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How to Punch

Correct technique for hard jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts

OK, tough guy, you think you know how to throw down? You could probably use a few tips on how to punch with maximum power. Here they are, courtesy of Ross Enamait, a boxing trainer and former boxer in Vernon, Conn.

In addition to being skills that could save your life one day, punches can make you leaner: You can put combinations of these punches together to make up your own shadowboxing cardio workout.

JAB

The jab is thrown with the lead hand. Begin with the knees slightly bent, feet staggered, chin down, and hands raised by the sides of your face (start from this basic fighting position before throwing any punch). Push off your back foot and snap the jab out quickly. The lead foot will slide forward slightly before impact. For maximum power, twist your arm in a corkscrew motion before landing.

CROSS

Also called the "straight right hand" (if you're right-handed), it starts from the face and follows an imaginary straight line directly into the target. Drive and pivot from the rear foot, rotating the hips forcefully as your body weight shifts toward the front foot. Extend your right arm toward the target, snapping your wrist downward. On impact, the palm is down and the knuckles up.

HOOK

Shift your weight toward the rear leg as you rotate forcefully to that side and pivot inward on the ball of your front foot. At the same time, whip the lead arm toward the target in an L shape (the elbow should be bent about 90 degrees). Turn your hips into the punch. You can angle your hand one of two ways: vertically, so your palm faces you on impact, or horizontally, so the palm faces the floor (as shown).

UPPERCUT

Subtly shift your weight to the hip on the side of the rear leg. Dip that side's shoulder as you crouch down a bit. Next, with the palm up and the arm bent 90 degrees, forcefully rotate toward the side of your lead leg and push off the ball of your back foot, driving the punch upward (aim for the chin of your imaginary opponent). On impact, your palm should face your chest. Related Articles:

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