GENNADY GOLOVKIN is the name on many boxing fans lips this week. The 20,000 people in attendance of the famous Madison Square Garden, and millions of boxing fans world wide are now wondering whether Kazakhstan’s superstar is man or machine.

In a special two-part article series, Danny Wilson will explain the ‘Science behind Golovkin’, and why he hits that hard!

Science Behind Golovkin

As we explain in many of our strength and conditioning articles, punching force is dependent on the Impulse-Momentum relationship. This is the change in momentum experienced by a body under the action of a force is equal to the impulse of the resultant force.

So basically, punching force can be improved by either increased hand speed and increase body mass. However, in a weight restricted sport, a boxer is limited in using increased body mass to develop a harder punch. Therefore, exercises to improve hand speed are preferred methods.

You watch Golovkin box, and he doesn’t particularly have lightening fast hands. So how does he generate that much punch force? Yes, he has neat footwork and timing, but a lot of boxers have that with less knockouts on their record.

Golovkin possesses a secret tool…

Effective Mass

Effective mass is a term given to the ‘snap’ of a punch. This requires the whole body to stiffen up upon impact.

So why is this a big contributor to Golovkin’s success?

The snap requires whole body tension, however the main contributors are the arms, shoulder joint and the core.

Look at Golovkin in a picture, the thickness of his core is one of the biggest in boxing. Furthermore, his forearms are quite well developed too. This allows him to create more tension upon impact, giving him a real snap in his punch.

At a moderate stature of 5″10, this makes you question whether being tall and having a long range is a benefit to the 21st century boxer? Or is Golovkin paving the way for the next generation of boxers to concentrate on developing effective mass?

I am sure our continuation of research in boxing will answer this in the near future.

What exercise can I do to improve this?

There are loads of ways to improve core strength and size. Mainly heavy compound exercises, Olympic lifts and isolated core training.

When particularly targeting the development of effective mass in boxing, we use specific exercises that encourage whole body tension at various stages of a punch.

The main exercise we use is the ‘Landmine punch with isometric hold’. This encourages the stiffening upon impact when throwing straight shots and connecting with your opponent towards the end range of a punch.

Read part II HERE


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