How to Get a Stronger Chin in Boxing

Attractive brunette boxing at the gym
Gotta protect your chin. (Image: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/GettyImages)

To "have a glass jaw" is a common saying in boxing. Basically it means you can't take a punch. And it's potentially a career-ending problem for a fighter. But it's been a mystery in combat sports for as long as fighting has existed: Why can some fighters take a punch and others can't?

The simple answer is: We don't know. What we do know, however, is that a knockout is usually caused by the head being whipped around by a blow to the chin or jaw. But while we can't really strengthen our chin per se, we can strengthen the neck muscles to allow us to absorb hard blows.

Yet we often see fighters focusing on the wrong neck muscles. Obviously, you want all of the muscles to be strong, but very often, fighters focus on the muscles in the back of the neck and the trapezius, which doesn't do much for a fighter, since approximately 70 percent of neck muscles sit in front of the neck, just below your chin.

If you think about it, wouldn't you want to train the muscles that are directly supporting the area that most often causes the knockout, aka your chin? Those muscles are called the deep anterior neck muscles. Here's how to strengthen them.

The Setup

During all exercises, tuck your chin back, as to create a "double chin." By doing so, you activate the deep anterior neck muscles.

Lie down but make sure that your head is off the ground. You can do so by simply lifting your head off the floor, but for more range of motion, lie on the edge of something, such as a boxing ring or a bed, to allow for more movement of the head.

Make sure every movement is done in a controlled manner. So don't "shake" your head, but rather control your movement through the full range of motion.

1. Nodding "Yes"

With your head off the ground, bring your chin as close to your neck as you can get it. With the chin tightly tucked, nod your head as if you were saying yes. Since the chin is tucked, the motion will be very short, but you'll soon start to feel the muscles working.

2. Shaking "No"

With your chin tucked, move your chin side ways, as if you were saying "no." Move your head in a controlled movement. Focus on full range of motion, by trying to bring your chin as close to your shoulder as you possibly can.

3. Saying "Maybe"

Keep chin tucked and bring your ear toward your shoulder, in a tilting motion. Just like in the "No" exercise, focus on the range of motion.

4. Chin Tucks

Start with your chin in a neutral position. From the neutral position, bring your chin inwards, toward your neck, the same way as your starting position should have been for the other exercises.

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