Firm and Fast Fists

Firm and Fast Fists: How to Improve Punching Speed in Boxing

Even though there are aspects of punching speed that come naturally, there are punching speed drills that can increase and improve your quickness. Even though you might not be naturally considered a fast puncher, you can still work on it on your own.

The great news is that you don’t even have to have a speed punch training kit, a punching speed ball, a boxing punching ball or the best boxing punching bag. You can easily work on your punching speed without all this extra equipment. Simply by learning how to increase punching speed and power at home, you can easily improve your game.

Just by taking a few steps in the right direction, you can make large advances in your game and develop a huge amount of speed. Just by focusing on a few things in the gym you can take that into your fighting. As a boxer, speed is definitely a game-changing concept that can take any game to the next level, whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced boxer.

Moving forward, I’m going to introduce to you a few things that you can focus on to be able to improve your speed. Here are five things to concentrate on to hone in on how to increase punching speed in boxing.

Practice Proper Form and Technique

Form is everything when it comes to all the different techniques in boxing. Improving your speed in punching isn’t any different. Not only does increasing your speed help your game overall, it also gives you a high success rate to actually landing shots against your opponent.

To scale it back, you can have the fastest speed in the world but if your technique is poor, the statistics of you landing shots will be low, regardless. This is because if you don’t have proper form, your opponent will be able to easily predict what’s coming. Especially if your opponent is experienced, they’ll be able to read your move before you even throw it.

Therefore, don’t let your speed go to waste. If the technique isn’t there, then all that work you just did will be for nothing. Working on your technique and speed goes hand in hand with one another.

Increase Mental Speed

To go along with your physical punching speed you need to have the mental speed to accompany it. To be able to tap into your best sport performance, you need to harness all that power and invest in it mentally. Instead of just throwing punches as fast as you can, you need to take a step back, focus, relax and approach it in a calm manner. Yes, you heard me correctly—in a relaxed manner.

You need to be able to go from a slow mental speed to a quick one in a matter of split seconds. This is important not only when you’re fighting but simply when you’re just throwing combinations and need to think of which type of punch is coming up after one.

Invest in Hand Weights

After a little bit of work, you will want to start seeing improvements and you’ll want to start seeing them fast. I would recommend investing in some hand weights and incorporating them into the workouts you’ve already been doing.

As you hold on to those hand weights, you can work out with them and incorporate punching speed, which will steadily improve as you continue forward.

With the weights in hand, go through four rounds of two-minutes each to start off. The weights you’re holding should be light to begin—around one or two pounds.

As you’re shadowboxing with the hand weights, mix in a variety of different hooks and uppercuts. When you’re finished with the four rounds, complete one more round without the hand weights and note the difference.

This exercise has direct benefits related to the muscles in the shoulders and arms. Not only can you use this exercise to bulk up, you’ll also be able to use it to build up punching speed.

Devote a Gym Session to Speed

If you have access to a fighting gym, you can devote and entire and full gym session simply to speed and working on your boxing punch speed. If you’re going through a normal cycle of boxers’ training, you should leave these gym sessions for the tail end of the cycle. If you are signed up to fight someone in a competition or contest, this session should be done in the week before you get into the ring. However, if you are boxing just for fun or getting in shape, you can slowly incorporate one of these into your sessions.

To do these gym sessions, you should engage in shadow boxing, bag work, skipping rope, and a variety of various plyometric and interval training. Complete these exercises with maximum speed for short intervals and short rest period. If you have time and the power, incorporate footwork into the gym session, as well, so you can complete the full body workout for speed and not just focusing on punching.

Although I always emphasize form here, since this gym session is fully devoted to speed, try your best to get to maximum speed and don’t worry if your form isn’t spot on.

Also during this session, you should incorporate interval running or sprints. These short runs should be explosive, like you want your punching to be.

This gym session is meant to be one for increasing your speed in an overall manner rather than endurance and getting through the workout. Try for maximum speed, power, and effort. Therefore, if you have to take longer and faster breaks—you can. This session should be waking your cardiovascular system up and tapping into your anaerobic system.

Cool, Calm, and Collected

If you are trying to get maximum boxing speed, it also depends on your mental state. If you are tense and feeling like you’re under pressure, this will cause a direct affect on your punching. You have to stay cool, calm, and collected to be able to deliver these punches.

If you really just cannot get your mind under control when you first start off, just focus on the small things. Focusing on your fist, make sure that you’re not clenching it until right before you make the punching impact. Moving on to your shoulders, keep them loose and keep your breath under control and relaxed. Therefore, in general, it takes a lot more than the physical aspects to get everything under control before you take on an improvement on your speed.

