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Exercises to Increase Punching Power for Boxing

author image Jody Braverman
Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta. She studied creative writing at the American University of Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. She also received personal trainer certification from NASM and her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from YogaWorks.

Punching power isn't dependent on just your size, strength or body weight. An important part of developing powerful punches is technique. Proper training with an experienced coach will help you develop this technique, but you can do exercises on your own that will help you deliver more force in your jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts. A combination of traditional lifts and plyometric exercises will help you build mass and explosive strength.

Lower-Body Exercises

What many people don't realize is that so much of a boxer's punching power comes from the lower body. In order to generate force from the ground up and through the fists, the major muscle groups of the lower body have to be well-developed.

Back Squats

Back squats activate the two largest muscles of the body — the glutes and quads. Once these muscles are sufficiently strengthened, a boxer's athletic ability and punching power will be greatly improved.

When training back squats, go heavy. Of course, you need to work up to working with heavy weights gradually, especially if you are new to weight training. Once you have a solid foundation of strength aim for five sets of five reps. Gradually work up to one and a half times your body weight.

Jump Squats

In addition to building lower-body strength, you want to build lower body explosiveness. Being able to exert maximum force through your legs will translate to a more powerful punch.

According to research by the team at Boxing Science, rate of lower-limb force production is the second-most important factor in punching force; the first being lean body mass. Jump squats, a form of plyometrics training, can be used both to assess the rate of lower limb force production as well as to develop it.

In your jump squats, aim for speed and height. Jump as high as you can, and just as you land, explode into your next rep.

Pair jump squats with back squats in a method called contrast training, which generates more power and explosiveness than jump squats alone. Perform a heavy set of one to three back squats, rest 30 seconds and then perform three to six reps of jump squats.

Read more: Boxing Cardio Exercises


This classic move works every muscle group in the body, building muscle mass. According to self-defense expert Sammy Franco, the more mass you have behind a punch, the more power it will carry.

Deadlifts also work the hamstrings, which are often underdeveloped in many athletes, including boxers. Developing hamstring strength increases elastic hamstring length and improves eccentric deceleration, which helps you to control force in your punches.

As with squats, you want to go heavy once you've developed a solid foundation of strength. Three to five sets of three to five reps is a good goal.

Chest Exercises

A lot of the force in a punch comes from the chest muscles — the pectoralis major and minor. The arm extends directly out from the chest, and the more force you can generate behind the arm, the harder the punch.

Incline Bench Press

According to boxing strength coach Moritz Klatten, the incline bench press is one of the best upper body exercises for increasing punching power. You can use barbells or dumbbells with higher-weight, lower-rep sets.

Medicine Ball Chest Pass

This plyometric exercises helps develop explosive force in the chest muscles. You simply toss a medicine ball out in front of you towards a wall or a partner with as much force as you can. Klatten recommends using chest passes paired with incline bench presses in a contrast training format for best results.

Core Exercises

Your core muscles — abs, obliques and lower back — help stabilize the body. They provide a solid foundation for all your punches, jabs and crosses. Without this solid foundation, you won't be able to generate power.

Seated Medicine Ball Twist and Throw

Boxers often rotate through their torso, so use this plyometric exercise to build strength and maximum force production in rotation in the abs, obliques and lower back.

Grab a medicine ball and a partner. With your partner off to the side, sit on your buttocks with your legs and upper body in a V-shape, shins parallel to the floor. Hold the ball in front of you, rotate through your torso and quickly toss the ball to your partner. Have your partner toss it back and repeat. Perform one set, then switch sides.

Read more: Boxing Workout Routines

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