights and also the juice. When in Tren with test I felt invincible until I faced this skinny kid with boxing backgound….after taking at least 30 puches to my whole body I began to think that I would get him when tired….but the kid never got tired, I did. Finally managed to land one in the kids chest wich only took like for steps back and came back with a vengance breaking my nose with a powerful combination. Now I was desperate..Managed to take the kid to the ground and he surrendered because he was choking..with all my weight on top of him!! (no, no jujitsi, just wanted the kid not to move so he wont mess my face even more). I was declared the winner (by my friends of course) but I was schooled…the kid walked back in the bar and I went to the hospital. Many years later (recently) took on boxing and now I know why I couldnt knock the skinny kid..He was heavier than me, way heavier..I just had more weight on me. Johnny, on this one I agree 100%. Also, if you train for a boxing match there is very little room or energy left for heavy weight lifting, for me anyway (42 years old).
Hey Johnny, just wondering if I could get some advice. Do you think it can be possible to build a bit of muscle while keeping at my boxing weight of 69kg assuming I’m strength training on my rest days and still boxing three times a week. Thanks
Try it and see what happens. Everyone’s body responds differently. It MAY be possible.
Is isometric training with ‘heavy’ weights a good idea?
I’m not sure how you can do isometric training with any weights. Because with isometric training, your body doesn’t move at all. Unless you plan to hold a heavy weight in place? Sure, give it a try.
Johnny, when you refer to internal muscles, are you referring to the Deep Front Line (http://healingartsce.com/advancedanatomymyofascialpg4.html)?
Bit of background: the body loves efficiency. Certain muscles that do similar functions are linked together with biological rubber bands, called fascia. There are ‘lines’- tracks of connected fascia- that run up and down the body. There are lines for going foward, backward, for outside rotation, for lateral motion, and for other motions. The Deep Front Line serves to pull the body inward- in anatomical terms that’s medial rotation and adduction. In functional terms that means moving the body across its centerline. We’re interested in its eccentric function, though- resisting and moderating motion.
I don’t have sources to support this, but I think the DFL ties together a lot of ideas floating around this site: the stretch reflex in these muscles gives a sense of weight, which is vital for clean motion. Two legged punching is accomplished by using the other lines to speed the body up and make contact with the target, and upon contact the DFL maintains impact integrity in order to transmit the power. The arm is stabilized by the Deep Front Arm Line (http://healingartsce.com/advancedanatomymyofascialpg3.html, scroll down a bit), which is connected to the DFL (this is why you turn your fist over when you punch- the arm is most stable when it’s medially rotated. Thank your coracobrachialis: part of the DFAL but not pictured above).
Your other lines can be amazingly strong, but if your DFL and DFAL- your core- can’t keep up, all that power just bounces off (and goes back into you- not good!). It’d be like throwing a tennis ball at a piece of wood- pops right off. Make that ball metal, though, and it crashes through the wood effortlessly. Be a metal ball.
If you can confirm/refute this idea, that’d be great. Thanks.
Thank you for sharing this. Yes, I think I am in a way referring to the deep front lines in many of my explanations regarding power techniques and body movement theory. I enjoyed reading that very much and actually learned more about it myself. Thank you so much for sharing.
Yeah I agree with this man I think he has identified the muscle sets which most contribute to “dropping weight and solidifying the body into it’s strongest (natural) position” as opposed to “raising weight and extending the body into a weaker (unusual) positions (but ones which are necessary for the movement and delivery of the punch for example). Well done wallpaper 🙂
This Middle part of your 3 part series on this topic really is the crowning achievement of this debate in all of boxing articles/forums I have seen Johnny, it really should be ratified (as I’m sure it is valid beyond doubt) and adopted as science in all future writings/coaching principles on punching power and boxing performance.
Along with all your other great articles, particularly your instructional ones, this is probably the wealthiest site in good information available to the sport of boxing and of great value to all combat sports in general!!
