How to get hand speed like Mike Tyson

Written by eve roberts
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How to get hand speed like Mike Tyson
Focussed training will improve your hand speed (Bob Martin/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images)

Mike Tyson is said to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, boxers of all time. Apart from his precision, aggression and sheer power, he was renowned for the speed of his punches. To emulate Tyson's speed there are several approaches to try. Although no amount of training and practice can trump genetics, you can still dramatically improve your hand speed.

Train your brain

If you study videos of Mike Tyson, the first thing you will notice is his attitude. The power of his attitude stems from the mind, and in order to emulate Tyson's hand speed you will need to train your mind to react more and more quickly to stimuli. The object will be to improve your mental reflexes. Training your mental reflexes will greatly enhance your ability to hit a moving target with speed and accuracy, and indeed you should consider your mind to be your primary piece of fighting apparatus.

Learn to Relax

When it comes to practising punches, you will need to emphasise speed over power, and this requires a mental shift. You will need to learn to relax in order to prioritise speed, otherwise the intensity of your aggression will replace speed with power. While relaxing back from aggression, take care to focus on your breathing and balance. It will actually help you to learn to breathe and relax properly, and as strange as it may seem adding relaxation and breathing exercises to your training program may help you develop your hand speed.

Build endurance

Once you have begun to learn how to focus and relax your mind, maintaining full balance in the body, you are ready to start with the hand drills. Speed must be balanced with endurance; very fast punching that can be sustained only for a short time with a resulting loss of power and focus is a gift to your opponent, but no good for you. So before you can focus on speed, you need to focus on endurance.

Fast-punching drills

To build endurance use the heavy bag for fast-punching drills, focussing on building endurance for up to three minutes. Ideally incorporate intervals into the three-minute period, since it requires greater discipline to stop and start during fast-punching, than it does to maintain a steady rhythm throughout.When you have worked on your endurance you can begin to practice your speed-punching using the speed bag and double-end bag. Again, do interval drills for up to three minutes before taking a break. By balancing mental training with speed and endurance, you will soon see improvements in your hand speed.

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