What sort of weightlifting advice would I give out to improve someone’s punching power? Just recently I got asked this, which I think is a great question that a lot of people are curious to know.
Now, I want to state up front that weightlifting is not a substitute for training for the individual sport. So if you’re a boxer, kickboxer, martial artist or some other sport then getting stronger and faster IS going to make you better at throwing the punch, but it’s not going to teach you HOW to punch.
What we’re looking for is an edge over the component, because even Bruce Lee said: If 2 roughly equal skilled fighters compete with each other, the stronger one will usually win. That is generally true. If you punch twice as fast and as hard with the same level of technique and proficiency, it’s going to hurt a hell of a lot more at the end of the punch.
What Kind of Weighttraining?
Let’s break down what we need to do with weighttraining for that:
The Big Three: Squat, Bench, Deadlift. This will definitely improve overall strength, muscle mass and explosiveness if performed correctly but we’re looking for an edge. Everyone who is competitive in a contact sport is going to do some weightlifting.
So what we need is to get an 1% edge over the competitors that are only doing basic weightlifting. For that we need to break down the punch itself.
Specific Punch Training: Obviously we need to work on power and speed strength, starting strength and using your full body explosively because even on a short punch, if you’re not getting hipdrive, legdrive and core involvement you’re simply not hitting as hard as you possibly can.
You can do this workout 2 or 3 times a week besides your regular sports training.
For fullbody strength and explosiveness we are going to do Big Three with one additional lift:
- Squat – 5 sets of 5
- Deadlift – 3 sets of 5
- Benchpress/weighted dip – 3 sets of 5
- Powerclean or hangclean – 3 sets of 5
After that we need to work on speed strength and starting strength when it comes down to the actual muscles involved in a punch and making those work.
- Incline Close Grip Bench Press – 10 sets of 3
This is a valuable tool for improving power through the plane of motion that you’re going to punch with.
Why an Incline Close Grip Bench Press? For most people when they punch, a flat bench press or dip isn’t usefull because you’re not punching with a 90 degree angle (perpendicular) from your body and also not with your arms out wide like the bench press grip or most people. It’s going to make the involved muscles stronger but it’s not giving you optimal power through the path of your punch that you’re using.
What you need to do is watch yourself punch and see at what angle your upper body is. You will need to set the incline bench at that angle to train specifically for your path.
The type of training for this exercise will be density training: 10 sets of 3 with only 30 seconds in between and doing every repetition as explosive as possible.
The last part of our training will be for fullbody involvement and starting strength for the start of your punch. We can do this with one movement and be efficient about it:
- One-Arm Dumbell Floor Press – 3 sets of 5
Lay on the ground and only use 1 dumbell to where you have to stabilize it so you will develop a lot of your core and rotational muscles. Incorporate a deadstop every single rep and perform every repetition as explosive as possible. This will give you overall starting strength and overall stability on a punch.
So these are the additional go-to movements for improving a punch outside of your training.
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