It is a common assumption that having big arms makes a person punch harder. Sometimes, having well-muscled arms is enough to deter people from getting into fights with you.
However, is this assumption correct, or is it a misconception? This article answers the question.
Punching power does not come from the triceps or biceps, meaning that having bigger arms does not translate to punching harder.
Instead, they may slow your punches down, and make you tire quicker.
Many of the bodybuilders with the world’s biggest arms are barely able to throw a decent punch. Core strength and punching technique are much more instrumental in delivering a hard punch than having big arms.
What determines punching power?
Technique: A person who practices punching will hit harder than a regular person with bigger arms and no technique.
Genuine punching power is generated from the lower body; core, hips, abs and lower back.
Genetics: certain humans are born with freak punching power. Regardless of muscle size, their punches connect with tremendous power.
Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is arguably the heaviest hitter in boxing history. He has recorded scores of devastating one-punch KOs, despite having the leanest frame in the division.
He has personally drawn comparisons between himself and rival Anthony Joshua who has arms twice as big as his.
At any stage in a fight, a single punch from Wilder is enough to make a man unconscious, while Joshua beats down opponents with a series of heavy combinations, usually resulting in a TKO, where the referee steps in because the opponent can no longer defend themselves intelligently.
How to improve punching power?
When looking to increase punching power, the last thing anybody should be working on is the size of their biceps and triceps.
Punching power is better served by hours of practicing punching drills. First of which should be mastering
Start with a correct punching form
Proper punching form or technique generates many times as much power as throwing flat punches from the shoulder.
As stated earlier, the strength of a punch is generated from the lower body. To access this power, one must learn the right punching technique.
Here are some tips for achieving this:
- Feet should be placed at shoulder-width or a bit wider, with one behind the other. You can tweak the width till you gain a comfortable balance.
- Knees bent, with the heel of your rear foot slightly raised.
- Exhaling sharply as you punch, adding extra power to the blow.
- Rotating your hips and torso into the punch, while pivoting on your toes.
- Aiming at vulnerable body parts to land a punch. Punches to the jaw, kidney, liver or solar plexus do the most damage. A punch to the forehead will do more damage to your hands than the opponent.
- Punching through the target on contact. Rather than punch at the opponent’s face, try to punch through it without overextending yourself.
Once you have gotten the basics of throwing a proper punch, the next thing that can help improve the power is to exercise the muscles engaged in punching.
Some of the best drills for this are :
Punching a heavy bag
Hitting the heavy bag is the go-to exercise for improving punching power and technique.
On a heavy bag, you can string together combinations of jabs, hooks and crosses, and also experiment or observe various punching styles and their effect. It will help you know how hard you can punch without actually punching a person.
Throwing medicine balls
This action replicates the process of throwing a proper punch and strengthens all the muscles involved.
Practicing slightly weighted punches
Weighted punches work the same as medicine balls. It is important to use very light weights to avoid injuries.
Shadowboxing improves hand speed and builds muscle memory and cardio. It is a great way to perfect and monitor your technique without the use of any equipment.
Squats and lunges
These exercises work the lower body muscles that generate punching power, improving the explosiveness of your punches.
As with every other thing, practice is the road to perfection. It is advisable to get professional training, at least as a beginner.
Having knowledgeable supervision will help you get a grip on the basics, after which you can proceed to train on your own. This will help you avoid setbacks like picking up poor form, or overtraining, both of which will lead to injuries.