The Effects of Lower Core Resistance Training on Rear Hand Punching Performance in Professional Boxers

Brown, L.; Hastings, K.; Doyle, G.; Bruce-Low, S. and Galbraith, A. (2021). The Effects of Lower Core Resistance Training on Rear Hand Punching Performance in Professional Boxers. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning, 29(5) pp. 15–24.



This study aimed to investigate and identify if there was any impact on rear hand punching performance in professional boxers when trained using specific integrated core exercise modalities. Boxers use ballistic movements for striking performance; utilising the ground to potentiate ballistic force through the lower limbs, transferring through statically contracted hips and trunk before its released dynamically through the upper extremity of the striking hand. The experimental group carried out a six-week program that aimed to improve core stabilisation by using isometric and slowly controlled isotonic strengthening exercises such as the plank, bird bog, banded holds, side twists and pullovers, against a control group which used traditional methods such as sit-up. 20 male professional boxers from a U.K. boxing gym were recruited (24.2 + 2.9 years; 176.7 + 6.2cm; 76.5 + 10kg), Pre- and post-intervention testing included rear hand punch strike power, measured using the PowerKubeTM. The experimental group significantly improved (p<0.001; g = 4.41) rear hand punch impact power (17781±1490 to 22014±1336 watts), compared with the control group (17326±1280 to 18152±1160 watts), demonstrating an extremely large effect size and a 24% improvement in power from pre- to post-test. A six-week training intervention using exercise modalities to strengthen and stabilise the core positively impacts punching power, supporting the value of the intervention as a suitable method for enhancing punching power when used with highly trained boxers. When aiming to improve punching power, it is advised that coaches who work with boxers should implement isometric and slowly controlled isotonic strengthening core exercises to improve the postural structure of the athlete, abstaining from forward trunk bending modalities such as the sit-up.

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