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If You Can Lift a Lot of Weight You Can Punch Very Hard

Updated on July 6, 2019
Lorra Garrick profile image

Former ACE-certified personal trainer Lorra Garrick has trained men & women for fat loss, muscle building, more strength and more fitness.

Professional boxers train to be professional boxers. Even if they’re pretty strong in the gym and able to bench press a lot of weight, they’ll still have a good hard punch due to their training.

And behind that punch is mass, which is why heavyweight boxers aren’t pitted against bantam weights.

But what if you’ve never trained in boxing? What if all you’ve ever done is train with weights? This brings a whole new light to the issue

Lifting Heavy Weight Doesn’t Give You a Harder Faster Punch

The bench press, at first glance, seems like the same movement that one executes to throw a punch. But the two motions are actually quite different.

Pushing heavy weight (as in the bench press) is a slow movement on a very strictly tracked path, while delivering a knockout punch is a fast, whip-like movement with a variable path.

Have you ever seen smaller guys going at a heavy bag? They’ll slug it with a force that seems out of proportion to their muscle size.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering how many people have actually witnessed big bodybuilder men struggling to land swift hard punches on a bag.

Years ago I went to a gym that had cardio kickboxing classes – with heavy bags that were weighted down to the floor with water.

One day I was on the floor training while a class was in progress (full view to the workout floor), and I noticed two huge men working out on a bag (usually there were two people to a bag).

I had seen these men before on several occasions lifting weights – a lot of weight. They were massive, with proportions you’d see in a pro bodybuilding competition.

Yet both were throwing punches in slow motion, as though underwater. I thought they were warming up, but they kept punching this way, while everyone else was punching faster and harder. These two brutes punched this way for the entire class, which I was able to easily observe from the area I was training.

Certainly, those guys could easily pick up a smaller adult and slam them down. But throwing a punch? They were lost. With repeated practice, though, they could improve their punching speed.

Now bear in mind that heavyweight boxers aren’t built like bodybuilders or strongman athletes. They certainly have pronounced muscle development, but in a different way than does Mr. Olympia or the guy who could jog with two huge logs over his giant shoulders.

Lifting Weights Involves Pushing and Pulling

Punching does not. Lifting involves exerting force against a stationary object, but the duration of exertion is relatively long when compared to the duration of a single punch.

Furthermore, the goal isn’t to lift as quickly as possible (other than for Olympic style weightlifting, for which speed is the only way to get the weight up). The goal is to lift as heavy as possible for those wanting strength or size.

As the resistance gets heavier, the speed does not get faster. A bench press of 405 pounds as a one-rep max takes as long as a bench press of 135 pounds as a one-rep max for a beginner.

Punching is a snapping motion, whereas lifting is not.

Speed is the focus. Look at how lightweight a whip is, but you certainly wouldn’t want to be struck with one – due to its speed.

A punch is the most force in the least amount of time – like a whip. The ability to press heavy weight is not necessary.

Lifting heavy weight will not improve a snapping or whipping motion. If it did, then pro tennis players (a “snapping” sport) would be built like bodybuilders so that they could serve 125 mph and slug out volleys at 90 mph. And baseball pitchers would be huge.

Technique of Punching Differs from that of Lifting

Those two men I saw clearly were not executing proper punching technique. It almost looked as though some of their slow-mo punches were pushes into the bag.

Anyone who has ever trained in any kind of sport where punching is involved (hard-style martial arts, kickboxing, cardio kickboxing, boxing) knows that the whole body is involved when delivering the proper punch.

A good cardio kickboxing instructor will walk around the class while the participants are punching to correct any flawed technique. Even proper foot placement is crucial when delivering punches, not to mention the hips.

In summary, the strongest guy in the gym isn’t necessarily the best puncher, and in fact, you can bet on that.

The fastest, hardest puncher might be the 160-pound dude on the elliptical machine.


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    • Drshaikot profile image

      Dr md shaikot babu 

      21 months ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      It's true. Many many thanks Lorra Garrick for your nice information. I read your topic. It's so interesting and helpful.


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