There has been a lot of controversy among boxers about whether or not it’s possible (or worth it) to use weight training to increase punching power. Johnny from www.expertboxing.com released an article back in February called “Why Lifting Weights Won’t Increase Punching Power” which has caused quite a stir up. Here is the article:
Why Lifting Weights Won’t Increase Punching Power
by Johnny N
REASON #1 – Punching is a snapping motion, NOT a pushing motion
Lifting weights is a PUSHING MOTION.
You exert as much force as possible, as consistently as possible, to lift the heaviest weight you can. During a pushing motion, the object is moved by you first establishing contact and exerting force over a relatively extended period of time.
The natural progression of lifting weights is to lift heavier. Of course, everyone tries to lift fast but once they’re able to lift something, the next step is to lift HEAVIER. Speed is not the focus, strength is. Unfortunately many beginner fighters falsely believe punching to be the same pushing motion. These beginners think the goal of punching is to push their fist with as much force as possible to penetrate their opponent as hard as possible.
Examples of sports with PUSHING motions (all of these also have snapping motions):
Punching is a SNAPPING MOTION.
A snapping motion is to exert as much force as possible in the least amount of time. With a snapping motion, you accelerate your hand towards the object and then use the IMPACT of that acceleration to exert force.
Suppose you want to punch fast. The goal would be to explode on your opponent with the fastest punch possible and make contact with your opponent with the shortest amount of time. A punch is not a push, it’s a quick explosion, an accelerated force that reaches maximum power upon contact. When lifting weights, you can take a few seconds to exert your strength. When punching an opponent, you don’t have this luxury of time–he has to feel your power right when you touch him. Your fist must SNAP upon impact and return quickly so you can throw other punches or go back on defense. The speed requirement of punching increases the explosive damage your opponent feels. Lifting weights has far less emphasis on speed, which costs you EXPLOSIVE power.
Examples of sports with SNAPPING motions:
- baseball (hitting, not throwing)
Pushing vs Snapping
The main difference between a pushing motion and a snapping motion is the amount of contact time made and the consistency of energy committed. Compare the bodies of these different types of athletes. If weightlifting improved snapping movements, wouldn’t professional volleyball players be lifting weights so they could spike the ball harder? If weightlifters had punching advantages, they would all be strong punchers, right?
Pushing definitely allows you to move heavier objects because you have more time to apply force. Snapping allows you to apply more explosive force (damage) because you have the freedom to accelerate. You could say that pushing is like throwing a baseball, whereas snapping is like spiking a volleyball. Both are powerful movements but punching is definitely more like snapping than pushing.
Although he poses a couple of really good points, keep in mind that everyone is different. In his article, it does seem like he’s directing it at a pretty specific group with the assumption that everyone is already at a healthy weight. If you’re overweight or extremely underweight, it might be a good idea to get yourself to a good weight first before considering where to invest your training time. Can you imagine a 90lb man punching harder than a 190lb ripped person? I’m sure there are thresholds to when technique becomes the dominant factor in determining punching power… But, as with anything in life, take what you learn and draw your own conclusions.