I have noticed a problem with my right punch: I do not turn my shoulders fully, so my right punch doesn't go as far as I expected.

I've tried training with dumbbells, trying to make a full turn with my shoulders and straightening my arm every time, which has helped; now it is, not absolutely OK, but definitely better.

Are there other, better ways to improve my punch without a bag? Without a bag matters - if there is a bag, the problem becomes simpler.

I think this right punch problem may be widespread. If you are trying to do a right punch very-very fast, to evade a possible counter (even on a long distance), there is a huge temptation not to throw it at a full length.

  • Not really a full answer - but I always found having a target at the distance I expect to reach and drilling to hit that effective. Have you tried this?
    – Collett89
    Nov 22, 2019 at 7:41
  • @Collett89, tried, I'll fix my question - I mentioned "without a bag". Sadly, bag is often unreachable, so, trying all my best without it.) Nov 22, 2019 at 7:58
  • Offtop, @Collett89, but cannot miss it - cool profile description! Nov 22, 2019 at 8:01
  • 1
    To enhance @Collett89's suggestion, the target doesn't have to be a bag. Use a piece of paper or cloth as the target.
    – Mike P
    Nov 22, 2019 at 10:18
  • 3
    Hanging a towel off of something requires very little mooring, and provides a tangible target. Nov 22, 2019 at 10:47

3 Answers 3


I think this right punch problem may be widespread. If you are trying to do a right punch very-very fast, to evade a possible counter (even on a long distance), there is a huge temptation not to throw it at a full length.

It is indeed a widespread problem—particularly in Muay Thai (MT) or Kick Boxing (KB). In boxing, you can make up for the distance by getting low, widening your stance, or bending forward. Doing so is usually not a good idea in MT/KB seeing how such an attempt can be met with a devastating knee to the face/head. I faced the same problem—I couldn't land my cross/straight right from a safe distance.

But that may not be the only problem. If you don't get sufficient rotation to land your cross/straight right, then chances are you may not be able to land the following left hook.

Are there other, better ways to improve my punch without a bag?

I think Sean Duggan and Amorphous Blob have given you great pointers—those are things that worked for me when I was working to solve the problem. I simply stood in front of my closet and threw 50 straight rights at the already hanging shirts and jackets.

There is one other thing that helped me immensely—thanks to Youtube. Most beginners (not saying that you are one) think that they have to roll their right shoulder forward when throwing the cross/straight right. While that is true, it is just half the story.

When you throw the cross/straight right, three things need to happen.

  1. You turn or roll your right shoulder forward.
  2. You need to make sure that you are turning your right hip towards the punchline (this is the the most important part).
  3. You need to turn or roll your right side lat muscle towards the punch line.

I started focusing on fueling the cross/straight right by turning my hip and the right lat muscle. I stopped being conscious of rolling or turning my right shoulder. It happened automatically when I practiced focusing on turning my hip and my lat towards the punchline (don't over commit though).

I worked on my "hip turning" for the cross (as well as for the left hook) using a resistance band (as Amorphous Blob mentions). See image below (ignore the poor drawing). But instead of attaching it to my arm, I tied it to my waist. I made sure I stood correctly in my orthodox stance, and that the knot was on my right hip (and not on the center of my lower back). I did a number of sets and reps throwing the cross focusing on the turning of my right hip and lat muscle.

enter image description here

The idea is essentially the same as training your punches with a band or a dumbbell. It teaches your hips to always turn or rotate with the cross/straight right - even when fatigued. This way you still hit the mark when you are tired and won't fall short.

Other technical things that may help closing the distance for the cross/straight right are getting low and taking a small step with the jab and bringing the back leg a little forward when throwing the cross/straight right.


Under the heading of providing a viable answer rather than a comment, the chief solution is providing yourself a target that requires you to turn your shoulder fully to create the full extension. You note that you can't hang a bag, but for the sake of providing a target, you don't need something that extensive. All you need is a point to strike. I personally recommend hanging a towel.

It does not have to be a towel specifically, but what you're providing is a flexible target that does not impart a great deal of stress on what you're mooring it on, and towels are very accessible. The concept is that it's a lightweight object that can be suspended from a wide variety of fixtures such as a thumbtack or a clothesline. The suspended item provides a target area that's a pretty fixed distance from where you are standing. The light weight, and the yielding nature, means that it will move away from your strike, while providing tactile feedback that you've made contact. There are several possibilities, but I like hanging a towel because it has a bit more surface area, which means it's less likely to tangle up in the striking limb, and it has a fairly uniform mass, which means it's less likely to swing away than a target pad on a rope.

Unlike a target on the wall, you don't have to worry about hurting yourself, or damaging the drywall, by projecting too far. There is a minor risk of doing damage if you do catch the suspended material with sufficient force to pull it from where you're suspending it, but again, the towel provides a good middle ground such that there's unlikely to be sufficient force to do much damage other than possibly unmooring your target and requiring you to hang it again.

  • Really only a comment this time: It might be worth noting that if you add footwork and thus varying distances, you have a better effect of training your sense of distance as soon as you mastered the static shoulder-turning. This way, you gain more confidence to not pull your strikes even in sparring because you just know your reach with fully turning the shoulders. Nov 23, 2019 at 8:20

Some people train with elastic bands - the fisted hand holds onto one end of it, I don't know what it's anchored to - but at the end of the punch you actually need more force to extend the punch fully. The benefit is it teaches you to have power at the end of the punch where it's needed, but should also get you in the habit of punching further.

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