Training Boxing Weights

Why Lifting Weights Won’t Increase Punching Power

It's a common misunderstanding that lifting heavier weights will automatically improve punching power, but this is not the case. Every month, I go through dozens of emails, message boards, and websites packed with fighters debating the relative merits of lifting weights before and during a bout. It shouldn't come as a surprise that many of them are authored by individuals with very little fighting experience. Lifting weights CAN help you create powerful muscles, but it does not ensure that you can throw powerful punches.

I'll explain why in the following five points.

My background in lifting weights

When I was a youngster, I lifted weights for various reasons, including some that were both practical and aesthetic. I remember trying to impress the girls in middle school by lifting weights, but it was never successful. In high school, I participated in track and field to improve my sprinting power. As a result, I followed a weight training plan focused on explosive movements. After I finished track and field, I committed myself to powerlifting for the next five years, where I improved my strength and power through rigorous weight training. My introduction to boxing came about when I was still in the period of powerlifting.

Even I was under the impression that my experience in powerlifting would give me an edge in boxing. Since lifting weights made me a stronger lifter, it stands to reason that it would also make me a more powerful puncher. I had heard that old-school boxers avoided the consequences of their actions, but I was unwilling to give up my "edge," which I had self-proclaimed. When I put myself next to other newcomers, I could observe that I had more foundational knowledge than any others. I was advised to stop lifting weights by my boxing trainer and all of the professional boxers in the gym. They all questioned my assumptions, pointing out that lifting weights would make me sluggish and stiff, increasing the rate at which I would weary. They told me that the boxing champions of yesteryear never lifted weights in their training. Yet still, I refused. I couldn't wrap my head around the idea that strength training could ever be detrimental to performance in a power sport.

It was the turning point when I started losing sparring contests to guys who were faster and skinnier than me. Despite having a slim build, they were considerably more powerful than I was. I couldn't stop thinking that their technique was superior or that perhaps I needed to be boxing for longer to have the necessary experience. I was so sick of failing that I decided to follow my trainer's instructions to the letter. I did a few different things, but one of them was that I quit lifting weights, and within a few weeks, I was punching harder and faster. What took me by surprise was not just how much harder I was punching but also how much my boxing talent had improved. Lifting weights was the primary factor in my lack of progress. It all makes a lot more sense when you grasp how the punching technique works. Learn more about our boxing classes by clicking here.

REASON #1 – Punching Is A Snapping Motion, Not A Pushing Motion

Lifting Weights Is A Pushing Motion

To lift the biggest weight, you are capable of. You must apply the maximum force possible and most consistently imaginable. When you push something, you first contact it and then apply force over a somewhat prolonged period. It causes the object to move in the direction you are pushing.

When lifting weights, the next logical step is to gradually work up to lifting heavier weights. Once a person has demonstrated that they can lift something, the next stage is to attempt to lift more weight than they did previously. The emphasis here is on strength rather than speed. Unfortunately, many beginning fighters believe that punching and pushing are the same motion. These novices believe punching is driving one's fist with the greatest force possible into one's opponent to do as much damage as possible.

Some examples of sports that use pushing motions include the following (note that all of these sports also involve snapping actions):

  • sprinting
  • gymnastics
  • football
  • wrestling
  • weightlifting

Punching Is A Snapping Motion

The goal of a snapping action is to apply as much force as is humanly possible in as little time as possible. Therefore, you first accelerate your hand in the direction of the object with a snapping motion, and then you use the impact of that acceleration to apply force to the object.

Imagine that you want to punch quickly. The objective would be to immediately launch a punch at one's opponent that was as quick as humanly possible and to make contact with one's opponent in the shortest amount of time possible. A punch is not a push; rather, it is a rapid explosion, an accelerated force that reaches its peak intensity when it makes contact with the target. You should fully utilise your strength for a few seconds when lifting weights. When you punch an opponent, you don't have the luxury of taking your time; he has to feel the force of your blow as soon as you touch him. Your fist needs to crack upon impact and then snap back into place as quickly as possible to allow you to deliver more punches or get back into a defensive position. Punching requires speed, which raises the bar for the devastating damage you may inflict on your opponent. When you lift weights, you pay far less attention to speed, reducing the explosive power you develop.

The following are some examples of sports that use snapping:

  • tennis baseball (hitting, not throwing)
  • golf
  • volleyball

Pushing vs Snapping

The quantity of contact time made and the consistency of the energy committed are the primary characteristics that differentiate a pushing motion from a snapping motion. Examine the similarities and differences in the physiques of these various kinds of athletes. For example, shouldn't professional volleyball players be lifting weights to increase their snapping motions and be able to spike the ball with more force? If weightlifting improves snapping movements. If weightlifters had any benefits in boxing, you would think that everyone would be a powerful puncher.

