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How to Throw a Cross

Posted by Mike Gales on

How many times have you heard the phrase “Hit him with the old one-two”. Well, the cross is the two in that combination. After the jab, (which is the one) the cross is the power punch that is most used in boxing. The reason why the cross is a power punch is that when thrown correctly, it requires a greater rotation of the body. Thus more of your body mass is put into the punch, which in turn increases its power. There are a lot of little technical points that the untrained eye may not notice and in this article, we will attempt to have your fists become a little more educated.

What is a Cross?

  • The cross is a power punch that is thrown from your rear hand. It travels in a straight line across your body towards its intended target… hence the name cross.

Why is do boxers use a cross?

  • The cross is actually the hardest punch that you can throw. The reason for that is because it has enough distance from the target to properly accelerate and generate force. When the elbow is kept in and the punch is thrown straight, it also has the most amount of body weight directly behind the punch.
  • When thrown correctly, the cross can be thrown in such a manner that still leaves the boxer quite well protected.
  • Like the Jab, the cross is a straight punch that can be thrown from a longer range. In fact, by rotating your core to extend your rear arm, the cross has just about the same range as the jab.

How to throw the Cross;

  • Throw your cross from your proper boxing stance.
  • Remember to have your lead shoulder angled towards the center of your opponent.
  • Keep your hands up, your shoulders up, your chin down and keep your eyes on your opponent.
  • Keep your feet diagonally apart and try to keep your rear heel up.
  • Finally, make sure that you exhale as you throw your cross to ensure that you don’t forget to breathe. Also, the muscles of your core will be contracted and ready to absorb any counter punches to your body.

Hand position;


  • Raise your hand out directly in front of you and notice the natural hand position. It is in that position that your hand will be the strongest and thus the least likely to get injured. Most fighters will have their palms facing towards the floor as they throw the cross, which is slightly more pronated than that neutral position. The pronated hand will it make it feel more natural to keep your shoulder alongside your face to protect your chin as you throw the cross.
  • From your boxing stance, have your hands up. Throw the cross in a straight line using your rear arm.
  • The motion of the cross is straight out to the target and then straight back.
  • The elbow of the rear arm is not flared out to the side but stays in line with the rear shoulder to maximize the weight behind the punch.
  • To generate the maximum amount of power with your cross, you want to have all of your body weight in a straight line behind your punch. That means that the wrist, elbow, and shoulder are all in line.
  • Your lead hand is kept up high for protection.
  • Your lead elbow is kept in close to protect your rib cage.

Make note of your shoulder position;

Most beginners throw their cross straight out, which is great, but they neglect to raise their shoulder as they throw the cross. That leaves their head totally exposed to counter shots.

  • When you throw your cross, you must make certain that your shoulder comes up high enough to protect your chin.

Foot position;


  • Your feet should be diagonally apart. If your feet remain in a straight line, you will have limited balance and limited ability to rotate your hips to produce force.
  • Keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and have an even weight distribution between both legs.
  • The power of the Cross is generated by the rotation of the hips and core as you punch.
  • You are still in your boxing stance but this is where having that rear heel up will pay dividends. Having the rear heel raised will enable you to push off of the floor using the ball of your foot. Use that traction to rotate your hips and core so that you can generate the maximum amount of force for your cross.
  • The faster that you are able to push off the floor, swivel your hips and accelerate the rotation of your core... The harder your punch will be.

A Cross to the body;


Remember to switch levels to throw a cross to the body

  • Switch levels to throw a cross to the body by bending your legs. That will have the cross traveling at a straighter angle towards the target which will allow your shoulder to remain high to protect your chin.
  • This will also allow you to get under your opponent’s incoming punches so that you can land your cross.
  • Either to the body or to the face, all of the power of your cross comes for the rotation of your hips and core.

Use the jab to set up your cross:

  • The main drawback to the cross is that it is further away from your opponent and he can usually see a cross coming. That is why it is often thrown behind a jab. The jab doesn’t need to be hard because you're about to crush him with the cross.
  • The Cross is thrown using a greater rotation of the body and thus it takes more energy to throw than a jab. Thus you will use it more sparingly. A good strategy is to use your jab to get you into the right position and range. Once there, you will have increased the odds of landing your cross with devastating accuracy and power.

Are you more of a visual person? Then click on the link below to watch this video.

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