Hi guys, I’m Mai-Linh Dovan, Certified Athletic Therapist and Founder of Rehab-U Movement and Performance Therapy.

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In this week’s video, we’re going to talk about what goes into a knock-out punch.

And I really always find that funny because never ever in my life, have I ever punched someone nor could I ever imagined punching someone. But I’m still interested in punching because I’ve worked with some boxers from a rehab perspective. So I’m interested in the biomechanics of a knock-out punch.

So what happens, what goes into delivering that rear hand punch?

We know that rotation is an important component in boxing and we know that the hips are important. For example, if we’re looking at that rear hand punch, we know that the important elements of the punch or going to be that rear leg drive that front leg braking and transmission and then there’s some stretch shortening cycle activity in the trunk.

A really old study by Filiminov I think it was, showed that in boxing, leg strength was probably the most important factor, and the more experienced the boxer, the more leg strength was a factor, specifically that rear leg extension.

So that back leg extension is really, what goes into creating a lot of power in that punch. So from a mobility perspective, not only do you need to ensure that your athletes can get into that, you know, have that hip flexor flexibility, but they need to also be able to really generate extension, really generate good extension in that hip extended position.

So, for example, if you did have a boxer who had hip flexor tension and tightness, or recovering from a hip flexor injury, you want to get that length back, get that range of motion back, but you also want to be able to get it into an effective extended position and generate that extension power.

Here’s a really neat exercise to get into a stretched position but then generate hip extension at that end range of motion.   So it’s really like getting an active hip flexor stretch, really interesting after you have released them, for example, but also really getting the extensors active in that end range. So we’re going to go into a long lunge position. Our athlete is in a long lunge position and what I want him to do is he’s going to try to straighten that leg, but lift up his pelvis as little as possible. Really, he’s trying to extend that knee, push that heel back so that he’s really getting contraction of the hip extensors and a nice stretch in the front of the hip.

It would be entirely different if I let him come up, he would totally be able to lengthen that leg, so I’m asking him to try and lengthen that leg, extend that knee, while lifting the pelvis as little as possible and holding that contraction. Okay, so I might have him do this for one time, 20 seconds or I might have him do it for 5 x 10 seconds depending on his ability to tolerate that position.

And we always like to follow up on our mobilization work with activation work, right? So now we’re creating awareness in that range of motion.  And I often see Pallof presses used for anti-rotation and I think sometimes all we need to do is take an exercise that works really well and just tweak it to make it a little bit more specific. I love the Pallof press, I think it works really well but if you’re doing it in an athletic stance, you’re getting more or less of a specific effect than what you want to get, for example, for that punch.

So with the biomechanics of the punch, we know that that front leg is working in internal rotation, that back leg is working in abduction and external rotation. So if we get him in that exact position and he does his Pallof press from here, this makes it just that much more specific so he can pull towards the chest and press away, or we could just do a static hold at the end as well and have that anti-rotation component as well. So the idea is, this is just a little bit more specific than if he was in an athletic stance or even half kneeling because that front leg is working in internal rotation that back leg is working in external rotation and abduction. Same way that they work in a rear hand punch.

So after we’ve created space and after we’ve controlled that space, that range of motion, we want to load it now. We want to start to focus on distributing that force and we want to use exercises that are focused on the hips generating the power.  And we start with a loaded exercise that we do in a more slow and controlled manner. Ideally, if you have a rip trainer, that’s great. But don’t worry, you could replicate this with just bands if you needed to.

So, he’s going to get it into his specific position and he’s going slow and controlled here, so we can have a lot of tension on the band and he’s just working through the motion of getting the hips to create that rear leg hip extension, abduction and external rotation, so really working on loading that hip.  The arms follow through with the rip trainer, that’s what’s interesting, the arms follow through, but really, we’re focusing on getting that hip to contribute to that motion.

If you were having difficulty tying this in, then you could lose the arms and do something where the bands are attached to the torso and he can just focus on rotating through the hips, okay?

Then we do more dynamic exercise, now medball throws are pretty common as a dynamic exercise, but what we don’t want him to do here is we don’t want him to use that stretch shortening action of the trunk. We want to limit that, so he can really focus on generating that power through the hips. So, he starts in an end range position and then it just shoots through with the hip, good. So, it’s just a subtle difference between actually stretching and then throwing the med ball to starting from a dead start and just really using the hip to generate the power through to the med ball.

All right guys, so like I said, that’s what goes into the biomechanics of the punch and although I would never punch someone, I’m interested in those biomechanics and you should be too in the sense that when were working on rotation from a global perspective, yes, we’re going to get some kind of transfer but if we’re rehabbing a specific structure or we’ve restored and created range of motion in a specific area like the hips, then it’s nice to be able to focus on, how do the hips function in that rear hand punch to generate the power and and use that instead of just using a random rotation exercise.

We’re just trying to bring the focus more to that rear leg hip drive, because we know from a biomechanical perspective that that’s an important component of punching power.

So, hopefully that gives you a little bit of insight on more specific exercises if you’re working with boxers, and we have plenty of other exercises for other sports or other components of rotation on the channel. So, if you haven’t subscribed to the YouTube channel, yet, you definitely should and we’ll see you there.