Thanks, Mark. I’m glad you appreciate my work. And I’m even more glad to be able to discuss those things with you.
I have a question , will regular strength training interfere with my isometrics (for example doing tricep extensions with the highest weight I can do) reduce the impact or speed of the punch? or something like that? please reply thanks in advance 🙂
Hi Jason, it really depends on how you do it. I would recommend starting with the boxing specific exercises and then work away from there if you need.
I’m sure you’re a great boxer, but with all due respect, it sounds like you don’t know much about strength and conditioning. I’ve noticed most of this information is just what you experienced and not anyone else. Perhaps you were just on a crappy lifting program. There’s more than just a few places where your argument is weak.
The properly executed full squat works your “inside muscles” which would be more appropriately called your trunk. This is also true for the dead-lift, the power clean, the overhead press and I could go on. In fact, there is no better exercise for your core/trunk than the squat. With a little bit of google research you can see this for yourself.
In addition, you claim weight lifting slows you down. This isn’t true either. While there are some old school fighters who claim this. I have found these fighters more superstitious than anything else. They set themselves up for a failure when they only do bench press and curls. On the flip side of the coin, there are many old school boxers who use powerlifting and Olympic lifting claim it pays great dividends. Furthermore, the snatch (this has actually been measured) is the second fastest movement in all of sports. The only thing faster than this movement is a movement in tumbling. There is actually more speed and power involved in Oly lifting than in boxing. Again, the speed of the snatch has been measured precisely. Not only that, but it involved a full range of motion for the shoulders. Knowing this fact, weightlifters still train for heavy pulls and squats to increase their snatch. The more force you have, the more power you can display. The only thing that will slow you down for boxing is pushing movements like the bench press. The bench press will detract from the snap like you’ve said. This is easily fixed though by not bench pressing.
Another weak point in your argument is you don’t understand the applied kinesiology to human movements. When we talk about F=MA with the human body we’re talking about moment arms that we create and the tension, compression and shearing forces we have to overcome not specific body parts. No matter what movement you’re doing these three factors come into play. It creates moment arms (synonymous for leverage arms) that measure the length and force of each segment at one end and at the other end the joint rotates. This can be compared to a wrench and a bolt. For practical purposes, this would be the arm segment, the back segment or the leg segment when you punch. Any movement the human body goes through we can measure in moment arms. It doesn’t matter if the body moves in a transverse, sagittal or frontal plane; it can still be measured. So yes, F=MA does apply; you just lack the knowledge of biomechanics to understand this. This isn’t a bad thing; not many people do.
Other tidbits I found odd is that you claimed lifting doesn’t allow for multiple joints to be moved, which is wrong. I think you understand this though. You also claim that power comes from the ground in boxing, but lifting develops from the ground as well. And you have cited no pure reviewed studies for any of your claims, but you’ve made quite a few biomechanial claims that are hard to prove or disprove. This makes me skeptical of the reliability and validity of your accusations; however, there are a few things I’ll agree with.
Getting bigger actually might slow you down. There’s a reason why sprinters don’t get over 200lbs and not 260lbs because a lot of muscle mass will have this effect. Pushing movements with shoulder extension should be avoided. Any Pushing movement with weight that mimics a punch should be avoided because this will slow down your punches. So take the bench press out and the incline. Dips and overhead presses are fine though. Learn how to throw a punch before you lift as well. Learn to box and add lifting into your boxing routine. Don’t do it the other way around. Don’t lift more than twice a week to avoid over-training and make a good PROGRAM. 99 percent of fighters I know can’t do this.
I appreciate the comment and opinions, Nolan. Although I wouldn’t say the old-timers are superstitious because many of the fastest and most powerful fighters we know today are also of similar beliefs…Mike Tyson, Roy Jones, among many other greats. One thing for sure…there is definitely a science or principle that applies universally to everyone…that has not been well understood. And while I am no strength & conditioning expert, I have to say that there are many exercises (however functional and strength-building they may be) that simply do not correlate well into actual benefits in boxing movement.
