The boxing myth, "punchers are born, not made," is still believed because many fighters are training with outdated methods and never realize their true potential. But explosive punching power can be developed and maintained. Once a boxer learns how to harness this strength, it never leaves. It's the reason many middle-aged boxers still have a devastating shot.
A punch's power derives from the legs and core, which can only be built in the weight room. (See Develop Punching Power From the Ground Up.) But weightlifting programs for boxers should not include machine work and isolation exercises. Instead, they should focus on low repetitions with heavy barbells and dumbbells to activate their stabilizer muscles and on plyometric drills.
Plyometrics force your muscles to exert maximum force for a short period of time. They can develop punching power like you never thought possible. Two of my favorite punching plyometric drills are Medicine Ball Slams and Medicine Ball Passes.
Medicine Ball Slams
These are great for ramping up your heart rate. If your heart isn't beating like a drum at the end of a set, you're doing something wrong. Experiment with different weights as you perform this exercise. Remember, the key is explosion. So move quickly, as if there were no weight in your hands at all.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with the med ball on the floor directly in front of you, a few inches away
- Quickly squat down and grab the med ball with both hands
- Stand up and raise the ball above your head
- Forcefully throw the ball down while squatting
Medicine Ball Passes
You can do this exercise by yourself, but it's easier with a partner. Use a med ball whose weight won't reduce your speed. Again, the key is to perform the drill explosively.
- Stand in athletic position holding the med ball in both hands in front of your chest
- Thrust your arms forward and throw the ball as hard as you can, either against a wall or to a partner
- Catch the bounce or pass back
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