Which muscles, when developed, would make one punch harder?

I’m guessing lats, tri’s, and pecs. Different punches would be better served by different muscles being developed I’m sure. Would one punch harder if said muscles were stronger, or is that more of a combination of strength and technique?

Pecs, triceps, obliques and glutes are the big ones.

Glutes? How does one’s ass affect punching?

Traditionally, the serratus anterior is called “the boxer’s muscle”. Presumably, then, strengthening it results in harder punches.

Well, some people’s asses can knock you out.

Probably like one’s ass affects pitching. What did you always see Nolan working out on… a cycle machine. Muscles, and by extrapolation, muscular events like a punch, don’t work in isolation. A symphony would be a better descriptor.

Technique is paramount as well. Otherwise you squander a great deal of effort. Technique combines assets, focus and timing. A rather potent combination that.

The Norris Maximus

I guess it depends on how you are punching, but wrt to the main muscles that would conribute:
[li]Deltoids at the shoulder, abducts and extends arm. [/li][li]Muscles that atttach to the scapula (Pec. Minor, Subscapularis, Serratus Anterior, Trapezius…) to help ‘anchor’ the shoulder joint [/li][li]Pec. Major and Latissimus Dorsi mainly draws the arm downwards, and rotates the humerus, so not so not so important.[/li][li]Then you have muscles that cross the elbow joint (Bicebs Brachii, Triceps Brachii, Brachialis)[/ul][/li]
Now before you are punching, you are extending both the shoulder joint and the elbow joint, extension at the shoulder joint (actually abduction) is mainly the action of Deltoid, while extension at the elbow is mainly the action of Triceps Brachii.
Now while you are punching, I anticipate all the above muscles would act to stabilise the various joints and oppose the force.

Obliques? Does that mean the External Obliques of the Abdomen?


I can definitely see obliques (yes, externals, specifically) helping to aid in stabilizing the torso to deliver more power to the punch.

Just asking if that was what the term meant.
I guess this question very much depends on the type of punch. Latissuimus Dorsi and Ext. Obliques would aid in more of a body punch or swing, where as a straight punch involving less of your body would be more of your arms.

I just wondered, why do you want to know dnooman?

A bully kicked sand in his face at the beach, and he wants to build up his strength to knock over a chair before sending away for Charles Atlas’ program.

You also need strong leg muscles to provide a solid platform to punch from. Like a golf swing, a punch requires resistance to generate speed and power. Watch slow motion footage of boxers throwing punches and you can see that they virtually throw them from the floor, even dropping from their toes to leverage more body weight into the punch.

As Willie Pep said of boxers, “first your legs go, then your reflexes go, then your friends go.”

Yes! No matter how well developed everything else is, if you don’t have good footwork, you won’t hit with anything near maximum effectiveness.

You’ll generally punch harder if you’re stronger, but the most important factor is learning proper technique. I’ve seen bodybuilders doing their first day of boxing who just couldn’t hit like a guy their size ought to, through no fault of their own; they just haven’t yet learned how to transfer that strength into their punches, and they haven’t developed the particular kind of strength and muscular endurance unique to boxing. It’s like a car with a 500 horsepower engine, but no transmission.

Many boxers (especially old school ones) eschew weight training altogether, because it tends to focus on isolation exercises instead of working muscle groups together. This is great for “beach muscle,” but doesn’t really address the particular kind of strength and muscular endurance a boxer needs. Instead, boxers often focus on calisthenics and heavy bag work for strength training, in the belief that they’re working muscle groups together for overall efficiency. This makes it kind of difficult to say which individual muscles are the most important for boxing, since the idea in strength training for boxing is to strengthen muscle groups as a whole instead of individually.

Very good point. One of my favorite semi-cryptic sayings illustrating this is “you punch with your heels.” If you don’t have your lower body integrated with your punch, it’s basically the same as punching while sitting in a chair; you’re just “arm-punching,” not boxing. The difference in power between a left hook thrown using just your arm and a left hook thrown with the whole body so the heel is twisted off the canvas, is like night and day.

