6 WAYS TO INCREASE STRIKING POWER
By: Ronnie Najjar
By: Ronnie Najjar
By: Ronnie Najjar
Power intimidates opponents, makes your shots count, and puts away fighters. Pretty convenient. How long does it take to develop power? If you train for power and practice the ideas I mention below- you’ll see an improvement from the very first day. After a month of consistent and deliberate practice, you’ll feel a significant and more permanent increase in power, and after 2 years you’ll have a good solid base.
Do you know how hard you can hit? How often do practice your most explosive strikes? If you were like most people, it’d be occasional at best. From my experience, close to zero percent of most people I’ve seen practice, let alone know what their hardest strike feels like. Just yesterday, I was holding pads for one of my guys. I asked for his hardest kick. Then he gave it- or he thought he did. I knew he could do better. I called out 70%, (meaning that’s what I rated his kick). Then he tried harder- 75%! Then he got angry and tried even harder- 82%! Then the whole house came down- 92%! Thank you. Do that, every kick!
Intensity is a habit. Intensity is the opposite of pacing. Empty the tank every round and watch your power increase over the weeks. This could be the most important aspect to power. PUSH yourself, push your limits, explode even harder, dig your knees into the belly pad, and rip through the heavy bag with your punches- empty the gas tank. Do NOT pace yourself if you’re training for intensity. There’s a time and place for pacing, and it’s not when you’re aiming to develop power. Aim to work above your 90%.
A good dancer is a relaxed dancer. I’m not a dancer but everyone knows if you’re stiff you can’t move gracefully. Same in Thai Boxing, MMA, boxing, or any combat sports. Loose muscles allow you to move freely, use momentum and rhythm which makes it easier to transitions from kick-to-knee-to-punch. Looseness also improves speed, which I’ll talk about in a minute. To my “stiff” students, I always use the prompt words; floppy, whip, loose, or flick when explaining what to focus on.
Here are a few tips to help with “looseness”:
• Try relax your nervous system, and feel “floppy”
• Don’t focus on power. It sounds counter intuitive but it works. Focus on being floppy and accurate. Power will come.
• Breathe. Sometimes it’s as simple as not holding your breath!
• Relax your facial muscles. Starting with the face, and the body follows.
• Don’t try too hard. Some people tense up because they put pressure on themselves to get everything right: Allow yourself to make some mistakes and loosen up!
A little tweak can synchronize all your body weight to move in one targeted direction- ideally through your opponent!
A small fine-tune can generate more speed, connect shots with better accuracy, improve angles, and transfer weight more efficiently- which will all translate to more power.
A small tweak can happen in one session, and increase your power dramatically.
That is why Technique is King. It really is the best bang for your buck.
Look for those tweaks. Study the details.
It’s important to strike from a solid foundation. The balls of your feet should be pressing on the ground, ready to shift weight in any direction. Bend your knees and make sure your quad muscles are flexed. This will allow you to generate weight and power from your legs through to your strikes.
Daily habit: In the mirror, analyze your stance. Where are your hands, elbows, and feet? Make sure you’re feeling the weight on the balls of your feet. Now move around, and feel “heavy” and strong. If someone should push you from any direction, you should be heavy to budge- like a solid wall.
If a car crashes at 20 miles per hour it’s one thing, and if it crashes at 100 miles, it’s destruction. That’s what you want your strikes to be like- fast and explosive. Remember this equation: Strength + Speed = Power.
To practice speed, combine looseness with intensity.
The more balanced you are on your feet, the more you’re able to control and direct your weight to where you want it to go. Balance is efficient- maximizing power by utilizing and directing all your body weight onto a target.
Also, the more balanced you are, the quicker you recover back into your stance after an exchange. This dramatically improves your timing since you’re ready to attack again- ready for the next move- instead of wasting time and energy trying to regain balance and composure.
Daily habit: If you find yourself getting sloppy on bags or pads- you’re off balance. Slow down till you get to a point where you can maintain balance, and work from there slowly speeding up until you hit that sloppy threshold again. Find that breaking point and work there. Never continue if you are unbalanced, you’ll just reinforce bad habits that will take twice as long to unlearn.
Real deliberate training for power is often neglected, or at least not trained enough in gyms. These principles need to be practiced till they’re a habit in training, and constantly reviewed. Anyone can increase their power wherever they are on the spectrum. Remember- Power fighters are scary fighters. Have fun.