Just as how I would never say that lifting heavy weights will give you better footwork or better head movement, I could argue that lifting weights probably won’t give you that much benefit in punching power either. It’s easy to believe the statement in regards to footwork because footwork seems like a slicker and more refined “skill” but in regards to punching, people still seeing punching as a raw power movement. Yes…they realize the technique in it but I don’t think they consider it to be as slick a technique as footwork or even slipping.
In any case…I’ve already done my best to explain and rationalize my beliefs and the beliefs of many others. It doesn’t matter what side of the line you’re on as long as you’re happy in your technique and progress. I think the most important thing is for everyone to share what they know and I’m glad I’ve done my part to contribute to all sides of the discussion. Thanks again for your insight and take care.
Interesting article, I understand what you mean and doing biceps curls will certainly not help punching power obviously.
But what about exercises such as the deadlift of front squat that forces you to use your core and inside muscles?
What about ring dips/pushups and pullups that also require you to stabilize your body and work your core and inside mucles?
Do you think they could be beneficial for punching power?
Doing exercises is better than nothing. With that said, some exercises are far more functional than others. Check out my guide called “Dancer’s Footwork for Fighters” and watch the trailer video. Do you see those guys spinning powerfully on one leg? Now THAT requires incredible “inside muscles”. Can doing squats give you the muscle strength and coordination to ground powerfully and spin on one leg? I doubt it.
You should read up on Bruce Lee’s weight training program. some weight training will indeed give you extreme benefits one such training lee did was he had a grip machine built in which he would lift weights with out moving his arm he would grip the machine and close his hand like he was squeezing a potato while doing this the weights would lift creating extreme definition in his four arms. he said after doing that he had extreme increase in speed, and because he fine tuned his entire body and approached training in a scientific method there is no reason not to believe in his training methods
hey that was a good read, i may have some questions for you about boxing training but first i should look through your other articles
i just started boxing last week and been doing fitness for about 8 weeks (mostly running 10-15 km, but also some abs and a little bit different weight lifting, not heavy weights though)
the trainer told me it was too late for me to start boxing = ) im 26 he he .. he said it would be a waste of his and my time lol but then he said he could see the sad look on my face and if i wanted it i should have a go and come back monday
i had been doing the boxing training with the excersize-team the day before with a different trainer who told me i could keep up well and so on
but this was Richard Olsen fighter trainer (& former trainer of mikkel kessler)
Good luck to you, Richard. Just have fun and see what you learn. Boxing is an exciting sport regardless if you compete or not.
thanks johnny5 = )
i do have fun/enjoy it a lot and i allready notice a differnce both in physique abd technique even though i only trained for a short period..and my mind is like a sponge when it comes to boxing
i guess im sort of a natural athelete and i stay in shape even thuogh i barely do excersize? and burn of calories (the things i eat) easy without gaining weight
and then when i do train i have a rapid improvement rate compared to someone with regular genes .. idk its just a theory
i forgot to mention that i supplement my ttraining with swimming and sauna / both infrared (sauna specialized in relieving muscle pains from training amongst other things) and also regular sauna on occasions
and a typical breakfast would be
1 glass of rosehip soup
1 glass of vegetable juice
1 bowl of yoghurt w pumkin seeds,sunflower seeds, and some frozen berries (blueberries etc) mixed in (and i crunch some crispbread on top for fibers and for the crunch ; )
and its natural yoghurt w no added sugar
not that fruitflavoured kind with 40% sugar = P
Squats and deadlifts (as Nolan said) are the best exercises there are for overall strength and muscle development including of course the core. Oly lifts and other fast exercises like speed deads or push presses build power as well. Which obviously helps you punch harder.
Consider that (by lifting progressively heavier weights for reps on these movements) I have increased my bodyweight from 74kg to 95kg over the last three years. Do you not think I can punch harder now?!
