How to Punch Harder – Part II

hard knockout punch

In Part I of this article series on “How to Punch Harder“, I asked you what you thought the specific cue was that I used with my athlete as we were doing the Medicine Ball Scoop Toss exercise.

Load to EXPLODE

I was looking for one specific phrase.

When I started reading the answers and re-watched the video, I realized that there were a few things that I said in there.

The majority of answers included “driving from the ground up” and integrating the “hips and core“.

These answers are all CORRECT.

Good work, you get a gold star. :-)

Starting from the ground up and traveling through the hips and core to end with your punch, you’re utilizing a concept called “SUMMATION OF FORCES” [SoF - acronyms are cool].

SoF can also be thought of as momentum.

Although you may not have heard it said like this, all trained martial artists do this if they’ve been taught proper technique.

Basically, SoF occurs when you generate force in an area farthest away from where you want to direct the force (in the case of a punch, from the ground) and as you finish generating the force in one area, you start with the next area up (knee, then hip, then core, then shoulders, ending through your arm).

The Key to Tapping Into SoF is Timing

You start the next link up the chain immediately after the previous link finishes.

If there is too much delay, say, you drive from the ground, wait a second, then turn your hips, you lose this power.

That’s why when training this skill, it’s best to start slow and smooth and consciously think about immediately transitioning from one joint to the next (in this case, from the ground up).

Another area where you can see this in action is in Olympic lifting. [Remember how I told you this was Olympic lifting month :)]

Think about the Clean and Jerk…

There’s no way that world record holder Liao Hui, who weighs 150 lbs, can perform a strict Military Press with 435 pounds (198 kg)!

So how does he get the weight over his head?

SUMMATION OF FORCES!

He gets the bar moving upwards from the ground up using his legs and hips and ends with the press, otherwise, the bar would be stapled to his shoulders… Just like the person whose “stomach is too big, which makes me eat 2 bags of chips everyday” gets their stomach stapled.

Another reason why Olympic lifting is awesome for total body neuromuscular development – you either learn this important skill or you don’t make any progress.

Now, while SoF is definitely one of the cues to focus on in the Med Ball Scoop Toss, there’s another one, that only 9 out of 87 people mentioned…

“Load it up as fast as you throw it”

This is the original cue I had in mind when I posted the pop quiz, and here’s why…

When you quickly load the throw up by rotating away with the med ball, you’re stretching the muscles that you’re about to engage when you reverse directions to start the throw.

Whenever you stretch a muscle before contraction, you take advantage of a concept called the STRETCH-SHORTENING CYCLE [SSC - another acronym, yay!].

There are numerous structures that may contribute to this phenomenon, such as the tendons, fascia and muscle fibers themselves. Scientists are still working on it, but it doesn’t matter to us because we know it exists and we know how to take advantage of it to punch harder and be more powerful.

While some people have likened this to a rubber band, it’s more like bouncing a tennis ball.

To get a tennis ball to bounce, you throw it into the ground.

The harder you throw it, the higher it bounces.

This occurs because the ball is being deformed and when it springs back to shape, it bounces up.

However, if you were to press the ball into the ground, deforming it the same amount as when you threw it, it will not bounce back as high, if at all.

This is the same thing that happens with the SSC – it depends on the speed of loading and reversing immediately.

But if you stretch a rubber band, regardless of if you stretch it quickly and let it go right away or hold the stretch for a couple of seconds before letting it go, it will fly the same distance.

You follow me?

If not, read through that again, then continue…

.

.

Therefore, to take full advantage of the SSC, the faster you stretch and the quicker you change the stretch to a contraction, the more force you’ll generate.

Hence my cue to “load as fast as you’re going to throw it”.

Wait too long and you lose the extra elastic energy of the SSC.

Taking advantage of the SSC through quick loading and exploding is a skill just like the SoF.

If you’re too tense when you load, the movement is slower, so you’ve got to load but stay relaxed at the same time.

In this exercise, as the ball is loading, keep your core relaxed, then when the ball has reached the end range, you fire up your core to throw the ball and you’ll develop maximum force.

A key concept is that power is just as much about relaxation as it is about contraction – thus the value of this exercise and others like it.

What’s Another Example of an Exercise That Uses the SSC?

If you guessed Olympic Lifting, you get TWO gold stars, smarty pants!!

Using the Clean and Jerk as an example again, the SSC occurs twice – once in the Clean and once in the Jerk.

But I’m not going to tell you where, because we’re going to have another pop quiz. :)

Can you figure out where they occur?

I talked about where it occurs in the Snatch in the Olympic lifting webinar, so go review that again if you don’t remember.

Once you think you’ve nailed it, leave your answer in the Comments section below.

By the way – I hope you like these little quizzes.

I *think* they help you understand the material I present to you better, but maybe you just want me to spill the beans all the time.

So when you leave your answer, also let me know if you like these little quizzes or not.

If so I’ll keep ‘em coming for ya!

Talk soon,
Mr. Wong :)

——– BONUS MATERIAL ——-

I also promised that if we got 50+ Comments last time, I’d talk a bit about the workout we were doing.

Since we got over 80 Comments (awesome), here goes…

The exercises are performed with a low # of reps (3 per side for the Med Ball toss and 4 for the Inverted TRX row) because we’re training POWER, which you focus on through keeping a low # of reps and the time of the set 10 seconds or less to keep the Alactic system as the primary source of energy.

Keeping the reps low limits fatigue that occurs due to the lactic system, and with the supersets, the workout is primarily alactic/aerobic.

It’s the concept I use in my NRG System Complexes, that many of you have enjoyed as part of the Ultimate MMA S&C and MMA Ripped programs.

Also, in between each exercise, I’m chasing and throwing jabs to get her moving – this is because she has a tendency to throw 7-8 punch combos then just stand in front of her opponent and absorb a bunch of punches back.

