Stronger Core Punch Harder

Do you know what one of the most important parts of the body is for developing punch force?

During our research, we’ve found that lean muscle of the core has a large relationship with estimated punching force. More core muscle, especially relative to body size, enabled athletes to perform better in our punch specific test.

But why is the core important? And how do we develop our core to improve the effectiveness of punching?

Tired of sit ups? So are we…

In ‘Get Stronger Punch Harder, we revealed that our 10 week strength and conditioning program pound for pound estimated punching force increased by 13%. These results were supported by 9% improvements in pound for pound lean muscle of the core after just 10 weeks.


Muheeb Fazeldin improved relative trunk lean muscle mass by 9% last camp

Muheeb Fazeldin increased pound for pound core muscle mass by 9% in the 10 week training camp prior to his recent 1st round KO win.

Impact : Boxers maintained core muscle mass whilst dropping weight, making them stronger and punching harder at their fighting weight.

In this article we’ll share important information and useful methods to develop your core to ‘Punch Harder’.

This article will

  • Outline the role of the core during punching
  • Demonstrate the role of compound lifts for developing the core
  • Show you the exercises to put your learning into practice

The core

So what is the core? Often referred to as the torso, it’s typically thought of as anything from the bottom of the neck to the pelvis – in other words the majority of the spinal column.

When punching, force is transferred from foot to fist using the Kinetic Chain.

The core is a key link in this chain. The stronger or stiffer the core the more force is transferred to the fist.

The core can transfer force in various directions. For boxers in particular the focus is in rotation. This means that the core plays an important role in all punches, whether it be a jab, hook or uppercut.

Boxing Science - Stronger Core Punch Harder

Try Compound Lifts Instead

Core training has always been a common theme in boxing training. But this usually consists of 100’s of sit-ups. This is a problem for three main reasons:

1) The sit-up forces the lower part of the spine into a flexed position – mimicking the action of spinal disc herniation and increasing the risk of injury and lower back pain.

2) The sit-up is an isolated exercise that recruits only abdominal muscles and often in one plane of motion. This type of movement does not replicate how muscles are used to create stiffness during a punch.

3) The activation of the core muscles during sit-ups is low. Punching is a high force activity that requires the core musculature to develop high magnitudes of force.

The core is required to stiffen the most during whole-body compound lifts such as squat and deadlift variations.

Boxing Science Callum Squat


Callum Beardow (pictured above) is our most experienced lifter, reaching 150 kg back squat and 170 kg deadlift. It is no coincidence that Callum improved his pound for pound core mass by 34% following 18 months of consistent and frequent strength and conditioning training.

No surprise that this was accompanied by large increases in punching force (10%) and a massive 21% increase in pound for pound punching force!

We’re certainly not saying ditch core-specific exercises as these are important for individual development of movement variability, stability and control. This is just to highlight the importance of compound lifts on core development.

In part 2, we will be discussing basic core training principles.

Exercise of the Month – Box Squat

It seems quite fitting for this article to finish with a squat variation as the exercise of the month.

Boxing Science Exercise of the Month - Box Squat

For more of these big moves for boxing, sign up to our subscribers list for our FREE e-book giveawayPunch Harder

Send in pictures and videos of you performing this exercise to or our twitter @Boxingscience_


Danny Wilson BSc MSc ASCC

Danny Wilson co-founded Boxing Science in 2014 following building the successful Boxing program at Sheffield Hallam University where he has coached over 100 amateur and professional boxers as a strength and conditioning coach. He has also helped prepare Kell Brook for his mega-fight with Gennady Golovkin, and his Ingle Gym stablemates including Kid Galahad, Jordan Gill and Kyle Yousaf.

Away from Boxing, Danny is currently the Yorkshire regional strength and conditioning coach for England Golf and has experiences in youth and professional standards across a range of sports.

Danny is a United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association accredited strength and conditioning coach and has a Master of Science degree in Sport Science at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. For his final research project Danny profiled the physiological characteristics of amateur boxers and will share some of the novel findings on Boxing Science. Danny will be contributing to the Strength and Conditioning section by writing about the science behind the punch, training methods, working with junior athletes and case studies.

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