Bodybuilding style weight training using high reps, slow tempo and isolation movements to pump the muscles full of blood give mostly size gains and have little carryover to boxing.
But increasing your 5RM squat from 1xBW to 2xBW and beyond will give huge benefits, everything becomes stronger, not just your muscles, your CNS, endocrine systems (more hormones like testosterone), your cardiovascular system, even your skeleton becomes harder and denser! Plus it builds discipline and mental fortitude.
No disrespect Jonny, love your website and especially your youtube highlight videos, but, as an adult male, if you can’t squat and deadlift twice your bodyweight then you need to get under the bar!
No offense taken, Angus. As an athlete in many sports…I have to say that strength is one of the more overrated measurements of athletic performance. You tell me which person has the more functional body:
– a guy who can squat, deadlift, benchpress twice his body weight?
– a guy who can do flares, airflares, and head spins?
– a guy who can front-flip, side-flip, and back-flip?
– a guy who can climb up a mountain using his bare hands and feet?
– a guy who can run and jump and make quick turns and pivots on the field?
– a figure skater with incredible balance and precision to do limitless spins?
To me, the more impressive and FUNCTIONAL human body is the one that has the coordination to do difficult body movements. I’d rather be the guy who can only lift my own bodyweight but is able to do it in so many advanced ways. I would challenge any person to train for powerlifting and breakdancing and tell me which one is far more PHYSICALLY difficult and impressive to do.
Each of those would have there own level of difficulties
train in break dancing and sure you will be able to move a specific way but that will not mean you can walk up and start training in power lifting with ease, both will tire you out. but at the same time if you took all of those things you said and trained in every one of them you would be far superior
And I’m going be one of many to tell you it’s unrealistic. You wouldn’t have enough time. Besides…until your coordination and reflexes are completely developed for boxing, you shouldn’t be trying to prioritizing your body development for anything else.
Hey Johnny , I want to know that if I were to strength train my outside muscles as well as with the core / inside muscles would it be more beneficial to increasing my punching power? btw if you want to know why I want to train my outside muscles , that is because I want to look in great shape like bruce lee. So if I were to strength train the OUTSIDE muscles along with the INSIDE muscles would if be MORE beneficial towards how hard I punch and without a reduce in punching power? Or would it be that the training of the inside muscles will only increase my punching power and the training of the outside muscle won’t have any effect on how HARD I punch. This is a serious question plz reply back with a thorough response. Thanks in advance 🙂
Ideally, having both powerful inside and outside muscles are the best. But I do feel like the inside muscles are for generating power and the outside ones are more for structural integrity or just for the purpose of moving. For example…the tricep is really just there for moving your arm, it’s really your core that generates the power. So yes…having strong arm muscles is nice but it’s probably better to have your outside muscles trained for all out speed and endurance rather than strength.
Thanks for replying back Johnny how should I train the outside muscles for speed and endurance? and since I do strength training can I also incorporate speed and endurance training for my outside muscles.
Do the typical strength & conditioning exercises, usual cardio stuff, and you will be fine, Jason.
I read your article and think that i understood it. But what about olympic-style weightlifting, not powerlifting?
Is it a useless training tool for boxers like powerlifting?
Because in olympic weightlifting, you have to be strong but also fast.
And i wonder if the jerk is more a pushing or more a snapping motion.
I am boxing since November 2012 now and I am currently learning olympic weightlifting at the german sports university in cologne ( I am studying sport sciences) but my major interest is still boxing and martial arts in general. Iapologize for any language mistakes, because i am german:)
I’m not saying weightlifting is useless for boxing. All I’m giving here is some reasons why weightlifting might not improve your punching power.
I had read part 1 and today I saw this part.
How can I train my inside muscles?
My weight is like 154bs right now, but I lift weights sometimes because I got a huge body fat mas %
I want some clean muscles like Mayweather but I also want to punch harder (I am a kickboxer).