Not just stabilization but torso rotation. The punching shoulder is projected forward in part by that rotation. If you can combine the point of impact with the muscles in your arm, shoulder, torso, and legs all at the same instant you can develop some serious force with a punch.

I boxed two years in college. The short answer is that throwing a hard punch isn’t about muscle strength.

The two key factors are technique and mass. Like a golf swing, you don’t have to muscle it to hit the shit out of it. In fact, it’s usually counterproductive. A properly thrown punch involves the whole body, and is about creating and transfering inertia.

The more mass you have, the more you can get behind the punch. The less mass you have, the greater the motion and the larger the role in the body in generating the inertia of the punch.

Strength, in the way most people try to develop it is also counterproductive in trying to throw a punch. You have two different kinds of muscle fibers in your body. Through bodybuilding and weight training you tend to develop the slow twitch muscles. This is all well and good for building inertia, a good base, but what is most important are the fast twitch muscles.

The fast twitch muscles give you the explosive power that puts the snap in your strike.

A punch is hard because it focuses inertia. It is harder the faster that inertia is transferred. A slow punch may have a tremendous amount of force behind it, but it takes a long time for that force to transfer and during that time the object you are striking can absorb and dissipate that force. A punch that transfers the force quicker does not allow the target to recoil, and transfers force more efficiently.

So, in order to punch harder, you need to work on your technique and you need to work on your fast twitch muscles for explosive power.

To do this, you work out calisthenically, or with lighter weights. On a bench press, or a pushup you would lower yourself very slowly and then suddenly push up explosively with all the force you had. Same thing with crunches and squats.

For throwing a punch, your abdominals are your most important muscles. If you’re an average human being, chances are you have shoulders arms and legs strong enough to throw a punch with force beyond your body’s tolerances. This means you can probably, with proper technique throw a punch hard enough to break your own bones and joints even with gloves on a heavy bag.

The reason that you don’t is that the fulcrum for all that force is in your abdomen, and your abdomen isn’t strong enough to make good on all that force you’re generating. The fulcrum moves and the energy is dissipitated. The stronger your gut, the harder your punches.

This is why boxers spend so much effort going for the body when attacking an opponent. When you hurt somebody in the gut, their ability to punch with athority basically drops to zero. Even and especially in amateur three round fights you’ll see an intense focus on the combatants of working the body in order to take their opponents’ weapons away.

Boxers spend more effort on strengthening their abdomen then anything else both for defensive and offensive purposes.

Hope that helps.

Not quite, Scylla. Slow twitch fibers are the ones that are used to generate a little force over a long duration. There are actually two types of fast twitch fibers, one that’s used for generating moderate force over a moderate duration, and one that’s used for generating a high amount of force over a short duration. The latter are the ones you want to develop for punching power, and they’re not served well by a typical weight training program (i.e., three sets of 10 reps–that’s moderate force production over a moderate duration).

It’s definitely true that just lifting weights won’t make you a great boxer–for that, you need to train like a boxer. But all else being equal, the guy who can generate more force with his muscles is going to punch harder.

Do you have a cite for one type of slow twitch and two types of fast twitch muscles?

I’ve only seen fast and slow twitch mentioned in the health literature. But, it’s not what like what you’ve said, adding a third slower twitch muscle changes what I said.

I think I said that.

No. As I took pains to explain all force is not equal if we’re talking about the hardness of a punch.

If what you said was correct, than you could place a boxing glove on the end of a hydraulic jack that moved very slowly and it would throw devastating punches. But, because it moves so slowly it doesn’t impact with force and it just slowly pushes whatever it strikes.

To punch hard, you need what boxers call “snap.” Hitting an object with “snap” means you transfer the power of your punch to the object without moving it (much).

Without snap, you are just pushing.

So I can effectively punch children.

They tend to scatter when I lay one of them out. I beat the crap out of people all the time, but whupping children is a challenge. They get scared when you bloody a friend of theirs.

Plus, if you catch a kid with a right hook when he/she’s not expecting it, it’s cinematic gold!