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How to Throw a Hook

Posted by Mike Gales on

Close your eyes for a moment and think of any punch that you have ever seen thrown in the movies. Likewise, if you asked any random person on the street to throw a punch, most often they will throw that same “haymaker” that they’ve seen on screen. That looping punch is called a hook. The problem is that most people will try and throw a hook by simply using their arm. But those arm shots have little to no power. The real secret to throwing the hook is to put as much of your body weight into the shot as possible, as F=MxA (force is equaled to mass multiplied by acceleration). At first glance, it may seem like such an easy punch to throw, but there are a lot of fine points to consider. In this article, we will review those finer points of the hook to make sure that you are able to maximize your punching power.

What is a Hook?

  • The hook is a power punch that can be thrown from either hand.
  • The hook is a punch that is thrown in an arc to get around the defense of your opponent. The end result is not having your arm in a straight line but your arm is bent, resembling a hook, like the ones that you would use when you go fishing.

Why is do boxers use a Hook?

  • Unlike the jab and cross which travel in a straight line towards a target, the hook takes a circular path. Like a knight in the game of chess, the movement of the hook is not always evident, which can make defending it a little tricky.
  • The hook 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.
  • The hook is most effective when thrown at mid-range, which can make the boxer effective in closer quarters.
  • When thrown correctly, the hook can be thrown in such a manner that still leaves the boxer quite well protected.

How to throw the Hook;

  • Throw your hook 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 hook 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 both the hand positions and the position of the thumbs 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 the thumb facing up with your palm facing toward you. Note that your palm is facing you and not facing the floor.(As in the case on the right in the above picture)
  • It is in that position, that your muscles will be the strongest and thus less likely to get injured. You may find some boxers that have the palm facing the floor but I would recommend that beginners have their palm facing them to reduce the likelihood of injury.

  • 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 hook is thrown correctly, you will notice that it is not the arm that is moving but it is the rotation of the hips, legs, and core that creates the arcing path for the hook.
  • The final position of your hook should have your arm raised, with your shoulder up high enough to protect your chin.
  • A good drill to practice is to assume your proper boxing stance and then raise up your lead arm to the hook position. 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 hook with their head and chin totally exposed.

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

Foot position;

(The power for your hook 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 hook has little to do with your hands and everything to do with the 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 rotate your hips and core so that you can generate the maximum amount of force for your hook.
  • Practice using that rear foot to push off of the floor and 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 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 rotate that front leg to deliver a lead hook with power.
  • A good drill to practice the lead hook is to visualize yourself squashing out a cigarette butt with your lead leg as internally rotate your foot and core to deliver the punch.
  • The power of the hook is generated by the rotation of the hips and core as you punch. 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 Hook to the body;



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

  • You may crouch slightly to throw a hook to the body but it may not be feasible to switch levels.
  • Notice that even though the arm is angled lower to deliver a hook 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 of your hook comes for the rotation of your hips and core.

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

Use the jab to set up your Hooks:

  • The main drawback to the hook is that it does not have the same range as the straight punches and your opponent and can usually see a lone hook coming. It may be a wise move to set up your hook with a jab. This works well because the jab goes straight out from a longer distance, which may give you the opportunity to get you into the right position and range. Once there, you will have increased the odds of landing your hooks with devastating accuracy and power.
  • Also mixing up your straight punches with looping punches, like the hook, makes it much more difficult to defend, as the punches are now coming in at a variety of different angles.

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

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