Incorporating the Man: Bruce Lee Training Program

I know you’ve definitely heard of him. Bruce Lee, the man, had developed his own martial arts branch called Jeet Kune Do. Not only is he so accomplished in this area, he is always known for his power, speed, and accuracy. So, if you’re looking for boxing hand speed drills and exercises to increase punching speed, Bruce is definitely your man.

By working on the certain exercises in his training program, you can improve your punching to take your average punching speed to supersonic, unnatural, Bruce Lee speed. Although you probably won’t end up like the man himself, it’s possible that these exercises will definitely have you seeing an improvement—especially with the speed aspect. So, if you want to learn how to punch faster and harder, these might do you some good:

Snapping Punches

This quickly-thrown punch is a strike that is punched almost like a whip, with an emphasis on speed. When throwing a snapping punch, you should be making contact with your target as quickly as possible and then draw back to your guard.

Taking this directly from Bruce Lee’s style, you have to focus on the effect it causes on your opponent, targeting their entire body, rather than just the motion of the punch. To be able to practice this, especially on your own, you should trade in the punching bag for something more feeble and delicate—like a paper bag. No, I’m not joking. Hang a paper bag by a string to your punching height. Therefore, when you throw the snapping punch, you should be making direct contact with it. You should trade the punching bag in for this paper bag because it makes the sound of a snap rather than the thud, and you’ll know you’ve done it correctly. Once you get to the proper form, you’ll actually be able to blow a hole right through the bag.

The Padded Board

This board, called a Makiwara, is like working with pads without a partner. You can use the padded board to work on your accuracy as well as your speed. Even though you have been focusing simply on developing your quickness in your punches, hey will be worth nothing if they don’t meet their target. Therefore, this is an important aspect of punching. You should first start off by trying to strike the padded board itself and then focus more on specific points on the board.

Punching With Wrist Weights

Instead of holding the hand weights, you can wrap wrist weights around your arms so that you can get the same effect but just keep your hands lose and free. That way, you can work on your speed without sacrificing your boxing punching technique.

If you’re asking “does punching with weights increase speed?”, the answer is: YES! Using these light weights, you build up the muscles in your back and lower back. Since the explosiveness comes from your hips and lower back, you can easily transfer all this power and energy from the back to the front all the way to your target. As soon as you take the weights off, you’ll instantly notice the difference.

Simultaneous Catch and Punch

Just like Bruce Lee, this exercise in his program will help you develop the explosiveness and speed in your punching that you want.
To be able to perform this exercise, you’ll need a partner. As your partner throws jabs, try and catch them. This will help you not only develop a speed in reaction but also being able to catch their punch requires a speed of movement. With this drill, you will improve your prediction and read of your opponent.

With your partner, you should be taking turns catching the punch and then throwing one or two of your own and having them catch it. These will help your defensive skills, reaction time, and punching speed—it also looks really awesome.

Exercises you can do to Increase your Punch Speed

After taking on Bruce Lee’s punching program, there are other exercises that you probably are already familiar with that can help increase your punching speed. The most important part of this speed program, however, is to get the form right before you move on to increasing your punching speed.

As soon as you have the speed down, it’s time to move on. You can move on to trying to get faster. Especially since in most of these exercises, you’re focusing more on the speed rather than the perfect form, your body will need to naturally know the correct form.

To perform some of these exercises, you might need some extra equipment found in most boxing gyms. If you don’t go to a boxing gym, you can invest in some new equipment or buy some secondhand equipment.

Jumping Rope

jumping rope

Whatever you call it—jumping rope or skipping, at the end of the day, it’s a fantastic exercise and workout that you will see most boxers doing at the gym, at home, and anywhere. Not only is it great because you can do it almost anywhere, it also has loads of benefits. Jumping rope can work on your stamina, speed, and reaction.

Depending on the skill you’re working on when jumping rope, you’ll be able to work on your reflexes and coordination. It’s cheap and easy to get.

Shadowboxing

shadowboxing

As I mentioned earlier, you can always shadowbox to improve your speed and improve other aspects of your boxing game. In this exercise, you’ll be throwing a variety of combinations and punches and imagining hitting an opponent as if in the ring. Working with a coach on this will be best when just starting out. However, you can always complete this at home on your own.

While you’re shadowboxing, focus on throwing your punches as quickly as you can. Keep your hands light and not clenched. You will be working directly with toning your arms and working with your punching speed.

Speed Bag

speed bag

Working with this piece of equipment also has tons of benefits—and is done through all spectrums of styles of boxers. Literally named after the aspect of punching it works on, the speed bag targets your speed and quick reaction.

Working a large chunk of time on the speed bag, you’ll be able to hone in on your skills and work as hard as you can simply on your punching speed.

When first starting out, you might notice how hard it is to get the hang of it. However, if you start slow, you will get used to the rhythm and then can increase your speed. Ultimately, the speed bag will have you seeing improvements in your speed, agility, and your stamina.

