Jabs and punches 3

The goal of this module is

  • to learn the basics of the straight punches jab and cross punch.

Ideal Group size:

Up to 30


25 minutes



Boxing materials

Materials for download:

External resources:

How it’s done

Once participants have understood how to do a correct stance and move while reaming correct positioning, you can then move to hand movements, such as the jab and cross (straight punches). Much of teaching beginners the jab is first un-teaching them what they feel are natural punching techniques.

The Jab (click to expand description of the punch)

  1. A jab is a quick, straight punch thrown with the lead hand from the guard position.
  2. The jab is accompanied by a small, clockwise rotation of the torso and hips, while the fist rotates 90 degrees, becoming horizontal upon impact.
  3. As the punch reaches full extension, the lead shoulder is brought up to guard the chin.
  4. The rear hand remains next to the face to guard the jaw.
  5. After making contact with the target, the lead hand is retracted quickly to resume a guard position in front of the face.

The jab is the most important punch in a boxer’s arsenal because it provides a fair amount of its own cover and it leaves the least amount of space for a counterpunch from the opponent. It has the longest reach of any punch and does not require commitment or large weight transfers. Due to its relatively weak power, the jab is often used as a tool to gauge distances, probe an opponent’s defenses, and set up heavier, more powerful punches. A half-step may be added, moving the entire body into the punch, for additional power. Despite its lack of raw power, however, the jab is often considered to be the most important punch in boxing, usable not only for attack but also defense, as a good quick, stiff jab can interrupt a much more powerful punch, such as a hook or uppercut.

The Cross Punch (click to expand description of the punch)

  1. A powerful straight punch is thrown with the rear hand.
  2. From the guard position, the rear hand is thrown from the chin, crossing the body and traveling towards the target in a straight line.
  3. The rear shoulder is thrust forward and finishes just touching the outside of the chin.
  4. At the same time, the lead hand is retracted and tucked against the face to protect the inside of the chin.
  5. For additional power, the torso and hips are rotated counter-clockwise as the cross is thrown.
  6. Weight is also transferred from the rear foot to the lead foot, resulting in the rear heel turning outwards as it acts as a fulcrum for the transfer of weight.

Body rotation and the sudden weight transfer is what gives the cross its power. Like the jab, a half-step forward may be added. After the cross is thrown, the hand is retracted quickly and the guard position resumed. It can be used to counterpunch a jab, aiming for the opponent’s head (or a counter to a cross aimed at the body) or to set up a hook. The cross can also follow a jab, creating the classic „one-two combo.“ The cross is also called a „straight“ or „right.“ The cross has been widely disputed as one of the most powerful, if not the single most powerful punch in the boxer’s arsenal.

Practise the punches:

  • You can follow this progression with participants shadow boxing or hitting pads worn by the coach first:
    • Jab standing with left, then with right
    • Jab while moving with left, then with right
    • Cross with left, then with right
    • Cross while moving with left, then right
    • Punching to the head
    • Punching to the body
    • Multiple punching combinations
      • One-two: jab with the left and then with the right in a quick successive order
      • Double left then right
  • Once participants understand the jab while standing and moving, pair everyone up and have them practice the punching techniques with a partner or with a coach wearing pads. Explain that this is not sparing or a competition but the partners should just be practicing the technique.

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