How to improve boxing hand speed

Updated February 21, 2017

Hand speed is a key element in becoming a capable fighter. Introducing these three exercises into your training is the tried-and-true, old school method of improving boxing hand speed.

The speed bag is the classic method for increasing boxing hand speed and improving hand-to-eye coordination, readily identifiable from countless boxing movies. Your first step in using the speed bag is to set the speed bag platform and yourself up into proper positions. Adjust the platform so that the wide "belly" of the bag is at chin level. Then place yourself your proper stance for boxing, guard up.

Strike the bag in a circular motion, bringing the outside of your fist down onto the upper slope of the bag's "belly." Then complete the circular motion, returning your fist to guard position. Strike it again after it rebounds off the back of the platform.

During the initial stages of practice, you should work with only one fist at a time, until the movement becomes less awkward. Then start working on alternating your right and left fists. When you feel you have mastered the speed bag, take a step up and make the exercise more difficult by putting straight punches and movement around the bag platform into your drill.

The double-end bag is tethered to the ceiling and the floor by bungees. It is designed to react wildly when struck, simulating the reactions and elusiveness of a live opponent. That makes the double-end bag an excellent tool for increasing boxing hand speed, perfecting hand-to-foot coordination, and improving your reflexes. For standard set up the double-end bag, adjust the tethers so the bag is at shoulder height. Because the bag is meant to represent the head of the opponent, if you wish to practice against shorter or taller opponents, adjust the bag height accordingly. Punching up at a "taller" bag is more demanding.

The double-end bag should be worked in the same fashion that a heavy bag would be. Hit the bag, moving around it and paying close attention to proper form. If the bag is moving wildly out of control, that means you are not hitting it squarely and more attention needs to be paid to form.

As your hand speed improves, the bag will become easier to track and land multiple punches or more difficult punches (hooks and uppercuts) on.

The final exercise for improving your boxing hand speed is to shadowbox with hand weights. Simply add light hand weights or weighted gloves to your existing shadowboxing warm-ups. Your body will adjust to your hands being heavier, and you will notice the difference immediately after two to four rounds of shadow boxing with the hand weights as soon as you put the weights down.

Select a hand weight suitable for your size and strength. Most bag gloves weight 12 to 14 oz., so 0.454kg. should be considered the minimum, with most people needing at least 0.907kg. to notice a real improvement. Only the biggest and strongest should consider 2.27kg. or more.

Should you wish to carry this exercise beyond shadow boxing and into the rest of your training (bag work, for example), there are hand weight products that allow you to distribute weights around the hands and wrists safely and without increased risk of injury. Do not punch solid objects like the punch mitts or heavy bag with an improvised hand weight.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand wraps and boxing gloves
  • 0.454 to 2.27kg. hand weights or weighted gloves
  • Speed bag
  • Double-end bag
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author