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You may think that simply lifting weights is enough to build strength and improve your punching power, but the truth is, the more mass you add, the more that can actually count as “non-functioning” muscle, which hinders your speed and mobility. Olympic medalist and undefeated boxing champion Tony Jeffries is joined by a former author in a new video on his YouTube channel men health Fitness Director BJ Gaddour CSCS demonstrating seven exercises to help you improve flexibility and speed as well as raw strength.
Self-supported one-armed push-up
“One thing people overlook when it comes to punching power is that a stronger muscle has the ability to generate more force,” says Gaddour. “That’s going to put more weight on one side of your body, so you’re strengthening each arm independently, and when you start getting good at it, you’re going to have a lot of power behind your punches.”
Incorporating resistance bands into some of your punching exercises is a great way to put extra pressure on the muscles, Gaddour explains, since tension increases as you stretch and then pull your arm back to its starting position.
Single leg hip thrust
Your legs and hips are your biggest sources of strength, so you need to give your lower body a good workout. This is essentially an evolution of the glute bridge, helping to strengthen imbalances on either side and activate the hips without recruiting the back muscles. And since it involves very little spinal stress, Gaddour suggests it as a safer alternative to the deadlift.
“Form is everything,” says Gaddour. “It’s one of the few moves that trains the extension of your ankle, knee, and hip in a horizontal path, much like your punches.” It also works on the back side of the body, balancing all that front work you’re doing as well.
Overhead Ball Slam
This is a great step for building overall body strength, and as Gaddour points out, it has the mental health bonus of allowing you to de-stress. The key to execution is to make sure you don’t bend your spine forward too much, but instead drop your hips.
Med Ball Shot Put
This mimics the range of motion of a punch and can be performed alone or with a partner against a wall. “It’s something you can use to tell if you’re hitting straight or across,” Jeffries says, explaining that hitting diagonally wastes the power you’ve built.
“Boxers tend to be very round and hunched over because they’re really working the muscles in the front of the body and not a lot in the back,” says Gaddour. “So that’s going to help increase your overall upper body strength, and yes you’re punching with your legs and hips too, but having a strong upper body increases your overall strength potential.”
Philip Ellis is a UK freelance writer and journalist covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.
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