“I’m not one to start fights, but I sure as hell am not afraid to end them.” G.K 

The ol' canucklehead Wolverine lets his fists do the talking.

The ol’ canucklehead Wolverine lets his fists do the talking.

Sometimes you just have to let your fists do the talking!!

Punching is a basic self-defense mechanism. One of the few things that people often just intuitively do. I don’t think anyone really over thinks throwing a punch or taking a “swing” at someone. However, you want to make sure your punches count, whether in the ring or out on the street. (I don’t condone going around and starting fights).

You can take any other weapon away from someone, but you can’t remove a part of their anatomy. (Not easily anyway).

Here are a few pointers that I  myself use with pretty satisfactory results in the punching power department.

Time to build some “hurting bombs.”

Bare knuckles on a heavy bag 

It’s not uncommon to use a punching bag. Everyone from boxers, martial artists to Joe Blogs at the local gym use them. They’re great. Feeling angry? Well you can unleash that fury and frustration on the bag.

Best part is you can unload all you’ve got and it’ll still be there for you. It’ll take all your hits and still stand as if to say, “Was that really the best you’ve got?” Nothing’s more honest than the good old punching bag in that respect.

If you really want to power up your punches, go bare knuckles. (No mitts/gloves). Truth is, your skin will probably  tear and turn red.  Your hands will hurt like hell. But hey,you want fists of iron. So, you’ve got to go through the effort to get them, and sometimes that effort comes with the added element of pain.

Beginners shouldn’t attempt this. If you’re a beginner I recommend you start with mitts and work up to using your bare hands.

Fist Pushups

A personal favorite of mine and pretty self explanatory. Simply get down into a regular pushup position, but instead of resting on the palms of your hands you’re going to rest on your fists. From there just perform regular pushups. Do as many as you can, until you can’t do anymore.

If you’re beginning with these I would start out on a softer surface, like a rug or carpet, then progress to harder surfaces. Eventually you’ll get to the point where you can do them on solid concrete. That’s when you’ll know you’re in rare territory.

Finger-tip Pushups

This one’s a further progression from the fist pushups. Now you really are taking it up a notch. You’re developing your finger strength here, which is often overlooked by plenty of martial artists.

This move’s a killer. Especially when you’re doing it the first time. Form is everything. Better to do 1 good than 10 lousy ones. Don’t get disheartened if you can’t do that many, they’re tough. Perform them the way you would a regular pushup but use your finger-tips to support your body. Once you’re doing them consistently and with ease, congrats you’ve done well and reached a level many can’t imagine.

Forearm work

If you have weak forearms you can be damned sure your punching power’s going to suffer. The take home message is, unless you already have big or strong forearms you should work them. (Especially if having powerful punches is one of your priorities).

Bruce Lee had incredibly strong forearms that weren’t amazingly big, but damn they were powerful and his punches reflected that.  He got them, by training them hard.

My preferred forearm moves include the farmers walk, deadlifts and shrugs performed with a thick bar.

Nothing works your grip strength and forearms like squeezing and holding a thick bar. If you don’t have a thick bar wrap a towel around your barbell to thicken it up.

You have the knowledge. Now go sculpt those Iron fists. 

Important consideration: Self-defense and martial arts are not childs play. They’re not a damned excuse to go out and incite violence. Used incorrectly they can result in injury or even death. I’m not suggesting anyone go out a start fights. As always seek medical advice before undertaking any form of physical activity.


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  1. This article definitely “hits the spot.” An interesting mix of exercises. I’ll definitely incorporate them into my routine, as developing powerful fists is a big priority of mine. Although some of them seem fairly advanced. Great post. Keep up the amazing work.

    • Cheers for the heads up. Yep you’ll find the exercises hard if you’ve never done them before. Usually the first time you do something it’s generally harder. After a while it gets easier because your body adapts and gets stronger.

      Great to hear you’ll try them out. You’ll see some good improvements in your fist strength and punches.

      Good luck.

  2. What a brutal-punch article from you brother! Actually it’s been 2 months since you advice me this except the fingertip push ups anyway, I can proudly said that my fist is a hurting bomb now, because I wreck my body bag yesterday! Actually doing this thing everyday can turn your arm into a beast arm especially the forearm. I can now see the veins in my arm and also training in your body bag everyday is a good source of cardio! Brother thank you for sharing this you never ceased to amaze!!!!

    • Sounds like you’re making “pounding progress” brother. That’s fantastic to hear. You’re 100% right. Hitting the heavy bag hard is great cardio. In fact it’s pretty much the only form of cardio I do.

      Nothing more to say other than “keep punching.” Amazing stuff.

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