How to punch harder like GSP

How to Punch Harder

Last week I posted an exercise to help you kick higher, so this week, I thought I’d throw in another article that I know is going to be popular on how to punch harder.

Punch is one of those funny words if you say it enough times, it starts to sound comical.




How to punch harder like GSP

Don’t agree? OK maybe I’m just a weirdo or I’ve spent too much time with this article rolling around in my head then. :)

Before continuing – take this poll/quiz, I’m just curious to see where you’re at:

There are a lot of myths out and about talking about how to punch harder.

Let’s bust those then get on with how you can actually go about increasing your punching power properly.

How to Punch Harder MYTH #1 – Increase Tricep Strength

I remember watching a video put out by one of those fitness magazines that shows a trainer ‘teaching’ the magazine interviewer guy how to punch harder.

One of the exercises he shows is the standing tricep cable extension, saying that it’s a good exercise because you need tricep strength to punch harder.

He then goes to punch this geek in the gut when he’s not expecting it, crumpling him, “proving” his theory right.


Tricep strength contributes very little to punching power, which comes more from the hips and core.

How to Punch Harder MYTH #2 – Punchers Are Born, Not Made

Your genetics and build play a role in your punching power through their effects on muscle fiber type, neuromuscular activation speed and tendon length, to name a few. [For those with more background about the human body, even tendon insertion points that increase moment arm size to increase force production at that joint]

However, you can take the most genetically gifted freak in the world and if he’s never taught proper technique, he’s probably not going to have ridiculous KO power.

Anybody can wind up and throw everything they’ve got at a bag, but this is useless since something like this will never work in a fight (maybe in the street, but not against a trained opponent).

So we’ve got to talk about punches that have a chance of landing, and with this, technique is first and foremost.

Teaching technique is one way to “make” punching power.

After that, we can train the body strategically to improve two of the genetic components (in italics) mentioned above.

OK I’m done with myth-busting. Let’s move on to what to actually do to punch harder instead…

1) We know that before punching power can be developed, you’ve got to master technique.

2) We also know that much of your punching power comes from your hips and core, not just your arms.

Because I’m the S&C guy, I’m going to leave #1 to your striking coach. [f you don’t have one or you’re not confident in what he’s teaching you, talk to Jeff Joslin]

What I am going to do is address #2.

And I’m going to do it in a 2-step process, because I want you to think about this and understand it.

Once you understand it properly, you’ll start to practice the concept in all of your training and you’ll punch a hell of a lot harder than ever before.

Step #1 is for you to watch the video on this page and identify the key concept that I’m cueing my athlete to focus on.

Step #2 is for you to leave your answer as to what you think the key concept is in the Comments section below.

When you leave your comment, scroll right to the bottom of this page so you don’t see anybody else’s answer and it doesn’t influence yours.

Remember – you’re not doing this to prove how smart you are, you’re doing it to deepen your understanding.

There are 2 exercises shown in this video, both of which are in my Ultimate MMA S&C program.

I want you to focus on the exercise that more closely resembles throwing a punch and listen closely to my coaching cues.


Identify the “Cue” to Punch Harder:


I also want to encourage participation – so let’s get at least 50 answers here and in addition to revealing the magic cue to punch harder, I’ll also outline why we’re doing what we’re doing in this short clip, so let’s hear your answers!


Comment navigation

  • Joe Thompson

    Reply Reply Wed, February 18, 2015

    Power equals speed times mass. Rotational force provides the most mass. It appears that primarily you’re working to expand rotation strength and speed.

  • Manny

    Reply Reply Wed, February 18, 2015

    1. You were trying to get him to understand how to generate the maximal amount of torque by properly using his feet, legs, hips, waiste, and shoulders in the proper sequence in order to optimize biomechanics. 2. I believe that you were cueing him or helping him to identify the weakest link(s) on the sequence chain involved during the punch delivery. 3. You were also making him aware as to when his body was under tension and when it was relaxed in order to maximize speed and power. Being able to distinguish between tension and relaxation will cue the puncher as to when he or she will be able to deliver the maximal amount of power behind that hard punch.

  • Simon

    Reply Reply Wed, February 18, 2015

    Load it up as fast and you throw it.

  • Andy A

    Reply Reply Sun, February 15, 2015

    You’re cueing him on hip rotation also you’re doing this in a manner which is simultaneously strengthening his core and developing explosive power. This will improve power for crosses and hooks. To improve power for a straight lead hand I start my hand forward and then step behind it (hands before feet) I time it so my hand hits my opponent a split second before my foot hit the ground. This way I am using my legs to explode towards the target and connecting with my full weight behind the punch..

  • Wayne wilson

    Reply Reply Thu, February 12, 2015

    Core and hip

  • Elizabeth M Alexander

    Reply Reply Tue, February 3, 2015

    Use your core, load it up from the ground

  • Mathias

    Reply Reply Sun, January 25, 2015

    You’re training the athlete to develop torque at the hips and then integrating that immediately into fight-related movement. I’m guessing this is to hardwire the body to activate the hips and core whenever the athlete is in a fight stance/fight movement.

  • Gill higney

    Reply Reply Sat, January 17, 2015

    Core strength and hip rotation

  • Joey M.

    Reply Reply Fri, January 16, 2015

    power generates from the floor up, so i think legs, hips and core.

Comment navigation

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field