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Fast hands in boxing are a major asset that can help fighters land hurtful punches quicker and more explosively, with power directly coming from the use of speed too.
Opponents can be shocked and overwhelmed when you possess the hand speed capable of landing snappy single shots and clean combinations. Some of the greatest knockout punchers in history have utilised their explosive speed to create the power in their blows, including the likes of Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao.
As it’s so often said in boxing, it’s the punch you don’t see coming that carries the most threat and knocks you out. Therefore, developing hand speed is a vital aspect of any fighter’s training regime.
BOXRAW outline five training drills that can help to improve hand speed for boxing and benefit a fighter’s attacking prowess in the ring.
Medicine Ball Throws
Developing faster hands comes from improving muscle response and core stimulation. It may be your hands that land punches but you need a strong core, shoulders and arms as part of the full rotation to be able to fire faster.
The Drill: Lifting whichever weight of medicine ball you’re most comfortable with, hold it with both hands while in your boxing stance. Using either your left or right hand, throw the medicine ball at a solid structure (or at a training partner to catch) as if you were throwing a punch in that direction. Using the correct technique, make sure to use full rotation of your shoulders and hips when throwing in fast, explosive bursts throughout your chosen sets.
Weighted Shadow Boxing Intervals
Perfectly getting accustomed to the movements of a fight, shadow boxing is one of the most important methods of training for a boxer at any level. As well as helping to condition your body for those punching motions and honing technique, it can be used to enhance speed of punches by adding resistance and increasing the difficulty.
The Drill: Using smaller hand weights around 1-3kg, get into your boxing stance and slowly throw punches as part of your usual shadow boxing routine. Then pick up the pace by firing fast combinations for the duration of your chosen set time. Continue this for your selected timeframes and then finish off by shadow boxing without the weights to feel the difference and benefits without the added resistance.
Resistance Band Punch Outs
Stimulating the muscles involved in throwing punches to greater effect, resistance bands raise the intensity as you practise your full arsenal and go through shot selections. They have become a big part of various training methods for fighters today, being easy to use and very beneficial.
The Drill: Wrap your resistance band around a solid structure, such as a ring post, and hold one hand on each end while in your boxing stance. As part of your set routine, begin to throw punches with speed and force, including straight shots and hooks. This will strengthen and activate key muscle groups for punching and help develop speed for when you throw shots without any resistance; while the band improves technique by keeping arms and elbows tight to imprint motion into muscle memory.
Heavy Bag Intervals
Heavy bag workouts are important for every fighter, being one of the oldest and most effective means of developing a wide range of skills through different routines. This includes building up your hand speed and boosting endurance by working in fast intervals with high intensity for short periods.
The Drill: Simulating the start and stop nature of a fight, simply throw punches non-stop at the heavy bag for up to 10-20 seconds. Then slow down but continue to tap the bag to keep your arms working and build endurance, making sure you don’t get used to dropping your hands in a fight. After a 10-20 second break, get back to your fast combinations and continue this until your round or set finishes.
Barbell Push Outs
Building up strength in the muscles required to throw shots doesn’t only boost strength but also bolsters hand speed. Therefore, having faster hands will subsequently mean you possess more power.
The Drill: Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, lift your barbell to chest height and begin to push it out as fast as possible with force. Combining strength with speed, lock your arms out straight with each motion for the full chosen set time while keeping a solid base and engaging your core.