The cross is the quintessential power punch in Boxing, Muay Thai or any type of combat sport. It is usually delivered with a fighter’s dominant hand and an explosive hip rotation from the rear side. Many of the flashiest, most spectacular knockouts from all combat sports are a result of a well-timed cross-landing flush. As effortless as professional fighters make it look, mastering the cross takes many hours of grueling and focused training. Today, Evolve Daily is pleased to share a guide on how to throw a stronger and more powerful cross.
Stance & Technique
The foundation of any punch is a solid, grounded fighting stance. Your basic boxing stance should have your feet at shoulder width, with your dominant side in the rear. Your body will be bladed forty-five degrees so your lead shoulder points at the opponent. Your lead foot points forward while your rear foot points to the side; you should be able to draw a line between your rear heel and lead toe that points towards your opponent. Your hips should be pushed back slightly to form a natural bend in your knees, with sixty percent of your weight on your rear leg and forty percent on your front leg. Your lead shoulder will be held slightly higher than the rear shoulder due to the weight distribution between your legs.
This foundational stance is what will allow you to put the maximum power into your cross via hip and shoulder rotation. Watch the demonstration by WBA Boxing World Champion Drian Francisco on how to throw a solid cross.
To throw a stronger and more powerful cross, it is essential to use your footwork to generate power. Before you throw a hard cross, you want to ensure that you have more than half of your weight on your rear leg. This is called loading a punch and helps maximize your power. To throw your cross, you rotate your rear foot while taking a quarter step towards your lead foot to throw your hip into your punch. Throwing the cross, and any other punch on your rear side will also result in your rear shoulder being held higher than your lead. The biomechanics for a cross are very similar to any other sport where power is generated, such as golf, baseball, or football. Your power starts from the ground up, not from your shoulders, as is the common misconception.
Another key element to throwing a stronger and more powerful cross is weight transfer. In your fighting stance, your weight will be evenly distributed between both legs. A large portion of your punching power will come from your weight shifting between your legs as you rotate into each punch. This is why most boxers have their dominant hand on their rear side; this allows them to rotate and shift more of their weight to their lead leg as they throw their cross. The amount of rotation and weight shifted into your cross determines how hard it is. For example, Floyd Mayweather does not rotate and shift all of his weight to his front leg for his cross. Because he does not shift all of his weight to his lead leg during his cross, he is able to pull his body back quickly to remain elusive. In contrast, a boxer like Deontay Wilder throws his full weight onto his lead leg for his cross, resulting in explosive power at the cost of movement speed.
Another aspect of weight transfer is switching stances. To throw a cross with maximum power, you must shift all of your weight to your lead leg. The issue with this is that it becomes difficult to control your momentum, which can result in an opening for a skilled counterpuncher. One way to remedy this is to switch stances by stepping forward as you throw your cross. This lets you follow through with all of your weight and momentum for a devastating cross, all while maintaining control of your body. In boxing, this technique is called the Fitzsimmon shift, and boxing’s first three-division world champion ever. Once you have stepped into the opposite stance, you can continue punching or simply step forward again into your original stance. The legendary Joe Louis used this technique to great success. His powerful right cross is the origin of his nickname, The Brown Bomber. Watch 9:21 in the video above for footage of Joe Louis’ legendary cross.
One Two Combination
Although throwing an isolated cross can be powerful, a one-two combination maximizes the potential for a knockout punch with the cross. This is due to the simple biomechanics of punching. When you throw a jab, you are rotating your lead shoulder towards the opponent. This action puts more weight on your rear leg and loads your cross even further. As you throw your cross, you can pull your lead shoulder back as you rotate your rear shoulder and hip to explosively launch your cross at your opponent. The jab also hides the position of your rear hand, allowing you to throw it without telegraphing your intentions to your opponent.
The heavy bag is an essential tool for developing a stronger and more powerful cross. Any type of heavy bag will aid you greatly, the heavier the better. To practice your cross on a heavy bag, stand facing it in your fighting stance, just out of punching range. Take a small step and jab to make sure your cross will land. Once you have established your range, throw a light jab, then step into a powerful cross. Be sure to rotate your hips, pivot your rear foot, and turn your fist over so that the index and middle knuckles are the contact points for your punch. This should be done very slowly at first, in a smooth motion without any jerkiness or pauses. Once you are comfortable with this, start to increase the speed slowly. Although the primary focus is increasing your power, it is important not to develop any bad habits that may be detrimental to you as a fighter while doing so. Make sure that your chin is tucked and your center of gravity is lowered before, during, and after throwing your one-two combination. This is commonly referred to as sitting down on your punches in boxing. Coach Anthony demonstrates drilling the one two combination on a heavy bag in the video below.
The concepts and drills outlined above will undoubtedly increase the power of your cross. Although the methodology is simple, developing a more powerful cross takes many hours of effort and dedication. Incorporate these ideas into your training and let us know how much your cross improves!
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