Increase Punching Power With Kettlebell Training

One arm kettle bell military presses are one of the best exercises for developing punching power.  They help build your strength to impressive levels which improve overall power. They reinforce muscle movement patterns that are similar to what you’d do when throwing a punch with good technique.  And they keep your body secure so that you can deliver powerful strikes without getting hurt.

Force production: Powerful athletes are able to produce high amounts of force very rapidly.  In order to develop the ability produce maximal force, you need to improve your strength.  One armed military presses have long been a favorite lift of strongmen and olympic weight lifters to demonstrate brute strength.  Understandably so, this exercise recruits all the major muscles in your upper body and in addition to that your core/legs are engaged throughout the lift.  Also because of something called a bilateral deficit, we’re typically unable to exert as much force bilaterally as the sum of what we can with our 2 limbs individually.

Biomechanics:  One arm kettlebell military presses reinforce proper punching biomechanics, albeit in a vertical direction rather than horizontally.  To move any serious weight around, a one armed kettlebell military press requires the same basic fundamentals of a powerful punch.  You must have: well balanced feet, leg and core stabilization, strong shoulder drive, and rotation of your forearm reminiscent of how one would turn their punches over.  While this exercise shouldn’t be used as a replacement for actually training to punch hard by punching, it serves as a great way to drill mechanics that have a strong sport specific carryover.

Injury Prevention: Kettlebell military pressing can be beneficial for injury prevention of the rotator cuff muscles and the hands, two very important body parts for fighters.  The rotator cuff muscles are located in the shoulder and very susceptible to injury from overuse or high velocity movements, both of which can occur from throwing punches.  Training the rotator cuff muscles makes them more resilient to injury, improves range of motion, and increases stability.  Likewise preventing hand injuries is of utmost important for any fighter.  Hand and wrist injuries are very common with strikers since the slightest flexion or extension at the wrong moment when delivering a punch can cause an injury.  Kettle bell military pressing is helpful for improving strength in our forearm muscles.  Strong forearm muscles improve grip strength which impacts how tight we can hold our fists, the more compact our fist the less likely we are to injure our hands/wrists from a misalignment.

One Arm Kettlebell Military Press Tips: Try incorporating 3 sets of 5 reps of this into your routine

  • Hold a kettlebell with your palms facing inwards, just in front of the top of your sternum
  • Your wrist should lie diagonally across your chest and your elbows close to your ribs
  • With your feet shoulder width apart, dig them into the ground and brace your core/legs
  • Begin pressing the bell upwards and then begin rotating your forearm once the bottom of the bell is at about the height of your forehead
  • Finish the lift with your arm locked overhead and your bicep next to your ear
  • Reverse the motion and bring the bell back down to the starting position

Erick Avila
About the Author:

Erick Avila. Erick Avila is a strength & conditioning coach/nutritionist. He works with top-ranked professional boxers and athletes. He specializes in areas ranging from boxing-specific physical preparation and hormone optimization to general weight loss. Erick's training methods have been featured on various prominent fitness magazines and websites.