Boxing Tip #16 - Power in the Pivot
So you've started boxing and you're wondering how to add some power to your punches. Do you go to the gym and bulk up the triceps and biceps? Do you do speed drills on the heavy bag to get your arms moving faster? Do you pick up 3lb dumbells and shadowbox?
You could do some of all of the above, but a more effective way to increase your punching power and speed is to master the pivot principle.
What is the Pivot Principle?
The pivot principle is one of the foundations of boxing. No matter how big you are or powerful you think you are, you can only generate so much power and speed from moving your arms by themselves.
To really generate power and speed, it has to come up from the floor through your legs, accelerate through your hips, out your shoulder to the end of your fist. Mastering the flow from your legs to the end of your punch will more drastically improve your punching prowess than anything else you can do.
Imagine A Rod...
In your boxer's stance, imagine a steel rod that goes down through the top of your head, down your spine, out your arse and into the floor effectively anchoring the center of your body from moving side to side or front to back. That rod is your axis and you pivot around that rod. The torque you manage to generate around that pivot point is what is going to give you all your power.
How to Practice the Pivot Principle
The pivot is all in the hips, so you have to train your hips to twist. For beginner boxers, stand on a line, both feet facing forward, knees bent and hands up in guard position. Throw alternating punches straight out to the front, twisting your hips in the same direction as your punch. Allow your leg to turn slightly, but focus on getting a full flex across your hips. Remember the punch isn't done until your chin is tucked into your shoulder.
It is very helpful to do this in front of a mirror where you can see just how much your hips are pivoting. Coordination and timing are the other factors in play here. It will take practice, but you need to be able to launch your punch at the right point in the pivot to maximize the force. Start slow, get the technique right, and then work some speed into the equation.
Pivot Principle Tips
The more flexibility you have in your hip flexors, the easier it is going to be for you to twist around your pivot axis. So, make sure you have hip flexibility exercises in your routine. At one time, a lot of people believed that certain types of crunches (mostly those that have the feet anchored) were cause of stronger hip flexors and without proper maintenance, would tighten your hips making the pivot more difficult and less effective. Turns out there is no evidence supporting that, so don't worry about what kind of abwork you do.
Once you have the basic pivot down, really visualize in your mind's eye the power beginning in your legs, shooting through your hips as you torque, flying up through your shoulder and exiting the end of your punch. Start doing this consistently, and you'll be amazed at how hard you start hitting.