The Southpaw Boxer’s Best Friend – The Lead Hand Block

by Fran on January 15, 2011

About the Lead Hand Block

For those orthodox boxers reading this, the lead hand block is not a boxing technique that you will use that often.  This rarity of use is because as an orthodox you will be much more used to incoming orthodox jabs flying at you down your right-hand channel, and defending these shots with the rear hand block.  This said, just because it isn’t a technique that is used as much as the rear hand block, this should not mean that you shouldn’t know it and understand it because as soon as you meet a decent southpaw boxer (even though statistically we’re only talking 1 in 9 here), this boxing technique will become central to you handling that southpaw well enough to win the fight.  It’s also worth mentioning that it’s a useful block against an incoming power shot (i.e. orthodox right hand), but we’ll get on to this later in the article.

If on the other hand you are a southpaw boxer, then this boxing technique will likely be your defensive meat and drink!  Your experience in boxing is largely a procession of orthodox boxers popping jabs towards you along your right hand channel.  This has resulted in your lead hand block being pretty much in constant use.  I mean, you should be combining this lead hand block with your own outgoing counter punch jab, all in one movement.  This boxing technique, quite simply, is one of the central pillars of any southpaw boxer’s fight strategy.  Check out the video, the mechanics, the common faults, then leave a comment or question below.

The Mechanics of the Lead Hand Block

Another boxing technique that consists of some simple and economical movements (when executed correctly!)  As always, the legs are key!

  1. A push from the front foot rotates the body in a clockwise direction.
  2. At he same time, the lead forearm rotates 90 degrees in a counter-clockwise direction, the palm open ready to receive the incoming shot.
  3. When the shot has been blocked, the arm and body returns to it’s starting position.

See, simple really.  Just make sure that you don’t allow any of the following faults to creep in.

Common Faults with the Lead Hand Block

The main faults that may occur during the execution of this shot are:

  1. The arm is not braced enough to stop the incoming shot.  This is particularly important if you are blocking an incoming (back hand) power shot.  If the blocking arm is not ‘firm’, the shot will plough through your palm thus smashing the back of your own hand into your face.  A boxing match can be a tough enough experience without being made tougher by hitting yourself in the face.  Make the arm firm, stop that shot!
  2. The boxer reaches to block the shot.  In the video, I talk about your ‘defensive area.’  This is an area immediately in front you, and certainly no further away than the line of your front foot.  If you begin reaching beyond this area in order to block incoming shots, then all that you succeed in doing is creating gaping holes in your own defence.  A half-way decent boxer will spot this fault once, and on the next occasion will take advantage of that exposed jaw!

On a final note, in the video I explain a way of when using this boxing technique absorbing some of the power of an incoming power shot.  An incoming back hand (orthodox right or southpaw left) will vary in power significantly from opponent to opponent.  For those opponents that hit particularly hard, you can combine this block with a small move out and this has the effect of taking the sting out of the shot.  Don’t move out too far though, you’ll need to be able to make that palooka pay for trying to hit you in the first place!

Don’t forget, leave a comment below!



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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Boban October 9, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Hi Fran,

Do you have an opinion on using the same body mechanics mentioned above but using your lead arm like a shield (knuckles of fist basically braced on your forhead and upper arm braced on your own body and blocking with the back of fist or forearm)?

Also, when returning a jab back to the opponent, would that movement basically require 2 explosive pushes off the front foot, one for the block and repeated again to immediately fire the counter jab? It seems like with time training that you can double up on the movements fairly smoothly, but you are also wound up to deliver a back hand counter too.


Fran October 12, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Excellent question Boban

That type of block is used and can offer additional defence if the jab comes at an angle.

In terms of the jab counter, just one push from the front foot. I would lock the jab out as a stiff shot with the power coming with a follow up back hand.

Great question mate.


Pelayo February 26, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Hi Fran.
I’m a southpaw and I feel like a little lost. Are there some good mitt drills to help southpaws? at my gym the teacher just assumes the southpaw stance and does the same routines (not without certain difficulty).

I wonder if you have had the chance to prepare a southpaw boxer, and if there are special drills that they may consider, taking into account the need for staying outside the othodox’s lead foot and the possible shots that he may throw.

Thank you very much!


Fran March 4, 2015 at 9:07 pm

Hey Pelayo

Check this out, some cool russian stuff 🙂

Hope it helps


ltg March 24, 2013 at 6:24 am

thanks Fran.

is it ‘stopping’?


Fran March 25, 2013 at 9:27 pm

You’re welcome. And yep, it is ‘stopping’ 🙂


george d December 18, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Hey, great video/article, very informative and helpful!
Just wondering if u’ve done any videos regarding head movenent, coz i could really do with some help in that deartment, as i’ve been told my head movement is sh*t without any helpful advice coming my way lol
thanks again!!


Fran December 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Thanks George. Yeah, always great when someone tells you you’re crap at something without offering suggestions as to how not to be crap at it. There’s some head movement videos on the Body Movement page. Hope they help.


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