A good punch is a great way to control or finish the fight! Let’s improve this weapon day by day with our non-skippable punches exercises.
Punching is the basic thing every good fighter has to learn before reaching the elite level. No matter how good your knees, kicks, or elbows are, a tough opponent can easily get close to you and deliver a barrage of brutal punches which can easily knock you down. There are some punches exercises which will make your arms faster, more precise and more destructive.
Punches Exercises for Muay Thai
A single punch is not a destructive weapon by itself. However, a perfectly timed punch, combined with a precise shot to the weak spot, is a great way to put your opponent to sleep. Punches exercises can be performed as a shadow boxing, with all types of bags, mitts, opponents, resistance bands, or even weights!
#1 - Shadow boxing
This is the most often of all punches exercises. Shadow boxing is not just a fighter who moves around throwing punches. It is a great exercise for someone who wants to improve his striking skills, counters, movement, the feel of the fight, technique, footwork, or even mental preparation for the match.
The best advantage of this method is the possibility to train in front of the mirror and work on the technique. Every good Muay Thai fighter needs to have perfectly timed and precise punch. If your technique is world-class, you will have better chances of hitting the opponent. Shadow boxing is not dangerous – you will not be punished when you miss. All you need is a good imagination, and iron will.
Another advantage is the possibility to perform it even when you no energy in your gas tank left. You needn’t strike hard or explosively, the main goal is to learn your body move like a professional Muay Thai fighter! Optionally, you can improve speed, movement, and power, depending on the goals of your training session.
Your shadow boxing will be successful if you fulfill four things – imagine a goal, execute, think while you throw punches, and focus on feedback (coach, mirror, or even your own feel). Take a light dumbbell in your hands to make shadow boxing more difficult.
#2 - Heavy bag training
It is an excellent way to work on your heat hardiness. There are many punches exercises which can be performed on the heavy bag (please insert link different kind of training bags guide).
You have an option to work on clinching, long-range strikes, or combinations. The heavy bag can simulate an opponent who can receive an endless number of punches. But there is an option – THE scorecards! Try to throw a strong right cross after a few jabs. Move around the heavy bag – there is always a possibility you will face a super strong opponent who doesn’t move well.
Depending on the goal of your training session, you may focus on the constant flow of the punches, movement, or you can deliver hard shots when you create an opening.
A good puncher needs to be fast. There is the difference between hard shots and snapping punches. A snap punch doesn’t ask you to push the bag, you just hit and return. The most of the punches on speed bag are snapping punches. You can generate a lot of power in a fast punch.
#3 - Speed bag training
The goal of the speed bag isn’t just the speed only. It is about developing the rhythm and constant pressure. A fighter who is good on the speed bag can throw jabs and create an opening more effectively. A good Muay Thai fighter needs to know elbow tips and tricks in order to be able to apply a maximum efficacy in the ring. Remember – punches exercises have a positive transfer of your elbow striking!
#4 - Specialty bags training
Any situation in the ring can be trained via specialty bags. For example, if you want to improve an uppercut, all you need to do is purchase an uppercut bag. You need to find the distance and the most suitable strike. The main advantage of an uppercut bag is clinching – everybody expects a knee in the clinch, but Muay Thai uppercut is equally dangerous!
Slip balls and wrecking balls are great to target head strikes and combinations. There is no better way to train head movement and distance of the clinching. Punches exercises are a very important part of a Muay Thai fight. Just try to avoid the specialty bag and deliver as many strikes as you can. Don’t hit like a robot – you need to imagine the opponent, every single punch needs to have a purpose and a spot which should be hit.
#5 - Mitts
You will need a good enthusiastic coach for this type of training session. When you have at least basic skills of bag punching, you can go to the next level.
Mitts can be used for offense and defense training. Many coaches make a mistake training offense only, and their fighter doesn’t know to avoid strikes after a period of time. He stands like a tree and delivers punches. In the best case scenario, it will be 1-1 on the scorecards. A better option is a Muay Thai fighter who knows to deliver the strike, who moves like a Siberian cat, and who has the brutal power in his punches.
Basic mitt exercise is jab-right cross. Right cross is a knockout technique by itself, so a jab needs to create an opening. When you master it, make sure to add hooks and uppercuts. Then you can go to combo punches. Congrats, you are ready for the next level!
