Increase the SNAP in Your Punch

Canelo vs Khan - KO

Some people in boxing say that speed kills… but there are many boxers with fast hands that lack the knockout punch.

This may be due to a lack of SNAP in the punch.

Strength and Conditioning coach Danny Wilson explains and shares training methods that can help increase the ‘snap’ in the punch.

Delivering Hard Punches Requires….

  • Developing large magnitudes of force in short periods of time
  • The momentum of the punching arm is important and has been demonstrated to be a key variable contributing to the impulsiveness of a punch
  • A second pulse in muscle activation is required on impact and has been defined as “stiffening” to create “effective mass”

Increase the ‘SNAP’ with Effective Mass

Effective mass is a term given to the ‘snap’ of a punch. This requires the whole body to stiffen up upon impact.

The snap requires whole body tension, however the main contributors are the arms, shoulder joint and the core.

This is mostly dependant on skill. The ability to tense upon impact takes years and years of practice.

However, it’s much easier and quicker to make physical adaptations to help improve punch force. Changing someones technique may take time, and sometimes hamper a boxers progress, especially for more experienced boxers.

How to Improve ‘Effective Mass’

Effective Mass can be improved through general strength and conditioning methods, such as heavy compound lifts, Olympic lifting and core training.

There are some specific exercises that can be used for boxers focussing on developing ‘effective mass’

Pads and Heavy Bags

Pads and bags are something that most boxers do anyway, but this can be really beneficial for effective mass. However, a lot of boxers see these as conditioning or speed drills.

Instead of aimlessly smashing the bags for cardio, look to sink in your shots and look for quality, forceful punches with added snap!

Coaches can use cues such as ‘Stiffen’ the arm or ‘Pop’ the hips.

Isometric Trunk Training

Trunk training can also be used as means to facilitate improvements in the generation of ‘effective mass’.

Overloading the trunk with heavy, stability exercises such as farmer holds (pictured above) can increase the isometric  force production (bracing) at impact.

End Range Stiffening

When particularly targeting the development of effective mass in boxing, we use specific exercises that encourage whole body tension at various stages of a punch.

The main exercise we use is the ‘Landmine punch with isometric hold’ (pictured above). This encourages the stiffening upon impact when throwing straight shots and connecting with your opponent towards the end range of a punch.

Try Out This ‘Effective Snap’ Superset

Check out the video below with an effective superset to help you increase the ‘snap’ in your punch. Perform 2-3 sets of each exercise, progressively increasing the load each week as part of a structured strength and conditioning program.

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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.