Naturally I’m a skinny guy with very very very thin arms, but since the summer of 2013 I got a lot of fat.
How can I train so it fits kickboxing and gaining muscles Without using a lot of weights, because guys like Mayweather and Broner not lifting (heavy) weigts at all, but still got a lot of muscles. If you saw Mayweather and Maidana at the weigh ins maybe you understand me and I understand you 2 with the inside muscles because Maidana don’t got any of those outside muscles but can hit very hard.
I’ll have to make a new article on this later, Ridge. As for how some people get big muscles without lifting weights…genetics are one way to do it.
Awesome article, very sciencetific. I really like this article and part 1 also.I don’t do boxing or any material art. I play basketball. But My friend used to teach me some of the basic stuffs about boxing. After reading your article, i can relate it to a lot of thing such as how to generate more power. Or how to be grounded to have more power to help my baskball game. lolz. Is this concept also kind of similar to how Bruce lee can generate so much power because he has the techniques, speed, and only contract his mucle at the moment of impact?
Would it be safe to assume that by increasing your max strength, there would be a positive carry over to your endurance and explosive training? My reasoning is that having a strong strength base, you would be able to perform more reps with lighter weights and perform explosive movement with a higher intensity.
In theory, yes. In actuality, perhaps not so much….because punching is such a skill sport. Improving your technique and timing little by little over the years will increase your punching power more-so than the strength training alone. The problem with strength training is that it’s focused on developing strength and not so much the coordination aspect of your punching ability to really make use of your newly refined skills. In any case…weightlifting and punching are 2 different kinds of movements and need to be trained for in a different manner. There is very little correlation between how much weight a guy can lift and how hard he hits. You can pick any STRONG weightlifter in the gym and compare him to a trained puncher and see the difference for yourself. The difference is in the training…it’s that plain and simple.
This article is more comprehensive than the first one. I think the “snap” mainly addresses hand speed and impact tension, while this one covers grounded body mass and rotation.
You said boxers dont actually propel their bodies forward when they punch. But it seems like some very powerful punchers do propel their body like Naseem Hamed, Roy Jones, and Manny all seem to launch their bodies into their straight power punch. None of them actually lifted to get their spring but it seems like a weight routine that a jumper or sprinter would do would help with that capacity.
I think that your best point is that lifting would take too much away from your other training, which is absolutely the truth. You get a better bang for your buck by learning how to punch, getting in shape, and sparring. But it might be good to have a “season” where you strengthen weak links, like at the tension part of the punch. For example, I tried punching like the above fighters where I really launch myself. But when I hit a heavy bag, it feels like my shoulder can only transfer a fraction of the energy because it is not strong enough. I am not trying to push, just tense up at the right time. Other type of punches it is fine.
Another thing: weight training would mess up that snap ability. But reading the workout routines of Olympic sprinters, they lay off the weights during their season not because of recovery but because it messes up their ability to relax their muscles at the right time of the running motion. So lifting weights definitly would have a short term interference with power even if you werent sore because you aren’t fluid, but the fluidity comes back after a couple weeks, then you would have a more powerful muscle. So this supports sort of a weight training “season”.
By the way. I experienced the same thing you did coming into boxing from a background where I lifted a lot of weigts. Trying to use arm muscle made me slower, less accurate, and tire faster for most type of punches. But when I dig my hooks into somebody’s side, I still feel my history with weightlifting helps my with those type of punches.
Those boxers are not necessarily trying to propel their body when they punch. What you see on TV when they’re lunging for a counter-punch is more of a strategic reason than a technical reason. In the gym…everybody is trained and taught NOT to throw yourself forward off your position with every punch.
