There are many fighters in the world who punch hard, but there aren’t many quick fighters. The quicker fighter usually earns more points and has more chances to knock the opponent out. If you say you want to learn how to punch faster, many coaches will tell you to go the gym. But this is only one thing!
If you want to punch faster, you don’t have to be super strong fighter lifting 400 lbs of bench press! All you need to do is to follow this tutorial.
It has never been easier, science has progressed. Forty years ago, coaches were upgrading the speed of their fighter with mitt training only. Today, there are thirteen possibilities to improve punching speed!
Are you ready to learn thoroughly how to punch faster? Do you want to be the middleweight fighter with the speed of bantamweight? It’s time to become the fastest in your weight bout!
How to Punch Faster
Here are some things you need to pay attention to if you want to punch faster:
- #1. There is no need to be clenched, relax your body;
- #2. Don’t return your punch to the chin every time;
- #3. Same hand;
- #4. Movement;
- #5. Explosivity training;
- #6. Plyometrics training;
- #7. Resistance band exercises;
- #8. Feinting;
- #9. Combo rules;
- #10. Work on your power;
- #11. Mitts;
- #12. Speed bag;
- #13. Ducking;
- #14. Reaction time drills.
#1. There is no need to be clenched, relax your body
This looks strange. It is something a beginner cannot do, but persistent training sessions can. A fighter clenches himself while receiving a strike. But how fast can you relax your body and throw a strike?
One secret of how to punch faster – the transition time between muscle contraction and muscle relaxation has to be smaller than one second!
Here is the detailed explanation. After you received a strike, your brain sends the signal to your effectors (arms) to return. However, you usually make a contraction earlier and your punch hits the opponent, but it is too stiff. Too big stiffness affects negatively on your punching speed. It is harder to connect if you are too stiff.
Another secret – make your fighter stand in front of the punching bag. He holds the guard and hit him from behind into his shoulder. As soon as he receives the impact, he slaps punching bag as fast as he can. Why? Because the arm is relaxed when slapping! When you think his arm is relaxed enough, apply the same exercise, but perform a hook. You can upgrade to jabs, cross or even overhand later. Your shoulder needs to remain at least 50% relaxed if you want maximum speed.
#2. Don’t return your punch to the chin every time
I know this is an irregular technique! It is, but sometimes you need to risk if you want a result.
If you want to connect, for example, two hooks in maximum speed, you don’t have time to return your punches to the chin both times. Return it 5-10 centimeters from your chin. You will have 15-20% bigger chances to receive a counterpunch, but you will be faster.
Check the position of the left punch on the picture.
This little trick will help you punch faster. Perform this only if you are quicker than your opponent’s counterpunch.
#3. Same hand
You will see many fighters applying two jabs, two hooks, or even two uppercuts with the same hand. If you want to know how to punch faster, there are some rules you will have to follow.
When applying two jabs or two crosses, you will have to make some changes.
If we talk about two jabs (double jab), your right hand remains on the chin, but you will rotate your hip and left foot less. When you return the hand after the first jab, the angle in your elbow should be 90-degrees! Not less, not more!
Double cross is a bit different. Your left hand remains on the chin. You rotate your hip and left foot like when you perform a regular cross. But when you return right hand, the angle in the elbow is 60-80 degrees and return it 10 centimeters of your chin!
If you want to punch faster with a double hook or double uppercut punches, I highly don’t recommend this. Your left side will remain open. An opponent can easily throw a strong right cross or right hook and you will end up on the ground. Two overhands with the same arm are extremely difficult and very slow, so better don’t try this.
I will tell you one more secret of how to punch faster – you need to move like a rabbit. You need an agility of a Siberian cat. You will punch better if your direction change is excellent. I know, this sounds funny, but it isn’t!
Remember the last tutorial, the most of the punch comes from legs and hips. The speed of your punch comes from your legs, and then from your shoulders. If your legs are too slow, you will be able to punch faster if your opponent is in the corner. But what will happen if he is in the middle of the ring?
