BOXING’S PUNCH NUMBER SYSTEM
If you’ve ever taken a boxing class, you’ve heard the trainer refer to the basic foundational punches like ‘cross’, ‘hook’, ‘jab,’ and ‘uppercut.’* Beyond the common punch names, there is a numerical system that serves as an easy shorthand for transcribing, memorizing, and directing boxing combos.
Below, veteran boxing trainer and Quiet Punch creator Brian Pedone breaks down the ten basic boxing punches and their corresponding number. Although there may be some variations depending on the gym or trainer, generally speaking, the paired number/punch system below is universal.
You can use your smart punching bag at home to master all ten of these boxing combos and really start to improve your performance.
The lead hand accounts for a majority of the punches thrown. This is the hand you will use for jabbing. In an orthodox stance, the left hand is the lead hand while in a southpaw stance it’s the right hand. A jab is thrown with speed and is a great setup for more powerful punching combinations. The non-dominant hand is typically the jab hand.
This punch is thrown from the rear hand, which crosses your body as it moves toward the target. The cross punch requires a rotation of the back hip and generates a lot of force. It is considered to be one of the main power punches in a boxer’s repertoire. In an orthodox stance, this is your right hand and in a southpaw stance, this is your left hand. The dominant hand is typically the cross-hand.
3. Lead Hook
Traditionally this punch is thrown in a hooking fashion with the arm at a ninety-degree angle and parallel to the ground. In an orthodox stance, this is your left hand and in a southpaw stance, this is your right hand. The non-dominant hand is typically the lead hook.
4. Rear Hook
Similar to above, the rear hook is thrown in a hooking fashion with the arm at a ninety-degree angle and parallel to the ground. The rear hook is another power punch and has incredible knockout power. In an orthodox stance, this is your right hand, and in a southpaw stance, this is your left hand. The dominant hand is typically the rear hook.
5. Lead Uppercut
This punch is thrown from underneath, traveling along a vertical line toward the opponent’s chin or solar plexus region. The lead uppercut is the left hand for an orthodox stance and the right hand for a southpaw.
6. Rear Uppercut
As described above, this punch is thrown from underneath and travels along a straight vertical line rising up to strike the opponent’s chin or solar plexus. This uppercut is considered to be another power punch in a boxer’s arsenal. The rear uppercut is thrown with the right hand in an orthodox stance and the left hand for a southpaw.
7. Lead Hook to the Body
This punch is similar in form to the number three punch discussed earlier, but this time it will strike the body. Remember to keep your arm at a ninety-degree angle and parallel to the ground. For best practice, bend your knees and lower the throw of the punch rather than reaching down with it. The reason is because you don’t want to risk exposing your chin to your opponent. It’s thrown with the left hand for an orthodox stance and the right hand for a southpaw.
8. Rear Hook to the Body
As noted above, this hook is basically the number four punch but this time we are striking the body. Your arm will be at a ninety-degree angle and parallel to the ground. Bend your knees and lower your throw to avoid exposing your chin. It’s thrown with the right hand for an orthodox stance and the left hand for a southpaw.
9. Jab to the Body
This jab is like the one described earlier but thrown to the body. Follow the best practices noted in seven and eight by making sure to keep your knees bent and head out of the way. Another pro tip for throwing the jab to the body is to make sure that your head slips when striking. This jab is thrown with the left hand for an orthodox stance and the right hand for a southpaw.
10. Cross to the Body
This cross is thrown from the rear hand and requires a rotation of the back hip. Since this punch is being thrown to the body, make sure to drop your stance by bending at the knees. This cross is thrown with the right hand for orthodox stance and the left hand for a southpaw.
Learn These Boxing Combos with Quiet Punch
Once you learn this system, it will become second nature to know that a number combo like ‘1-1-2-5’ is boxing shorthand for ‘jab-jab-cross-lead uppercut.’ You can impress with your next-level skills in and out of the ring.
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We have also compiled an easy-to-follow YouTube video so you can see it in action.Check out other Quiet Punch videos for boxing basics and workouts for all levels.