If you want to learn how to punch faster, you’ve got the right idea, and you’ve come to the right place. The saying that “speed kills” is certainly true, especially in martial arts. But how can you obtain that lightning punch that your opponents can’t even see?
I see a lot of fighters blame their lack of speed on their weight or genetics. The stereotype that big fighters are slow could not be farther from the truth. Speed is obtained through proper technique and practice – every fighter can be quick, regardless of size.
Relax your hands and muscles
If your body is tense, you’re going to be slower, period. It affects your reactions, your flow, and wastes energy. You might show speed on the punching bag with a tense body, but against a moving target that hits back, you’re just going to miss.
Your fists and muscles need to be completely loose and relaxed when you release your punch; the only time when they need to be tight is during impact.
Punch faster by using your shoulders
Hand speed does not mean using your arms alone. Think of your body as a bow, and your arm as the arrow. Use the power of your core and shoulder muscles to send your arm out flying. You want a jolting, snapping shoulder movement that will really accelerate your punch.
The best way to get a hang of this is to lose focus of your arm completely when trying to punch faster. Instead, focus on your shoulder movement; does it feel powerful? Are you making a fast, snapping motion like you should be? Once you have the snap down, you can focus on accuracy and power. For now, just practice speed.
Don’t telegraph your punches
You can be naturally gifted with hands that move like lightning but if you announce your attacks, your opponent is just going to move out of the way.
Don’t pull back your fist, don’t tilt your body back. Not only do these things give you away, they also take time. Pay attention to your face! A lot of beginners will squint and change their facial expression before a punch. Be mindful of your body language. Being predictable is the same as being slow.
Just like you can’t build muscles from reading about weightlifting, you can’t get good punching technique without practicing until the movements are a part of your body. As I always try to point out, I’m only here to give you the tools; the work is up to you.
With this in mind, some good ways to make yourself naturally faster are:
The cornerstone workout of every boxer for a reason! Without any pressure on your joints or gloves weighing you down, the fastest you will ever be is while shadowboxing. If you’re a beginner, I recommend you to practice in front of a mirror. Take note of your body language while you do. Are you sending any signals that you’re about to throw a punch?
The speed bag
The absolute best way to improve your speed, hand-eye coordination and reaction time, all at once. The kings of speed like Pacquiao and Mayweather favor the speed bag for a reason. If you don’t own a speed bag yet, we’ve recently written a review on the top 5 Best Speed Bags to help other boxers decide on the right tool for their needs.
If you have a partner to practice with, this is a great way to learn how to punch faster. In a fight, speed isn’t just about arm movement. It’s about reaction time, distance, hand-eye coordination and unpredictability. Focus mitts provide you with a moving target which is essential to gain functional speed.