Boxing Basics Part VI: Punching Combinations

by A Manly Guest Contributor on September 1, 2010 · 16 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.

So we’ve gone over the various punches and how to defend those punches; now it’s time to get into some combinations.

A single punch by itself is pretty much useless. You need a jab to set up a cross, or a cross to set up a hook, or a hook to set up an uppercut and so on. If you’re just throwing one shot punches your opponent will see each punch coming, adjust, and land a flurry in return.

In the video below I go over 3 basic combinations, and as with each article in this series, I’ve put a few tips after the video.



Using the jab to measure distance

On the double jab + cross, throw out two fast and powerful jabs as you’re coming closer to your opponent. The jabs will do two things: allow you to measure distance to set up your cross and keep your opponent’s guard busy.

He’ll be concentrating on how to defend the two quick jabs. The cross will come from a different angle and will hit him a lot harder than the jabs. Step in with that lead foot to get more distance on your cross as well.

Make the last punch count

I’ve heard guys say that they throw each and every punch at 100%. And I guess to each their own, but that’s an easy way to fatigue early, especially if some of those punches miss or are blocked.

By throwing a few “lighter” punches out there, you won’t be expending as much energy, and your opponent might also loosen up a bit which will open him up for the punch that you throw at 100%, with bad intensions.

On the jab + cross + hook combination, you can throw a quick jab, hard cross and hard hook, then finish the combo up with a few jabs; it’s entirely up to you. But make sure you’re mixing things up in tempo, speed, and power.

Don’t be repetitive

Don’t have a pattern to what you’re doing. Don’t always throw a double jab then cross; mix it up by throwing 1,2 or 3 jabs and then finishing with a cross. Mix things up when you’re in there sparring.

The easiest way to knock someone out is to know what they’re going to do next. I knocked a guy out because he kept on throwing the same combination: 2 jabs + cross + hook. I parried the two jabs, rolled with the cross, then fired a cross back before he could get the hook in there. I’ve also been hit pretty hard because I was punching with a pattern, not fun!

Don’t have a pattern to what you’re doing, instead……

Work with what he gives you

You shouldn’t just be throwing mindless combinations at your opponent, or even at a heavy bag for that matter.

See what your opponent gives you in the way of openings and exploit them. If he keeps his right hand down and he’s an orthodox fighter, set up a combination that ends in a hook. Get him thinking about other areas of his body, then land a hard punch to his weakest point.

If your opponent keeps his hands really high, go to work on his body. It hurts more getting hit with a solid body punch in the right spot than it does getting hit in the head.

With the heavy bag you have to play make believe. Pretend there are openings, pretend there are punches coming at you as well. If you’re just throwing the same punches repeatedly at a heavy bag you won’t get as good a workout, and you’re not going to be improving.


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.

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

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jove September 2, 2010 at 3:51 am

Why are people getting upset that AoM posted an overview of firearm info, but nobody is upset about a guide to boxing? Both guns and martial arts are designed to inflict bodily harm onto another human being.

2 Tom September 2, 2010 at 5:55 am

Great article!
I don’t think one should guide himself with only the articles that are presented here. It would be ver negligent to feel like you’re ready to box or ready to use a firearm just because you read some posts on those subjects.

I think they’re meant to show us a part of some disciplines or activities that we’re not familiar with. If you’re interested in what you read you should read more on the subject and talk to men who know about these, not just feel like you know everything about certain matter because you’ve read a couple posts about it.

3 alon September 2, 2010 at 7:45 am

Great article!
i will definetly use these combinations
and the tip about mixing things up is really useful

4 jeff September 2, 2010 at 3:50 pm

great article/tips chad, you make it look easy (i know its not)

5 Tim Chilcote September 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Thanks for another good article. I’m just getting back into the sport and could use some tips on a workout for building stamina and endurance specific to boxing. Punching and defense is all for naught when legs turn to spaghetti and hands get heavy.

6 Ryan September 2, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Another great article in the series, keep it up Chad.

7 Jaime September 4, 2010 at 5:21 pm

This has been a great series of articles.

8 Chad September 4, 2010 at 9:41 pm

@tim – I have a few workouts/articles on my blog covering boxing type workouts, or on my youtube page as well. One thing I would suggest is have a goal of building up to 180 second sets (a round in boxing). Start with 30-60 second sets, add 10 seconds to each set every week. (to add time, use drop sets, supersets, and eventually circuits of 3-4 exercises done back-to-back).

9 Scentsy Man September 5, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I have always preferred to counter. This tends to be more effective in an mma style matchup. But still, I base my punch combination off of the openings my opponent gives me. Thanks for the article.

10 Edge of David September 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm

@ Jove Interesting point, but remember most men on this site have a curious nature. For example I can watch the History channel on the history of chocolate and enjoy it, or watch a show about sharks, or how the universe was made etc. Just how many guys are. It is nothing more than curiosity. Also, Chad was talking about how to box, not how to attack someone.

11 Spencer September 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm

You want a workout? Checkout the workout that Bernard Berrian does. Rumor has it, he’s going to be getting his own reality/workout show soon. But first, he’s going to be on Minute To Win It on NBC, Tuesday night at 8pm. Check it out!!

12 Darrell September 7, 2010 at 1:57 am

What would be a good combination that incorporated the uppercut?

13 Chad September 7, 2010 at 2:02 am

@Darrell – Tyson loved throwing a hook to the body + uppercut with the same hand. Other good ones, jab + cross + hook + uppercut + hook ; jab + cross + uppercut … Combinations are great to practice, it’s good to have them in your repertoire but first and foremost you want to take advantage of what your opponent gives you, which will determine the punches you throw, or set him up so you can land what you’re looking to land.

14 Jonny | September 11, 2010 at 11:01 am

Great video, though you could get more power with a bit more of a twist from the hips.

15 Greg Hall September 12, 2010 at 8:04 am

3 things in boxing that win fights.
1. combinationjs
2. combinations
3 combinations.

Good article Chad

16 nate March 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm

To answer you jove, boxing is much less lethal than guns, its not as big of an issue and its a sport,unlike guns

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter