Whichever style of martial arts or wrestling you subscribe to, the ability to deliver a powerful punch is key to your success in an MMA fight. Even grapplers need to know how to land a punch when they take the fight to the floor. One of the most common questions beginner MMA fighters ask is how to increase their punching power. This article discusses the three most effective exercises for improving the power of your punches.
#3. The Snatch
The insult ‘You punch like a girl’ simply means that you punch with your arms, not with your body. Of course, there are thousands of female boxers, MMA fighters and martial artists the world over who can punch with just as much force, if not more force, than men can. The insult could even be a compliment! However, the essence of the saying is that the power behind a punch should come from the whole body, not just the arms. In MMA, the basic stance has the fighter’s dominant-side leg back, their feet shoulder width apart and their weight placed on the balls of the feet, not the heels. The power for a hard punch actually starts with your legs and incorporates your back and shoulder muscles far more than biceps or triceps in the upper arm. That’s why learning to do a snatch is the best way of developing explosive power.
The snatch is a form of weightlifting move that can be done with a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebells. When using a barbell, it is a two-handed move, whereas dumbbells and kettlebells are one-handed. Beginning with the weight on the floor, you squat down with your head up, back straight and thighs parallel with the floor. In one move, you explode upwards and press the weight above your head with straightened arms. With the weight overhead, you straighten your legs to stand upwards. This move helps develop explosive power and will help you punch harder.
#2. Lying Medicine Ball Throws
The second exercise for developing your punching power is the lying medicine ball throw. Take a 10-15 pound medicine ball and lie flat on your back on a training mat. Practice throwing the ball straight upwards and catching it as it lands. You will need to concentrate on developing an explosive upwards movement in a very straight line so you can catch the ball as it falls. Performing this exercise forces you to use the very same muscles you use to throw a punch. Start light and move your way up to heavier medicines balls over several months of training.
#1. Plyometric Exercises
Plyometrics are a great way to develop your strength, endurance and power. Plyometrics, or ‘plyo’ for short, are fast explosive movements. They develop the fast-twitch muscle fibers that will drastically improve your punching power. The most basic move is the ‘plyo’-push up where you push yourself up so fast that your hands leave the floor. If you lack the strength to do this, try with your knees on the floor first. As you push yourself up, you can clap your hands together once, or clap your hands against your chest. The snatch and medicine ball throws described above are essentially plyometric exercises. To build your power whilst doing plyo-push-ups, you can wear a weighted backpack or buy a purpose-designed weight vest containing multiple weights.
These exercises can all be done in your own home, without any special equipment. If you can’t afford a gym membership or don’t have access to weights, you can substitute equipment and moves. For example, burpees – where you crouch down and kick your legs out before jumping up – are great alternatives if you can’t do a snatch. The humble burpee will help you develop explosive power through your body even if you don’t have access to equipment.
These three exercises should help anyone develop their punching power for MMA fights. Whether you train at home or take professional martial arts training in CT, these moves will increase the power with which you can punch. Developing a strong punch is essential for winning MMA fights but a strong punch alone isn’t enough to win a bout. If you are sparring with an MMA opponent who prefers to grapple, you will need speed as well as power to win the fight. A grappler opponent will take advantage of you if you punch heavy and slow. Always use plyometric moves to create explosive force with lightening quick reflexes as you throw and punch. The exercises described above will help you throw all types of punches from jabs to hooks. Instead of focusing exclusively on your upper body, always develop your lower body too. Remember that these moves are forms of resistance training. You must seek to gradually increase the resistance you use in order to continue making strength gains.