In boxing, I learned to relax your muscles, Learning to keep muscles loose, helps with speed and quickness. At the very end, clench and tense your fist before moment of impact.

When you tense/clench your fist,

  1. do you also tense/flex your forearms, arms, and shoulders along with it?
  2. or only the fist hand?

Trying to research this subject. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAfePImHFbQ

  • I could post from my experience, but I'm not a boxer. :) Commented May 12, 2022 at 11:59
  • This is actually quite an interesting question because karate teach it differently to boxing. In boxing it's 2 just the fist (although as the fingers contain no muscles it's actually the forearm) However karate teach to tense shoulder's too and as such don't retract the hand after the punch.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented May 12, 2022 at 18:02
  • Can I recommend Geoff Thompson's book "Real Punching"? He's a qualified coach in boxing, thai boxing, karate, etc and spent years as a doorman. It's probably the best "how to" MA book I've read. You'll find a lot of his material on YouTube if you want to check him out first.
    – Wudang
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 14:43
  • Hi @Wudang what does he say about this topic?
    – mattsmith5
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


Tense your arm and shoulder at the moment of impact when jabbing (unless you are throwing light, distracting feints). You will find that doing this will often cause one or both pecs (chest muscles) to tense, as well as muscles in your neck and back, such as your trapezius, your punching-side lateralis, and the smaller muscles supporting your scapula.

When punching whilst moving and when punching for reasons other than maximum power much of your body can remain loose and mobile, but when throwing a very hard punch such as a well-planted straight right or a stiff jab, you may actually tense your whole body momentarily upon contact, optimising the impact of your strike.

Note though that this tensing of the muscles will ideally become an unconscious process. Next time you hit a heavy bag, you may feel your body automatically bracing for the impact. If you don't do this, your punches will likely feel weak and you will may feel as though you are losing balance and/or being forced backwards. You will also find that no matter how well you brace at the moment of impact, your will lose power and balance if your posture is incorrect, and small improvements here (together with range and timing) can lead to substantial gains in your punching power and efficiency.

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