Boxing relies not only on speed and agility, but also on power. You can hit an opponent all you want, but if there is no power behind your punch, you're basically wasting valuable energy. Along with practicing your punches on a heavy bag, there are exercises you can perform to increase your punching power.
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Resistance punching involves going through the motions of punching while working against resistance. This exercise can be performed with dumbbells or a resistance band. While in boxer's stance, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bring your hands up as if you were really exchanging punches. Begin to punch while holding the weights. Alternate arms and move in a controlled manner so you don't stress your elbows.
Alternating Dumbbell Press
Alternating dumbbell presses are similar to resistance punches, allowing you to move in a punching fashion. This exercise targets your pectoralis major, triceps brachii and anterior deltoids, all of which act powerfully during a punch. Lie face up on an exercise bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Begin with your elbows bent and the weights resting near your chest. Extend your right arm, press the weight vertically, lower the weight and repeat the press with your left arm. Continue to alternate arms until you have completed the desired number of repetitions.
Close-Grip Bench Press
This exercise mainly focuses on developing strength and power in your triceps and pecs. Lie on a horizontal bench with your feet flat on the ground. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip and your wrists 4 to 15 inches apart. Remove the bar from the rack and lower toward your chest while keeping your elbows out to the side. Press the bar back to the starting position by extending your arms.
A powerful core and strong abdominal muscles are essential for power transfer from the hips to the upper body as well as for providing stability. Lie face up with your back resting on a stability ball, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a medicine ball above your chest with your arms extended. Keep your hips up so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Rotate your upper body to the right as far as you can while keeping your arms extended and then move to the other side. Continue to alternate from side to side.
Powerful punches require not only a strong upper body, but also a muscular lower body. The majority of your power comes from your legs and hips and is transferred through your upper body. For this reason, a lower-body exercise such as the squat is an important component to your training. Stand beneath a loaded barbell so the bar rests across your upper back and shoulders. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip and remove it from the rack. Take a couple of steps forward, position your feet shoulder-width apart, contract your abdominal muscles and straighten your back. Bend your hips and knees to lower into a squat position until your thighs become parallel with the floor. Press through your heels to return to the standing position in one quick, powerful movement.
Medicine Ball Plyometrics
Upper-body plyometric exercises also help increase your explosive punching power. With a heavy medicine ball, perform rotation throws and partner chest passes. Stand 3 to 4 feet from wall. Turn so your left side faces the wall and hold the ball chest high. In one explosive move, rotate to your left and throw the ball into the wall similar to a straight right punch. Catch the ball after it rebounds, turn so your right side faces the wall and throw the ball similar to a straight left punch. To perform medicine ball chest passes, stand 10 feet away from your partner, thrust your arms forward and throw explosive chest passes back and forth.