The cross is one of the most powerful punches in boxing. It’s the very first power punch beginners learn to execute right after learning how to throw the jab.
Because it naturally transfers power from the base right down to the end of the fist, the cross is an effective knockout blow which can be utilized in many situations.
Why throw the cross? It has many great strengths that you can harness if you know how to use it.
First of all, it can end fights in an instant if it connects on the chin. Not many can survive a direct impact on the chin from a powerful cross. Secondly, if it doesn’t knock an opponent out, then it at least has a temporary knockback effect.
Learning how to throw a textbook cross isn’t just essential to your development as a boxer, it’s absolutely necessary. Before you start unleashing those killer overhands, devastating leads, and spitfire bullets, first educate yourself with the proper technique of throwing the cross.
Breaking down the science of executing the cross, we’ve come up with a few pointers to guide you. Today, Evolve Daily shares tips on how to perfect your cross in boxing.
1) Master the textbook technique
Normally the cross is thrown in a straight line from the initial starting point to the target.
Beginning by planting your feet to generate power in the base, explode forward on the ball of your lead foot while pivoting the rear foot to turn inward. At the same time, twist the torso toward the direction of your opponent while throwing your rear fist, aiming at your opponent’s chin or nose area.
Lastly, don’t forget to turn the punch over. The goal is to connect with your first two knuckles. This is how to maximize power and effect, by properly transferring kinetic energy. It also prevents you from hurting your hand.
Of course, this is just one variation of the cross, the textbook kind. There are other variations, with different properties. But this is by far the most simple and effective.
2) Develop speed and power
A great cross is fast and devastating. In boxing, in order for you to develop this incredible punch, you have to train your speed and power. Two tools come to mind — the heavy bag, and the double-ended bag.
The heavy bag allows you to practice your combinations at full force, throwing every punch packed with power and velocity. It’s by far the best tool to develop power. Furthermore, it accustoms your fist to the feeling of impact and gives you a tactile understanding of landing shots.
Make sure you are standing in the correct distance before you throw the cross — too close or too far and it minimizes power.
The double-ended bag, conversely, works to improve your punch accuracy and timing, especially when throwing fast and hard crosses. In boxing, it doesn’t matter how hard you can hit if you can’t connect. Improving accuracy and timing allows you to harness your speed and power properly.
3) Learn to set up your cross
The cross is a very effective punch, but it needs to be set up properly. Learn how to set up your cross, and it becomes a very dangerous weapon you can use in various ways.
The most basic set up for the cross is the jab. Throw a fast, hard jab first to force the defense to react, then launch a sharp cross right behind it, targeting either the head or the midsection. Put power behind the shot.
— Evolve MMA (@EvolveMMA) June 11, 2019
If you’re able to connect, it’s a potential knockout blow. If your opponent blocks it, he still takes impact damage and for a split second, he is caught without movement.
Diversify the set up for your cross by doubling or tripling up on your jab. Use feints to elicit reactions from the defense. Throw it behind a hook first, or throw it as a lead. There are many ways to set up your cross, take advantage of all of them.
4) Punch through the target
To maximize power from the cross, make sure you are punching through the target. This transfers the full power you’ve generated from your body to your intended target.
Punching through the target has many benefits. First, you can dig deeper to an opponent’s body if you punch through it, causing more damage. Second, if aiming for the head and the opponent is moving backwards, your fist covers more distance and you are more likely to connect with the punch.
Keep in mind, however, that punching through the target leaves you more vulnerable to getting countered. Remember to bring your hand back up on defense after throwing, because for a brief moment after the cross you are left wide open to counters. Natural counters to the cross are the left and right hooks.
— Evolve MMA (@EvolveMMA) December 8, 2018
One other method of throwing the cross is to add a snapping effect. Here’s how to do just that. The snapping effect recoils your hand back on defense as soon as possible. It’s not as powerful as punching through the target, but it’s also an effective technique. Learn both methods to maximize your weaponry.
5) Turn the punch over
Last but not least, turn your punch over. Right before the moment of impact, turn your fist into the target, digging your two biggest knuckles in to do the most damage.
The two primary knuckles (between your index and middle fingers) are the strongest in your hand and run all the way through your forearms. The last two knuckles (between your ring and pinky fingers) are connected to various small bones that can easily break if there is enough force of impact.
Turning the punch over is a movement that can be likened to pouring out a coffee cup. Turn inwards toward the target. Also, make sure that your thumb is on the outside of the fist at all times when punching.
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