Punching power is a result of biomechanical alignment and physiological coordination. Technique is what makes the punch effective. Weight training and building tendon strength can supplement punch training but practice of technique is key. The focus of this write up will be on arm extension (shoulder flexion). It is roughly one-quarter of the total punch and it is the point through with that power is delivered to the target. Let’s examine . . . . . .
The major muscle groups involved with the punch are the deltoids, triceps and biceps. The secondary muscles are the trapezius, lats and rhomboids. However, the critical structures are the rotator cuff muscles and the tendons of the shoulders and elbows. It is the joints and bones that bear the brunt of the force in punching. Supplemental training should place emphasis on joint strength and stability. The focus must be on how to get the joints the right position at the moment of the truth—THE IMPACT!
Traditional Martial Arts training provides some techniques for building joint strength and stability. Also, some variation on more conventional (?) exercises can help in this role. The ishi-sashi (awesome stone padlock) is an old (Chinese) strength training tool from Okinawa. It is used for training the specific muscles of Karate through highly functional drills and movements. This piece of equipment is not only for Goju-Ryu (LKarate) people – this is for everyone. A kettle bell can be used in place of this device. Also, push ups can be modified. Decline push ups can be performed with extra weight across the shoulders. The full extension and the full flexion of the elbows position can be held for a time while the raising and lowering phases can be lengthened. Joint stability and tendon strength will improve from these exercises.
There are other exercises that can be used to build strength and power in the extension phase of the punch. Heavy bag work is a staple of all striking art training. It must be built up to in a methodical fashion. Too much exertion, too soon can do more damage than good. An exercise that was listed in Bruce Lee’s Book Series Wing Chun Do used varying light weights in the hands for shadow boxing drill. The added resistance allows for working on technique and speed while overcoming an external force.
However, the integrity and stability of the joints is what will lend to better power. Combined with practice on technique the extension phase will be that more effective – at the moment of impact.
In North Austin, TX, contact Ab-Sutra Wellness and Fitness coaches to improve your shoulder stability and tendon strength for punching.