Your legs have to be faster than his. Here is an exercise that can help you.
I guess you think it has nothing to do with boxing, but it does! Any exercise that involves small steps but the big frequency is excellent to improve footwork. If your footwork is good, you will have better chances of moving.
When you are light on your feet, an opponent will have no chances to stay away from your strikes. If he moves back, you will go step forward. If he goes to the side, you will perform a side step and be close to him. Here is one more good drill to create angles. If your feet are light, you have bigger chances to be close to your opponent.
Your speed means nothing if you throw punches in the air. If you throw punches into your opponents face and body, you are a quick and effective puncher.
You must know how to punch faster straight of your footwork. If the first punch hits, it is easy to connect the second and the third one if you know to move.
#5. Explosivity training
This is the part where the gym is required. Many old-school coaches tell you to lift heavy weights and you will be faster. Wrong!
If you want to be explosive, make sure you lift the weight which is 30-50% of your 1 repetition maximum. The speed of movement needs to be very fast or maximum, but this requires a proper warm-up. Don’t play a hero and start working if you didn’t warm-up properly, or you will end up with an injury. The rest periods between sets are 1 minute and perform 3 sets of 20-30 repetitions for each drill.
The exercises that can help you the most to punch faster are bench press, flying with barbells, biceps curl, leg extensions, triceps extensions… Perform this type of training on your back, biceps, triceps, chest, quads, hamstrings and especially calves. Do the exercises quickly, technically correct, but stay explosive!
#6. Plyometrics training
Also called jump training, this is a world-class way to change eccentric and concentric contraction in a very short period of time. Plyometrics is a great way to increase your quickness. This can definitively help you punch faster, but how?
When you want to jump from the box, for example, your main goal is to shorten the contact with the ground and explode up. In martial arts, you need to explode, but not up! You need to explode moving! Watch my example of a good exercise for martial arts. It will help your calves react faster. It will improve your movement.
To maximize the effect, you should perform drop jump with a long jump, or drop jump with quick sprint or move sideways, forward or backward! To be able to determine what is the maximum height of your jump, perform vertical jump test. Remember, you don’t want to jump higher, you want to explode. If the height of your jump is 50 centimeters, do not perform a drop jump off the box which is higher than 40 centimeters.
You can also train your arms with plyometric training, despite many coaches will say no to this. Here is an excellent example. You can also perform a plyo pull-up, chin-up, many variations of pushups. You can even perform it with a bench press (lift a very light weight up, throw the barbell 5-10 centimeters in the air, catch it and perform a quick bench press). Do not perform too many repetitions, 8-10 is enough, with a break of 60-90 seconds. Your body needs to be fully recovered before the next set!
There is a double benefit for a fighter from plyometric training – it boosts your movement and it boosts your hand speed. This type training will definitively help you to punch faster.
#7. Resistance band exercises
This is the secret of the biggest names in martial arts. If you want to learn how to punch faster, go buy a resistance band today! There are many available online, and the price is not more than 10-20 dollars. You will be surely faster than your opponent if you apply this type of training regularly.
What does the resistance band? It tricks your brain, sending the signal the force of outer resistance is present. When the resistance band is removed, your brain needs additional 12-24 hours to recognize there is no outer load. Fake signals force your arm punch harder, thinking it is still fighting versus resistance. Your quickness can improve up to 30% – your hands will be fast as lightning.
You must know few things:
- You can fasten your arm, or you can place it around your body. Body variations will affect your movement, while arm variations will affect your hand speed.
- Do this maximum 24 hours before the match, or the effect will not be so strong. You can perform this type of training if you want to upgrade your hand speed in a short period of time.
- Don’t perform too many repetitions, 10-15 is ok, maximum 3 sets. No more than 5-6 exercises. Rest periods are more than 1 minute – your body needs to recover.
This will not improve your speed directly, but your opponent will have an impression you are faster. How?
If you perform a feint, your opponent will react – he will stay where he is or he will move. He will drop his guard or he will raise his hands. You found an opening!
