You might think that simply lifting weights is going to be enough to help you grow strength and improve your punching power in thering, but the truth is, the more size you build, the more that may count as “non-functional” muscle which actually gets in the way of your speed and mobility. In a new video on his YouTube channel, Olympic medalist and undefeated boxing champion Tony Jeffries is joined by author and former Men’s Health fitness director B.J. Gaddour C.S.C.S., who demonstrates seven exercises which will help you hone your agility and speed, as well as pure strength.
Self-Assisted Single-Arm Pushup
“One thing people overlook when it comes to punching power; a stronger muscle has the ability to create more power,” says Gaddour. “This is going to put more weight on one side of your body, so that you’re strengthening each arm independently, and if you can start getting good at these, you’re going to have a lot of strength behind your punches.”
Incorporating resistance bands into some of your punching drills is a great way to put additional pressure on the muscles, explains Gaddour, as the tension increases as it stretches out, and then it pulls your arm back into its starting position.
Single-Leg Hip Thrust
The legs and hips are your biggest sources of power, so you need to be training the lower body sufficiently. This is essentially a progression of the glute bridge, which helps strengthen imbalances on each side and engage the hips without recruiting the back muscles. And as it involves very little spinal stress, Gaddour suggests it as a safer alternative to the deadlift.
“Form is everything in this,” says Gaddour. “It’s one of the few movements that trains extension of the ankle, knee and hip in a horizontal trajectory, much like your punches will be.” It also works the posterior side of the body, providing balance to all of that anterior work you’re also doing.
Overhead Ball Slam
This is a great move for building total body power, and as Gaddour points out, it has the mental health bonus of letting you vent your stress. The key to performing it is to ensure you’re not flexing the spine forward too much, but instead dropping your hips.
Med Ball Shot Put
This mimics the range of motion of a punch, and can be done against a wall on your own, or with a partner. “This is something that you can tell whether you’re punching straight or you’re punching across,” says Jeffries, explaining that punching diagonally wastes that power you’ve been building.
“Boxers tend to be very rounded and hunched forward, because they really work the muscles in the front of the body and not a lot in the back,” says Gaddour. “So this is going to help increase your overall upper body strength, and yes, you punch with your legs and hips too, but a strong upper body does increase your overall power potential.”
This story was first published on Men’s Health US.