Because you have more time to apply force when pushing, you can surely move bigger objects using this method. Furthermore, because snapping grants you the freedom to accelerate, you can employ more explosive force (damage) when doing so. One could compare pushing to pitching a baseball and snapping to spiking a volleyball, but you could also say that pushing is like throwing a baseball. There is no question that punching is more akin to snapping than pushing is, although both are strong movements.

REASON #2 – Powerful Punches Require Relaxation, Not Strong Muscles

Many Fighters Don’t Know How To Punch…

When you need to learn how to punch, every punch you throw turns into a push instead. If you lack the appropriate technique, your only options are to rely on your strength and might. For this reason, training weights assisted me in becoming a more powerful puncher when I started. However, the change was hardly noticeable, and I was perhaps twenty per cent more powerful at most. My strength may have increased by a factor of three when I perfected my method.

So How Do You Punch?

I'm not going to get into specifics right now, but I'll run through some fundamental ideas:

  1. Acceleration (hand speed) multiplied by force is the formula for calculating punching power (injury produced) (muscle strength & body weight).
  2. You can make your punch more powerful by increasing its speed and force.

Boxing Headgear

How Do You Increase Power WITHOUT Using More Energy?

Now I'll show you the secret of punching with incredible force. You can take two different approaches to apply a greater amount of force to your opponent. Increasing the amount of energy that you expend is a common strategy. It makes sense and can be demonstrated to function, but is it practical? Nope! Increasing your energy will give you a stronger punch but will not make the explosion more powerful. It gives the impression of a harder shove, and the "BANG!" sensation normally associated with punches is lost.

The only other technique (and the only way at all) to generate explosive power is to reduce the "weight" of your punch so that it goes further in less time. The final step is to add the weight at the end of the punch when it lands; doing so will make your punches more efficient while reducing the amount of energy required. The question now is, what exactly is "the weight", and how can it be reduced? In this scenario, the weight represents the strain built up in your body! Your punching weight will increase in proportion to your body's tensile strength and overall mass. You can lessen this weight by relaxing your body while you punch, allowing your punching weight to move more readily and accelerate towards your opponent. Your foot will complete the pivot just before your punch falls, your hip will rotate, and your shoulders will roll over to make a punch. In this very last instant, you need a brief, concentrated contraction to transform your entire body into a single, cohesive, and powerful punch, much like a rubber band would. The better you let your mind wander and relax your muscles, the more power you will have.

Relax To Aid The Snap

One of the most important aspects of striking power is the motion of relaxing.

You can relax your body by releasing any tension in your muscles. This relaxing motion, also known as "releasing" your body, enables your punch to accelerate more quickly, resulting in a significantly more destructive explosion when you eventually add weight. If you put some thought into it, you'll realize that when you punch, you're trying to relax your fist as much as possible toward your opponent, saving your muscle contraction for the very last instant before impact. If you can master the art of applying force while remaining relaxed, you will have mastered 99 per cent of the technique required to throw a punch.

Now, of course, when you say you want to relax your body, what you don't mean is that you want to let your body flop all over the place. Make sure your punching form is correct so your body can relax and flow with the motion of the punch. The final step in adding weight to your punch is to engage your muscles while the punch is being delivered simultaneously. The secret to a powerful punch is to perfect the split-second timing required to punch with your whole body simultaneously. Only then can you unleash the full force of your fist. (Improving the strength of your muscles is only worthwhile if you coordinate the movement of your entire body).

An Explosive Punch Is 99.99% Snap And 0.01% Push

The sole effect that lifting weights has on your body is to make it move more slowly during the contraction phase of the punch. Lifting weights will not teach you to relax. If you're used to applying force for several seconds, how will you be able to apply the greatest force in just a split second? The short answer is that you can't (or, at the very least, your performance won't be as good).

The punching motion should have a snapping motion (exerting maximum force in the shortest time possible). Regrettably, most fighters are instructed on the correct way to punch, a simple technique to demonstrate because it can be seen. On the other hand, the technique must be felt to be taught, and you must learn it. Timing and the ability to visualise the outcome are essential components of this unique skill. It would be best if you now understood better why an older, more experienced fighter can still punch harder than a younger, more athletic child. It is because he has perfected the timing required to generate explosive force by allowing his body to relax and then flexing his muscles at the precise moment.

Beginner punchers increase power through effort.

