The hook is typically one of a fighter’s most powerful punches.
In orthodox stance (left foot forward), the left hook is most commonly used within boxing combinations.
The right hook, being the rear hand, is typically out-of-range, but can be used with some improvisation and good timing.
Think of the hook as more of a clothes-line than a pushing-punch.
The Left Hook from Orthodox Stance
- The left foot must be on ‘the toes’, to allow rotation around the toes with the heel in the air.
- Twist the heel clockwise to load the left hip
- Rotate the left (and right) hip clockwise
- ‘Open’ up the chest to build up ‘elastic’ energy around the chest
- Drive the shoulder clockwise
- Finally bring the arm and fist around – keep the arm bent
– Stay as relaxed as possible until the point of impact
– On impact imagine driving through the target
Like in a discus-throw, the arm/hand moves last.
Movements of the body build up torque first, then the arm is whipped through in a relaxed fashion.
Typically, you would punch with the thumb pointing upwards, but this can vary.
Boxing Hook Hand Position
There’s doesn’t appear to be a textbook rule about hand position, but people tend to have their palm facing them when ‘in-fighting’, toe to toe, up against the ropes for example.
When further away and throwing a long punch with the arm a bit straighter, you see a lot of pro fighter throwing a hook with the palm facing down.
There is also the Russian hook, or the casting punch, with the pinky up and the palm facing away.
Angle/Bend at the Elbow
When fighting in close (sometimes referred to as ‘in the pocket’), for example against the ropes, the arm will be bent at 90 degrees at the elbow.
When throwing hooks from further distance from your opponent, you may need to bend your elbow less and keep the arm straighter to land the hook from range.
See the Russian Hook below for adding extra reach to a hook.
You can throw ‘Chuck Lidell’ style hooks from further out by extending the arm, then whipping it through, fully/nearly full extended.
Almost like a huge bitch-slap! (but with a fist)
Some fighters, for example, an ‘early’ Robbie Lawler (fighting Chris Lytle for example) would throw hooks with the fist starting down at the waist.
This adds more power thanks to the further distance-travelled and rotational force acquired, but is very risky!
Russian Hook / Casting Punch
Throw the hook with a straight arm, then turn the thumb down and your elbow up towards the ceiling at the end of the punch.
This is a common punch in MMA, it gives extra range and arguably more power. It is a punch that Fedor would use, standing and within opponent’s guards for ground and pound.
This is a great punch to add to your arsenal. It was originally developed by the Russian amateur boxing coaches to ensure that the ‘scoring’ part of the glove landed with the hook.
Final note on the right hook – when fighting in orthodox stance i.e. with the left foot forward, the right casting punch, for me at least, appears to be the punch with the longest reach.
Worth noting when fighting a taller guy.