How To Throw A Jab Punch

Everything starts with the jab. It’s the most important weapon in a boxer’s arsenal. The jab helps to set up your other punches, and can also be used to distract your opponent, find your range and keep your opponent off you. If you observe the best ring technicians in action, they all have good solid jabs.

There are many variations of the jab for any give style, but even the most experienced boxers throws the jab incorrectly which often leaves them open for counters. If you want to become a better boxer, you must get the fundamentals right and know how to throw a jab the correct way.

Here’s the basic principles and some variations of the jab punch before we get started.

Some Pointers

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.

Do’s:

  • Keep Your Guard Up (1): Many boxers fall into the habit of dropping their guard when throwing punches. When you throw the jab, always make sure that your back hand is up high guarding your chin. If it’s not, then you can expect to get caught by a hook.
  • Extend Your Arm (2): In order to get the most power of your jab, your jab should be thrown quick with your arm fully extended. It adds authority on your punches and will help to keep a pressure fighter off you.
  • Rotate Your Arm (3): Another method to increase the power of your jab is to rotate your arm mid-way through throwing it. You should start with your palm facing inwards towards your face and once the jab is thrown, rotate your arm so that your elbow is pointing outside and your fist rotates also, so your palm ends up facing downwards.
  • Keep Your Chin Down: This is a habit that must be drilled into you. Even if you get hit, as long as you have your chin down it will minimize the impact of the punch. If you have your chin tucked in, then your shoulder will automatically protect it as you throw the jab.
  • Bring Your Arm Back: Whether you hit or miss the target with your jab, always bring it back so its original position. You’ll then be in the right position to defend or attack again. Never leave your jab out or drop it after you’ve thrown it.
  • Snap the Jab: The jab must be thrown quick and snappy to catch your opponent off guard. Don’t push with the jab because not only is it slower, but it also doesn’t produce as much power.
  • Be Relaxed: Before throwing the jab, keep relaxed with your body loose to reserve energy. This will allow you to fire off punches much more smoother, faster and more frequently. Only tighten your fist close to impact.

Don’ts:

  • Drop Your Guard (1): A lot of fighters have the bad habit of dropping their guard when throwing a jab, this is a huge mistake as it will give your opponent the chance to counter with a lead hook or any number of punches. Never drop your guard.
  • Reach / Lunge (2): If your opponent is out of range, then don’t reach with your jab. If you do, then you can end up damaging your arm, being off balance, or getting caught by a counter. A good rule is that your head should always be behind your front foot.
  • Leave the Jab Out: When you’ve thrown your jab, always bring it back. If you don’t, then you’ll be open for counter punches or your opponent can grab your arm, which can cause it damage.
  • Stand Straight Up: Your knees should be bent every time you throw a punch, especially a jab. If you stand straight up, you’re more liable to get caught with a punch and you’ll also produce less power.
  • Leave the Jab Out: When you’ve thrown your jab, always bring it back. If you don’t, then you’ll be open for counter punches or your opponent can grab your arm, which can cause it damage.
  • Stretch The Outside Of Your Arm:The inside of your arm to be straight, not the outside – so that your larger, inside knuckles are hitting the target rather than your smaller knuckles. This means, you are using your bicep/back muscles instead of your tricep/back muscles – adding more power and making it easier to throw a 1-2.
  • Hyper-extend Your Elbow: Although you should extend your arm, beginners must be careful not to hyper-extend as this can damage the elbow. To avoid this, don’t throw your straight punches too fast while shadowboxing – as you don’t have a target to prevent the extension.

Common Mistakes

The jab punch will be your most commonly used weapon. It should also be your best, and therefore, it should be the first punch you practice and the first one you master.

Here’s a quick video to make sure you have the right fundamentals and are not making any of these common mistakes.

Summary

There is a lot of practice that must go in to mastering the jab punch, but a lot of reward can come once you have every variation perfected and in your arsenal.

To learn in more detail how to throw the perfect jab, I’d recommend The Ultimate Boxing Jab Guide post by Johnny at ExpertBoxing.com

For more Striking Tips check out the MMA Gear Hub Blog. And visit our Shop for boxing and Mixed Martial Arts gear.

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