Skilled punchers increase power through relaxation.

REASON #3 – Lifting Weights Can Decrease Your Muscle Relaxation Capacity

The traditional objections against weights are brought up in the discussion. I believe that you have experienced each of them previously.

Lifting weights:

  • makes you slow
  • makes you rigid
  • makes you tire out faster

Is it true? Now, let's consider the opposite of that. Consider the following scenario: I will compare two men, one a dancer and the other a weightlifter. In what ways might their bodies be different from one another? How might the movement of their bodies be different? Which type of body would be able to simulate the actions of a boxer most accurately?

In my situation, the reasoning from my childhood held water. My speed and endurance were both hindered by powerlifting, and the sport made me "stiff." When I faced other novices, I did not feel at a disadvantage; nevertheless, when I faced experienced fighters, I found they were all significantly faster, hit harder, and had more stamina. However, they didn't lift weights and pleaded with me to skip that part of the workout.

Imagine that you don't care if you're slower or have less endurance than others. Nevertheless, it would help if you considered the possibility that lifting weights will impair your ability to relax and, consequently, your ability to deliver powerful punches. Even a marginal slowing down of pace can be the deciding factor in whether or not a punch is successful in landing. It is pointless to have greater power if you cannot maintain that power for the entirety of the three rounds.

Boxing Training Men

The Real Problem With Weights And Fighting

In all honesty, lifting weights will not cause you to get stiff. It's possible that it just encourages the wrong mentality in beginning athletes. Most people can only learn to move powerfully by tensing their muscles rather than releasing them. Relaxing to increase one's power is somewhat strange, and mastering it takes time and effort. Lifting weights exposes you to the danger of never learning how to move strongly while relaxed.

Weight lifting doesn’t teach you how to relax and doesn’t help you practice that type of movement.

REASON #4 – The Weight Behind Your Punches Is NOT Your Muscle

When you lift weights, the force you generate comes entirely from your muscles. When you punch, you transform the gravitational force of your body weight into a forward impact, which results in the generation of force. You can attempt to build striking force by using your muscles; however, it is common knowledge that this is a wasteful energy use. I would rather punch my typically 45-pound physique 100 times during each round than try to generate 145-pounds of force through my muscles with each punch you get what I'm saying?

The majority of the force that you generate in your punches comes from your body weight. The purpose of the muscles in your body when it comes to punching power is to make your body weight heavier and direct the force into the target. Your muscles don't need to generate any punching force. Rather, they contract your body into a compact "weight" and direct it toward your opponent.

Visualise It

Imagine if you wanted to give the ground a good punch. However, you do not hit the earth directly; rather, you drop weight while it is in midair and use your muscles to slap that weight, which causes it to fall to the ground quicker. Therefore, rather than utilizing your muscles to strike your opponent, you will use your muscles to snap your body to punch your opponent.

Imagine that you want to do a cannonball jump into the sea and make a big splash as an alternative way to picture what you want to happen. Your body weight won't alter no matter how powerfully muscular you get, and the amount of splash you make won't change much. However, how well you can unwind has a direct bearing on how high you can jump. The degree to which you can compress yourself into a cannonball relies on your muscular strength and expertise. My point is that you cannot punch harder than your body weight with only your muscle force.

REASON #5 – Punching Power Doesn’t Guarantee Damage Delivered

Punching Power vs Damaged Delivered

The quantity of damage dealt is dependent on the following factors:

  • muscle power (conditioning)
  • the technique (skill)
  • angle (skill)
  • accuracy (skill)
  • timing (talent) (skill)

Boxing is a fight over punching ability rather than one of physical strength.

It is unnecessary to have tremendous muscles to deliver a good punch. You've got to have skill. Technique, angle, accuracy, and timing are all essential to success. Regarding slugfests, newcomers rely on raw power, but seasoned combatants generate significantly more force through their talents!

Your abilities are more important than any other factor in determining your striking functional power. When I initially started boxing, I could only punch twice as hard as I do now, and I doubt that this is because I am three times stronger. If I had limited time to devote to working out, improving my skills would be my priority. Boxing is a sport of talent and using your power effectively. You need to have boxing skills. It would help if you had abilities to know how to put your power to use in fights unless your primary goal is to impress people as you train on the heavy bag.

To measure your ability to land good punches, you should give the double-end bag your hardest punches and utilize the results as a guide. You must hit the moving bag with your power to hit a real opponent too. Competitors of a high calibre move more like double-ended bags than heavy bags.

Is It IMPOSSIBLE To Lift Weights For Boxing?

I don't suggest that weightlifting is completely incompatible with boxing.

