generating power in your punches

published: Tue Feb 20 2024 14:38:08 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Traditional boxing theory goes that to put power into your punches (primarily your cross), it's key to twist your foot and hips as you punch to load the punch with your body weight. I feel that such advice is a good start to throwing heavy punches, but I've come across a number of other ways you can load weight into punches that have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Foot and Hip Twists with the Cross

Be aware of the kinetic chain and use it to your advantage. The legs are the strongest muscles in our body and the reason why you twist your foot is to start generating power in the leg. Even better, start the twist at your biggest toe and push off from there. You should be able to feel the force rise up from your leg into your upper body. As it rises, twisting your hip adds in more weight and rotational energy into the punch that you have to put into your shoulders.

What tripped me up for a long time was getting the proper timing of the twists down. Often I would find myself twisting my foot and my hips independently, and the resultant punch had the weight from just my upper body. It took a lot of meditating and drilling to get myself out of that particular rut.

Step Cross

A big part of Soviet style boxing (not that it's a style that I particularly adhere to) is using footwork and jabs to set up combo's. The bread and butter is the jab step, the key image here is to line up your foot with your jab and extend and retract the jab with the same timing as your lead foot taking a single step forward and backward. This has the effect of extending your range for the split second of throwing a jab, but keeping you out of your opponents range as you step back.

Alternatively, you can step forward with your rear foot after the step jab and step into the cross! While this has less power than staying grounded, I find it's a great way to close distance while maintaining defense via offense. You can also choose to throw a grounded cross after the step jab, which has the benefit of your body being set up to twist even more than usual because your lead foot is a step ahead. Often when I throw a cross from this position, it almost ends up as an overhead punch from the intense rotation, but that carries the risk of overcommitting onto a position and leaving yourself in a vulnerable state without stable footing.


Featured in Hajime no Ippo, the titular main character Ippo will throw combinations from inside by using pivots to both generate power and combined with ducks and weaves for his defensive motions. I personally prefer to not engage in intense infights if I don't have to, and don't particularly focus on this technique, but as a right handed southpaw, pivots are valuable to lending some velocity into my lead hook that would be hard to achieve without winding up/loading/telegraphing, but more of that power is articulated in the next section.

The Shoulder

I don't know much about karate, so apologies if I say something incorrect here, but when I watch karate drills, one of the key differences I see is in how straight punches are thrown. The power seems to be generated from the shoulder and a much more subtle turn of the hips (in regards to the Chokuzuki), versus the explosive transfer of weight behind a boxing cross. I think that there's a lot to be gained here in studying how to generate rotational force from your shoulder, derivative of how they do it in karate.

While any punch thrown from the shoulder would have much less power than one generated from your body weight, it's still enough of a source of power to add some velocity to hooks and uppercuts. You can twist the shoulder with the punching hand forward and the other shoulder back to lend some whip-like energy to the subsequent punch. I use it to great effect in lead pivots to the outside, followed by a lead hand 3/4 hooks. (You need to pivot or establish some kind of defense before you drop your lead hand guard in order to throw the 3/4 hook)


Isn't boxing such a cool sport?