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How to Throw a Hook in Boxing

Updated on October 15, 2013

The Left Hook vs. The Right Hook

Learning how to throw a hook is about developing technique above all.

This is something of a debate but it largely depends on your fighting stance: are you orthodox or southpaw? (Southpaw is when you're left-handed so you jab with your right hand; orthodox is the opposite.)

For the orthodox fighter, a left hook will, generally, have less power: a fighter is punching from his lead hand, so his balance needs more wind-up time. This means that left hooks will usually be part of a combination but that they usually can't immediately follow a jab, since you're throwing your jab from the same hand.

On the other hand, a right hook will generate some more power (since it's farther back) and can also be thrown immediately after a jab.

But make no mistake: fighters like Mike Tyson were known for their vicious left-hook knockouts.

How to Throw The Hook

Throwing a hook in boxing is simple but requires plenty of practice. Here's the breakdown:

  1. Start by rotating your left foot
  2. Make sure that your body's weight is even on both feet
  3. Turn your hips with power
  4. Keep your elbow bent, and let the twist of your hips drag your arm for maximum power
  5. Target your opponent's jaw

Hook to the Body or Head?

Depending on the position of your opponent, you can punch his body or his head.

Usually, in boxing, you're going to end up hitting his body if he's throwing lots of punches. For example, if you slip one of his crosses or jabs, you're usually in a prime position to throw a powerful hook to his body. Although if you're precise you may also be able to come over his shoulder and land your hook on his head.

Body hooks will wear an opponent down, possibly breaking a rib. Never underestimate the power of this and use it to your advantage. Not every fight has to be won by knockout.

But certainly, many fights have been promptly ended by sudden hooks to the head. Be precise, pick your shots, but just don't become a headhunter. (It's said that Mike Tyson's ability started to deteriorate when he became too focused on looking for the knockout in every match, ignoring the fundamentals of good boxing.)

Hook Knockout in Muay Thai

How to Defend Against a Hook

Since a hook comes from a looping angle, simply ducking will evade it completely, leaving your opponent open to counterattack.

Immediately follow up with your own hook to the body, uppercut, or left hook to the head over the shoulder.

As always, whenever throwing any punch, always be sure to keep your face covered with your other hand. This way, if an opponent punches at the same time or tries to counter, you're already protected. This is just as important as throwing a strong hook.

Throwing a Hook Video Tutorial

Summary

The hook is a common punch in all types of fighting involving heavy punching, from boxing to MMA. The jab-jab-hook combination is one of the most popular and effective series of attacks a fighter can use.

Learning boxing is an art as much as science; there's only so much you can learn by reading. Practice, watch boxing tutorial videos, and film yourself for improvement. Be sure to practice the hook often, doing dozens of hooks from both sides, and always remember to keep your face protected with your other hand!


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