WHEN executed effectively, the hook is one of the hardest punches that you can throw.

Performed with a bent arm and a rapid rotation of the hips and core, this punch is preferred by many fighters when fighting at close range.

This article will explain the reasons why this punch is so effective, and show you some strength and conditioning moves to help you develop that devastating hook.

Science Behind the Hook

A good hook shot is thrown well within the mid-range, and connects before full elbow extension. We showed you in the Science behind Golovkin that this type of action enables a boxer to capitalise on the mechanics of muscle function to create force both during the punch and then on impact.

A scientific study published in 2011 by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University demonstrated that both lead hooks and reverse hooks generated much faster peak hand speed than jabs or crosses.

Hand speed is greater during the hook punch due to different kinematics and punch trajectory.  Jab and cross punches are thrown straight utilising elbow extension, while the hook sweeps round and up, creating more rotation from the core, flexion and adduction of the shoulder as well as creating an extended acceleration path – this could mean a greater end point speed.

Furthermore, there is a greater counter-movement prior to the hook punch being performed.

This suggests that there is an increased pre-stretch and rotation from the core during a hook punch, contributing to faster hand speeds.

Faster Hand Speed but Slower to Perform

Due to the prior countermovement and the trajectory in which it is thrown, it takes a longer time to land a hook (477 ± 203 ms) than it does to perform a cross or a jab punch (357 ± 178 ms).

This means that although a hook is a useful tool, your opponent has a longer time to react and evade the punch. Meaning that the hook should be used effectively – often within range during combination and counter-punching.

When used appropriately, the faster hand speed and the optimal muscle length to produce force during a hook makes this a truly devastating punch!

Just like Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez showed against Miguel Cotto on Saturday night.

Look out for our article on FRIDAY where we will be showing you strength and conditioning exercises to improve the hook punch.

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