Sting Like a Bee: Boxing Tips to Help Increase Punch Speed

Help increase your speed in the ring with these amazing tips.

boxing punch speed


The fasted recorded punch in the world clocked in at a staggering 45 miles per hour. While it may be near impossible for the average boxer to ever reach this inspiring level of speed, working to increase punch speed holds a number of advantages.

By learning how to increase punching power and speed you will be able to not only hone a formidable hook but also improve your overall form. Training for strength and speed enhances reflexes, timing, form, and coordination.

Therefore, if you want to stand out from the crowd and take your training to the next level—one of the keys ways to do this is to work on your punch speed as well as its power.

If you want to sting like a bee and develop a lighting fast punch, keep reading. We are about to share with you the top tips to increase your punch speed, as well as its strength.

Use a Heavy Bag

Utilizing a heavy bag while training will up the power and potentially the velocity of your punches. At the same time, there are specific training routines that you can practice on a heavy bag that will act to increase your punching speed.

One of these is as follows:

  1. Push your heavy bag so that it starts to make a swinging movement.
  2. Stand at arm's length away from the bag and begin moving your body backward and forward in time with the bag.
  3. As the bag moves towards you, start to throw straight punches at it. As the bag moves away from you, move back from it, creating a swaying movement between punches.

When you are comfortable with the routine, you can begin to add in more movements such as circling and pivots around the bag. You can also start varying your punches by adding 1 and 2 combinations instead of making straight punches only.

Train with a Speed Ball

Besides utilizing a heavy bag, you can also train with a speed ball. Speedballs are superb equipment pieces for increasing both the speed of your punches as well as their accuracy.

Training with these will also help to develop and strengthen the fast-twitch muscle fibers that are located in one's upper back and shoulders.

When working with a speed ball, be sure to keep your punches short and crisp and focus on developing a fast-paced rhythm. Your fists should swing in small and fast circles, in a right-right left-left rhythm.

In addition to speedballs, you can also practice on double-end bags and reflex bags, both of which are fast-moving targets and will work to increase your speed.

Do Weighted Shadow Boxing

Another fantastic way to increase the speed of your swing is to practice weighted shadow boxing.

For this, you will need weighted gloves, or failing that a pair of small dumbells. In either case, keep the weight below 3 pounds. Once you have got the boxing gloves on, start shadow boxing, focusing on speed and control.

The extra weight will cause your body to compensate and quickly pick up the pace. Once you remove the gloves you will find that your swing feels effortless and lightning fast.

While shadow boxing, also pays attention to your footwork. Try to increase the speed of your footwork in conjunction with the pace of your punches, as this will contribute to your overall speed in the ring. At the same time, aim to set up angles during footwork.

Angles create opportunities for long and short-range attacks and makes it hard for your opponent to land a clean punch. For these reseason's incorporating angle setups into your weighted shadow boxing routine is well worthwhile.

Another tip is to set a timer for your shadow boxing sessions. This will spur you to push through fatigue and increase your endurance.

shadow boxing

Practice Reflex Exercises

Another way to train the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your back is to practice reflex exercises.

A great way to do this is to play 'red-light green-light'. To do this you will need to enlist a helper. Have them stand by while you walk in circles. Intermittently (and as unexpectedly as possible) they must call out 'green'.

This signals you to start shadow boxing. Abruptly, your helper then calls out 'red' to signal you to stop.

This exercise assists to activate your reflexes and along with that your punching speed.

Another way to train your reflexes is to do focus mitts with a partner. For this, you will want to have a skilled partner or trainer, who knows how to flash the mitts at unpredictable intervals and in varying ways. Ideally, they will be able to build up the training to the point where you are getting varying opportunities to throw and evade both jabs and combos.

Instead of mitts, for this exercise, you can also use boxing foam sticks (also known as precision training sticks). These lightweight sticks yield the quickest incoming attacks. The thinner diameter of the foam sticks also forces increased attention to accuracy along with speed.

If you do not have a partner or trainer to spar and practice with focus mitts with, you can also utilize a double end bag, as mentioned earlier. While double end bags will not provide the unpredictability of a live opponent, they will still force you to adapt and respond.

reflex mitts

Do Plyo Pushups

Along with reflex exercises, polymetric exercises are another effective way to train your body and its muscles for explosive speed.

One of the most well known plyometric exercises is plyo pushups, where you increase the speed of the upward thrust during a pushup so that your body lifts off of the ground for enough time for you to clap your hands together. This exercise is all about explosive strength and will condition your back, arms and shoulder muscles for this type of movement.

Other plyometric exercises you can do include:

  • Power cleans
  • Plyometric rotations
  • Jump squats

In addition to plyometric exercises, you can incorporate sprint skipping into your training routine, as this is also highly effective at helping to develop and train one's fast-twitch muscle fibers. Another benefit of skipping is that it will increase the speed of your footwork, which is as important as the speed of your punch for overall performance speed.

As with all training routines, whether boxing, plyometrics or otherwise, do not forget to gently stretch before and after each session. If you are stiff and muscle-bound, this will not help with speed and agility.

Control Your Breath

One of the simplest ways to optimize your punching speed is to keep control over your breath. The rule is to exhale on the punch and inhale in between. When exhaling you can let the air out fast. On the resting, inhale between punches make sure that you take in as much air as possible to your lungs.

If you inadvertently hold your breath, or breath in uncontrolled/erratic gasps this will cause you to lose strength and speed all the more quickly.

Another benefit of controlled breathing is that it will relax your body and keep you focussed. Before throwing a round of punches, one tends to tense up in anticipation. However tense muscles do not contribute to speed, instead, they take away from it.

Therefore, before you even start training, begin by controlling taking long and deep breaths. Once you start your routine, you can then speed up your breathing to match your punches.

Relax Your Fists

When trying to land an ultra-fast punch, most boxers will engage almost all of the muscles in their arm and hand.

However, this will usually slow down a punch. Tensed muscles do not correlate to speed, as we said above.

Instead, the golden technique is to explode the punch outwards, utilizing momentum, technique and the rest of your body's muscles (back, shoulder, and even leg muscles). At the same time, focus on keeping your hand completely relaxed.

This can be a hard technique to master, as most of us are programmed to tense our fists. To practice, you can try letting your hands hang at your sides and then throw them at a target without flexing.

Now You Know How to Increase Punching Power and Speed

Now that you know how to increase punching power and speed, you are already one step on the way to a faster punch.

Every boxer has a peak level of speed which he or she can attain. Without training, however, it is unlikely that anyone will reach their peak point.

Conversely, if you train for speed on a consistent basis, over time you will begin to experience an uptick in the speed of your punches and your performance in general. This will give you the edge in the ring and keep you training at peak levels.

If you are in need of any gear for your training time, check out our range of boxing equipment where you can get the perfect gloves for your swing, or download our app for more helpful guides like this one.