Everybody wants to punch hard and win via a knockout. But this is never easy, especially if you have an opponent who slips like Joe Calzaghe. This tutorial will learn you how to punch harder, even if you are a featherweight or a flyweight fighter.
Your weight is not crucial when it comes to hard hits. It is true that the biggest number of knockouts occurs in the heavyweight bout. But are you aware that your weight means only one fifth of hard hitting?
This tutorial has all tiny things that will teach you how to punch harder. You need to eliminate all the errors, believe in yourself and stay persistent – hard work will always pay out.
Find an examples of really hard punches here.
Here is the list of techniques you need to pay attention to:
- Watch your technique – master it if possible;
- Don’t overextend your arms;
- Center of gravity and position of your knee will affect the hardness of your hit heavily;
- Your arm is relaxed and you should contract it few seconds before an impact;
- Watch your stance;
- Need to punch through your opponent;
- You can use movement to improve striking;
- Counterpunch is stronger than the regular punch;
- Work on your stamina;
- Strengthen your body;
- Also Strengthen your fists and forearms – you will lessen the chance of injury.
I am sure you are ready to learn how to punch harder now. The tutorial will provide some examples from real life and fights, read and analyze carefully.
Why should you master your technique?
More correct the technique, harder the punch. If the trajectory of your fist is proper, the attack will be stronger. Strength means nothing if you don’t know how to punch harder. Imagine a bodybuilder who challenges a professional fighter. Here is the result. Brutal punches land from all angles. For example, let’s talk about hooks and overhand (link to the tutorial I wrote). If you pivot too much, your technique needn’t be stronger. If you pivot as much as described in the tutorial, you will get double benefit – you will punch hard and you will be able to cover up and connect the strikes.
Here is a fight between Mike Tyson vs Clifford Ettiene. Ettiene went down after a world-class technique shown by Mike Tyson. He was heavier, but this didn’t save him.
If you want to punch harder, you have to utilize your whole body. The power of your strike comes from your hips and legs, not only shoulders or arms. Even a jab or cross can become brutal.
You need to rotate your hips, pivot on your toes and rotate your shoulders. How much? It depends on a technique. Every time you deliver a strike, remember – keep your chin down and other hand tucked to the chin and chest to prevent counters.
- Professional tip: No matter which technique you plan to throw, perform a feint before it and move your legs. For example, throw a jab before a right cross and move your left leg slightly to the left for more power.
1. Never overextend your arms
It is a most common mistake newbie fighters make, attempting to reach their opponent. If you cannot reach the opponent, return your arm to the chin and try again.
I know, it is very tricky to find a proper distance, especially if you are a beginner. You need to work on it, train it.
If you overextend your arm, there is a big probability you will lose balance lifting your toes up. You will not be able to cover up! Your punch will not be harder! If you are out of balance, there is no way to utilize legs and hips. The power of your strike will be limited to your hands and shoulders only.
You can hurt your elbow if you overextend your arm too. You cannot contract your forearm muscles few moments before the impact.
Don’t push your target, punch it! This is the most common error beginners make. Make a step forward and reach the target instead of pushing it from the impossible distance.
- Professional tip : if you want to learn to how to punch harder, the most proper angle in the elbow joint is 174 degrees or less!
2. The core of how to punch harder - center of gravity and knee position
Many people will say this is a myth, but this is the best thing you can do, especially if you attack opponent’s body. Bending your knees and lowering center of gravity looks difficult to you?
If your legs are fully extended, you cannot pivot, utilize your whole body or maximize the energy of an impact when you punch your target. Altogether, it decreases the power of your strike.
There is a reason why this is a Bible of how to punch harder. Every single knockout to the body fulfills the two criteria mentioned!
- Professional tip : Flex your knees if you want to aim the opponent’s body. It will enable you at least 30% stronger punch.
3. Why should I relax my arm?
If your arm is too stiff, you will end the attack by pushing your opponent. The speed of impact relies heavily on acceleration your hand was able to release.
You need to accelerate before the impact. Contracting your arm too early decelerates the speed of your impact. It means your hand can hurt more. You may also increase the chances of breaking your fist.
The best way to improve the power of your strike is to relax your arm. You know why the whip hurts so much? It is relaxed, but it contracts when it comes to the impact!
Focus your brain on the opponent’s weak spot – this is where you aim. Relax your shoulders and arms and contract your muscles and think how this impact will demolish his head or body.
- Professional tip : When delivering a strike, stay relaxed until you are few inches away from the target. Then contract your whole body and forearms in the end of the movement and crush your opponent!
4. Watching the stance and its influence on punch power
If you want to know how to punch harder, your stance is the most important thing.
During every second of the fight, you must maintain complete control over your stance and movement. Otherwise, you will not be able to deliver maximum power into every single strike. There are many various fighting styles. It depends on your martial art. But if your stance is improper, this will lead to weaker punches.
