Thursday, April 24, 2014

Top 5 Exercises To Increase Punching Power

Long time readers of Synergy know that I love my trips to Ohio gyms.  Every time I get out there, I train with Rob Pilger.

Rob’s one of the few guys I know in strength training that speaks his mind 100% of the time.  Even I will try to be diplomatic sometimes when I don’t like an exercise/fitness tactic, etc.  Not Rob, you will know his opinion in 10 seconds.  I love it!    Rob also trains at Westside, does strongman lifts, and has boxers that regularly win.

So I reached out to Rob to tell it like it is when it comes to punching power.

Top 5 Exercises To Increase Punching Power

I’m going to give you my top five exercises for increasing punching power. Many people get training for punching power wrong. I mean horribly wrong. These five exercise here will ensure YOU are correctly and efficiently training for increased KO power.

1. Front Squats:

For get the bench press, a big bench does jack shit to increase punching power. Consider that punching power starts from the ground up so strong legs help ensure a BIG punch. The added bonus of the front squat is training economy. Not only do you train the legs bust you also strengthen the thoracic extensors that get weak from the excessive time a fighter spends in a forward flexed posture. So not only are you performing a strength exercise, but also a corrective exercise to increase punching power. That’s a big bang exercise to use in your training and it’s smart training.



2. Pull Up To Sternum:

This is another big bang training economy exercise you must use in your workouts. KO power also comes from strong lats. The lats decelerate the punch. The quicker the lats can decelerate the more more deadly the punch. Weak lats will lead to can’t break an egg power. Don’t be that dude.

When you chin up with the bar touching your sternum you finish with a horizontal pull movement which strengthens the shoulder girdle muscles that get weak in the forward flexed posture the fighter spends time in during skill training.




3. Reverse Wood Chop:

Watch this clip here of Gerald McClellan.  He was one of the most deadliest punchers ever. See the core rotation he displays and how he snaps those punches. See where the power comes from in his core. Nuff said.

Forget training your core off the floor with limited range of motion and trauma to your lumbar discs. Core training off the floor will leave you on the floor in the ring where the losers are found. Don’t get mowed down to the mat. Build a strong functional pillar that will give you the KO power to end fights when you wish.

Reverse wood chops are also an excellent exercise as they train the obliques in a functional rotational pattern and again this is an exercise that serves as a corrective one as it increases thoracic extension at the end range of motion. Many fighters over time develop an increased curve in their thoracic spines due to the time spent in a forward flexed posture of flexion and pronation.




4. Prone Cobra:

The body functions best in ideal posture. You must have a corrective exercise in your workouts to counter balance the time spent in flexion and pronation in skill training. That is a lot of time. Think about it how many hours and weeks during the year. Counter balance those imbalances with corrective exercises that strengthen the postural weakness that occur.

A simple but very powerful corrective exercise to use is a prone cobra. This strengthens the weak muscles of the neck that cause forward head posture, the weak scapula retractors, and weak external shoulder muscles. When you hold this movement for 10′s and longer, even up to 2 minutes, it strengthens the weak postural muscles in this new range of motion. In time this will lead to improved stactic posture and punching performance. Keep in mind, the more balanced the joint the more neural drive the cns will send to that muscle/joint. With imbalances, the neural drive is lessened. So I think you are gonna give the prone cobra a try.





5. Film Study of the best power punchers.

I’m big on watching the best fighters perform their craft. You learn from watching the best do it! Study savage power punchers like Mike Tyson, Julian Jackson, Gerald McClellan, Tommy Hearns etc… Watch their intensity, mimic their attitude, feel their energy, and study their mechanics. This will go along way to increase your punching power and help turn you into that savage puncher you want to be!

Add these five exercises in your program and you will see a dramatic difference in your punching power and boxing performance.

More From Rob…

Looking for a legit training program for explosive power?



Rob was a competitive Amateur boxer winning three golden glove championships.  He owns and runs his fight school Old Skool Fight Sports & Fitness Academy  that bridges old school boxing with 21st century sports science in Columbus Ohio.

- Joe Hashey, CSCS -


One Response to “Top 5 Exercises To Increase Punching Power”
  1. Tommo says:

    Great article. All these exercises are superb for punch power. Love the descriptions!! :)

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