MightyBands, home gym system

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Modding Your Punch

I was watching an episode of Top Gear (for those that don’t know, it’s a UK-based tv show featuring super cars, luxury cars, etc). On the show, the hosts were given a challenge – to make a regular car A (Renault) go as fast as sports car B (Mitsubishi) around the track, with a budget of 8K and 48 hours.

Given those restrictions, the hosts had to determine what modifications were quick and got the most bang for their buck. Initially, the first instinct is MORE POWER..but realistically they couldn’t do it due to the constraints of budget and time. They decided to switch to high performance brake pads so that you could brake later for the turns. Next they added performance tires so that they can stick to the road better and push off the ground and handle the turns. They also reduced the weight by removing all the chairs and replacing with sport performance models. Finally, they gave the engine a good tune up/regular maintenance. With these simple mods, they were able to shave off 10+ seconds!

It was interesting to see such quick mods make such a difference! They didn’t really do anything crazy like add a new engine or NOS to the system. They kept it relatively simple, using common sense.

The same idea, I thought, can be applied to punching power. Generally, we assume that in order to add more boom to our punches that we should crank up the weight training or start hitting the heavy bag even harder. What if there are some lower key modifications we can add to our training or to our technique/conditioning that can help give us some added boom?

1) Much like a tune up, how about just getting in shape and eating healthy? Getting your body in overall shape (and weight) can help decrease the overall load that our body has to carry and can increase endurance required for repeated firing of the muscles during punching. Proper nutrition will also ensure strong bones and lubricated joints.

2) Conditioning of the wrists and hand – I’m not saying that you should bash your hand into the wall bag. But a simple drill like holding the pushup position on your fists for 30 seconds can start training your wrists for proper alignment and hold a significant amount of force. This will start sending the signals to your body as to what’s required to maintain such a force, let alone a punch. Too much horse power (really fast punch or strong muscles) might be too much to handle (whether it’s for a car or for your wrists). In essence, your wrist becomes the limiting factor in how much force you can throw out there.

3) Grip – connecting yourself to the ground is essential when trying to stay planted to really throw a punch. Good shoes may help. But more importantly, proper body alignment from fist to ground would be essential. Take lots of time to train this – the power of the punch is proportional to this connection. An intimidating chest and huge arms is useless when it has nothing to “push against”.

4) Flexibility – in wing tsun, it’s a given that you should be stretching your tendons and ligaments. But don’t ignore the major muscle groups too – chest, back, triceps, biceps and shoulders. The greater the range of motion, the more room for boom in your punches.

Adding a bit of each of these to your repertoire might result in some decent gains after a year or so. Every bit helps, and it’s not particularly demanding.

Until then.

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