In boxing, a lead hook is one of the more difficult punches to land, but also more difficult to defend against if thrown right. It’s also an efficient punch – you don’t need to throw it very hard to generate a lot of power! At Legends, we include plenty of lead hook combos and setups into our curriculum. Make sure you’re not making these mistakes when stepping into a boxing gym!
Pivoting The Front Foot
This is a controversial one. Most boxing gyms will tell you to pivot your front foot as you throw your lead hook. What they won’t tell you is why. Why not? Because there isn’t a reason to do it in the first place!
The lead hook’s power comes from 3 primary sources. Pushing off the ground with your lead leg, rotating your hip, and transferring your weight from the front leg to the rear leg. None of these require you to twist your foot into the ground. Furthermore, pivoting has other negatives. It causes you to focus too much on the foot instead of the important mechanics, and it leaves you off balance for your next punch.
Check out Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and his lead hooks. Whether to the body or the head, weight transfer and rotation are the keys. His foot doesn’t pivot at all. Your foot may naturally turn slightly when you throw a lead hook, which is fine. The key is to not focus on turning it deliberately – it takes away from the things you should be focusing on. Keep that in mind, and enter the boxing gym throwing hooks like a pro!
Dropping Your Elbow
As the great striking coach Greg Jackson puts it, imagine a large container truck. Now, imagine the truck slamming into something. For maximum force, both cab and container should be in a straight line.
How does this translate to boxing? The front or cab of the truck is your fist, and the container behind it is your forearm and elbow. Now that you’ve learnt how to transfer your weight and turn your hip, it would be a shame if the force is diluted at the moment on impact because your cab and container weren’t in a straight line.
To make sure your hook lands with all the power that you’ve painstakingly generated, make sure your elbow is up and directly behind your fist. This sends your body weight and the centrifugal force of your hip turn right into your opponent’s jaw. Even if he doesn’t hit the canvas, he’ll be feeling that tomorrow morning!
Throwing From Too Far Away
Remember, the hook is generally a short to mid range punch. If you throw it from too far away, you will naturally extend your arm to try and bring your fist into range. This, just like the mistake above, causes your elbow to not be behind your fist, once again diluting the power of the shot.
Worse, you’re likely to land with the inside of your glove, which reduces the punch to a slap (which is also illegal in amateur boxing rules!)
Hitting the bag with the ‘palm’ part of the gloves may produce a loud sound, but it’s the wrong way to throw it, and in a sparring/fight situation at the boxing gym, you’re going to learn that the hard way. Don’t!
BONUS FAQ: Palm Up Or Palm Down?
There is a secret answer to one of the most intriguing questions ever asked in all of boxing training and boxing gyms. Finally, because you guys (our awesome members) have trained so hard, we’ll answer it right here, right now. SPOILER ALERT!
It doesn’t really matter.
That’s right. If you are getting all the fundamentals correct, (weight transfer, hip turn, straight elbow, closed first, landing with the knuckles), then your hook will be a good one regardless. Keep that in mind and eliminate the bad habits from your shadowboxing.
At Legends, boxing is everything to us. Besides getting in a great workout, we want anyone who trains with us to box well. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s also a ton of fun! Hit us up for a free trial today, and perfect your punches with us.