How to Throw a Punch, According to a Pro Boxer

Throwing a jab, cross, hook, and uppercut is not as easy as it looks. Here, a pro boxer breaks down the movements for you.

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.

"Most beginners use their shoulders more than necessary," says Nicole Schultz, head trainer at EverybodyFights, the Boston-based boxing gym founded by George Foreman III (NBD). "Once you learn proper technique, you'll begin to deliver your punches from your legs, lats, and obliques," she explains. 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. For more detailed instructions and common mistakes to watch out for, peep the directions below.

Jab

A. Start in a boxing stance: feet slightly wider than shoulders-width apart and staggered with left foot in front, fists protecting face (if left-handed, step right foot in front).

B. Step forward with left foot and extend left hand forward with control, rotating palm to face down (if left-handed, jab with right hand). Quickly step back and snap left (or right) 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.

Cross

A. Start in a boxing stance: feet slightly wider than shoulders-width apart and staggered with left foot in front, fists protecting face (if left-handed, step right foot in front).

B. Rotate right hip forward and pivot on right foot until heel comes off the ground. Shift weight forward and extend right arm forward to punch, rotating palm to face down. Quickly snap right fist back to face. (Again, if left-handed, this will be the opposite.)

Common mistakes: Make sure to rotate back foot and avoid leaning forward or letting guard down.

Hook

A. Start in a boxing stance: feet slightly wider than shoulders-width apart and staggered with left foot in front, fists protecting face (if left-handed, step right foot in front).

B. Bend left arm at a 90-degree angle and swing as if punching an opponent in the jaw. Pivot so that knee and hips face to the right. (Lefties, use right arm and pivot to the left.)

C. 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 — that'll show an opponent what's coming.

Uppercut

A. Start in a boxing stance: feet slightly wider than shoulders-width apart and staggered with left foot in front, fists protecting face (if left-handed, step right foot in front).

B. Rotate right hip forward, pivot on ball of right foot, and loop and swing right hand up as if punching an opponent in the chin. Protect chin with left hand throughout the movement. (Lefties, switch directions!) Pro tip: Don't pivot rear foot when throwing an uppercut with lead hand — that's the left hand for righties and the right hand for lefties.

Common mistakes: Don't make a scooping motion with the arm (remember: all the power should come from the rotation of the hips), and don't swing further than nose level. (Ready to throw hands? Try this at-home boxing circuit.)

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