Put Your Back Into It!



There are those fighters who generate enormous knockout power with every punch. They deliver every blow with "Bad Intentions", as Mike Tyson liked to say.  Then, there are those fighters who can't seem to break an egg, no matter how much noise they make, how loud they grunt or how hard they try to throw. Round after round, punch after punch they land cleanly and squarely and yet seem to have no effect on their opponent.  This difference in power may have more to do with how the punch is delivered than someone being blessed with God-given punching power or not.

There are over 600 skeletal muscles in the body, of various types, shapes and sizes. In many cases, how these muscles are used determines a fighter's ability to crush a building or hit like a flea.  The biggest muscles in the body play a crucial role in the delivery of a powerful punch.

The largest muscles or muscle grouping is the Gluteus Maximus...yeah, your butt.  The glutes consist of three muscles located at the back of your hips or buttocks.  This large muscle is important to a boxer because it contributes to driving a punch from the ground-up and is pivotal in the rotation that occurs when turning on your punch.

The widest muscle in the human body is the Latissimus Dorsi, or your lats.   If you've ever noticed some of histories hardest hitting knockout artists possessed a large wingspan.  Thomas Hearns, Felix Trinidad and Sandy Saddler were all relatively slim fighters who were able to generate significant knockout percentages because of their wide, well-developed lat muscles.  The lats attach at the spine, run the length of the vertebrae and connect to the upper arm. The lats are some of the muscles responsible for connecting a punch from the rotation of the core, through turning the punch over and generating additional power.

Most fighters who lack the necessary power to move their opponents backwards are typically called arm-punchers.  What this means and how it correlates to the two large muscles groups defined above is that these types of fighters are not engaging these massive muscles to gain leverage and power.  They are throwing from their shoulders and not pushing from the ground, rotating at the hips, putting their back into it and turning their punches over at the end.  Delivery of a power punch should enlist the resources and be dependent on these large muscle groups.  Granted, there are many more variables and more intricate tricks to delivering a knockout blow, but without laying this basic fundamental groundwork, the resulting punch will lack the force it needs to get the job done.

The most effective way to develop the lat muscles is through pull-ups and variations on this movement. To increase leg strength and power in your glutes, incorporate a natural body exercise like jump squats into your workout routine.  Or, if you're not adverse to weight-lifting, add a multi-joint movement to your exercise session, like dead-lifts.  This type of movement is ideal because it requires total body exertion.

To win and win big, you have to rely on the muscles designed to do the most damage and produce the most power.  Punching with your arms versus going for that kayo is as simple making the most of what you have the most of.  Use your body's biggest muscles to punch with more authority and ultimately rack-up that KO win once and for all.

Doug Ward is the President and Trainer for the Underground Boxing Company.