The best punch power is when your legs are shoulder-width apart and rear heel off the ground. You cannot ask it every time, but when performing a hook or uppercut, your rear foot gives more power to the strike.
Wayne McCullough is a great boxer who has an amazing basic stance and very heavy punches. Take a look at the video.
- Professional tip : The stance is extremely important especially if you are closer to your opponent than the length of your arm
5. Punch through your opponent
It is a very common error. Many beginners make it. You don’t need to hit your opponent, you need to hit an imaginary target which is 25-30 centimeters behind him. Focus on the imaginary man, not your opponent!
If you want to punch harder, punch behind every time you see a mitt. If you attack with a left hook, your target is in the line with opponent’s left shoulder. If you attack a punching bag, your target is someone 40 centimeters behind the bag!
Take a look at Mike Tyson’s knockouts – where is he aiming?
- Professional tip : Visualize the picture in your head every time before the training session. No matter if you train technique or hard punching, keep in mind an imaginary man behind your target.
6. The importance of movement in throwing heavy strikes
If you want to upgrade your skill and know the deepest secrets of how to punch harder, you must learn to move. If you stand like a rock, you will not be able to change angles and obtain maximum power punch. Your punching power will be limited by chest, shoulder, and fist.
Why can’t an oak survive the hurricane? It cannot sway to the ground, but the willow can. More flexibility means fewer chances of getting pulled off the ground. Same in martial arts – a flexible fighter can move more and throw harder strikes.
When you move, you will gain three benefits: stronger punch, more chances of evading and better control of the fight. It will be harder to get punched if you move.
- Professional tip : If you want to punch harder, move towards your opponent. For example, if the distance is too big, step forward. If he stands sideways, perform a side step to the left or right. Your punch is harder if you hit a perfect angle. This exercise will help you.
7. The power of a counterpunch – punch three times harder!
Remember the third Newton’s law – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If an opponent goes towards you, he will not receive your punch only. He will receive your punch plus his force of movement.
You can calculate the power of your punch from the following formula:
Force (punch power) = mass x acceleration
If you are a flyweight, this looks funny. But if the opponent moves towards you, add one more variable – his movement towards you. That means a flyweight fighter can punch harder than a heavyweight fighter!
If you want to know how to punch harder from every single strike, you must learn counterattack perfectly. It has to become the part of your life. You need to think about it every time before you go to sleep. Imagine the situations, it will help you when it comes to real fight.
Take a look at the art of counter punching.
- Professional tip : You have to train counter punches at least three times per week. Good counter punch is the combination of thinking and opponent’s error. You need nerves of iron. Be patient, work hard and you will deliver brutal knockout punches.
8. The importance of stamina – a fatigued fighter hits weaker and slower
You know what is the biggest parody in the world of fighting? You may have all the heard of this world, if your gas tank is empty, it is empty. This is an excellent example – there is no how to punch harder if your stamina is low!
There are many exercises which can improve your stamina – rope jumping, sprinting, interval training, CrossFit session… Generally, the best way to prepare for the match is to simulate realistic conditions. For example, if your fight lasts 3 x 3 minutes with one-minute rest between the rounds, try to maintain the similar intensity and the same break period.
Here is a good example of training session: 10 seconds mountain climbers, 10 seconds strong strikes on the punching bag, 10 seconds fingers over knees sit-ups. Perform 6 times without a rest. Rest one minute, then go to the next round.
I know it looks difficult. But nothing is difficult if you want to punch harder than your opponent!
- Professional tip : Make sure you perform various rounds. For example, if you only punch three minutes, you are not simulating realistic conditions. Try to punch for 30 seconds or less, then perform slips or movement for 20 seconds, perform core exercises for 10 seconds or more… There is no fighter in the world who always attacks the same strikes or the same combo.
9. Strengthening your body – which is the most important muscle?
Many fighters think the only upper body is important. But strengthening in boxing has one completely other dimension – legs are equally important as arms, shoulders, chest and abdominal muscles! There is no way you can move properly if your legs are weak.
Abdominals are very important for every single punch, especially lateral abs. Here are some static exercises which can help you strengthen your abs. Hold the position for at least 1 minute.
Professional tips: Triceps is extremely important for jabs and crosses. Shoulder and chest muscles are important for every single punch. Biceps is significant when it comes to uppercut. Back muscles and neck muscles are important when you return the punch to the face – they prevent you from getting knocked out. But your legs and hips are extremely important. Strong glutes, hips, quads, and calves will let you enter the whole body into the punch. Train your whole body.
You can punch at least twice harder if your lower body and core muscles are equally strong as your upper body.
You may find some Muay Thai Equipment here.
