Uppercuts

Is there any way to improve your uppercut?

Mike Tyson is one of the most powerful fighters to ever lace up gloves. Nearly every punch Tyson threw had the potential to knock out his opponents.

Undersized in the heavyweight division he still managed to leverage power with speed to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history on November 22, 1986. 

Mike Tyson created history. At just 20 years and 150 days old, he demolished Trevor Berbick inside two rounds to become the WBC heavyweight champion.

What set Tyson apart from the common brawlers was his commitment to technique and his knowledge of the fundamentals of boxing. 

Tyson used to leverage and mechanics so well, he could use risky, unorthodox methods against skilled competitors. 

How would you like to learn about uppercuts while increasing your power?

That would be pretty epic, right?

Well, this is entirely possible, and in today’s article, I’m going to show you how you can do this.

Sounds good? Let’s get to it.

What is an uppercut

The uppercut is also known as the undercut is a punch in boxing that travels upward vertically towards an opponent’s body or head.

It is considered a power punch and is most effective when fighting in close range.

Are uppercuts effective

Yes! They are powerful, sneaky, and hard to block. 

They can generate a lot of power if thrown correctly. Use your legs and body weight for maximum power!

Because they come from the bottom up they are sometimes hard to see coming. They aren’t used as often as straight punches or hooks so throwing an uppercut is like throwing the rhythm off in your combination.

The hardest part about the uppercut is blocking it! Sneaky short uppercuts you never see coming all the way to wound up uppercuts breaking through your guard.

They can be a fist full to deal with.

The best part of this punch is when you get to use it. Throw it in the mix with some combinations and headwork, you’ll be golden.

Are uppercuts dangerous

There’s a thin line between knocking your opponent out and getting knocked out!

Your hands start on your face protecting you. You have to drop the arm punching slightly to get the proper angle for a traditional uppercut.

Doing so leaves a window for opportunity for your opponent to catch you in the act.

Be sure to be quick with your punch. Keep it short, meaning you don’t drop your arm too low.

Be quick, the faster you are the smaller the window gets.

How to throw an uppercut

Start by setting yourself up to your boxing stance. 

  1. Bend the knees
  2. Rotate through your hips
  3. Release your punch
  4. Back to starting position

Bend the knees

The power starts from the ground up, keep your legs bent to generate more power.

Lower your center of gravity.

Your knees will also bend as you do this, make sure your knees do not go too far forward.

Keep your chest up and eyes straight ahead looking at your target.

You should end up with your shins close to vertical and your shoulders over your toes.

How far apart you place your feet will vary between each fighting style.

For more power, get lower with a wider stance and really commit to the punch.

Rotate through your hips

As you keep the momentum of energy transferring up through your body, the next step is the hips.

Either hand you use needs a pivot with some hip rotation, and the opposite foot with the heel in the ground

It can be confusing to understand how to rotate our bodies. Not all of us have full control over our bodies.

We may be looking like we are rotating our body like everyone else but are we doing it efficiently?

People thought about rotation as the twisting of the torso. What we want is the movement of the hips and stability of the lower back.

Injury-free is key, let’s last long in this sport champs!

Rotate your lead shoulder slightly inward. 

The creation of rotation starts with the foot by pivoting. The feet are the drivers of the glutes and help us with core stability from the ground up.

Release

Lead uppercut: you have two options, either you have a short quick uppercut or wind up power uppercut. 

Short and quick, drop the hand into a slight angle with the palm facing up. Release the hand leading with the first two knuckles forward and up at the same time.

Wind up for power, rotate the back shoulder forward and the lead shoulder down and away. This action is similar to throwing an overhand right (without actually throwing it). 

Release the hand forward and up at the same time.

Rear uppercut: one option here, power! 

Your backhand is already wound up behind you. Drop it into a slight angle, turn the palm facing up and lead with your first two knuckles forward and up at the same time.

With either hand, you throw the opposite hand remains home protecting the face.

How to practice uppercuts on a heavy bag

Heavy bags can be tricky, I recommend a round bag or a water bag if you can get your fists on some.

If it’s a straight-up vertical bag, try using a different angle with your uppercut. Stay close to the bag a.k.a the danger zone. Gage your distance with your arm bent at the elbow touching the bag.

 Imagine you aren’t aiming for the head anymore you are attacking the body now.

 Drop your fist into a full 90° angle, release it forward and up aiming at the gut.

Rip hard shots to the body when practicing on the heavy bag, the body doesn’t move so focus on building power and form.

When to throw an uppercut

It’s all in the setup ladies and gentlemen.

Start with your distance. You don’t want to be too far out, an uppercut is a mid to close range punch. 

How to get close enough?

Always jab your way in, uppercuts are usually set up with a punch thrown before it. To get into range start with a jab to close the distance.

Ok, so you are in! What next? Your opponent’s hands are up. Again this is why it’s usually and I say usually except for Tyson and his head movement.

Usually, you throw some set-up punches like some hooks to the body to bring their hands down away from their face.

Now, do I throw it!?

Yes! Now that you can see the opening throw that head detaching from the body uppercut.

Where to throw an uppercut

  1. Jaw/chin

The obvious choice right? Yeah, I like to see ahead detach from its body too.

  1. Nose

You earn a big advantage if you can disrupt their breathing, bloody or broken.

  1. Body

Anywhere and I mean anywhere on the body! Why? Why not that’s why. You got the chest (ladies if it’s fair game go ahead right) the solar plex, liver, and gut. 

Jackie moons favorite punch the jejunum!

Common errors

Stay low with the legs bent.

Mike Tyson may have looked like he was jumping into his punches but if you take a closer look he never really fully extended his hips or legs into a straight position.

He stayed low and compact allowing him to throw a follow-up punch. He stays compressed, releasing the tension coiled up only through his fist with the help of rotation from the body.

Another error we tend to make is squaring up.

This means the shoulders are in a neutral position, neither shoulder is leading in front. Your body is facing forward at your competitor.

Iron mike had a square-like stance, but he made up for it with his legs and head movement generating force through momentum. 

He used slips primarily to create momentum, through the slip he was able to bring one shoulder down cocked into position for the massive uppercuts you see in his highlight reels.

Now let’s talk overextending.

We want that power, right? Well, it doesn’t come from punching past your target.

As the hips finish turning and your fists reach the point of impact you want to punch through the target but not past it.

What I mean in the back of the head should be where your punch ends and you start bringing the hand back to the face.

Past it would be beyond the head and towards the ceiling with no retraction of the punch.

Lastly, keep those hands up.

We all know as the famous Teddy Atlas likes to say one hand leaves home the other hand stays home.

The opposite hand not being used should stay pasted on the cheek protecting the house.

Your most valuable weapon is your ability to think. Keep your hands up to protect the brain.

It’s your job!

Uppercut workouts

Shadowbox

Work on form, break down the movement.

Small weights

Use light weights 2-5lbs to build muscle endurance.

Light bands

Use bands to build speed.

Bags 

Use a bag to build strength.

Conclusion

You will gain power and strength through form and practice. How and when you throw an uppercut makes all the difference.

Your future looks bright with knockout power, just practice, use the key points, and workouts to get better.

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