The first lesson most boxers learn: Throwing a punch is harder than it looks. See, boxers don’t just swing haphazardly. Each type of punch—whether a jab, cross, hook, or uppercut—is a precise movement that incorporates more than just your arms. (Related: This Total-Body Conditioning Workout Proves Boxing Is the Best Cardio)
“Most beginners use their shoulders more than necessary,” says Nicole Schultz, head trainer at EverybodyFights, the boxing gym founded by George Foreman III, based in Boston and expanding nationally. “Once you learn proper technique, you’ll begin to deliver your punches from your legs, lats, and obliques.” And that’s where knock-you-out power really comes from.
Let Schultz show you how it’s done in the video above, and you’ll be one step closer to throwing flawless punches like a pro. (Next up: Schultz’s Strength Training Boxing Workout)
Start in boxing stance: feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with the left foot in front and fists protecting face (right foot in front if you’re a lefty). Step forward with left foot and extend left hand forward with control, rotating palm to face down (jab with your right hand if you’re a lefty). Quickly step back and snap left arm back to starting position.
Common mistakes: Be sure to keep shoulders pressed down away from ears and elbows tucked in at sides of ribcage. Avoid leaning forward.
Start in boxing stance. Rotate right hip forward and pivot on right foot until heel comes off the ground, shifting weight forward and extending right arm forward to punch, rotating palm to face down. Quickly snap right fist back to face. (Again, this will be the opposite if you’re left-handed.)
Common mistakes: Make sure to rotate back foot and avoid leaning forward or letting your guard down.
Start in boxing stance. Bend left arm at 90-degree angle and swing as if punching someone in the jaw. Pivot so that knee and hips face to the right. When throwing a rear-hand hook (that’s right hand for righties; left for lefties), pivot rear heel when throwing punch.
Common mistakes: Remember to rotate hips for power, and don’t wind up too far back—you don’t want your opponent to see what’s coming.
Start in boxing stance. Rotate right hip forward, pivot on ball of right foot, loop and swing right hand up as if punching someone in the chin. Protect chin with left hand throughout the movement. (Don’t pivot rear foot when throwing an uppercut with your lead hand—that’s your left hand if you’re a righty.)
Common mistakes: Don’t make a scooping motion with your arm (remember: all the power should come from the rotation of your hips), and don’t swing further than nose level