Do you know what one of the most important parts of the body is for developing high punching forces?

During our testing, we found that lean muscle of the core had a large relationship with estimated punching force.

But why is the core important? And how do we develop our core to improve the effectiveness of punching?

Tired of sit ups? So are we…

In a previous article we revealed that our 10 week strength and conditioning program pound for pound estimated punching force increased by 13%. These results were supported by 9% improvements in pound for pound lean muscle of the core after just 10 weeks. This means … stronger core punch harder.

Boxers maintained core muscle mass whilst making weight, making them stronger and punching harder at their fighting weight

In this article we’ll share important information and useful methods to develop your core to punch harder.

Stronger Core – Harder Punch

So what is the core? Often referred to as the torso, it’s typically thought of as anything from the bottom of the neck to the pelvis – in other words the majority of the spinal column.

When punching, force is transferred from foot to fist using the Kinetic Chain.

The core is a key link in this chain. The stronger or stiffer the core the more force is transferred to the fist.

The core can transfer force in various directions. For boxers in particular the focus is in rotation. This means that the core plays an important role in all punches, whether it be a jab, hook or uppercut.


Try Compound Lifts Instead..

Core training has always been a common theme in boxing training. But this usually consists of 100’s of sit ups. This is a problem for three main reasons:

1) The sit-up forces the lower part of the spine into a flexed position – mimicking the action of spinal disc herniation and increasing the risk of injury and lower back pain.

2) The sit up is an isolated exercise that recruits only abdominal muscles and often in one plane of motion. This type of movement does not replicate how muscles are used to create stiffness during a punch.

3) The activation of the core muscles during sit ups is low. Punching is a high force activity that requires the core musculature to develop high magnitudes of force.

The core is required to stiffen the most during whole body compound lifts such as squat and deadlift variations.

Callum Beardow is our most experienced lifter, reaching 150 kg back squat and 170 kg deadlift. It is no coincidence that Callum improved his pound for pound core mass by 34% following 18 months of consistent and frequent strength and conditioning training.

No surprise that this was accompanied by large increases in punching force (10%) and a massive 21% increase in pound-for-pound punching force!

We’re certainly not saying ditch core specific exercises as these are important for individual development of movement variability, stability and control. This is just to highlight the importance of compound lifts on core development.

Exercise of the Month – Box Squat

It seems quite fitting for this article to finish with a squat variation as the exercise of the month:


Danny Wilson is the co-founder of Sign up to their mailing list to receive the free ‘Punch Harder’ E-Book.

*For training information and workouts from some of the biggest names in combat sport don’t miss the Fighting Fit: Train like the Stars special*