One of the more intriguing sports stories in 2020 has to be the return of former undisputed heavyweight world champion “Iron” Mike Tyson in an exhibition match against fellow legend Roy Jones Jr.
15 years removed from his last loss in a boxing ring, a 54-year-old Tyson looked nothing like the elder statesman many had expected.
Every hook and salvo he served up was packed with incredible power.
As a former professional athlete creeping into my fifties, I had a few throwback moments of my glory days in the octagon throwing punches.
It is normal to lose power as we age. Throwing a punch now at 46 doesn’t feel quite like it was in my twenties.
Nonetheless, it is still possible to retain some semblance of power with the proper training.
MORE STRENGTH, MORE POWER
Let’s get to the brass tacks. Strength is obviously a big factor behind a knockout punch.
Some form of resistance training is needed if you wish to maintain strength in your later years.
I’ve briefly covered the fundamentals behind a good strength building program for those in their 40s here, and it’s a great way to get started.
The next step to increasing your punching power is understanding the beauty behind a punch.
Many purists refer to boxing as ‘the sweet science’. If not for the intricate biomechanics that go unnoticed, it is the total body symphony – every limb and muscle moving in concert – which undergirds that association.
Throwing a stronger punch is about using momentum to generate enough force. That means activating the right muscles to produce the necessary torque.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
The transference of energy between various muscles is what gives a punch its power. Timing is especially crucial.
If I throw a hook, I want it to land at the same time I’m twisting my hips forward, simultaneously dropping my center of gravity down and my foot pivots on the floor to get that energy transference.
Anytime one of these motions is off, you will notice a significant difference in your power output.
Tyson – one of the most powerful boxers ever and probably as fierce a puncher as we will ever see – is not the best example.
The average joe and ordinary folks are likely the ones who will suffer most from lower punching power if they fail to synchronize these motions.
Remember that Tyson competes, or at least for the majority of his career, competed at the highest levels of boxing. While much of what we discuss here is likely ingrained muscle memory at this point, if Tyson does not get the timing right, even he will notice a dip in his power, which could spell the difference between getting clocked cold or getting his hand raised.
You’re never too old to start. Adopt a proper strength training routine and work on those motions.
At the end of the day, the best way to get better at punches is to keep throwing them. Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.