Now do keep in mind that if the fighter initially PULLED BACK and then CAME FORWARD, that’s different. That was him coming off axis to evade a punch and then coming back into position to land a hard punch. That’s different. That’s not him coming forward but rather returning to his optimum position after momentarily leaving it for defensive purposes.
according to science you are wrong
a few years back an actual scientist(something you are not)
conducted a study to see exactly what causes a boxers strike to be so powerful
he concluded that the force of a punch comes from the ground after analyzing the method of striking he realized that when a boxer pushes down to the ground with his back leg the power of the thighs and calf’s exert physical force on the earth. because the earth is bigger the earth pushes back. the force then jumps from muscle fiber to muscle fiber. eventually a boxer lunges toward his/her opponent using this method combed with increasing the speed of ones strike is what generates force. he had a group of boxers try to generate force in this method and then had them strike with out the lunge he found that on average the boxers strike was atleast 20 to 30% weaker with out the lunge it also doesn’t matter if you were told not to propel yourself what matters is that science states that it will increase your force it can be a big increase in force as well fighters like Bas Rutten use this method to generate 100 Gs of force
Randall…I don’t even know where to begin with you. You lack the understanding on so many levels that it’s hard to have an even-ground discussion with you.
The comment I made to Tom Edwards was in reply to the potshot tactics he saw from speedy/flasty fighters like Naseem, Roy Jones and Manny Pacquiao. These guys are powerful even WITHOUT the forward jump. And to address what HE SAID, I explained that they did it for strategic moreso than technical reasons.
And of course you unloaded with a bunch of science (while logical) that did not address what Ted said nor did it address what I said.
I’ll even break it down further for you since you insist on trying to be “the smart one”. There are many ways to propel your body forward. It’s possible to do it using a reverse projection into the ground (the way the guys in your study did it) as well as it to do it with a subtle relaxation (the way the skilled aforementioned boxers did it). More often than not, the boxers dashing forward are using the relaxation method rather than the reverse-projection method because it’s faster, less telegraphic, leaves them less vulnerable, and I would say is far more subtle and deadly.
As for what I said about “boxers don’t propel their body forward when they punch”…it’s not a blanket statement. And if you can’t understand that rules do not apply to all situations forever and ever until the end of time, you need to wise up before trying to jump on top of every dictum. At worst, it makes you look ignorant, and at best, it makes you look like an argumentative jerk.
PLEASE…think before you write offensive comments…or I will delete them in the future without a reply.
exactly force is the ability to move mass power is the results of moving said mass if a person is strong they can technically move the mass of there body faster and as such add more momentum and have a slight increase in power
No. Just plain no.
There are many ways to move your body. Force is only one way. There is also relaxation. There is also efficient coordination. Lastly…the ability to move mass and the ability to punch are 2 totally different kinds of movements. Just like how being able to run up hill powerfully doesn’t necessarily make you a more powerful kicker. Being able to lift/weights powerfully doesn’t necessarily make you a more powerful puncher.
you keep denying scientifically proven theory
I’m sorry, what you’re saying doesn’t even correspond to my reply to you. My last reply did not deny your claim but simply and clearly explained WHY your textbook claim is perhaps to some degree irrelevant in the world of real-life physics of boxing.
If you wish to continue this discussion, please read my article, and previous comments….CAREFULLY…and come up with an intelligent reply before trying to make baseless claims on my actions. You obviously don’t understand me, and nor do you understand the things you’re spouting off.
Johnny is absolutely right Randell.
Hi Johnny, do you think that training with resistance bands is a good idea for a boxer? A guy I used to train with who hit very hard told me that he would shadowbox at home using resistance bands. He certainly had impressive power and hand speed so I wondered if it would be worth giving this a try? I think I saw a video of Evander Holyfield training this way once. For the record, when I was first staring out boxing I attempted to combine heavy lifting (squats, deadlifts, bench etc) with my boxing training but found that I was exhausted and injured all the time because it was taking too great a toll on my body. As I enjoyed boxing more I focussed on this and cut back on the heavy resistance work – these days it’s pull ups, dips, push ups, core work, hammer drills and kettlebell training and I feel that my functional strength, power, athleticism and mobility have actually improved.
