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How to Throw an Uppercut

Posted by Mike Gales on

Now that you have learned how to throw a jab, a cross and a hook, lets “up your game” by learning how to thrown an Uppercut. Most people only use the force from their arm and shoulder to throw the punch, but those arm punches will have very little power. Like the hook, the real secret to throwing a powerful uppercut will be to get as much of your bodyweight as possible into your shot. When people see the uppercut thrown on TV, it seems incredibly simple, but there is a lot happening that the untrained eye doesn’t realize. In this article, we will take a look at all of the subtleties of the punch, to ensure that your uppercuts have knockout power.

What is an Uppercut?

  • The Uppercut is a power punch that can be thrown from either hand.
  • The punch is thrown with the arm bent at about a 90’ angle.
  • The punch travels in an upward motion, with the knuckles pointing towards the ceiling.

Why is do boxers use an Uppercut?

  • The uppercut penetrates the opponent’s defenses by come from underneath. It’s also a difficult shot to see coming, as it is usually thrown at close range and because it arrives at a different angle, your opponent will have to alter their defense to block it. Thus it’s a tricky little shot.
  • The uppercut can also be thrown to the body without having to switch levels (which take time) andthus it is extremely effective at penetrating the opponent’s defenses.
  • When thrown correctly, the uppercut can be thrown in such a manner that still leaves the boxer quite well protected.

How to throw the Uppercut;

  • Throw your uppercut 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 uppercut 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;

(Notice the hand position in the above picture)

  • Open your hand by your side and then raise that hand straight out in front of you. Continue to bend that arm at the elbow joint to 90’. You will notice that your arm naturally tends to have your palm facing toward you and your knuckles facing the ceiling.
  • It is in that position, that your muscles will be the strongest and thus less likely to get injured.
  • You will notice that my forearm is slight internally rotated and not perfectly parallel to my body. Externally rotating your forearm past the point of being parallel will put a large strain on your shoulder joint, so be mindful.

(Be mindful not to externally rotate your forearm)

  • Your arm should be bent at about 90’ with your palm facing you.
  • Keep the other hand up high to protect your head.
  • Keep the other elbow in to protect your ribs.
  • When the uppercut is thrown correctly, you will notice that it is not the arm that is moving but it is the upward rotation of the hips, legs, and core that creates the movement for the uppercut.
  • The final position of your uppercut should have your fist at about the height of your head, with your shoulder up high enough to protect your chin.
  • A good drill to practice is to assume your proper boxing stance and then bend your knees slightly. Have your palm facing your nose. Keep your palm directly in front of your nose, as you use the muscles of your legs and core to deliver the punch to an imaginary target.

Make note of your shoulder position;

Most beginners’ throw their uppercut with their head and chin totally exposed.

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

Foot position;

(The power for your uppercut comes from the rotation of your legs, hips, and core.)

  • 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 uppercut has little to do with your hands and everything to do with the upward rotation of your hips and core.
  • Having the rear heel raised will enable you to push off of the floor using the ball of your foot. Use that traction to upwardly rotate your hips and core so that you can generate the maximum amount of force for your uppercut.
  • Practice using that rear foot to push off of the floor and upwardly rotate your rear leg and core, to put as much weight as possible into your shot. Remember that it is your whole body that should be rotating upward and not just the arm.
  • Having that rear heel raised will also allow you to lower that rear heel to the floor, as you raise the front heel up. That will allow you to push upward on that front leg, to deliver a lead uppercut with power.
  • The power of the uppercut is generated by the upward rotation of the hips and core as you punch. The faster that you are able to push upward off the floor, swivel your hips and accelerate the rotation of your core... The harder your punch will be.

(The hand doesn’t move all that much, it is the upward rotation of the entire body that delivers the punch)

An Uppercut to the body;


(Notice that even though the uppercut is to the body, that the shoulder stays high to protect your chin.)

  • You may crouch slightly to throw an uppercut to the body but it may not be feasible to switch levels.
  • Notice that even though the arm is angled lower to deliver the uppercut to the body, that the shoulder is still high enough to protect the chin.
  • Either to the body or to the face, all of the power for your uppercut comes for the upward rotation of your hips and core.

(It is the rotation of your legs, hips, and core that really creates a powerful uppercut to the body)

The uppercut is most effect at close range:

  • The main drawback to the uppercut is that it does not have the same range as the straight punches or the hooks and your opponent can usually see a lone upper coming. It is not wise to throw an uppercut from long range as it can easily be countered. Your uppercut will be most effective when used in close quarters. In close, the path of the punch is difficult to see and can catch your opponent by surprise.
  • You can set up your uppercuts by first throwing your straight punches or hooks. Use those punches to divert your opponent’s attention, as you throw a sneaky uppercut from underneath.
  • Uppercuts are also very effective at creating openings for a follow-up hook. Throwing a short uppercut will pop up your opponent’s head, leaving an opening for a powerful hook.
  • Adding the uppercut to your arsenal will definitely increase your offense.Now you can mix things up by throwing punches from various angles. You have your straight punches and looping punches… and now you can finish off your opponent with a tricky shot that comes from underneath.

Are you more of a visual person? Then watch the video below.

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