So we’re simply working on getting her to think about exerting then getting the hell out of there.

That’s a little insight into what goes into training my athletes, which hopefully for any of you trainers out there you might get some value from.

 



Tags: ,

Leave A Reply (19 comments so far)


  1. kyle knotek

    Hey Eric,

    Great article. I saw your video on plyometrics. What do you think about landing farther down in the squat position (knees more bent) so you can target more of the quads while still having/taking advantage of that short SSC. Kind of like your pushup example. Thanks


  2. CallMeChaz

    When I am sqatting a barbell at age 60 especially, I need all the technique I can get. I learned the principle of loading your posterior chain muscles to rebound immediately from the squat. This is similar to the description you make of loading your core to assist in and explosive turn as you punch.


  3. CallMeChaz

    I always appreciate a scientific spin on an art such as punching. It allows me to “think” about why what I do helps or hinders me. I just started Krav Maga training. Even at age 60, my coach and my partner both thought my hook punches were exceptionally hard and crisp. I learned from my father to start my punches at my feet (or when swinging a golf club, or a bat). Then add some speed and power at each joint and the trunk from the bottom up. I have been punching like that since a young man, and it is apparently a skill that my muscles still remember without me thinking. You all should listen to this man. I really appreciate the throwing drill, as I am probably using my arms and shoulders a bit more than needed. This wears you down quicker, so I will try to add some relaxation to my upper body by building a bit more power from my mid-section. THANKS!


  4. Daniel

    Hey Eric, I really have enjoyed part 1 and 2 of how to hit harder.

    After watching Amanda throwing the medball against the wall I can see 3 reasons why she is leaning before, during and after the throw.

    First, she isn’t shifting her hips towards the lead leg as she throws the ball.

    Second, she isn’t pivoting from the lead hip joint, but from the rear hip, which causes her to tilt.

    And lastly, she doesn’t shoulder whirl from the lead shoulder.

    If she adds these to her throws not only will she hit harder but she will be balanced and stabilized.

    Just my two cents worth, take care Eric.

    Daniel~

  5. Something about the shoulders ,as the ball is released,bothers me?
    I cannot put my finger on it?

    Eric Reply:

    Good eye Sandy – that’s something I’ve had to work on a lot with Amanda – she often leans over and loses the pure rotation that I’m looking for, not getting the rotational power generation from the core.


  6. Patrick

    So what’s the answer to your previous little quiz – which punch is the hardest? :)

    Eric Reply:

    It honestly depends on the fighter!

    But I would say more guys are KO’d with Lead Hook or Rear Overhand.


  7. Steve NZ

    1. First one occurs when the weight hits the shoulders and the legs/glutes drive’s the weight up.
    2. second occurs when the weight is left hagging so as to speak, when the legs dip to again drive the weight up.

    Awesome Q’s keep me reading to find the answers, and this helps me understand the biggest Q’s…. Why?How?


  8. Danny D.

    1.) The first SSC occurs when he quickly squats down to bring the weight up to his chest.

    2.) The second SSC occurs when he quickly bends his knees to press the weight over head.

    I personally like the quizzes because it helps me to focus more while im reading.


  9. scotty

    quizzes are good
    1- first ssc occurs just after the bar goes above the knee. you quickly bend your knees again and explode up to finish the pull
    2- second ssc occurs at the start of the jerk when you load up by bending your knees slightly before exploding up with the push


  10. larry

    here ‘got a question for you Eric and all of ya guys-I ve recently met that S-conditioning trainer who came up with the following :
    1)Power Snatch-4 sets
    No of reps 3/2/5/3
    subsetted by explosive pull ups No of reps
    2/3/5/5
    Intensity 25 to 30 kg (that s for a 69 kg bloke)
    2)split jerk 5sets of 6reps (same weight as Psnatch) subestted by 6 pull ups
    3) front squat -5 sets of 6 reps(45-50 kg)
    subestted by 6 chin ups

    all of these with only 30 seconds rest intervals

    My question to ya guys ,Eric anyone with sound expertise n experience is the above worth it? when I asked that guy to explain the science behind the reps ,sets,intervals etc he just said “that s training for fighters”

    He looks to me that he might B good to train the anaerobic energy system but once again is it worth it?
    yer ansas are greatly appreciated


  11. wood530

    I luv the quizzes it helps you understand the material better…
    1. Picking the bar off the ground..
    2. Lifting the bar over head


  12. Eduardo

    And yep I enojy the quizzes


  13. Eduardo

    nice post


  14. Stelo

    1. The first pull(then you drop under) 2. The Jerk. Basically the two jumping parts!


  15. Guy

    They both occur when you “weasel” your body under the weight. The first one occurs during the clean when you drop your body weight and flip your elbows up and under the bar to “catch” it on your chest and then explode off of the movement to drive through your legs to stand up out of the front squat. The second one occurs when you drop your body weight into the lunge and extend your arms upwards above your head with the weight. You then recoil by lunging the weight up and above your head.

    I enjoy these quizes it keeps everything more interactive and interesting.


  16. cork_boi

    As above.
    I don’t mind the quizzes but it’s hard to find the questions when they are buried in so much text. I have difficulty in working out what the questions are exactly.
    Thanks for more great info


  17. John

    1. In the squat and setting of the bar in the clean
    2. In the dip prior to the press in the jerk

Join Me on Facebook



------------------------------------------

Search EricWongMMA.com
--------------------------------------------

Ultimate MMA S&C Program v2.0
By Eric Wong, BSc, CSCS

Includes 8, 12 and 16 week periodized programs to get you in top fight shape
with only 2 training sessions per week.


Imagemap alt imgmap2012514113721-0 imgmap2012514113721-1