How to build power of punches with dumbbells?

kennycro@@aol.com

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I've trained with power lifters who couldn't hit very hard ...
The Wrong Yardstick

The Powerlifter you trained with had some strength but not incredible strength or nor power. Thus, using them as the yardstick is a poor choice. So,...

Let Me Break It Down More

I stated, "Athletes with bad to little to technique who posses incredibly strength and power are superior to weaker individual with great technique."

So, let's provide some definitions to "Incredibly strength" defining it as someone who Squat over 600 lbs, Benches over 400 lbs and Deadlifts over 600 lbs.

Let's provide definition for Olympic Lifter (Power Athletes) as being someone who Snatches over 300 lbs and Clean and Jerks over 400 lbs.

These athletes are going to produce an enormous amount of force with poor technique.

Kenny Croxdale
 

kennycro@@aol.com

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While might be true in some sports its definitly not a true statement.
See post 21.

This just comeletely wrong in the sport of beach volleyball,...
I have no idea of where you thought you were going with this. Volleyball Players are relatively weak in comparison to strength athletes, such as Powerlifters.

Volleyball Player have relative little power in comparison to power athletes, like Olympic Lifters.

Kenny Croxdale
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
So, let's provide some definitions to "Incredibly strength" defining it as someone who Squat over 600 lbs, Benches over 400 lbs and Deadlifts over 600 lbs.

Let's provide definition for Olympic Lifter (Power Athletes) as being someone who Snatches over 300 lbs and Clean and Jerks over 400 lbs.

These athletes are going to produce an enormous amount of force with poor technique.

Kenny Croxdale
All that strength only translates into punching power by virtue of greater mass, not greater strength, and then only if they have good technique. Force is not the same as power. You cannot push hard enough to make a poor punch a good one. By same token you cannot punch a car hard enough to push it (unless you are Marvel superhero).

Powerlifters don't throw a baseball faster than a pro or even minor league pitcher - is a totally different skill. This is how 80+ year old retired boxer can make heavybag go slack on its chains but unskilled muscular young man only makes it swing in wider arc.
 

the hansenator

More than 500 posts
So, let's provide some definitions to "Incredibly strength" defining it as someone who Squat over 600 lbs, Benches over 400 lbs and Deadlifts over 600 lbs.

Let's provide definition for Olympic Lifter (Power Athletes) as being someone who Snatches over 300 lbs and Clean and Jerks over 400 lbs.

These athletes are going to produce an enormous amount of force with poor technique.

Kenny Croxdale
I have no doubt of that. If those same athletes were skilled punchers I think they'd produce even more force.

Part of what technique teaches is how to use your body efficiently to develop force. A good athlete knows how to do this intuitively, even if it doesn't look like a certain technique, but I think they'd perform even better by practicing the particular skill.

Anyway, it's been my observation that the best punchers spend a lot of time practicing punching. Being strong and explosive certainly helps, I don't see any way it couldn't, but it's still supplementary to proper practice.
 

dc

More than 300 posts
@kennycro@@aol.com since punching power does come from your legs & hips, don’t you think an improvement in technique would allow you to recruit this more efficiently?
I agree with Alan Mackey he hit the nail on the head. You can hit the heavy bag with bad technique & definitely improve punching power, but if you improve your technique as well you’ll hit it even harder.
Even with my s&s workouts, once my technique improved my power increased dramatically.
I’m curious Kenny wether you’ve thrown many punches, your posts are very intelligent & you’re obviously a highly educated individual, but most people I know & from my own training in sports/disciplines that require punching know that perfecting technique increases punching power, & the OP did ask about increasing punching power specifically not increasing power generally.If you have two identical individuals one with bad punching technique & the other with great technique wouldn’t the latter hit harder?
 
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Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
@kennycro@@aol.com punching power does come from your legs & hips, don’t you think an improvement in technique would allow you to recruit this more efficiently?
I agree with Alan Mackey he hit the nail on the head. You can hit the heavy bag with bad technique & definitely improve punching power, but if you improve your technique as well you’ll hit it even harder.
Even with my s&s workouts, once my technique improved my power increased dramatically.
I’m curious Kenny wether you’ve thrown many punches, your posts are very intelligent & you’re obviously a highly educated individual, but most people I know & from my own training in sports/disciplines that require punching say that perfecting technique increases punching power. If you have two identical individuals one with bad punching technique & the other with great technique wouldn’t the latter hit harder?
A karate punch penetrates deeply into as small an area as possible, it forces the tissue in front of it out of the way so quickly it creates an actual ripple effect through the body and crashes out toward the back.