- Professional tip : Triceps is extremely important for jabs and crosses. Shoulder and chest muscles are important for every single punch. Biceps is significant when it comes to uppercut. Back muscles and neck muscles are important when you return the punch to the face – they prevent you from getting knocked out. But your legs and hips are extremely important. Strong glutes, hips, quads, and calves will let you enter the whole body into the punch. Train your whole body.
- You can punch at least twice harder if your lower body and core muscles are equally strong as your upper body.
10. The key to every successful martial artist – strengthening your fists and forearms
Every successful fighter who even wants to think how to punch harder must be aware of one thing. He must have very strong fists and forearms, or he can hurt himself badly.
You must hit with the knuckles of your index and middle finger. If you use knuckles of a 4th and 5th finger, you will increase the chances of injury. Learn this properly before going to the next step.
- Professional tip : There are many dumbbell exercises which can strengthen your forearms. Perform as many of those exercises as you can, this is step one.Step two is the ultimate one. Start punching the bag with your bare knuckles or use hand wraps only. Punch the bag filled with some softer material.
- You can fill it with the sand or the corn later. The ultimate kings of the ring fill their bags with stones and use hand wraps or even their bare hands to train!
Follow up question
What if I cannot break the guard?
There are many ways to break the opponent’s guard with your punches. All you need to do is be creative. If the opponent holds narrow guard, perform a hook or a right overhand (insert the link). If he holds his guard too high, try attacking the liver or spleen. Go around his guard or perform a feint. After the feint, he will have to release his hands for a split of a second. Wait for that moment and strike hard. A combination is an excellent way to break guard.
Everybody has a weak spot, and a good fighter can find it without many problems.
What if my arms are too heavy?
You are probably over-trained. You should rest a little bit. There is no way you can punch harder if you arms are heavy as hell. Try a cold bath, this will help you recover. You can also shower your arms with cold water.
A massage is a great option or a high-pressure chamber. Take a day or two off and rest. Your body needs some time to recover after hard training sessions. Place ice on your arms. You can also place ice in your bathtub. Try an ice bath. Be creative.
Can I use opponent’s power against him?
Absolutely. If your opponent constantly attacks, slip and obtain a counter punch. There is an amazing tutorial about hooks and uppercuts (please insert both links) which will provide you the instructions.
If you want to be 100% sure how to punch harder, remember this – your punch is very hard if it is a counterpunch, no matter how strong and big an opponent is.
I am strong, but my punches aren’t. What to do?
It is probably a problem with your technique. Work on it. It is not normal that somebody lifts 200lbs from bench press and his punches don’t create damage.
How will you punch harder if your technique is not good? You will visit a technique coach and work on it. Maybe your elbow is too low. Maybe you don’t punch through your opponent. Maybe you just need to use your whole body. An experienced coach will surely help you.
I cannot create an opening
You attack with same technique over and over. An opponent can easily predict your attacks. Maybe you should change something. If you constantly attack with a left hook, try throwing a jab or right cross instead. You can connect your punches if your first strike is different.
If an opponent constantly anticipates your first strike, you will risk receiving counters. If you change the first strike, he will have fewer chances. He can make a mistake and slip to the left while you perform a right hook. This means his head will receive twice stronger punch!
A good opening needs creativity. Throw three or four jabs – your opponent will get used to it. And then throw a cross and start connecting!
I cannot counterpunch
Your opponent is faster than you, or he is the same type of fighter – a counter puncher. You have two options – attack him with all you have (take a look at knockout three) and risk being gassed or force him to attack you.
The first option is good if your stamina level is good. You are gambling – he can knock you out or you can knock him out.
The second option is to provoke your opponent to attack you, which may include good feint or even an unsporting behavior. You may risk penalty, but you want an opponent to attack you. Sometimes you can try using this advice, one penalty is nothing if you knock your opponent out. But don’t go too far, a referee may disqualify you.
I can perform mortal combat or a street strike and set a knockout
No, you can’t! Forget about video games if you want to learn properly how to punch harder. Yes, mortal combat uppercut (1:15) is strong, but your opponent will not stand still. He will duck and slip. One miss and you are opened. It’s a good question whether mortal combat uppercut or hook is stronger than the normal one. But it is ten or even twenty times slower!
Street punches are not suitable too. If you attack the street style hook, an opponent can see you from the airplane. He will have two or three seconds to react! No matter if he has no energy left at all, perform regular strikes!
Congratulations, you learned how to punch harder. Use this advice wisely and train hard.
Theoretic knowledge is excellent, but practice makes perfect. Train in front of the mirror and correct your technique. Stay dedicated!
Enjoy knocking your opponents down and becoming champions! Remember, a good puncher thinks about his punches even outside of training. If you invest more time into thinking, it will surely get back to you!
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.
Do you enjoy our article, :D. Help us to introduce this site to your friends and others.
Do you want to punch hard like mike tyson, the strongest puncher of all times who eliminated 23 opponents in his first 25 fights via a knockout? Keep reading!