Generate a Real Improvement in Punch Speed
It is a fact that some people naturally possess greater punch speed than others. For example, boxers like Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr and Floyd Mayweather are known for their natural hand speed, whilst boxers like Marvin Hagler, Julio Cesar Chavez and Roberto Duran are not particularly considered as blindingly fast punchers.
Now, as I’ve said before on this blog I’m not a physiologist and therefore can’t really begin to talk with any authority about fast twitch muscle fibre, genetic pre-disposition etc etc. However, what I can say with certainty is that both as a boxer and as a coach, I have witnessed (both in myself and others) a significant improvement in punch speed as a direct result of some simple measures taken in the gym.
In this article I will outline to you 5 things that you can nail to improve your punch speed. You should feel this improvement after no more than a couple of weeks so do stick with it.
The 5 Steps to Improve Punch Speed:
1. Ensure Proper Technique
The objective of improving punch speed is to increase your success rate of landing shots. You can possess the greatest punch speed on the face of the planet, but if you have poor technique in terms of delivering your punch this cobra-like speed is next to useless. Poor technique will mean that your opponent will spot your shot coming. A flaring elbow will give away your jab. A draw back of the arm will identify when your straight back hand is on it’s way. Executing an effective feint will give you a split second advantage when going for an opening.
So make sure that your technique is perfect so that improving your punch speed will actually bring benefits. Check out the end of the article for some prime video guidance on good technique or alternatively you can go to the Top 10 Boxing Training Videos for clean and precise guidance.
2. Speed in the Mind!
As with many aspects of sporting performance, there is psychology at play in making improvements to your punch speed. I have a very neat way of harnessing the power of the mind when building speed. Take a gentle stroll around the gym. Breath deeply, relax. As you are gently strolling, think of super-fast objects, such as:
- A fighter jet
- An Indy or Formula 1 car blasting across the start/finish line
- A bolt of lighting.
At a given moment (ideally someone other than yourself shouting ‘Now!’, or providing some other signal), switch to your boxing stance as fast as you can and throw a 4 or 5 punch combination, again at top speed. Use short, mid and long range shots…don’t restrict yourself! Recommence your stroll and repeat for a couple of rounds.
By using this simple method, you will build the psyche of a real speed demon!
3. The Joy of Hand Weights
This tip is very interesting, mainly because you can feel an undoubted and instant improvement in your punching speed. Set yourself up for 4 x 2 minute rounds of shadow boxing. In rounds 1 and 3, use 1 or 2 lb hand weights. Shadow box normally, ensuring that you mix in a good proportion of mid and long range hooks and uppercuts. During rounds 2 and 4, dispense with the hand weights and feel the instant improvement in punch speed.
The additional benefit of shadow boxing with weights is that it works wonders in building the kind of shoulder and arm strength that boxers need. It’s well worth building this into your regular training, especially if you’re looking to build punching power as well as punch speed.
4. Speed Focused Gym Session
Complete a full gym session that focuses solely on speed. Now, if you are a competing boxer, these sessions should be targeted during the final stages of your training cycle (that is in the week prior to your contest). If you are not competing, then a speed-focused gym session can be undertaken at any time.
- For shadow boxing, bag work and skipping, complete 6 x 1 minute rounds with just 15 second rest periods. Aim for maximum speed and multiple variations of punch combinations. Don’t forget also that you can do the footwork drill in with your session.
- When completing the groundwork (e.g. the classic ‘ton-up’ of 10 x 10 ground exercises), do so with a focus on maximum speed, with quality of exercise being secondary.
- Perform short, explosive sprints during running e.g. sprint from one street-light/lamp-post to the next, then jog to the next, then sprint etc.
By the way, this gym session not only enhances overall speed, it also absolutely blasts the cardio-vascular system. The work-rate is so intense that you go anaerobic very quickly. The short duration of rest means that recovery rate is pushed to the max. It’s great stuff!
5. Stay Chilled!
If you are tense, then you will not maximize your punch speed. A simple way to do this is to ensure that you do not clench your fist until the split second before the shot lands. Keep you shoulders loose and breath in a controlled manner. Remember Relaxed is fast!
Remember, speed kills, so it’s always worth spending time looking to improve your capability.