In addition to superior fitness levels, and lightening-fast speed, boxing success requires tremendous power output. Power - the force or energy used to do work - in and of itself, will lend a degree of robustness to any of the main boxing punches and, in turn, increase the chances of landing the fight game's holy grail: the knockout punch.

The generating of maximal power through any punch will certainly tell one's opponent they mean business, and this will have a profound psychological effect in terms of fazing "the enemy". Indeed, developing power will also help to enhance speed and anaerobic fitness.

Speed will improve as muscles become used to pushing out heavier weights (the cornerstone of any power routine), which translates to a faster punch when the comparatively infinitesimally light, 10-14 ounce gloves are laced on.

Anaerobic fitness, the fitness system which uses carbohydrates to generate short-term, high intensity work, will improve as muscles become adept at sustaining an all-out effort, due to greater lactic-acid-handling abilities (lactic-acid is a by-product of anaerobic metabolism and will prematurely curtail a sustained effort if it cannot be processed efficiently).

If the muscles, which are, after all, conduits for all movement in the boxing ring, cannot function optimally, meaning they cannot generate speed and power, and last the distance, boxing success will be severely impeded. Power, therefore, is a key ingredient in any boxing program. To develop optimal, specific, power for boxing purposes, one needs to pick the right exercises and execute them correctly.

Specific Weight Exercises For Boxing Power

In theory, any weight movement, performed correctly and with enough resistance, will enhance the power translatable to boxing. However, greater success will come from using movements which lend themselves to the generating of force (pushing type movements for example), and which replicate actual boxing techniques or motions the arms will make during the extension phase of the punch.

The following weight exercises will assist any boxing program, and provide the knockout punch one is looking for. It is important to complete each of these movements with maximal force, as this will, more effectively, develop power.

Following a normal weight routine, encompassing all major movements, will assist ones boxing program. However, given boxing training is immensely physically taxing, a shorter, more specific, weight routine is probably the better option.

This routine, to be completed twice a week, will ensure all major muscle groups are targeted, while conserving much needed energy and not overburdening ones capacity to recover.

Remember to warm up thoroughly before attempting this program, and do not undertake it if you don't have at least a 6-month background in weight-training.

Before attempting some of these movements, it is important that one is familiar with the boxers fighting stance (the conventional, or orthodox, stance):

  • Stand with the feet hip width apart.
  • Take a single, regular, striding step forward with the left foot.
  • Back foot kept at a 45-degree angle.
  • Shift weight onto the balls of the feet.
  • Distribute weight equally between the feet. Keep the knees bent.
  • Bend elbows and tuck them into the sides (to protect the vital organs).
  • As arms are brought into sides, place fists at cheekbone level, with left hand slightly out, poised to jab.
  • Keep chin down and look up. Roll shoulders forward slightly.
  • Position body partially sideways with left shoulder and hand slightly closer opponent.

1. Dumbbell Uppercuts

This exercise also provides the added bonus of developing stability, as the body is momentarily thrown off balance during the execution of the movement. It then follows that the leg muscles responsible for uppercut power will strengthen also.


  1. Begin by standing in fighting stance while holding a 1 - 5kg (depending on how strong you are) dumbbell in the hand of the upper cutting arm - then begin with the left arm.
  2. Adopt the uppercut stance (basically fighting stance with elbows dipped toward the hip).
  3. Execute uppercut, with weight.
  4. Complete three sets of 10-15 repetitions, with 1-minute rest between sets.
  5. Upon completing set with left arm, switch to right arm. Do not turn to southpaw stance if the conventional stance is natural for you, and vice versa.

2. Straight Punching

What Is A Southpaw? People who are left-handed are more dextrous with their left hand than with their right hand: they will probably also use their left hand for tasks such as personal care, cooking, and so on. Writing is not as good an indicator of handedness as it might seem, because many people who write with their right hand use their left for everything else. A left-handed boxer is a southpaw. 

In effect, this will build strength (the ability of the body to withstand a sustained workload) and power in the shoulders primarily, while secondarily stressing the arms and chest.


  1. Stand with arms at sides holding two-five kg dumbbells.
  2. Bring arms up, so palms of hands are facing sides of face.
  3. Push arms out in a punching motion (one arm at a time).
  4. Complete three sets of 10-to-15 repetitions, with 1-minute rest between sets.

