The most devastating punches to a fighter, are the ones they don't see.
Whether you're a fighter, or a boxing fitness fanatic, having quick hands has plenty of benefits!
If you're a fighter, when your hands are quick, your opponent won't see or expect your punches.
If you and your opponent throw a punch at the same time, you'll beat them to the punch! If you don't fight but just love to train, fast hands will make your workout intensity higher, give you more punches per round which will mean burning more calories, and getting fitter faster!
Im going to share with you, some drills and exercises I used to personally use on myself when I fought, and I also used them with fighters I've previously trained.
I gotta stress tho!......I always tell my clients, get the technique perfect first, then the speed and power will come. If you jump straight into trying to get speed or power with poor technique, your flaring elbow will give your jab away.......cocking your back hand back will show your cross is getting ready to go!
Give these a go and you'll start to feel the difference within a couple of weeks.....
1. RELAX, STAY CHILLED
I see people all the time try to destroy the heavy bag when I encourage them to punch faster. Faster, doesn't mean harder, if anything, the harder you go, the slower you'll go.
So when trying to develop speed, don't focus on power, or accuracy, just purely.....speed.
When I say "relax, stay chilled" I mean, stop squeezing the fists and tensing the shoulders while the guard is up. Thats only going to burn out energy. The only time you should tense your body is when you are throwing your power punches, or getting punched. Your fists only need to be stiffened, in time for the moment of impact.
Here's a drill to try....
Instead of imagining punching the bag, just imagine touching it......as fast as you can.
If it was an opponent, how fast can you connect your punch without him seeing it.
You're not trying to hurt him, you're trying to surprise him.
Change your attitude of what your trying to accomplish, and realize, faster, does not mean harder
When training me for speed rounds, my coach used to say to me, instead of trying to break their chin, try steal their mouthpiece.
2. SHADOW BOXING WITH WEIGHTS
If you add some light weights to your shadow boxing rounds, maybe 2lb or 4lb, when you go back to shadow boxing without the weights, you will feel a huge difference in the speed of your punches.
There is a few different ways you can shadow box with weights;
- Hold the dumbbells while you freestyle shadow box
- Spend 30 secs weighted, 30 secs free hand, for a 3 min round, just throwing straight 1-2s
- Start the 1st minute with 4lbs, 2nd minute with 2lbs, 3rd minute with no weights, each minute trying to get faster and faster.
Continuously shadowboxing with weights will improve muscle endurance which allows you to throw more punches for a longer period of time without muscle fatigue.
*Another great option is resistance bands,........loop them around your back and punch against the bands resistance.
3. BREATHING TECHNIQUE
Haha, your gunna laugh at this one, but you ever hear those boxers making weird noises as they hit bags or mitts? There's method to their madness!
Quick breathing = quick movement............. doesn't sound important or logical?.....
Try to breathe slow and punch fast.....bet ya can't haha!
Your body's movement is timed to your breathing.
If you throw 1 punch, you breathe out once, if you throw 5, you'll need to let out 5 short sharp breaths.
So you wanna punch fast,.....learn to breath fast.
So without sounding too sciencey (that is a word!) our body is made up of fast twitch muscle fibers, and slow twitch muscle fibers. Slow twitch fibers are responsible for endurance and low intensity work. Fast twitch is responsible for fast explosive movements, and higher intensity, shorter time period.
Plyometrics will develop muscular power while improving overall speed and developing those fast twitch fibers.
A great example of plyometrics would be;
- Explosive Push Ups
- Any Medicine Ball Slams/Passes/Throws, anything that targets the muscles in the upper body
- Explosive Landmine Press
- Sledge Hammer/Baseball Bat smash them off tyres, or bags.
Plyometrics can be a lot of fun. If fat loss is your main aim, it fires the heart rate up and smashes the calories while stimulating a lot of muscles in the body, shedding fat and leaning you out.
5. SPEED BAG/DOUBLE END BAG/HEAVIER GLOVES
Get a new bag! Rather than hit the heavy bag, change up your routine and try the speed bag and double end bag. These will challenge your boxing skills to a whole new level. They both demand a lot of hand eye co-ordination, and a lot of focus. The speed bag will help you develop a rhythm and build endurance in your shoulders and back muscles. The double end bag will help your brain and reflexes react quicker to punches moving towards you, while helping you develop faster hands. You can also wear heavier gloves, 16oz or 18oz when hitting the heavy bag. Then when fight night rolls around, your hands will feel light as air.