For example, if you performed a feint with your left hand, attack with right hand – it is one more secret of how to punch faster. You can feint with your eyes, head, body or legs. If you use the same hand for the attack, the attack can pass, but it is slower.
#9. Combo rules
There is one general rule – double attack with one hand is slower than a left-right punch. It happens because you have to return your body, hips, and feet to the starting position before punching again. If you obtain left-right punch, there is no need to return the body, just rotate your body, legs, and shoulders to the opposite side.
When you apply front hand combos only, you don’t have time to return your hands to the chin. The goal of front hand combos is to create an opening and prepare you for a knockout possibility.
If you perform a combo with front than a rear hand, it is a great way to punch faster than your opponent. The most basic tip, jab-cross is described here. If you perform a hook or an uppercut after the jab, make sure to step slightly sideways with your left foot. This will give additional power to your punch and enable to connect with a left hook.
If you previously did a left hook, connect with the right cross, right hook or right overhand punch. If the left uppercut is the first in the combination, you will be extremely fast if you connect with the right cross.
If you attacked with the rear hand first, and you ask for combination, try with a right cross, and connect with a left hook. Right cross can also be a good start for a left overhand or a jab which can again be followed by a right cross.
There are so many variations, but why are these combos faster when you use one hand than another hand?
Your arm behaves as an open kinetic chain when you hit. It means it is opened and body segment, which is the furthest from the body. When you hit, your body, feet, and hips rotate. If you want to perform the strike with another hand, you just need to rotate to the opposite side. That is the moment when an open kinetic chain has the biggest power – you are utilizing the whole body! So when you perform a left hook after right hook, it is definitively stronger!
#10. Work on your power
This is a tricky one since you will need the gym again. The explosive power is what you need. The best way to develop explosive power is to work an exercise which is on 50-60% of your 1 repetition maximum. Perform 15 repetitions, with the rest periods of 90-120 seconds. Do not perform this type of training if you have 5 days or less left before the match. The speed of the movement is normal.
This will definitively help you to punch faster if applied properly. You can use the same drills you used for explosivity training.
#11. Speed bag
If you want to punch faster than ever, this is a great choice. Good speed bag will improve the speed of your arms. However, speed bag cannot prepare the fighter for the specific situation.
The main benefit of the speed bag is a combo. If you want extremely quick punches when your opponent is in the corner, try a speed bag out. On the other hand, when you want a quick cross that follows a jab, this is also an excellent choice. Speed bag behaves similarly like a resistance band. But speed bag will put more speed on your elbows, forearms, and hands, while the resistance band affects your shoulders, biceps, and triceps more.
Refer related articles about different types of punching bags:
A good coach is half of your success. Mitts are the part of the training of every martial artist who wants to be good in punching.
If you want to learn how to punch faster, you will need boxing mitts.
When a coach holds it, your brain gets used to react on its position. It can be good for a real fight. If your coach sets the mitts up quickly, you will learn to deliver very quick punches and you will be faster.
This part of your fast punches depends on your coach or partner heavily. Take a look at some of the best fighters training in our video.
A coach can also simulate an attack with the mitts and you can train your defense too. You can learn how to punch faster and react or defend quickly at the same time!
It looks strange, but ducking punches are a lot faster than the regular ones.
An opponent has a very hard job to see where is your punch coming from when you duck under. For example, when your opponent misses right hook and you ducked under his punch, you can attack with left hook. Your body is on the left side, so there is no need to rotate your body and swing. Just let your punch go. The trajectory of your punch is two times shorter, that is the reason why these punches are faster!
#14. Reaction time drills
This is the most unrevealed secret of how to punch faster. I simply can’t believe how coaches underestimate the importance of this segment.
Balance and reaction time is an extremely important part of throwing fast punches. Your fighter needs to remain stable on his feet, but at the same time ready to react on the smallest signal. So this exercise will make his brain think twice quicker and better. You can perform this type of training if your fighter is an expert and if you work with him for a long time.