It is a merciless piston driving through whatever is in it's way, when you get hit with it you are traumatized and stopped, pain does not stop people, only trauma shuts the body down.

Speed of focus is the determining factor, the quicker you can focus, the more penetration is achieved, you can't brace to protect yourself as it's just too fast and flexed abs are easily penetrated. It feels like punching through rubber.

A power lifter has only push power, I'm not saying it's insignificant but I've been punched in the gut by powerful people and they are easy to time as they're just too slow and don't penetrate, if you punch the heavy bag and fold it so it jumps on the chain you've got something to work with. If the bag pendulum swings you need more speed and penetration, the only way to achieve this is through technique practice backed by some decent springy strength.

A power lifter could certainly knock somebody out, the difference is with the karate punch (a powerful one) the bones of the face crush before the head mass can be moved out of the way by the delivered force, essentially it's like speed breaking boards where there is no holder. A power guy can break them if they're held, a karate master (a good one) can break them whether they're held or not.
 

Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
Brutal. My thirteen-year-old inner child read that and now wants to take up karate.
It's a beautiful thing, traditional karate takes many years, decades, of good steady, hard training under a great instructor.

If you decide to try it, choose very carefully who you train under, I was fortunate finding somebody who teaches all of his classes, I've trained under other other people less than 10 times in 31 years. Most schools these days are taught by new black belts at best, there are good ones but they're few and far between. The school I was with had originated in Korea so it was very traditional.

Unfortunately traditional karate is hard to find, most people don't have the will to dedicate the time toward a structured system.

Visit schools, be respectful and watch classes, you'll know who is who by look and feel, weed out the pretenders.
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
It's a beautiful thing, traditional karate takes many years, decades, of good steady, hard training under a great instructor.

If you decide to try it, choose very carefully who you train under, I was fortunate finding somebody who teaches all of his classes, I've trained under other other people less than 10 times in 31 years. Most schools these days are taught by new black belts at best, there are good ones but they're few and far between. The school I was with had originated in Korea so it was very traditional.

Unfortunately traditional karate is hard to find, most people don't have the will to dedicate the time toward a structured system.

Visit schools, be respectful and watch classes, you'll know who is who by look and feel, weed out the pretenders.
Also, great martial artists cannot always teach. Is rare to find instructors who not only are solid in their own right but are able to impart this to their students. Luck DOES have a role.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

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@kennycro@@aol.com since punching power does come from your legs & hips, don’t you think an improvement in technique would allow you to recruit this more efficiently?
Absolutely

Technique allows you to harness the power and fully deliver it.

...if you improve your technique as well you’ll hit it even harder.
To Some Extent

As the majority have agreed, Mackey's on the money with his post regarding "Power" being delivered through the hips and legs.

Now let back track to...

The Foundation of Power

Research and empirical data show that the foundation of Power and Speed are build on Limit Strength (1 Repetition Max).

That means novice and many intermediate weight training individual increase Power and Speed first by increasing Limit Strength. Increasing Limit Strength is on going never ending process.

However, if you you only training Limit Strength, at some point, Power and Speed decrease. That due to the conversion of the "Super Fast" Twitch Type IIb/x Muscle Fiber to the Fast Type IIa Muscle Fiber.

Thus, for an individual to ensure Power continues to be developed, Power and Speed Training are necessary (Conjugate Training).

The Poster Children

Olympic Lifter are the Poster Children for Power. Olympic Lifter Power Output has been measured at 52.6 watts per kilo of body weight (Dr John Garhammer) Source: The No Deadlift Program to Improve Your Deadlift

The only other group of athletes, that I am aware of that produce that same amount of Power Output are Shot Putters.

Olympic Lifter are also the Poster Children for Conjugate Training; employing two type of Strength Training at the same time, eliciting a synergistic effect, where metaphorically speaking 2 + 2 equals 5.