“JOHNNY, DO NOT FORGET THAT OUR BUTT IS THE MOST POWERFUL TRANSFER OF KINETIC ENERGY TO OUR FIST . NO BUTT=NO POWER .
GLUTES ARE THE MAIN SOURCE OF POWER WITH CORE .
CORE ALONE IS USELESS WITHOUT GLUTES
Hi johnny, great work on the web!
You’re a champ and great for boxing. I was wondering how you got your body? I’m asking did you do pullups bodyweight squats dips and pushups 5 times a week to get it….. lookin slick bro….. I’m like 5’6 and need a body like rigondeux….. the last time I went to 140 I had a gummybear look this time im trying to go to 122-130 I was thinking of keeping my routine with light weights…. what would you do if you were me?
I do the full traditional amateur boxing program of course…. but as far as calisthenics goes….. I need tips for my particulair situation
Keep on rocking!
Check out my EASY Boxing Workout.
I’m just gonna mention weight training outer muscles is a great relatively painfree(compared to the better and infinitely more painful methods) way to put stress on your and, over time, significantly increase the bone density in all the connective tissue areas, basically your skeletal structure will be able to handle more of the earth’s and your own muscle and ligaments power(which are capable of power several ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE higher than the skeleton can support). So it’s still valuable unless you are specifically doing the more grueling bone density increasement training. Granted it doesn’t create more power or anything like that, but if the bones in your fist, arm, and shoulder joint are denser than your targets you will easily smash through them without inflicting any(or minimal) damage on yourself. Effectively giving you a more SOLID punch.
Essentially weight lifting is a great way to increase bone density if you do not enjoy/seek getting beat up (real sparing) regularly lol
This bone density thing is the main contributing factor of why someone much larger than you strikes so much harder in terms of damage to your body vs you to theirs. Muscle tension building from weight training is also vital for resisting damage from strikes to unprotected areas like the kidnees or the organs just below/inside the ribcage.
That being said, this quote is 100% on the money.
“I like weight lifting for stabilization strength, injury prevention, integrity of impact tension, and overall core strength assistance. Having strong outside muscles can help you stabilize your joints to ensure better energy transfer and withstand repeated impact to your joints/tendons/ligaments.
If you do any heavy weight lifting, it should be limited to only 5-10% of your boxing training. I wouldn’t recommend doing so much because: 1) lifting heavy weights makes you sore and hampers your ability to do other boxing training. 2) you might gain weight which is terrible for fitting into smaller weight class, any increase in punching power rarely beats the naturally bigger guy.
Strong outside muscles are not required for power punching at all. I don’t bench, I don’t squat, I don’t do any of that stuff…and I STILL HIT REALLY FREAKEN HARD. I’m a trainer now and I still hit harder than my boxers who train 30 hours a week and outweigh me by 10-20lbs. Granted, I have superior technique, but still: I know the right muscles and how to use them.”
Folks who tend to lift tend to lift like bodybuilders, who lift in a pretty stupid fashion already. If you train in a sport and lift that most bodybuilders you are setting yourself up for massive overtraining. You are better off doing enough strength training as your body can handle AROUND the skill of being a boxer, which is where that “use of the right muscles” thought really applies.
From what I saw of Holyfield’s weight training, he trained like a bodybuilder, he had Lee Haney instructing him early on in his career. I’ve seen pros like Holyfield, Pazienza, and Razor Ruddock, to name a few, performing isolation type bodybuilder movements like leg extensions, cable crossovers, dumbbell laterals and curls in training. Don’t know why they performed these type of workouts other than in Holyfield and Paz’s case, it was probably to add muscle and weight. I’ve never seen a boxer who lifted weights perform the Olympic lifts, those lifts take a lot of time and skill to learn how to perform properly.
