How to Punch Harder Without a Punching Bag

Man punching heavy bag

A punching bag is an effective piece of equipment for a boxer-in-training. However, punching bags are often expensive and don't always fit in one’s training area. If you don't have access to a gym, there are still a number of ways to increase the power of your punch. Hitting harder is about mastering form and training your technique, not about what tools you possess.

Use a punching bag substitute. One option is to punch your wall. Choose a wall that can take a beating. If you are worried about damaging your wall or your hand, if you have not built callouses yet, wear a pair of thick gloves, such as boxing gloves. Practice all the techniques below, making contact with the wall. Another option is to make a punching bag out of household items, including mattresses or pillows. These items can easily be placed up against a wall or suspended from a ceiling, balcony or bannister. Yet another option is to have a partner wear focus mitts or other padded gloves for you to punch; this method has the added advantage of being mobile, thereby training your accuracy as well as power.

Practice punching with your whole body. Put your entire weight behind your punch, improving its power, by leaning your body into each punch. Practice this form of punching until it becomes second nature. Once you have the correct form down, you can focus on training your body’s power to improve the power of your punch.

Punch slowly. Reduce the speed of your punch by half of your average speed. Do this while putting your body’s weight into the punch. If you punch too quickly, your punch will finish before your body begins to lean into the punch, leading to a quick but weak punch. If your true goal is to punch harder, reducing your speed is one effective method.

Exhale as you punch. Breath out from your chest and stomach hard and fast when your punch comes out. A punch without an inhale is lacking in force, so getting into the habit of exhaling—even with noise—while punching is highly likely to improve the power of your punch.

Punch straight, not curved. Punch with a direct path, carrying your body’s momentum along with the punch. If you punch in a curved path, not only are you losing some of the potential power that comes from your arm but you are also telegraphing your movement to your opponent. Twist your body, not your arm; the rotation of your trunk is what gives a punch more power.

Perform punching drills. Go all out on your punching for 10 to 20 seconds, either producing punching combinations or focusing on a single arm. Take 40-second rests between sets. This is a form of high-intensity interval training that will train your body to store energy more effectively.