| Maxim Claes

5 Exercises to Improve Boxing Hand Speed

Many of the world’s most-renowned-strong-punchers in the boxing world are, unsurprisingly, also known for their speed. This is unsurprising as at the end of the day, the boxer throwing out the most punches will win, which will naturally be accommodated by speed. 

The good news is that, just like any other sports, you can train yourself to be faster with regular training. 

The Pre - Training Mindset

Before you start your daily grind and training, you need to ensure that you prepare yourself not only physically but also mentally. Paul Coelho said it perfectly, “you are what you believe yourself to be”. 

Before you begin your training, ask yourself “why” you are doing this. A weak “why” signifies that you are not ready to go on this journey and will end up leading you back to square one. 

If you’ve found your “why”, start making realistic weekly/ monthly goals you are looking to achieve, such as “throwing x number of punches in x amount of time”. By making realistic goals for each step of your training, you are more likely to achieve your end goal. 

The 5 Exercises to Improve your Hand Speed:

Mental Training

When starting your training, do not go straight to stressing about how strong your punch should be, instead, focus on your speed first. Imagine yourself being so fast that you’re invisible. Solely focus on punching your target accurately and as fast as possible, then go straight back to guard position. By redirecting your focus on speed, you will be faster as power-focused training tends to slow punches down, you’re setting a good base for your following training. 

Afterwards, try to keep your body relaxed. It is common for boxers to tense up their body, this will slow you down too. Stay relaxed by consciously making an effort to free yourself from tension when you feel parts of your body, such as your biceps, tensing up.

Finally, when you’ve seen a significant improvement in speed, you should progress to the next stage: elaborate combination punches. Train yourself to see punch combinations as one whole sequence, that way your movements will be smoother. Do this training regularly, this method will help your body to unconsciously remember them (muscle memory).

Resistance Training

When thinking of how to increase boxing hand speed for boxing, you should not forget the core basics. Resistance training is key to building explosive power which in turn will benefit your overall performance.

Do a variation of push-ups, such as the clapping push-up, or simply do fast push-ups. This helps strengthen your muscle response which will lead to faster and stronger punches later on. Nevertheless, do not sacrifice form for speed, ensure that you are doing all these exercises in correct form so as to avoid injury.

Besides practicing throwing punches you also need to train yourself to recover and prepare to strike from another jab. You can train these by doing plyometric exercises involving a pulling motion, such as a plyometric row or simply using a rowing machine.  

topless man using rowing machine

Jump Ropes

Another cult favorite in the boxing scene is the classic “jumping rope” exercise. This exercise, although simple, is extremely beneficial in training your speed as it pumps up those fast-twitch muscle fibres in your upper back and shoulders. 

To progress your speed it is only logical to include speed inducing exercises like jumping rope. Other than a great way of increasing your speed, it is also extremely beneficial to train your endurance. 

However, this exercise would take time to master. Do not be discouraged when you are not doing well on your first try, keep it going and don’t give up. Remember that where you are right now is not important, consistency is, so show and do your part.

Speed through with Speed Bags

Throughout your training, speed bags will be your friend. This training is especially beneficial for training your hand-eye coordination speed. Avoid training with heavy punching bags. Heavy punching bags are not as beneficial because they are an easy target for speed-focused training. 

Maximise your speed-focused training by utilising speed bags, floor to ceiling balls (double end bags), and freestanding bags (reflex bags). These punching bags will serve as useful down the road as they train you to block and counter against fast, unexpected opponents. 

All these bags, because of their shape and build, will respond differently to your attacks, however, you should approach all of them in a similar fashion. Begin by punching the bag, then closely watch how it reacts and learn them. Then punch a second time, ensuring this time you are able to actually hit it. Then repeat. Now remember to only focus on power once you’ve gotten the hang of speeding through this training. 

Shadow Boxing

man throwing a punch

Shadow boxing is simply a fancy way of saying “throwing punches in the air”. This is one of the most beneficial training for progression. To increase resistance when shadow boxing, try to incorporate weights on both of your hands, such as these hand weights

Shadow boxing is key to progression in your “how to improve boxing hand speed” regimen, mainly because there is nothing and no one to block or slow you down. When shadow boxing, focus on your speed by challenging yourself to throw and retreat back your punches as fast as possible. Afterwards, progress by drilling all the other types of punches such as jabs, straights, uppercuts and hooks. Then incorporate your footwork, all the while controlling your breath. Train like this for 2 or 3 rounds, rest, and repeat.