Let me clarify what I mean by “train like a bodybuilder”. When I say train like a bodybuilder, I am not necessarily referring to the particular movements they tend to train. When I say train like a bodybuilder, what I mean is they use an excessive amount of training volume and rest periods. Such as training 5 days a week and subjecting a single bodypart to as much as a few hours of training in a single bout. This is what I believe is bad for actual athletes (and even to most bodybuilders). The best scientific research shows that low levels of volume with high levels of effort (with a moderate weight) produce the best results, and much more safely and quickly.
Furthermore I couldn’t really care less how Holyfield or any other specific fighter chose to strength train (or not). N=1 experiments can only tell you what worked for the one person who did them. Hell Holyfield may have even done better if he had used a much lower training frequency. Looking at the conditioning of a professional athlete and attempting to just copy his style is silly because the fact is that they are freaks. Really, from a statistical standpoint they are genetic outliers and cannot be used to generalize what works in general. You cannot extrapolate directly from them because how their body responds to the stimulus will be vastly different than the average persons. This is one of the reasons that training myths are able to resurrect themselves over and over again. They can resurface because somebody (who is genetically strong) can rediscover the practice, claim that it was responsible for his performance (despite the fact that he would likely have done just as well anyway), and then everyone else jumps on the bandwagon.
Damn, this is a never ending thread. Nearly 3 years old and still getting regular posts.
Yeah…people get sensitive when they think you’re telling them that they’re wrong. When all I’m really doing is sharing my opinion….which should be the point of why people come to this site anyways—to hear my take on things.
People put so much of their of heart into something that the way they train becomes their identity and they feel offended if it doesn’t match what somebody else believes is “the better way”. Then they start trying to rationalize and justify their actions. And the more I explain how what I do IS in fact “evolved and scientific”, the more they try to argue that I’m stupid/inexperienced/backwards-minded.
And the real damage is that….whether or not they agree with me….it’s their loss if they don’t try what I say. It’s their loss when they don’t take different opinions and views into consideration.
I think weights might have some value to a fighter, but I will agree that weights probably won’t increase punching power much, if at all. As for a lot of punchers having huge legs, some do, and some don’t. Thomas Hearns, Bob Fitzsimmons, Bob Foster, Jimmy Wilde were some of the hardest P4P punchers in the history of boxing, and all had very thin legs. Punchers come in all shapes and sizes, including those with “muscles” like Mike Weaver. Shavers attributed chopping wood for “adding” to his already devastating power. Probably be better to pick up an axe and chop trees and leave the barbells alone if you intended on increasing punching power.
You haven’t given reference to a single study or paper, and you claim what you do ‘IS in fact “evolved and scientific”’? There’s boatloads of unsupported numbers in your article. The truth is you haven’t thought it out well enough. The issue lies in the fact that you’re influencing a lot of people based on poor info. I personally love to hear different perspectives, but when it’s an objectively incorrect perspective that will undoubtedly affect many people and their training, it becomes ethically distasteful.
The point of reference is NOT YOUR BODY, it’s the ground. Do not forget this. The moment you forget about strengthening your contact to the ground, your power will fail. Imagine if I was to be swinging in the air with my legs off the ground, I wouldn’t be able to generate ANY POWER AT ALL (regardless of my punching technique).
Could you explain to me, why a tennis player can serve up to 130 mph, while their forehand just can be at 90 mph, although when serving, tennis player swing their hand while their body is off the ground?
Thank you in advance for explaining to me by replying to this comment.
The point of reference is NOT YOUR BODY, it’s the ground. Do not forget this. The moment you forget about strengthening your contact to the ground, your power will fail. Imagine if I was to be swinging in the air with my legs off the ground, I wouldn’t be able to generate ANY POWER AT ALL (regardless of my punching technique).
Could you explain to me, why a tennis player can serve up to 130 mph, while their forehand just can be at 90 mph, although when serving, tennis player swing their hand while their body is off the ground?
Thank you in advance for explaining to me by replying to this comment.