Learn How to Punch Like an MMA Fighter

how to punch

Anyone can throw a punch. But that doesn’t mean anyone can throw a knockout punch. As a female, MMA fighter, I’ve seen 250 pound men who couldn’t punch hard enough to move an inflatable bag, and 100 pound women who can knock a heavy bag off its chains. Follow the techniques below and learn how to punch with power, no matter your size.

Basic Knock-out Punch Techniques

Before you start throwing punches, there are a few basic principles you should know.

How to Punch: Starting with the Feet

For one, punching starts at the feet. Think about it. Your legs are stronger than your arms, so to get power behind your punches you need to use your legs.

There are different types of stances, and we won’t get into that. Whatever stance you use, stay on the balls of your feet. Your fists should be in front of your face, just under eye level. Keep them close to your face, almost touching.

How to Punch: The Fist

When you’re about to hit something (or someone) it feels natural to tense up. Don’t. Instead, keep your fists relaxed. This doesn’t mean they should be limp like a fish, just loose. Staying tense means you won’t get that explosive motion you need to snap your punches.

How to Punch: Making Contact

It’s easy to hurt yourself when you make contact. You need to hit your target with your knuckles, not your fingers. I like to aim for my two front knuckles. Right before your fist is about to hit something, twist your hand slightly so you make contact right where you need to.

It’s also important to keep your wrist strong and straight. Otherwise, you might end up spraining or breaking it. Nothing is more embarrassing than explaining to your friends that you got injured by a punching bag.

How to Punch: Finishing the Punch

One of the most common beginner mistakes when learning how to punch is leaving a punch extended too long. As soon as you make contact, pull your fist back to where you started. It should be one quick motion. Don’t try to push your target after you’ve made contact, all the force is in the initial hit.

Related Article: How to Roundhouse Kick Like a Pro 

Types of Punches

There are four basic punches everyone should know when learning how to punch. These techniques will let you use these punches effectively. To simplify things, they’re all describe for people with dominant right hands. Just reverse the technique if you’re a lefty.

  1. Jab

Although a jab isn’t necessarily a power punch, it’s a very important one. Get in your fighting stance and take a small step towards your target with your left foot. As you step, begin to punch with your left hand. Your hips should turn towards your right, with your shoulders following.

  1. Straight Punch

This punch is about power, and usually follows a jab. Pivot your right foot as you punch with your right arm. Your whole body should start slightly turning towards your left. When it lands, your arm should be extended and your elbow straight.

  1. Hook

A hook is a little more complicated. You can use a lead hook (left hand) or you can use an even more powerful right hook. To get the power, you really need to pivot. For a right hook, imagine you’re squishing a bug with the ball of your left foot. Pivot and turn your whole body towards the left.

Unlike with a jab or straight punch, your arm should be bent at the elbow. Your fist can hit the target vertically or horizontally (see the picture below for more details)- do whatever feels right.

how to punch
Option 1 for a hook
how to punch
Option 2 for a hook
  1. Uppercut

The uppercut can literally knock an opponent of his feet. You can use either your lead or back hand, but the back hand will give you more power.

For a right uppercut, twist your right foot towards the left and let your body follow. Then, quickly drop your right fist a few inches. Twist your fist so your palm is facing the sky, and immediately swing your fist up to your opponents chin.

how to punch
The hand position for an uppercut

Punch For Fun, Fitness or Fighting

Learning how to punch using effective punching techniques is a great way to get in a good workout, show off at the gym or to kick some serious you-know-what.

Check out other great strength training workouts using MMA techniques.

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