Boxing Basics Part V: Punching – Hook & Uppercut

by A Manly Guest Contributor on August 11, 2010 · 12 comments

in Health & Sports

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Chad Howse who is doing a series of posts for AoM on the basics of boxing.

As I mentioned in a previous article, it’s always the punch you don’t see coming that results in a knockout. And the hook and the uppercut are two punches that, if thrown effectively, can catch your opponent off guard.

I’ll start off by outlining a couple of rules:

  1. Don’t throw a lead uppercut. That is, don’t throw an uppercut unless it is preceded by another punch.
  2. Don’t “show” your hook unless you’re using it to set up another punch. A hook is best thrown when your opponent doesn’t see it coming, mainly following a cross or an uppercut.
  3. Throw both punches with bad intentions.

I’ll get into the specifics in the following video, then list some tips at the end of the article.

Feel free to add more tips in the comments section, there were some great ones in the last article.



Put your body into it

Every punch starts from the ground up, but this is especially true with the hook and the uppercut. Your hips are the most important aspect of each punch as your arm doesn’t extend like it does when you’re throwing a cross or a jab.

Let your hips lead the punch, with your shoulder and arm following.

Ali demonstrates the power of the hook.

Protect yourself when throwing the punch

When guys throw a hook, a lot of the time they throw their chin out there as well, giving their opponent a nice big target. Keep your opposite hand up and your chin down throughout the duration of the punch.

I mentioned that it’s always the punch that isn’t seen or expected that results in a knockout, well, when you’re throwing a punch the last thing you’re expecting is to get hit with a solid one, so keep that in mind.

Punches in bunches

Ideally, throw either punch at the end of a combination or flurry, or at least after throwing another punch.

A good combination to set up an uppercut: throw a jab, cross, hook then finish with a solid uppercut.

To set up a powerful hook: throw it after throwing a cross. You can even throw one off of a jab which is usually unexpected.

Understand your opponent

To land a hard punch in the right spot you don’t want your opponent to be expecting it, but you also don’t want them to be guarding that spot.

If you’re throwing a left hook, you don’t want his right hand up at the side of his head. To get it out of the way, throw a jab, cross or uppercut which will get his mind off the middle of his body, opening up the sides.

If you’re throwing an uppercut, precede it with a hook to get his guard on the side, opening up the middle of his body, making him vulnerable to an uppercut.

Focus on speed and accuracy, not power

You hear it in baseball a lot: “He struck out swinging for the fences.”

Well it’s no different with boxing. Loading up on your punches is like having a “tell” in poker: it gives your opponent a head start to defend or land something of his own.

Focus on speed; power is something that shouldn’t be forced. If it is, you risk premature fatigue, and missing your target.

Boxing Basics Part I: How to Wrap Your Hands
Boxing Basics Part II: Stance & Footwork
Boxing Basics Part III: Defense
Boxing Basics Part IV: Punching – Jab & Cross
Boxing Basics Part V: Punching – Hook & Uppercut
Boxing Basics Part VI: Punching Combinations 


Chad Howse is a amateur boxer and personal trainer who’s passionate about helping clients achieve satisfying results in a short amount of time, so they can get the most out of life. For fitness tips and inspiration check out his blog, Chad Howse Fitness, sign up to get two free ebooks, and subscribe to his RSS feed.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carlo d. August 12, 2010 at 2:10 am

This is just great. I am currently on my second month since I started boxing. I was inspired by Theodore Roosevelt to take it up. Now, I am loving the fundamentals that I am learning from these blogs. Keep this up and more!

2 Yavor August 12, 2010 at 9:56 am

Great video demonstration, Chad.

3 James Fowlkes August 12, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Damn, this is great stuff, Chad!

4 Lando August 12, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Three punch combo: Jab =>Cross=>Hook. Great video Chad I love this series.

5 Chad August 12, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Thanks guys!

I’m happy you’re enjoying the series, it’s been fun to put together.

- Chad

6 alon August 19, 2010 at 10:07 am

thanks man your articles help me in improving my punches the thing is can you add good combinations for southpaws?

7 Daniel Putman August 23, 2010 at 8:44 am

Chad, thanks so much. I do a lot of sparring in my kung-fu class, I’ve done many fight clubs and I’m always looking for more wisdom in reguards of “the sweet Science.” Does anyone have good advise for ways to “take” a hit? It seems that reguardless of how experienced you are, unless your fighting a total nood, you are sure to take a hit or two. Are there things to keep in mind for that?

8 Chad August 23, 2010 at 9:28 pm

@alon – I’ll be going over that stuff in the last and possible final article…

@Daniel – take a look at the article about defence in this series. As far as getting hit, yes you’re always going to get hit, but you can choose where you’re going to get hit by eliminating the other options. If your hands are high, elbows tight, you shouldn’t have to move a whole lot to block a punch. A good, tight guard doesn’t give a whole lot of options. Couple that with good head movement and you shouldn’t receive any damaging blows.

A punch to the forehead or hairline doesn’t hurt a whole lot – that’s where your skull is strongest. A punch to the mid to lower abdominal doesn’t hurt too much either, it’s the solarplex, side rib shots that you have to protect against most.

Keep your chin down and your guard up and know where it’s okay to take a punch and where it isn’t. Focus on protecting where you’re vulnerable most.

9 Brian August 25, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Chad – you say to never lead with an uppercut but what is your opinion of the “jabbercut?” I’m having trouble finding any gifs or video of it but Frank Mir used it with great success in his fight against Minotauro Nogueira.

10 Chad August 25, 2010 at 11:18 pm

@Brian – the jabbercut or up-jab is a great weapon to have in your arsenal of punches. Keep you eye on my youtube page, I’ll get a video done soon for that punch – one of my favorite punches. It really allows you to work different angles if you know how to throw it effectively through your opponents guard.

11 Coach November 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Small correction. The caption under the photo of Ali & Frasier says “Ali demonstrates the power of a hook.” It wasn’t a hook Ali was throwing. It was a straight right hand that caught Frasier on the left side of his face.

12 Ken February 23, 2013 at 6:51 am

Coach is right, a right hander doesn’t throw hooks with his right hand. Hooks are with his left and roughly the same punch with his right is a “cross” because of stance. When the need came on me to actually “box” an opponent I found my best 3 punch combo to be, left jab, right uppercut, left hook on the temple as it snapped up from the uppercut. But you don’t look to fit a particular combo in, you throw the one that fits in.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter