The jab is probably the most commonly used strike in boxing and kickboxing. While there are many uses for it and many ways to throw it, let’s go back to basics and look at the best ways to land your straight lead hand on the bag.

Tip #1 – Keep your elbow tucked in

When trying to generate power into a punch, it can be tempting to flare your elbow out which turns the punch into a wild swing. The jab isn’t particularly powerful when compared to the other punches, so try to focus on technique more than power. Keep your elbow tucked in as you throw the punch and imagine aiming straight down the middle towards your target. This helps to improve accuracy and speed.

Tip #2 – Shoot your shoulder forward

As well as extending your arm into the jab, make sure the shoulder shoots forward and comes up towards the chin too. This not only helps to protect the chin from any oncoming strikes (in a hypothetical fight situation!), but it also creates more distance between you and the target – keeping you further away while also being offensive. No punches ever use just the arms – getting your hips and shoulders into each punch creates more impact and protects your face and body at the same time.

Tip #3 – Don’t lean forwards

Another common mistake people make when trying to pack power into their punches is to throw their whole body into them. Try to keep your weight even over both feet (check your back foot isn’t lifting off the ground), and if you find yourself too far away from the target then simply take a step forwards with your front foot into the punch. Bear in mind that if you’re turning your hip and shoulder into a punch as you should be, this should also help to make up even more of your distance from the bag. When you land your jab, aim to have almost full extension in the arm and a twist in the hip and shoulder.

Tip #4 – Keep your other hand up in guard

Your lead hand might be the one landing the punch, but take notice of what the rest of your body is doing too. Just like being mindful of your feet, shoulders and hips is super important, so is the placement of your other hand. Keep it up in guard, fist by the side of your face and elbow tucked in, to remain defensive while you throw your jab. Having your other arm flailing around uncontrollably can also throw you off balance.

Tip #5 – Keep your chin down

Bringing your shoulder forward while throwing your jab will help you to stay tight and compact, minimising the target for your hypothetical opponent. Keeping your chin tucked in adds to this. It’s pretty simple – if your chin is in the air, you’re more likely to get hit. Keep your chin down and eyes forward.

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Louisa Willoughby