Slips and ducking is a thing you mustn’t neglect when it comes to mitt training! Your fighter needs to learn to duck in, duck out, move his head backward, to the right, and to the left. Then you can combine avoiding techniques.
If you mastered defense and offense, you can go to the next level of punches exercises. Combine movement, hitting, countering, and mix the strikes up! Whatever you do, you mustn’t fire at will – every attack has its purpose when it comes to mitts training!
Strength and conditioning tips and tricks
You can be the toughest fighter in the world, but if you don’t work on tiny details, an opponent will be slightly faster and stronger. Strength and conditioning are based on the invisible components of the training sessions. A regular coach cannot see why your muscle doesn’t transfer the signal to your brain faster, or why your punch is weaker when the technique is perfect for both fighters. But a good strength and conditioning coach can bring your punches exercises to the next level and make the champion!
Basically, you should strengthen your whole body. When you punch, the power comes from your legs and hips too. But if you want a maximum effect of punches exercises, read on this detailed guide.
Things are mostly based on four sections – insufficient power, bad balance, too slow punches, and bad avoiding.
#1 - Insufficient power
The technique might be excellent, just as the distance. But your fighter doesn’t generate enough power. There is a solution – you need to work on the muscle groups which are important for the specific strike.
If you want to train power, you mustn’t force your athlete to gain weight, unless he is a heavyweight competitor. There are weight classes in Muay Thai. If you perform 4-6 repetitions, with 2-4 minutes of rest between the sets, your fighter will not gain mass, but his hits will be twice stronger!
When you want to improve jab and cross, your accent has to be on pectoral muscles, delts, and triceps. The best exercises are barbell and dumbbell bench press (various grip width). You need to simulate something which is similar to the attack, but at the same time, it has to affect your body. Chest press machine is one more great way. Triceps exercises are extremely important, especially skullcrushers and triceps extensions.
Hooks also include medial rotators of your hand – musculus subscapularis, musculus teres major, and musculus latissimus dorsi. Dumbbell flyes and cable crossovers are good exercises for a stronger hook. On the other hand, any exercise that targets deltoid muscle will provide more stability during your hook attempts.
A good boxer needs to have strong biceps because of the uppercuts. Isolation biceps exercises are a good solution, alongside chest cable exercises. When it comes to the overhand, it is a combination of whole-body strengthening.
#2 - Bad Balance
Have you ever heard of proprioceptive exercises? Proprioception means awareness of our limbs in space without having to look. It begins when you see the incoming strike and control your movement fully until delivering a counter. Your brain needs to get used to receiving shots and not getting down. Good exchange and good punching are impossible without this segment of training!
#3 - Too Slow Punches
The most effective way to improvement is resistance band training. There are many various exercises you can use, especially if you fasten your hand with the piece of a resistance band. Kneeling position is an outstanding way to improve the speed of your strike – you won’t be able to cheat by performing additional movements with your legs!
You can also use dumbbells in your arms and train punches. Every single punch can be performed with dumbbell – it will affect quickness and power at the same time.
#4 - Bad Avoiding
A resistance band is again your best friend. You might improve footwork or head movements. I know, you will say it doesn’t affect punching… Yes, it does!
Good footwork is crucial to creating the situation, and punches exercises can be applied more successfully if you move properly. For example, good jab and cross ask step forward. Good straight punch counter requires a quick step back. Even a successful combo requires good footwork.
When it is about movement, think about entering the ropes in your training session. Go under the rope over and over until you learn to slip. Or train with your partner! Take a look how a former superstar evades jab!
Wrap It Up!
Good punches exercises are not related to the heavy bag or mitts only. Don’t listen to the close-minded old-fashioned coaches who simply stick to their game plan, not leaving space for new technologies. Old school might provide results, but as the science develops, old methods are becoming less and less efficient. All new Muay Thai fighters are fast as lightning, and their endurance is outstanding.
To be able to deliver knockout punches, you mustn’t neglect any aspect of training – shadow boxing, bags, mitts, or strength and conditioning. And don’t be tricked – strength and conditioning exercises need to be applied by a professional who knows what he does. Every fighter has a weak spot. Fixing your weak spots will improve your punching like never before!
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