Is it reasonable to punch a medicine ball to improve punching speed?

I mean one of these medicine balls that look like a stuffed soccer ball, not the ones that are quite hard, like a stuffed basketball ball.

All exercises that I found was throwing the ball. But wouldn't the closest to a punch be punching it? I realize that one problem with working with weights is that they are not really like a real punch, since when working with weights you have to decelerate at the end.

I don't have access to a sand sack, so, do not suggest 'just use a sand sack.'

  • 1
    Do you want improve power or speed as they may have different exercises and you questions are not really clear which one you prefer to be answered... (topic and detail)
    – mitro
    Aug 28 '16 at 0:13

I don't recommend punching a medicine ball. They are certainly not designed for that kind of abuse, and your risk of injury performing such an action is high.

I do believe that medicine ball work (especially with a partner) can help you develop more powerful punches. If you aren't familiar with plyometrics, take some time an read up on them. There are whole regimens of plyometric exercises which incorporate the medicine ball, and they can assist you in developing faster muscle response and 'explosive' power.

It is important to keep in mind that a powerful strike is generated by the whole of your anatomy. You will see more benefit in your striking speed, power, and endurance by strengthening your body as a whole than you will focusing solely on your arms, chest, and shoulders.


Punching a medicine ball is not really going to help you achieve your stated goals.

The reason people throw a medicine ball is because it requires explosive forward motion from the arms, which can help develop explosive arm strength. (Folks also do "jumping" pushups to get a similar effect). Of course, a punch isn't just the arms, it's also the torso turning, and footwork, etc. However, a medicine ball does allow people to develop some strength and power with the arms in this way.

Punching a medicine ball, however, doesn't necessarily give you strength building, nor speed, anymore than... I guess punching any other random object you can find.

Generally with punching targets you are looking at:

  • Hard vs. Soft (and safety for your hands in the process)

  • Weight, if the object can swing or recoil

  • Shape, and ease of delivering appropriate strikes to it (compare, for example, the classic heavy bag vs. the uppercut bags).

If you're worried about punching speed, find something you can punch safely and put force into it without hurting your knuckles or wrist (even if that turns out to be something like a towel hung on a clothes line) and focus on your form and coordination. Also realize that part of punching speed is your footwork and ability to generate force through your legs and torso, as well as how little you telegraph your attack (which is where you see people who look "slow" if you watch them fight, but they're constantly getting hits in if you're IN the fight... it's hard to read if you're the target.)

If you're worried about power, then look to targets that provide more resistance and fit the factors I mentioned above.


First, your question is about power, but your explanation talks about speed. Thankfully these two are inseparable.

Punching a medicine ball will not have any special benefit, and all the below are essential.

In martial arts, "power" (really momentum) is the product of mass and speed, but because of the complexity of human motion, many things contribute to this, including:

  • Basic fitness and reasonable overall muscle tone. This article about fast twitch muscle is an interesting read, but be aware that the martial artist shouldn't gain too much bulk, and weight training should be seen as supplementary.
  • Specific muscle tone, especially of the core, and the lats, deltoids and rotator cuff (for striking), and the glutes and all muscles around the hip joints (for kicking).
  • Good form, and movement that is not wasteful of energy, and that has no superfluous elements. This includes good posture.
  • Relaxation, which allows the body to be rooted and also not use unnecessary muscle tension, which slows down technique and makes it cumbersome.
  • Skill and co-ordination, which allows the body to move as a unit, so that power is generated from the entire body, not just an arm or leg. This specifically concerns how the striking limb moves in relation to the rest of the body.
  • Practice striking and kicking on a heavy bag, at medium power 80% of the time, and at relaxed full power for the rest.
  • 2
    Ouch my physics!⸮… Power is the rate of doing work. Mass times speed (velocity) is momentum. It does not change a good answer, just my old pedantic self had to comment. Oct 7 '16 at 14:33
  • True in strict terms of physics. Power in martial arts is basically the result of momentum, which produces an effect on a target.
    – DvS
    Oct 7 '16 at 16:50

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