Developing and increasing the speed of your hands is a very important aspect for all those who are into Martial Arts. When you’re a boxer you want to develop skills where you are able to land a punch before your opponent can as it can give you a big advantage even if the difference is just a matter of seconds.
It’s a common saying that Speed thrills but the basic of improving your hand speed begin from your ability to relax. Relaxing helps your mind be focussed while at the same time it is attentive.
Basic theories that go behind punching are that speed is not power and a fast punch may not necessarily be able to do as much damage as you expect. You’ve to put in your body weight to it.
As Bruce Lee used to practice, one must move their entire body one inch and then hit because it will do much more damage as compared to moving just your arm to about one foot.
Also, while punching it is important that you put in your legs to generate more power and also always punch within the range, don’t overextend your arms as it will not be able to land strongly against your opponent, leaving you vulnerable.
For improving your hand speed
1. Improve your technique
Just working towards increasing speed is of no use if your technique isn’t sharp and precise. Therefore make sure that your technique is perfect so that you can execute your punches with precision. Also, don’t waste your time in telegraphing. It is a giveaway move as well as results to you losing precious seconds.
2. Work on your psyche
You know that your mind is the master of your body when it wants to be therefore it is important that you put your focus into the speed of hand.
3. Work with hand weights
It is important to use weights at times during training because it helps you learn to balance as well as build your strength and stamina which allows you to fight longer, faster and with more power.
4. Practice the speed focused workouts
Whether it is shadow boxing, training on the bag or sprinting etc.; focus on your speed and aim for the best that you can do. The speed focussed workouts help you become quicker overall.
5. Learn to relax and stay calm
Keep your shoulders loose and breathe in a controlled manner no matter what the situation is. You’ll be surprised at what wonder this can do.
Now let’s move on to more specific bits about how to increase your hand speed.
Tips on how to increase your hand speed
1. Shadow boxing
Shadow boxing is one of the most important raw speed training exercises. This basically allows you to practice your techniques without stressing your hand or joints. This helps you improve your footwork as well as balance, coordination and form along with other things.
It also helps improve your speed because this is a raw form of exercise and there is nothing weighing your hands down. With this, you can punch as fast as you can manage. With shadow boxing improve your technique as well as punch speed.
Try the left jab, hooks, uppercuts and other movements. Remember to mix up the combinations which will help you during the actual fight.
2. Speed endurance with fast punching on heavy bag
Moving a punching bag takes more energy and so does punching your opponent. Therefore, this routine will develop your endurance so that you can manage to throw punches all through the fight with equal force and speed as you do in the first round.
Do variations at different intervals and punching combinations. You will realize that while you’re punching a heavy bag, your arms and shoulders will slow you down when they start becoming tired but with regular practice, the endurance will improve.
However, it is important to note that one shouldn’t get too ambitious and try to do it all in one day. Take breaks and let your arms relax and then try again at full speed. Breaks are as important as the actual training.
3. Resistance training
Including exercises like push-ups, resistance bands and isometric training helps you build yourself physically which results in building muscles and speed. Include combinations of extended push-ups, medicine ball push-ups, clapping push-ups and more. Your trainer can advise what’s best for you.
Resistance bands help you improve your stamina because there is a constant force which restricts you. You can also indulge into activities like swimming for resistance training. Similarly, Isometric training helps teach you how to best use your energy.
4. Use speed bags
As the name itself suggests, these bags are best for those who wish to work on their timings and precision. It also helps you develop your reflexes. However it is important that you learn the basics of a speed bag before getting into it in terms of the height it should be hung at, the posture, how to move your hands, how to gain momentum etc.
Just as it is with any sport or exercise, stretching is as important for Martial Arts training as well. This will avoid your muscles from becoming sore and also improve your flexibility. Improving your flexibility allows you to improve the efficiency of your movement.
For instance, a person with more flexibility will be able to kick much higher and be able to do it with more power. In other words we can sum it up by saying that stretching will not add muscle but will allow you to use the muscle more efficiently.
Remember that if your mind can think it, your body can do it! Stay focused and practice to make yourself perfect. Your trainer can advise you best routines that you should do and the combinations because some variations help you focus on one aspect whereas there are other variations when you want to concentrate on other things. As important as it is to know a technique, it is equally important that you execute it properly.
If you just consider punching as throwing your hands through your opponent then that will result to you coming out of the ring very badly bruised so, learn your punching techniques and improve upon them day by day. No one expects you to do it all in one day so you shouldn’t do that to yourself either.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day and good things take time. Give it time, focus, dedication and all that you’ve got because to be the best, you’ve to do your best.