The hook is a very difficult punch to master, and is also difficult for beginners to learn. But once you master the hook punch it might just be your deadliest weapon.
In boxing and MMA, a hook is a very common source of a knockout. It’s a very effective power punch which is used mainly at close range, the use of body punches and straight punches will often cause opponents to move their hands forward and closer together – this will open space for a hook punch to the chin or side of the head.
It can be thrown using your rear hand but, the hook is usually a short, quick punch which is most effective with the lead hand (a lead hook).
This post will focus mostly on the lead hook, which is what you will probably use most and what you should practice first.
Here’s the two basic forms of a hook punch before we get started.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced boxer, it’s important to focus on the fundamentals of your technique. It’s important for beginners to practice the basics before going any further, but it’s also important that experienced boxers don’t neglect these basics or you could be losing time, energy and power by skipping over basic technique.
- Keep Your Hands Up (1): Keep your rear hand up to protect your chin, and tuck your elbow in to protect your body. Like you should do when throwing any punch.
- Bend Your Arm at a 90 Degrees Angle (2): When you throw a hook, your arm should be bent at a right angle, to get the maximum power from the punch – utilising the turning force of your hips.
- Turn Your Body (3): Again, this is essential to increase your punching power. This is the turning force which should propel the movement, by harnessing all your bodyweight and turning force.
- Pivot Your Foot: To ensure a smooth, turn and a powerful punch – you must pivot your foot. When throwing a lead hook, pivot with your lead foot. When throwing a hook with your rear hand, then pivot with your rear foot.
- Bend Your Knees: When someone “sits down on their punches”, they are bending their knees and planting their feet on the ground. This is good to keep balance and generate maximum power.
- Follow Through: When throwing a jab, or cross – it’s sometimes a bad idea to follow through. But, if you want to throw a powerful hook punch, then you should throw your punch through the target, not at it.
- Drop Your Guard: When in close distance – in lead hook distance – you should never drop your guard. By keeping your rear hand up, it will help to prevent counter-strikes. Although obvious and fairly simple, it’s a common mistake made by many fighters.
- Stand up Straight: By not bending your knees, not only will you ose a lot of power, but more of your body will be exposed and you will lose a lot of balance by having a higher centre of gravity.
- Load Up: Don’t cock back your arm before throwing a hook, or any punch for that matter. By ‘loading up’ you will alert your opponent of the attack you intend to use, and give them a split-second advantange so they can counter. And in any martial art, split-seconds count!
- Throw From Too Far Out: The hook should be thrown from close-range to mid-range. If you are not in range, then you will have to lunge forward, or reach out too far. This is likely to leave you off-balance and will expose your guard and give your opponent a better opportunity to counter.
- Put All Your Weight on One Foot: You should distribute your weight in the middle as evenly as possible. Quite simply, if you are leaning forward, you will fall forward. If you are leaning back, you will fall back. This means that if your balance is off when throwing a hook and you miss, or your opponent counters, then you are likely to be in a vulnerable position.
Amost every boxer/fighter is obsessed with power. It’s important to remember that without the right technique it is very hard to generate the kind of power you’re looking for. But here’s an explanation and some drills on how to increase the power in your hook punch.
There is a lot of practice that must go in to mastering the hook punch, but a lot of reward can come once you have every variation perfected and in your arsenal.
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