3. Bench Presses

bench press


  1. Lie on bench and grasp bar.
  2. Release from rack and lower, while controlling weight (enough weight to complete the desired number of repetitions) on the descent.
  3. Power weight up, and complete second repetition.
  4. Complete three sets of ten repetitions, with one minute rest between sets.

The idea, when aiming to develop power through the bench-press, is to bring the weight down slowly and power it up with maximal speed. However, common sense should be applied, and good technique must be maintained at all times to avoid shoulder injury.

Shoulder presses


  1. Sit on the supported bench with dumbbells (enough weight to complete desired number of repetitions) held in front.
  2. Bring dumbbells up to shoulder height.
  3. Press dumbbells until they touch at the top.
  4. Bring dumbbell back to beginning of movement.
  5. Complete three sets of ten repetitions, with one minute rest between sets.

5. One-Arm Lateral Pullbacks

Back strength also plays an important role to help one to keep their hands at the guard position, and lends a good degree of power to any punch, given that much of the power of any punch is generated through the legs and back to the shoulders, and arms.


  1. Assume fighting stance position in front of lateral pull-down machine.
  2. Begin with jab, by grabbing one-arm, or rope, pulley attachment (with enough weight to complete the desired number of repetitions) with left arm.
  3. Extend arm, and then pull back with maximal force.
  4. Do the same with opposite arm replicating a right cross motion?
  5. Complete three sets of 10-to-15 repetitions, with 1-minute rest between sets.

6. Depth Jumps With Dumbbells

It is preferable in many instances for depth jumps to be performed without weights, due to the impact they have on the joints. However, I would suggest doing them with five kilogram dumbbells to maximize the power generating capacities of the movement. If they are performed correctly there should be no problem, in terms of injury.

Given much of the power of any punch, not to mention footwork (which plays an important role in landing these punches), requires explosive power through the legs, it is pertinent to focus on leg exercises emphasizing power - plyometrics are among the best at doing this.


  1. Stand on a box, bench or sturdy chair approximately 30-40 cm high, grasping 1-5 kg dumbbells.
  2. Step off the bench (don't jump off) and as soon as you land explode vertically, as high as you can.
  3. Try to minimize ground contact time (don't sink down into a deep squat before jumping up).
  4. Complete three sets of 12-15 repetitions, with 1-minute rest in between.

7. Single Leg Hops With Dumbbells

Often, when one is hit, and consequently thrown off balance, their ability to recover sufficiently before their opponent is on them suffers. With single-leg hops, the ability to throw punches from this vulnerable position will be improved as the body becomes adept at stabilizing in a split second.


  1. Bend knee slightly while standing on one leg, while holding 2 kg dumbbells.
  2. Staying on the same foot try to gain as much height and distance as possible with each hop. Keep ground contact time as short as possible.
  3. Complete three sets of 15 repetitions, with 1-minute rest between sets, and repeat with opposite leg.

* Note: with all exercises, weight should not exceed the suggested limit, until movement is mastered. With an improvement in technique, will come an improvement in strength - a heavier weight can then be used. Also, it needs to be reiterated that these exercises are not for beginners and should not be attempted by anyone with less than six months training experience.

Summary Of Routine.

  • Warm-up: five minutes on bike, followed by joint rotations (circles with arms and legs) and full body stretching.
  • Dumbbell uppercuts with 1-5kg weights: three sets of 10-15 repetitions.
  • Straight punching with 2-5kg dumbbells: three sets of 10-15 repetitions.
  • Bench presses: three sets of 10 repetitions.
  • Shoulder presses: three sets of 10 repetitions.
  • One-arm lateral pullbacks: three sets of 10-15 repetitions.
  • Depth jumps with 1-5kg dumbbells: three sets of 12-15 repetitions.
  • Single leg hops with 2kg dumbbells: three sets of 15 repetitions.
  • Finish with five minutes on the bike, followed by full body stretching.
  • Perform routine twice-per-week, on non-boxing training days.


As noted, to assert authority in the boxing ring, a tremendous knockout punch is a valuable prerequisite. To develop punching power, a program centered on weight movements, with a view to establishing explosiveness, is one of the most effective ways to do this.

If the program outlined in this article is followed, one will develop such explosiveness, while giving their opponent something to worry about.

About the Author

David Robson

David Robson

As an active martial artist, bodybuilder and accredited personal trainer, David employs the latest cutting edge research to enhance his own progress.

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