By Bryanna Fissori
There are really only a few basic punches that are crucial for boxing. These are the punches you will be using the most in boxing classes. Having the proper mechanics for your punches will not only make them more effective, but it will cause less stress on your body and promote muscle growth and weight loss in all the right areas. Solid basic boxing technique is sure to get you in fighting shape!
This is a quick punch that extends from your lead arm straight out in front of your face. The fist goes straight from point A to point B and back without any elbow curvature. To increase power and speed it is recommended to snap the punch out, finishing with the thumb pointed slightly down. Your lead foot should step slightly forward at the same time as your arm when you throw the jab.
This punch is used to determine and maintain distance from an opponent. It is also the longest reaching punch. The jab can be used to distract, frustrate and set up more powerful punches.
The cross is the straight punch that is thrown with your rear hand. This is often the most powerful punch because if thrown correctly it will engage much of your legs, core and back to generate momentum. To throw a cross the rear hand comes forward in a straight point A to point B line and back, similar to a jab. One big difference is that instead of stepping, the back foot pivots toward the center of the body causing the hips to rotate bringing the rear shoulder forward to extend the punch with force.
The cross usually follows the jab but can be thrown as a lead punch. The majority of knockouts come from the cross or other similar punches thrown from the rear hand.
This punch, though basic, is one of the more difficult techniques to master. It can be thrown from either side. In a numbered progression of punches, it is typically learned first coming from the same side as the jab. There are a number of ways to throw a hook depending on your instructor’s style. Generally, a hook is thrown to the side of the body (or heavy bag) with the elbow bent. The power for a hook is generated in the torso and hips as they turn with the arm. The elbow should come up as the punch is thrown and stay elevated as the punch lands.
The hook is a great punch that can be hidden behind straight punches as an opponent focuses on blocking the front of their face or body. It is also ideal for building a strong and toned core.
The uppercut is a sneaky punch thrown at close range. Unlike the other punches, it comes from below the opponent’s line of vision. Targets for the uppercut are usually the ribs or under the chin. The rotation in the body is again, where the power is generated. Your knees start the punch slightly bent. As the body rotates upward the first drives upward toward the target.
The uppercut can be a game changer in competition and can be practiced on a heavy bag or a teardrop bag.
Remember that each punch should return immediately back to the blocking position at face level. This is proper technique not only for defense, but to reload for the next punch to be thrown. Using solid mechanics when mastering basic boxing technique will be crucial in forming the lean athletic build that fitness boxing is sure to help you achieve.