Have you ever found yourself frustrated that your punches are too slow? Well, you’re not alone. Most fighters find that they have a certain slowness to their punching at some point in their training.
“Why are my punches so slow?” Reasons for punching too slowly include a bad technique and an unhelpful mindset. For punching effectively (and not so slowly), you need the right technique, posture, breathing, distance from opponent, and attitude.
The good news is that all these reasons have a fix. Let’s look at how to punch faster and better in martial arts.
There are 7 common reasons for punches not being propelled properly. Let’s go through them now.
Your Punches Are Slow Because You Lack The Right Mindset
No, this isn’t going to turn into a Tony Robbins business mindset coaching session. What we’re talking about here is awareness, really. The most basic definition of punching goes something like this – your eyes see the thing to be punched, they send a signal to your brain saying “there it is”, your brain sends a signal to your arm saying “hit that!” and then you hit it.
The faster that process is, the faster you’re going to punch. Slow punches are often simply a result of this process not being honed. No rocket science required. So, how do you learn to be more aware of when to punch? You work on practicing your punching in a much faster environment than usual.
You can take the speedbag and double-end bag route to achieving this. Keep your eye on the bag and don’t worry about building up beautiful speedy combinations, see if you can unleash 1 or maybe 2 ultra-fast blows on it and do so accurately.
Keep your eyes on the bag all the time, even when you’re not ready to punch. The more you watch, the more your eyes get used to going “hey! You can punch this!” and the faster the process becomes.
Your Punches Are Slow Because You Lack The Right Attitude
This isn’t about having a good or a bad attitude, both of those types of attitude can help power a punch but the right attitude when your punches are full of slowness is not to turn up in the gym and aim to deliver powerful, aggressive punches.
Speed and power, at least at first, are separate things but because your power is, from a physics point of view, the weight of your hand x the speed x the speed, it’s actually the speed of your punch that really drives power anyway.
When you focus on power in your head, your punches become slow, you usually end up increasing the width of your swing, forcing your arm to travel farther than it needs to and over committing your body position.
What you need to do is have an attitude to build speed. Take up shadowboxing and instead of trying to land heavy blows on your opponent, aim to just touch him (or her) but as fast as you can. You’ll soon see how much faster your punches can be.
Your Punches Are Slow Because You’re Trying Too Hard
Slowness and tension go hand-in-hand. You can’t get the best out of your punching muscles if they’re burdened with tension and expectation – go and watch any top athlete, it doesn’t matter which sport you pick, for 99.9% of the time they’re doing what they do best, their muscles are completely relaxed and waiting for the moment they’re called upon to truly deliver the goods.
Muscles need to relax. Your fists should only tense at the instant prior to a blow landing. Otherwise, they should be relaxed. Your shoulders, biceps, etc. should all be relaxed too until the punch is on its way. Try it, it sounds counter intuitive, but slowness will soon be a thing of the past.
Your Punches Are Slow Because You’re Not Releasing Your Punches On Impact
This is a smaller, simpler mistake but very common with boxers who haven’t been fighting very long. The cause may well be thinking about the punch too much. What happens here is that the punch is thrown by the fighter and just before it lands, a little message from the brain seems to say “put more power in to that”.
Then the fighter jerks back their hand as the punch comes into land and instead of adding power, they detract from it. You should be breathing out hard and fast as you launch your blow, allowing it to land, then breathe again. Nothing more than that. Once again, you want to think in terms of speed not power. Don’t try to put more weight in your punches, make them faster.
Your Punches Are Slow Because You’re Not Breathing For Speed
Which came first rapid breathing or rapid punching? Nobody knows but the two go together like bread and butter. If you want to get the slowness out of your punches, you need to get the slowness out of your breathing.
Try it now, breathe nice and slow (just like you might for meditation) and then throw a punch. Can you punch quickly and maintain that measured slow breath? No? Neither can we.
You want to learn to breathe in sharp, fast, bursts when delivering sharp, hard, punches. It’s really that simple – use the energy in each breath to fuel the punch. Watch the slow punch turn into something much faster as you do.
Your Punches Are Slow Because Your Punching Technique Needs Work
It’s late in the list of 7 reasons, but don’t dismiss this as a minor issue. In fact, in many people this is the most likely reason that your punches are slow: your technique isn’t what it should be. Watch the greatest boxers of all time, watch their fastest punches, they’re always on the shortest, most direct path to the other guy.
You need to be positioned correctly and make your feet work for you if you want to get rid of your slow punching. If your body isn’t supporting a fast punch, you can’t throw one. Simple as that, really. There’s no “quick fix” for this, you need to work with a coach/trainer on your technique if it’s not supporting your need for speed.
Your Punches Are Slow Because You’re Punching From Too Far Away
Our final reason your punches are slow is because you’re not in the right range to launch an effective strike. Punching is a close work game, really. It’s very easy to be so afraid of the opponent’s blow that you’re positioning yourself at too great a distance to get a fast punch in on their body or face.