Increasing your punching power by lifting high weights won't help.

You can use weights for a wide variety of beneficial uses. Some excellent exercises focus on working for certain muscle groups. For example, you may strengthen your support muscles using lighter weights like dumbbells. With callisthenics, you can target specific muscle areas that would be difficult to focus on with other forms of exercise (bodyweight exercises).

The development of functional boxing fitness is essential to any form of successful training, including weightlifting. It doesn't matter what type of training you perform. Just make sure it improves your ability to box. It could mean improving your physical capacity, increasing your motor control, or even increasing your muscle support (reducing the chance of injury). Take a close look at the body of the majority of boxers. You may not develop the right physique for boxing if the activities you do cause your body to look different.

Note: for those wondering whether or not it is a good idea, shadowboxing at high speed while holding dumbbells is not a good idea. It causes inflammation in your joints and does not significantly improve your speed or strength. That workout, designed to build support muscle rather than punching speed and power, is typically performed by professionals utilising slow movements.

Lifting Weights Can Affect Your Fighting Ability

I decided to write this essay since I've experimented with various approaches to adapting boxing to weight lifting. Because of this, a part of me is always looking for whatever advantage I can get, and being a powerlifter gave me that advantage. Unfortunately, I was put in my place by a multitude of "weaker" and less-built punchers, and I had no choice but to acknowledge the reality of the situation. Someone will always consider themselves exempt from the norms and regulations (me included). There will always be those who believe they are so exceptional that their physique and "special training" may make them immune to the uncomplicated truths that boxing entails. When you work out improperly, the most frustrating aspect is eventually realising that you are preventing yourself from making progress.

The reality is that boxing is a sport that involves a lot of quick movements. Boxing involves rapid and snappy movements, and there must be a lot of them. A single fight can involve hundreds of rapid and sharp motions going in various directions. Because it is a rather sluggish movement that utilizes a slightly limited range of motion, lifting weights is an activity that is less beneficial for training in boxing. Even if lifting weights did boost your punching strength, developing your punching skills will still be the most beneficial thing for you. If you want to be a boxer, you need to train your body and mind the same way as boxers.

Boxing dates back thousands of years, and the use of weights in the sport is not a recent development. There is limited use for weight training in boxing since there isn't a place for it in the sport. If weight training were relevant, the sport would have adopted it by now. The idea of gaining strength through resistance exercise is not a novel one by any stretch of the imagination. You can give it a different name or alter it around the loads and reps, but nothing about it makes it special or distinctive. Every single serious athlete is always looking for new ways to better their body, and you can guarantee that heavyweights would have become mainstream by now if they were that effective if they were.

Recent boxers have been lifting weights, but none of them has reached the same physical prowess and technical expertise as the old-timers accomplished. Most trained fighters and instructors continue to have a negative opinion of weightlifting. The instances in which you can break this rule are extremely uncommon. I've been to several gyms and watched hundreds of professionals get their workouts. To this day, I have yet to come across a single one lifting significant amounts of weight. I implore you to go to the most reputable boxing gym you can locate, inquire about weights with the head coach, and observe what advice he provides.

How long does weightlifting develop punching power?

Weightlifting improves punching power at different rates. Consistency, technique, and a well-rounded training programme are crucial. Punching power usually improves after a few months of strength and boxing-specific training. However, building punching strength demands constant practice and skill refining.

Can I build punching power using weightlifting instead of boxing?

Weightlifting should not substitute boxing for punching power. Boxing needs technical skills. Weightlifting can build strength and fitness, but it can't duplicate punching's dynamic movements, footwork, and timing. Boxing training—bag work, pad drills, sparring, and shadowboxing—and strength and conditioning workouts are essential for punching power.

Are there any downsides to using weightlifting for striking power?

Weightlifting alone can limit punching power. Weightlifting can build muscle and strength, but it may not improve boxing mechanics and technique for power generation. Weightlifting without boxing-specific training can cause muscular imbalances and reduced mobility, hurting your boxing performance. Weightlifting and boxing are crucial for well-rounded growth.

Can weightlifting enhance boxing training?

Boxers need strength, training, and muscular endurance. Weightlifting can increase fitness, stability, and injury prevention, indirectly benefiting boxing training. Boxing-specific exercises and methods are best for punching power.

Why is weightlifting thought to boost punching power?

Weightlifting boosts punching power because people think more muscle means more power. Weightlifting increases muscle bulk, but striking power comes from speed, technique, and coordination. Boxing-specific training is necessary to boost punching power.

Frequenly Asked Questions about Weightlifting

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