Should You Rotate Your Punches?

Written by Alistair Knight | 25 June 2021

A boxing coach showing his student how to rotate when punching the heavy bag.

Rotating into your punches can be dangerous as there is a risk that you might over-rotate and become off balance, leaving you open to being hit by your opponent. So should punches be rotated at all? And if so, what part of your body should you rotate with?

You should always rotate every punch whenever you’re trying to land one because this will allow for a free and smooth range of motion that enables you to hit with greater power and speed.

Rotating your punches will also allow you to safely connect the punch with the right part of your knuckles (your proximal phalanx).

See the examples below that demonstrates this.

Example of why you should rotate your jabs

Tip: You don’t have to rotate your jab when finding your range, so you will only want to rotate this punch when you are trying to hit your opponent.

Example of why you should rotate your cross

Example of why you should rotate your hooks

Example of why you should rotate your uppercuts

What Are the Benefits of Rotating Your Punches?

1. Speed

As you can see from the above videos, rotating your ankles, hips, shoulder, and forearm into the punch provides kinetic energy from the ground up which acts as a slingshot to fire your punch.

2. Power

Your punches will be more powerful if you rotate because, in physics, you can calculate power based on force and speed. As your punches are faster, they will also be more powerful.

3. Reach

When you rotate you’re able to gain an extra few inches which can make the difference between connecting and not connecting with your opponent.

4. Rotation allows you to land the punch with the correct part of your hand

When you rotate your shoulder and forearm at the end of the punch, you will connect with your index and middle finger knuckles which is the correct technique and will prevent bone breakage in comparison to landing with the flat part of your knuckles or even the pinky knuckle.

5. Our bodies naturally rotate when we punch

If you watch the videos above of rotating vs. not rotating, did you see how when I tried not to rotate, my body still rotated slightly? This is because in order to get my arm in the right position I had to naturally rotate.

Should you rotate your shoulder, forearm, and wrist when you punch?

Whatever punch you throw it’s important to always rotate your shoulder, forearm, and wrist because this will increase your shot’s speed, power, and range that will ultimately make you a better fighter. See the video examples above that demonstrates why this is so important for each punch.

Why is is it important to turn your hips while punching?

When you turn your hips into the punch you’re able to generate kinetic energy from your legs that increases the strength and snap of the punch.

Rotating your hips when you punch is similar to pulling back a slingshot. If you don’t pull the elastic band back enough, the rock will fall out of the pouch as opposed to propelling forward. In the same way when not rotating your hips, your punch will carry no power.

To be able to turn your hips effectively you need to start by rotating your feet, legs, hips, upper torso, shoulders, forearms, and wrists; in the same way a baseball player would swing a bat to hitting a ball.

Alistair Knight

Alistair Knight is an amateur athlete in boxing and the founder of Healthy Principles. He spends most of his time practising and learning more about boxing to ensure you get the best experience-based and evidence-based insights to learn. Learn more about Alistair Knight