Tell your fighter to close his eyes. In the moment you say the command, your fighter executes it without opening his eyes (for example, jab-jab-cross). To make an exercise even harder, you can tell one combination to your fighter and make a sound. After the sound, he performs the combination. To make it even harder stand behind your fighter and touch him. Your fighter will be a lot faster when he opens his eyes! Why?
In the real fight, your eyes are opened. Your brain is able to react to something with your eyes closed. You trained the harder situation, and now you are in the easier situation. You are going to punch faster than ever! You will get three things – faster punches, faster movement (indirect effect on punching) and the feel of the space! In three words – a super fast fighter!
Follow Up Questions
#1. I am too slow, what should I do?
There are various types of training sessions you can try. If explosivity training doesn’t help, change your routine. Try resistance band exercises. If you react quickly, but you miss, work on the mitts.
The worst possible thing you can do is to train only one type of training. If you punch mitts every single day, your body will start to get used to it and it will not be recognized as an effective training session after some time. Mix your training, try new things out! If there is no monotony in your training, you will have a lot better chances of progressing. You have to be creative if you want to learn how to punch faster!
#2. My punch is too short or too long.
You need to improve your range. A good coach can help you. You may have the speed of Joe Calzaghe, you are wasting a lot more energy when missing.
#3. I am combining, but no points and clear shots.
Change attacking strategy. If you are fast, this doesn’t have to mean you will score every time. Maybe an opponent defends well. Try attacking his body, then his head, and then again his body. He will defend himself if he is Muhammad Ali or Joe Frazier! Nobody can cover a whole body.
#4. My arms are too heavy.
It is described in detail here. But you must be aware – there are differences in How to punch faster.
If you enter the cold shower or ice bath, your arm mustn’t remain longer than 10 seconds if you want fast punches! Your leg too if you want fast movement! It is very well known that bodies are gathering in the cold. But there is one unknown fact – the cold body is stiff! If it is too stiff, your arm will not have the elastic property of the spring! That means, if you can hit the first punch quickly, you will return your arm slower and your combo will be slower.
#5. My opponent moves better
Ok, he moves better. Maybe he is not faster than you. Wait for him to attack, then throw a barrage of punches. He cannot move so fast if he attacked first, this will be your chance.
#6. I can’t explode in the split of a second.
If you really want to punch faster, this will be a big problem. Perform more reaction drills. You need to react quickly. Those types of training will definitively resolve the issue. Remember, explosivity and reaction are less than 50% heritable – you can work on it!
#7. My legs are too wide or too narrow.
This is also tricky. If you want to know how to punch faster, you need to be aware of the position of your feet even at 3 AM! This is the most important thing. If your legs are too wide your combinations will be slow.
- If you attack jab and straight, your legs should remain shoulder width apart. Your shoulders are on the half way between your left and right foot.
- If you perform hooks and uppercuts, your legs can be slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Your legs can even be parallel with your shoulders if you are in the clinch. When you attack with an overhand, your feet can be wider since this is mostly the last punch in the combo.
- When you move forward, sideways or backward; make sure not to keep your legs too wide or too narrow. Train in front of the mirror, it will help you maintain the control of your stance.
Congrats, you have learned how to punch faster! Make sure you apply these suggestions to your training sessions.
You will not become Vinny Pazienza overnight. But the speed of your punches will be better if you train hard enough!
When you reach the speed of Vitor Belfort, ask yourself one question – is this my final goal? Your answer is probably no – you can punch faster than that!
Do you enjoy our article, :D. Help us to introduce this site to your friends and others.
Teaching, Friendly, Young, Passion. Always wanna go up & down. Hey, you gotta live, do you?
I would like to add more useful articles for Martial Arts Community. Do you have any feedback for me? What can I do better for my blog?
Hope to receive your warm feedback.
Robert Sterling // Author
Do you want lightning speed punches of Manny Pacquiao and Vinny Pazienza? It has never been easier, read all the secrets of quick strikes!