Power Rules

The majority of sports require Power. As Dr Fred Hatfield stated, in the world of sports Power is the King and Strength is the Queen.

However, to reiterate, the foundation to maintaining and developing Power is Limit Strength.

Dr Michael Stone, is one of the leading researchers in this area, previously one of the Strength Coaches at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

When asked what American Olympic Lifter needed to do to place higher. Stone replied, "They need to get stronger."

Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield is one of the few Boxers that really employed an aggressive Strength Training into his program with Dr Fred Hatfield; employing Limit Strength Training, as well as Power and Speed.

Holyfield understood the carry over increasing that Limit Strength would be to his Punching Power.

The Take Home Message

Yes, improving you technique will increase your how hard you hit, minutely.

However, for optimal Power to be produce, Limit Strength is vital.

I’m curious Kenny wether you’ve thrown many punches, ...
Qualifications

I am not quite sure what the relevance of your question is. I was and still am Powerlifter.

In college, I was in Karate. So, I threw some punch back then.

I was in some fights in my twenties. Weighting 165 lbs, I punched out a guy weighing around 210 lbs; then to make sure that he didn't get back up by dropping kicking his head with my Tony Lama Boot. Does that now qualify my response?

I spent two years doing Judo, another Power Sport. As a yellow belt, I beat a few brown belts and make a couple of black belts lives miserable in training; able to over power them due to the fact that I was much stronger than they were.

The brown and black belts were better technicians but much weaker, produce less power.

My background (noted on my profile on this site) is that I have a degree in Exercise Science and am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the NSCA. Strength Coaches in the Pros and Universities usually are Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

My area of expertise is in Limit Strength and Power Development. I have written/co-wrote four article on how increase Power for Powerlifing USA magazine, circa 2001.

Thus, my area coaching, that I still do a little of, involves Resistance Training Methods and Protocols for individuals in various sports as a means of increasing their Limit Strength, Power and Speed.

They then need to work with a coach in their sport on technique; leaning how to effective harness that Power.

...the OP did ask about increasing punching power specifically not increasing power generally.If you have two identical individuals one with bad punching technique & the other with great technique wouldn’t the latter hit harder?
Techniques

Let me reiterate, Technique allows you to harness the power and fully deliver it.

Technique will minutely increase Punching Power. However, not to the same extent as increasing your Limit Strength and Power via a well written and executed Resistant Training Program.

Kenny Croxdale
 
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kennycro@@aol.com

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A power lifter has only push power, I....
Bret,

Obviously, you have not been punched in the face or stomach by a Powerlifter Squatting in the 600's, Benching in the 400's and Deadlifting in the 600's. I seen it.

To fully appreciate the Power they produce, especially the enormous Power that Olympic Lifter elicit, you need find one to trade punches with.

Kenny Croxdale
 

kennycro@@aol.com

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Force is not the same as power.
"In physics, something that causes a change in the motion of an object. The modern definition of force (an object's mass multiplied by its acceleration) was given by Isaac Newton in Newton's laws of motion. The most familiar unit of force is the pound."

Kenny Croxdale
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
"In physics, something that causes a change in the motion of an object. The modern definition of force (an object's mass multiplied by its acceleration) was given by Isaac Newton in Newton's laws of motion. The most familiar unit of force is the pound."

Kenny Croxdale
Work=Force x Displacement

Power=Work/Time

Holyfield actually followed more of a modified split routine intended as much to put on lean mass as to improve/maintain power to weight ratio. I have never found reference to him doing Olympic lifting. He trained with Hatfield and the program was supervised by Lee Haney of bodybuilding fame. Frankly, for a fighter to devote much effort to the intricacies of Oly lifting sounds like an unnecessary risk and dubious use of training time. Specificity says explosiveness in one movement will have little carryover to others, and especially so when looking at unilateral movements. When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail.

Anyone pushing the numbers you quote will hit hard, assuming they land the blow, just due to their body mass. The speed won't be there and against an experienced fighter will have considerable difficulty even landing a blow. You won't find many former or current Oly lifters in the ring, the pitchers mound, the links, tennis court, or dozens of other sports where technique is the dominant determinant of the development of power.

