In this guide, we’re not getting into the nitty-gritty of how to throw a hook vs. an uppercut vs. a lead cross (you can learn more about all that in this blog here!). Today, it’s all about the basics.
We’re giving you the 101 of how to throw a punch. We’ll break it down by body part so you know exactly what’s supposed to be happening as you punch, whether you’re shadowboxing in your living room or stepping into the ring with Liteboxer.
Follow along step by step and it won’t be long until you’ve mastered the perfect punch:
First things first, let’s start with getting your legs into your boxer’s stance. The legs play a crucial role in generating the force behind your punches and keeping you balanced. You’ll want to position your legs about hip-width distance apart. This way you’re balanced, but still able to move with speed. The wider your stance, the harder it’ll be to move quickly. The narrower your stance, the easier it is to feel off-balance. Aligning your feet with your hips is just right.
Next, take a small step back with your dominant foot, while still maintaining that hip-width distance. Keep both feet slightly angled to help maintain your balance. Looking down at your feet, you should be able to draw a relatively straight line between your front toes and the heel of your back foot.
Keep most of your body weight in the balls of your feet and bring a slight bend to your knees. This gives a bounce to your stance, making it easier to move at a moment’s notice.
For instruction on your proper boxing stance from start to finish, watch this video in its entirety or skip ahead to 0:30 - 0:37 to watch how to keep your weight in the balls of your feet and add a bounce to your stance.
When you go to throw a punch you’ll want to lift the heel of your foot as if you’re crushing a grape with your toes. The heel that lifts corresponds with the arm throwing the punch. So if you’re throwing a punch with your front hand—the hand closest to the shield or your invisible opponent—you’ll lift your front heel. When throwing a punch with your back arm, you’ll crush the grape with your back foot.
Take a look at Anthony’s stance here to see what that looks like:
Any time you want to move forward while boxing, always lead with the foot that’s up front, which is your non-dominant foot. Take one step forward with your non-dominant foot first and then a step with your dominant foot. Do the opposite when moving backward. Take a step back with your dominant foot first and then your non-dominant foot will follow.
Your hips play a major role in generating force behind your punch. As you’re crushing a grape with the ball of your foot, focus on internal rotation of your hip to maximize your power.
Why are we talking about your legs and hips when it’s the arms that throw the punch? If you’re only using your arms while boxing you won’t get much power. It’s when you throw your whole body into the movement that you can generate force.
Try this out for yourself! Stand completely still and only use your arms to throw a punch. Now, practice lifting your heel and twisting your hips while throwing a punch. Notice the difference?
Think about the force behind your punch generating from your legs, passing through your hips and body, and then rushing out through your fist. This full-body movement is what results in explosive power.
As you throw a punch you’ll clench your fingers together in a tight ball. But you don’t need to squeeze the life out of your finger muscles the entire time. Only clench nice and tight as you’re throwing the punch, then keep them relaxed (but still in a fist!) the rest of the time.
As you punch, turn your knuckles down to face the ground and hit the target (if you’re using one) with the flat of your fingers just below the knuckles.
When you’re not throwing a punch you’ll want to bring your fists up to your cheekbones and tuck your chin slightly down. Relax your shoulders and keep your elbows pinched into your rib cage. This helps protect your face and body from any incoming punches (imaginary or real).
It’s key to engage your core as you rotate into every punch. This helps you deliver more explosive power while absorbing the shock of your punch’s impact.
This is why we spend so much time doing core work in our Liteboxer classes. While it might seem like training for upper body strength is the most important aspect of a boxer’s workout, it’s actually your core that powers your fight. Practice building your core strength with these three great exercises.
When you’re punching you’ll want to fully extend your arms and follow through with the punch as if you’re trying to shoot laser beams out of your fist. After all, you're throwing a punch, not giving someone a fist bump. If you bend your arm while punching you’re not delivering the full capacity of your power.
Don’t forget all that we talked about with your legs, hips, and fists! Keep that full-body motion in action as you punch. After each punch, you’ll want to snap right back to what we call your “boxer’s stance”. This is where you keep your fists up at your chin and your elbows tucked in at your sides.
If you’re boxing it out with Liteboxer your positioning relative to the Liteshield is going to make a significant difference. If you’re standing too close it’s going to be hard to give your punches maximum power. So how do you know how far to stand back? Let’s do a quick test of your reach.
With each punch, you should be able to almost fully extend your arm. So before you start a workout get into your boxer's stance and stretch your back arm out towards the Liteshield. If your glove doesn’t reach the Liteshield or is barely touching, you’re too far away. If you're bending your arm close to a 90-degree angle instead of a straight line, you’re too close.
Ready to see it all come together? Here’s Anthony demonstrating what throwing a punch looks like using your Liteshield:
Last, but certainly not least, you can’t forget to breathe! Every time you throw a punch practice exhaling forcefully. Then, inhale as you draw your arm back and prepare for the next punch.
Next up: Master your 6 signature punches
After you’ve mastered the basics, start practicing your six signature punches with Liteboxer. Or, learn about how to master defensive moves— these are important even if you never plan on sparring against an opponent!