At the same time, it is possible to get too close and lose the fluidity in your arms to land the perfect blow but this is far less common. That means in all likelihood, you’re too far away from the place you’re punching and you’re losing power and speed as you overextend yourself.
This is a problem that’s best worked on with a boxing coach or trainer. It’s hard to fix a slow punch because you keep too much distance by yourself.
The Basics Of Throwing A Punch Without Slowness
OK. So, what are the basics of throwing a punch that isn’t as slow as a garden snail? Let’s lay out the simple stuff and help you work through the problems of your slow punches in your own time.
Take Up A Stance For Jabbing
Your fastest punches are always jabs. So, if you want to ensure your punch slowness evaporates, you need to be ready to jab. That means bend your knees and ever so slightly hunch your frame over. Your elbows should be trapped in against your sides and your fists should be in front of and close to your face.
Next, tuck your chin (this stops you from being walloped in the jaw – it won’t improve your punching speed) and move up on to the balls of your feet. Your dominant shoulder should be slightly behind the other side.
Now, close up your fingers on your dominant hand into a fist. Make sure you don’t try and put your thumb inside your fist (unless you want to break it) and keep the fist slightly loose and relaxed for now.
Put Your Whole Body Through The Punch
Punching is a whole-body sport. If you want a slow punch, just use your arms to punch with – it will be extremely slow and lack any real power. You unleash your speedy jab by stepping into the punch and, at the same time, twisting your body to bring the dominant hand forward – this will help you activate the right muscles in your legs to add the most power.
You should keep the punch straight and direct, tense your fist as it travels forward for the moment of impact, keep everything in a straight line – your knuckles, wrist, elbow, shoulder, etc. should all align.
As soon as it lands, you should be moving back into the position you just left and be ready to quickly deliver another punch or to defend your face from a blow.
Give Yourself Some Time To Recover
You can throw a few punches in swift succession but even when you do that – you should take a little pause between each punch; this allows your muscles to recover and reset for better punches. You should find that your punches become slower the more often you punch.
The more you give the muscle time to handle fatigue the easier it is to get the speed you want. Make sure that you prioritize getting the punch perfect before you start trying to overcome any slowness challenges that you might have.
Training Tips For Throwing A Quick Punch
Nobody can spend all their time working on slow punches by throwing punches constantly – it would be exhausting and ultimately, self-defeating. In order to get the best speed, you also need to train properly and that means paying attention to the small details of your punches. Let’s turn to 4 things you can do during training that will help you stop punching with slowness.
Technique Comes First
It’s something that needs stressing over and over again. You cannot make your slow punches faster if you’re not punching right in the first place. You will waste energy with a poor stance or a poorly directed punch and that’s going to slow it down.
Accuracy and technique are your first training priority. Develop a truly efficient fighting style and you’ll find that much of the speed you’ve been missing just arrives without much extra work at all. The best way to do this, of course, is to work with an instructor who can give you feedback and help you correct your errors.
Think About Speed
Your punches shouldn’t be left to chance. If you want them to flow forward at the speed of a bullet train then you need to visualize that – keep speed in your head and visualize how the punch is going to fly through the air.
If you combine this with a simple breathing exercise – take a deep breath in, hold it and relax and then expel the air quickly as you punch, all the while holding your vision of fast punching in your head, you’ll get the kind of acceleration that you’d barely dreamed of.
Get Into Hand Weights
One of the reasons your punches are slow is that you haven’t quite developed the muscles in your arms to allow them to move as freely as they can. So, now’s the time to rectify this. You want some hand weights (1 or 2 lbs. at the most) and you’re going to do some shadowboxing with them.
Four sets of two minutes. In the 1st round and the third, use the weights in your hands as you box. In the 2nd and 4th, don’t.
Firstly, you’ll be able to feel the difference between a slow punch and a fast one in this exercise. Secondly, you will, over time, better condition your arms and shoulders for punching with.
Basic Gym Routines Should Focus On Speed Work
Your overall gym workout should be focused on speed if you’re punching slowly. So, set yourself up to train for speed. That means speed punching, sprinting and speed exercising.
Something like this:
- Warm up
- 10 pushups fast
- 10 situps fast
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you’ve done 10 sets
- 1-minute x shadow boxing
- 1-minute x bag work
- 1-minute x bag work
- 15 seconds of rest between each minute
- Repeat twice
- Do some quick sprint runs to finish
- Cool down
A lot of a punch’s speed comes from your legs, so if you don’t train them, you will stay punching slow.
How To Correct Slow Punches? One Final Tip
There’s one final piece of advice that the pros give when it’s time to turn your slow punches into something much quicker – don’t be afraid to let rip. Sometimes, when you’re fighting the thing that holds you back the most is the fear of letting go.
Assuming that this is a competitive fight and not something you just started in a bar, you need to let go and just land as many blows as you can and to do so as quickly as you can. If you do that, you’ll soon find that slow punches are in your past.
So, now you know the 7 reasons your punches are so slow and how to overcome them. Hopefully, that means your slowness will be easily defeated – it’s worth revisiting the basics to ensure your technique is spot on but it may also help to get a coach or a trainer to help you work through these things one by one.