Using resistance bands can increase your punching power. By resisting your muscles as you contract them, they force those muscles to work harder and grow strong. Because they lend themselves easily to the task, many people use them in conjunction with punching motions. This is especially true in some cardio boxing group fitness classes.
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A resistance band consists of a strong rubber tube with handles connected to each end. To use one, you grip one handle and use the other to anchor the tube in place. As you stretch the tube, the rubber resists your motion. You can also wrap the tube around an anchor and use both handles, either in one hand or with one in either hand. For greater resistance, you can use stronger bands or combine multiple bands for the same exercise.
Very little of the power in a punch comes from the arms. Martial arts teacher Dave Coffman says that a proper punch begins in the big toe. Where and how you place your feet dictates the power. The ball of your back foot must be on the ground so that the power of your punch doesn't weaken. Rotating the body adds force to the punch, which Coffman describes as more like swinging your arm from your body than reaching out with your fist.
The Good and Bad
When it comes to training for punches, resistance bands have the advantage that they can closely follow your arm's motion with each punch. The grip lets you hold your hand in a proper fist, and you can move in and out of the punch easily.
According to Coffman, resistance bands have two major disadvantages when training for punches. Because you have to anchor them, they don't let you move around while practicing your punches. Coffman says being able to punch in context is essential for learning how to punch. More importantly, resistance band training only builds your arm muscles, representing only a fraction of the muscles needed to throw a punch.
Increased Punching Power?
By training the arm muscles involved in throwing a punch, resistance bands will slightly increase your punching power. However, there are many better choices for the task. Coffman recommends working a heavy bag, punching in water and punching while wearing weighted gloves as alternative training methods.