How To Throw A Faster Jab

The jab is the most important punch in boxing; this is a well-known and accepted adage in the boxing community. This is because the jab is the weapon closest to your opponent and is also your first line of defense. It is arguably the most versatile punch and many fighters’ entire fighting style is dependent on the effectiveness of their jab. A crucial aspect of any fighter’s jab is their ability to land it, which is directly influenced by their hand speed. Today, Evolve Daily is pleased to share a guide on how to throw a faster jab. 


Clean Technique

The first step to increasing your jab speed is to ensure that you have no inefficient movements in your technique. Although there are many variations of jabs, it is best to master the textbook jab first. This will give you a solid foundation for the rest of your fighting style, whether you’re an infighter or prefer to fight from the outside. 

The foundation for the jab begins with a proper boxing stance. Your legs should be shoulder-width apart, slightly bent, with sixty percent of your weight on your rear leg and forty percent on your lead. You should be able to draw a line between your rear heel and the big toe of your lead foot. Your rear foot is turned outwards at a forty-five-degree angle, while your lead foot points straight ahead or very slightly inwards. This stance is crucial to maximizing the speed of your jab, as it allows you to punch with your lead hand very quickly in succession without overcommitting your weight while moving forward. 

The textbook jab starts with your hands in a high guard, held right in front of your cheeks. Your jab comes straight out and straight back in with a small rotation of your hips and shoulders. Your elbow should not flare out at all and you will turn your thumb downwards at the end of your punch as you clench your fist. This will ensure that you strike with your first two knuckles, which are the most durable. If you are stepping with your punch, your jab should land as your lead foot hits the ground. You should avoid thinking about your jab as a push, it is a rotational and pulling strike. Focus on your rear shoulder pulling back slightly as you throw your jab to avoid a pushing strike, which lacks power and speed. 

It is important to keep your lead hand in a loose fist that is relaxed until just before impact to maximize speed. The speed of your jab depends largely on the retraction of your hand, not just the initial strike itself. Throwing a jab should feel like you are trying to grab something at arm’s reach and bringing it back to your face, not pushing your fist out. You can embed this in your muscle memory by practicing your jab slowly in shadowboxing. A good rule of thumb to follow is that you want to bring your hand back twice as fast as you threw it. For example, you can throw out your jab slowly for two seconds and then retract your jab in one second. Practice this one hundred times, for as many sets as you can, to ingrain this technique into your muscle memory. It can help to practice this by looking in a mirror to avoid any mistakes, such as flaring elbows. Above is a video clip of Floyd Mayweather practicing his jab on the heavy bag. His jab is very close to a perfect textbook jab and is a great reference for you to emulate. 


Jab Variations

Mixing up your jab can help you find what is best suited to your individual fighting style. There will often be a specific style of throwing any punch that feels most comfortable to your body, which will help you maximize your speed and power. 

The first variation is a blinding jab, thrown mainly to set up combinations or allow you to move around your opponent. This jab can be thrown from a high guard or with a lowered lead hand, like the philly shell. This is not a power punch and can be thrown with an open hand without risking injury. To throw a blinding jab, simply extend your arm in front of you quickly, aiming for the space in front of your opponent’s eyes. Muhammad Ali frequently used this type of jab while he danced around opponents. Above is a video compilation of the great Muhammad Ali using it in the ring.

The next variation is called the flicker jab. This resembles the blinding jab but packs more power. It can also be used as an effective setup for a powerful rear-hand punch. Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, also known as The Motor City Cobra, was known for his dangerous flicker jab, as well as his chopping right cross. Hearns would throw the flicker jab with his arm low, almost from a Philly shell, whipping it up at his opponents and utilizing his long reach. This particular method of throwing the flicker jab is especially crafty since it makes it difficult for your opponent to tell what punch is coming next; you’re able to throw a flicker jab, lead hook, and lead uppercut from the same starting motion. The video above showcase Thomas Hearn’s masterful left hand.


Double End Bag

The double-end bag is an excellent way to develop a faster jab. Unlike a heavy bag, a double-end bag provides very little resistance to your punches. This prevents you from leaning or pushing on the bag, which can take the snap out of your punches. The double-end bag forces you to control the extension and retraction of every punch, as well as keeping you aware of the range of counter punches. A basic double-end bag drill to improve your jab is to dribble the bag with your lead hand. When you are starting out on the double-end bag, it may be difficult to hit it consistently. Start off by only retracting your hand slightly after each time you jab. This is called dribbling, as it resembles dribbling a ball in basketball. Over time, retract your hand more and more in between each rep, until you are able to throw full-length jabs at the same pace as your dribbling. Above is the video showcasing Olympic medalist Tony Jeffries explaining the basics of the double-end bag. 



Shadowboxing may be the most quintessential method for developing a faster jab. You can shadowbox regardless of skill level, and it requires no equipment. You learn to shift your weight as you move and punch while staying balanced. The best way to improve your jab’s speed through shadowboxing it to practice throwing it with speed. Remember the tips discussed above and start slowly. Over time, you will be throwing hundreds of jabs each round and outlanding your opponents! Above is an example of shadowboxing in the Cuban style from the YouTube channel Charlessalbox. Notice how he moves around an imaginary opponent in the ring as he shadowboxes. 



Developing a faster jab is one of the best ways to improve your boxing skills overall. A sharper, faster jab will help you stop your opponent’s offensive momentum, interrupt their combinations, and set up your own combinations. Add the methods discussed above to your own training to see your jab improve exponentially!


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