Floor to Ceiling Bag

This piece of equipment will also be found at your local boxing gym and is a bit harder to come by on your own. However, when utilized correctly, it works wonders for your speed. The floor to ceiling bag also works on your accuracy, your hand-eye coordination, and your timing—among many other benefits. Since it swings back and forth quickly, depending on the strength and speed with which you hit it, you can also work on your defensive movements, as well, like your dodging and slipping. That way, the floor to ceiling bag is a total body exercise.

When you’re doing this exercise, focus more on speed rather than power because it will come back at you immediately. Try and find the perfect speed to work with because then you can work on your coordination and timing to hit the bag with accuracy and with the proper power.

Explosive Exercises

Explosive Exercises

In sports, when you’re working on speed, you need to incorporate explosive exercises like plyometrics. These exercises will have you doing quick movements in short bursts and times. Ultimately, they work not only on your general speed but also your punching speed.

Clap Push Ups

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These exercises are just as they are clearly named. They work on your explosive power and speed.

How to do it:

Get into a normal push-up position. However, when you are coming back up from the lower position of the push-up, push yourself off in an explosive movement so that your hands come completely off the ground. Clap and then go back down.

If you can’t do the clap push up just yet, you can do it on your knees or simply do a plyometric push up. A plyometric push up is basically the same thing as a clap push up except your hands never leave the ground. You will just be doing the same explosive movement when going back up.

Squat Jumps

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This exercise develops explosive speed, improves your leg strength, and increases your agility and movement.

How to do it:

Getting into an original squat position, the only difference between this and a regular squat is that when you are at your lowest squat position (try and keep it at 90-degrees), you’ll be exploding back up with your feet leaving the ground.

Overhead Medicine Ball Slam

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The exercise works on developing intense shoulder strength, targets your core muscles, and helps you increase your explosive speed.

How to do it:

Choose a medicine ball with adequate weight (not too much, not too little), and hold it over your head, extending your arms far out without locking them. Next, bring the ball back down, slamming it against the ground as hard as you can. When you are using a medicine ball that may bounce, be careful when it comes back up! However, if you can, choose a medicine ball that stays on the ground.

The great thing about this exercise is that you can slam the ball as hard as you can. Work with enough weight that it challenges you but not too much that it is impossible to do for 30 seconds.

If you don’t have a medicine ball, you can also use a sand bag or something heavy enough that won’t break.

Putting it all Together

Now that you’ve been introduced to all the explosive, plyometric exercises, it’s time to put them all together in an intense speed-focusing workout. Do them as you can but I would recommend one-minute rounds with a 15-second break in between. After you get into three rounds, take a longer break.

Here is just an example of a workout plan that you can follow to increase your punching speed and speed in general:

  • Skipping— 3 rounds

  • Shadow boxing— 2 rounds

  • Speed bag— 3 rounds

  • Floor to ceiling bag— 3 rounds

  • Speed bag— 2 rounds

  • Floor to Ceiling— 2 rounds

  • Skipping— 2 rounds

  • Clap/Plyometric Push Ups— 2 rounds

  • Overhead Medicine Ball Slam— 3 rounds

Do these exercises according to your fitness level. Listen to your body when you’re completing in these exercises because they are not easy to do. Especially if you are just beginning, you need to be careful not to get injured or overwork yourself.

Recap

Explosive Exercises

To ultimately increase your punching speed, I hope that this guide has helped bring you through the concepts that you need to understand before you head into a workout. One of the most important concepts to grasp is that you should work on your technique before you move on to speed. To be able to get the most out of your punch not only should there be power and speed behind it, there should also be a proper form.

With time, you will also be able to increase your speed and weight in these exercises. These things take time, so don’t try and advance too quickly or get frustrated if you’re stuck at one stage or one speed. Every great fighter had to start somewhere, so just know that the greats in boxing had once begun where you are today.

Ultimately, you should always stay cool, calm, and collected, as I stated before. Even though boxing is an aggressive sport and you might be using it to take out your aggression, you should know that you can do so, however, you should approach it with a collected attitude. If you get too worked up, too frustrated, and too aggressive, you’ll mess with your form and you’ll overshoot your punches or strikes. Being too excited about facing an opponent or feeling too much pressure to hit back might get you to mess up the entire correct form you’ve been working so hard for. Therefore, this is probably one of the most important concepts to remember. If you don’t approach boxing with patience, it’ll be very difficult for you to master it. Let your skills come naturally, just as your punches will come. Then, the speed will come. Great things take time to manifest, so never be discouraged.

I hope that this guide has helped introduce you to some ways that you can improve your punching speed in boxing. This is one of the major concepts in boxing, so this guide can help you conquer it.

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