Not saying some resistance training won't improve punching power, but it isn't the most important aspect. Two people of the same approximate weight with one having better form and the other higher limit strength, the better technique will hit harder 100% of the time since only mass is contributing to the impact energy - the limb is moving too fast to take advantage of the added strength.

Agree to disagree.

At any event, throwing punches with dumbbells per the OP is a step in the wrong direction unless it is performed slowly with intention to improve structure and endurance, not punching power.
 

Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
Bret,

Obviously, you have not been punched in the face or stomach by a Powerlifter Squatting in the 600's, Benching in the 400's and Deadlifting in the 600's. I seen it.

To fully appreciate the Power they produce, especially the enormous Power that Olympic Lifter elicit, you need find one to trade punches with.

Kenny Croxdale
Quote from Mas Oyama, "one becomes a beginner after 1000 days of training, One becomes a master after 10,000 days of practice".

Raw power does not translate well into any karate discipline without specific training, case in point is my own experience..

I did bench over 400 lbs when I met my instructor and started training with him, I was much stronger than he yet he punched right through my blocks and could punch much harder than I could. I weighed 225, he weighed 175 at most.

That was when I started training in earnest and cut my power training down, it was ultimately an obstacle to the true MA power I was seeking.
I've seen hundreds of people come and go through the years, nobody comes in and does well without years of training and hard, disciplined practice. It matters not whether they are strong and or athletic, in fact those are the ones that become discouraged when they see there is no way around the years of humble training. Sweat is the fire that forges character, and most are unwilling to pay the price.

I mean no disrespect to power/strength athletes, the only degree I hold is in 'advanced MA science and practice', I awarded it to myself :D, seriously though I have earned several level degrees and it is my swim lane.
 

dc

More than 300 posts
@kennycro@@aol.com from my experience people who give out their full resume to a simple question have been offended in some way. If this is the case I apologise that was not my intention. Stating your qualifications was unnecessary, it’s obvious from your posts, they read like they’re straight from a text book (headings & all). I was simply trying to ascertain wether you’ve much experience actually punching yourself & your post confirmed what I thought. I myself have thrown more punches in training, competition & defence over the last 30+ yrs than I can possibly put a number too. My education is minimal, my occupation is garbage truck driver, I know what I know because I’ve experienced it, I don’t have any references or scientific studies to back it up. For this reason I’m going to also agree to disagree & bow out of the discussion, because quite frankly you could argue rings around me & I don’t think I could keep up.
Edit: note Kenny I do understand where you’re coming from, I just think that if if we are posting to try & help the OP’s goal of punching harder then improving his technique will recruit a higher percentage of the power he’s already got. This is what I meant with my original post by saying “improve technique to improve punching power”. Once he is able to use a higher percentage of the power he’s got then increase overall power or do it in tandem by implementing what Alan Mackey posted.
If I can use the analogy of swinging a hammer:
You Kenny have the knowledge & qualifications to teach someone to swing a hammer with more power & force. But to a carpenter (fighter in this case), you could swing the hammer like Thor but it’s useless if you can’t hit the nail on the head (better technique). I presume if the OP wants to punch harder it’s because he wants to hit something (nail) or if needs to hit something (nail) wants to do it harder. If that’s the case then he’s better off learning to hit the nail with every swing first, as 10 hits to 10 swings has more power than 0 hits from 10 swings. Hope that makes sense (garbage truck driver). This is the reason I asked wether you’ve thrown many punches.
 
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Alan Mackey

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If raw power were all one needed to punch really, really, really hard, Olympic Weightlifters would be boxing champions. They are not. In fact, the vast majority of them can't hit really hard (and I, for one, have sparred with a few of them, so I'm not guessing, I just KNOW), because they lack technique and this is where the real punching power resides.

Generating power to accelerate a barbell is QUITE different from accelerating your fist in a VERY damaging manner for your opponent. Which would be obvious for anyone who had minimum sparring experience.

It's rather illustrative that anyone here who has trained martial arts for a few years, irrespective of the particular discipline, agrees with the ”technique above everything else” axiom. The only discordant opinion seems to come from having read a lot of books (notice I didn't add "and having understood them").

