Punching Power

How To Improve Punching Power

This section looks at how to improve a martial artist’s punching and striking power. A powerful punch does not depend on just a strong arm. Rather, it involves the arms, upper body, core and legs of the martial artist working together as a coordinated unit. Therefore, to maximize your punching power, you must work on combining the elements listed below. You should also visit our Kicking Power section.

All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. If you have had an injury or are in pain, please see a doctor before starting any stretching or exercise program.

Use Proper Punching & Striking Techniques

  • Work with a skilled instructor in order to learn how to hit a target with the proper technique every time. You need to learn how to correctly throw a specific punch or strike (i.e. correct fist position, correct stance, etc.).
  • Practice with punching bags & speed bags in order to sharpen your skills and work on a technique’s accuracy and power.
  • Utilize various heavy bag drills and speed bag drills in order to sharpen your technique and boost your speed & power.

Arm, Shoulder & Back Strength

  • You need to utilize upper body strength training in order to improve your arm, shoulder and back strength. Your training routine should include exercises such as bicep curls, push-ups, bench presses, etc.
  • Martial artists often use plyometric exercises such as clapping push-ups in order to develop explosive upper body strength.
  • You often see medicine ball workouts used in order to build punching power in boxing and mixed martial arts. The weight of the medicine ball combined with the natural motion of throws and twists helps strengthen the upper body and core muscles used in a punch. Classic medicine ball drills used to increase punching power include medicine ball chest passes, medicine ball side throws, medicine ball one hand throws and medicine ball supine chest throws.

Rotational Power

  • A martial artist will generate additional power and speed by pivoting his/her body towards the target. This will add weight and momentum to the punch/strike.
  • To increase your rotational power, you must improve your core strength. Your training routine should include core exercises such as seated Russian twists, medicine ball wood chops, etc.
  • Medicine ball workouts are also used in order to improve the body’s rotational power. Medicine ball drills focused on rotational strength include medicine ball side throws. medicine ball twists with partner, medicine ball seated trunk twists, etc.
  • Striking techniques that include a spin (i.e. spinning back fist) can be very powerful.

Move Aggressively Towards The Target

  • Drive explosively towards your opponent. Lower body strength training and plyometrics training will improve this element of punching power.
  • The speed behind your move will add weight and momentum to the punch.

Punching Accuracy

  • Punching power is magnified by hitting a critical spot (i.e. vital points) versus a glancing blow.

Instructional Videos on Improving Punching & Striking Power

Reference Sources

  1. Video (Practical Karate: How to Hit Hard) kindly provided by Brian, Full Potential Martial Arts, San Diego, http://www.fullpotentialma.com

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