And that's all I have to say about this topic.
 
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Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
@kennycro@@aol.com ,
Kenny I respect you and all power lifters, what I say is not at all meant in a disrespectful fashion.

An analogy that comes to mind is throwing a javelin, on paper a power lifter would have a clear strength advantage yet be smoked by a guy weighing less and with less limit strength. Clearly limit strength has 'limits' when it comes to specific disciplines.

Punching is an art as is javelin throwing, it takes many years of dedicated practice to even become 'half way decent'. Everybody can punch (at least perform the motion), the fist on the target is a very small part of the process.
A punch delivered with lightning speed followed by a very fast focus where the body becomes a statue for just a flash in time is where the devastation starts.
In a reverse punch situation when the fist strikes there is a counter force from the object being struck, the force travels back into the fist and body of the puncher and back through to the ground. When the heel is grounded into the earth the force comes back again through the puncher and again into the object being struck, any missteps in the punchers technique will leak power and result in less force delivery and in the case of breaking boards or bricks result in possible failure.
The merciless statue in form of a rock hard and fast focus at exactly the right time translates into a very hard, heavy and unyielding strike. All of this occurs in a flash and takes many years of practice along with the conditioning of knuckles, joints, muscles and tendons going back all along the power chain.

This explanation doesn't cover most of what happens in punching (breaking) or generating the speed/power but gives a general idea of some of the processes involved, hence the years upon years of very specific practice. It's not a game and ego does nothing but impede the practitioners progress. A power lifter will not outperform a karate master in punching, or a high level javelin thrower in his chosen discipline.
 

the hansenator

More than 500 posts
I think it should be pointed out that someone having good technique/skill/form doesn't just refer to externally "Yeah, that looks about right". There's a lot going on internally as well: Regular practice, especially impact training, is conditioning and strengthens the muscles and tissues and accustoms the body to hitting stuff. The neural pathways that are involved become stronger, antagonistic muscles learn to relax, and the body figures out how to put more weight behind it so the punch lands at a higher velocity and with more mass. Then there's more subtle things: You start getting a snap at the end and finally understand the reference to cracking a whip. You learn to align yourself to better transmit force to the target and you start adding "heaviness" to your blows.

Then, if you're anything like me, you go a long time without practice and when you finally do hit a heavy bag again you're dismayed at how slow and clumsy you feel. And then you hurt your wrist.
 

Papa Georgio

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Sorry guys. This threads go too much testosterone dripping from it for me to pass it up.

I agree with the others in that technique and fundamentals trump absolute power. Even if you have the most powerful punch it ain't gonna matter if you
1. Break bones in your hand
2 break your wrist
3 miss your target
4 you take 2 shots to the face and 1 to the gut before you even get your punch off
etc

If you're a fighter then spend 80% of your training on your art.

Or you can dump all that fighting BS and train hard to make up for all the good times and beer drinking you gonna do. If you're not a mean drunk or a jerk then you don't have to fight anyway
 

Bill Been

More than 500 posts
⁃ The issue is not a weak guy with great technique vs. a strong guy with bad technique
⁃ the issue is YOU with YOUR skill level and whether your current skill set would be more effective if you were stronger
⁃ Thought Experiment: Freeze your current skills at the level they are while imagining being strong enough to do everything you know how to do with much more force
⁃ Thought Experiment Part 2: Freeze your current skills at the level they are now while imagining yourself with the strength level of a 12 years old girl
⁃ Throwing punches is an extremely inefficient method for developing strength. Strength training is a much more effective way of developing strength.
⁃ Everyone seems really keen to imagine that: 1) it’s an “either/or” choice - you can either be strong or you can have good technique; 2) getting strong will somehow destroy your existing skill; 3) there’s some sort of special strength that applies to throwing punches; 4) getting strong slows you down (I guess by too much activation of the fast twitch, high-force Type 2b/x muscle fibers and not enough of the slow, low-force T1 fibers )
In short - the choice is not you vs a hypothetical guy with big muscles and crappy technique. The issue is you vs a hypothetical “you” that’s got the same skill and is just much, much stronger than you are now. If you think that guy would be easier to deal with than the current version of “you”, then I dunno what to tell you.
 
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