Jabs: How to Jab Like a Professional Boxer

by Alexander "The Great" Enriquez • January 04, 2023

Run up and start swinging for the fences! My go-to when I didn’t know how to fight or start a fight heck even end a fight (jk, don’t do that).

Welcome back to Boxing Undefeated, here to highlight the most important parts of Boxing!

In this round, we are talking about the Jab. The most important punch. 

From the beginning to the end you want to start with a jab and end with a jab. It’s your longest punch, fastest punch, and your safest punch.

Let us break it down and get right into it!

What Does A Jab Mean / What Is A Jab?

What does a Jab mean? It can mean a lot of things but basically, it means your lead hand is going to be the jab. Orthodox stance or Southpaw stance will show you which hand goes in front.

The jab is part of the straight punches family. The only other member is a straight or known as the cross.

Mainly used for offense this punch is also good for defense! 

Some key features of the jab are used to:

  • Start an offense attack
  • Gages distance
  •  Keeps your opponent worried about defending
  • End your combination with a jab like an exclamation
  • Defend yourself by stopping/ interrupting an opponent's attack

How To Jab?


Start with that solid base called your boxing stance, now make sure your hands are up near your face, elbows tucked towards your ribs, relax the shoulders, and breathe.

Push off your back foot to move both feet forward. 

Or just to use momentum pushing off the back foot to release your front foot forward, stay light on the front foot, do not stomp, and land on your toes.

Either one you choose you to want to stay in a half a squad engaged in those legs when you land keeping your center of gravity low to the floor balanced. This will prevent leaning forward with your upper body when you punch also known as overextending.

It will also decrease the risk of putting yourself out of position to be countered and allow you to follow up with a combo.

As you're moving forward your hand is throwing the jab at the same time.

Releasing from your body in a straight line, the palm is turning down like a corkscrew continuously as it reaches your target. Do not have it completely turned before reaching the target. 

The reason why is that twist as it makes an impact is supposed to peel your opponent’s face on impact to cause a cut, aim with your first two knuckles, Index, and middle finger.

Keep your chin tucked into that lead shoulder to protect the jawline. Do not and I repeat do not elevate your shoulder. This will cause you to lose power and snap.

Hit or miss make sure to bring that hand and elbow back to protect yourself from a counter!


The lead hand has just left your body entering the atmosphere of your opponent’s face most likely because who doesn’t like a good headshot snapping their opponent’s kneck back am I right or am I right!?

Your key checkpoints while launching your Jab

  1. Am I in range
  1. Is your elbow tucked in or flaring out to the side?
  1. Has my hand rotated down before reaching impact
  1. Am I hitting with the first two knuckles?
  1. Thumb is gripping the fist not tucked into it
  1. End it by bringing it back to your face as fast as you can

All these will help you develop a solid jab. Knowing if you should step in or not

My elbow tucked in creates a straight line reaching my target faster and it won’t telegraph my punch

If I rotate my hand too early I lose the snap on my punch

The first two knuckles are my strongest and I don’t feel like breaking my hand today

My thumb also doesn’t feel like breaking today make sure its gripped and not tucked

And last but not least my face doesn’t feel like breaking so I bring my hand back as fast I can to protect my moneymaker!


Power Jab vs. Snap Jab

Snap Jabs

take less energy to throw and are faster. You use it to gauge distance, set up combinations, or keep your opponent busy by giving them something to worry about. 

Use this punch as a whip and don't be tensed up. It’s light and you get to see how your opponent reacts defensively.

You will be throwing a snap jab more often than a power jab.

Power Jabs

take more energy, the combos following are slower. You are trying to gain some respect in the fight so you don’t get run over. 

They stop your opponent from attacking or interrupting their attack. Your opponent has a tight strong guard and you want to break their guard by switching speeds

How To Increase Speed?

Speed kills in boxing, good fighters aren’t just powerful they are usually fast too. You can think of the young talent Ryan Garcia who is known for lightning-speed punches.

They aren’t just dropping opponents because they are powerful but because they are so fast they can’t keep up

So how do I gain more speed?

It starts with good timing. 

But that’s not enough you see the window open you have to be quick now you need good reactive skills. 

The window is there and now it’s gone but you threw all your power and speed into it. 

Now you need endurance, and I ain’t talking just about cardio I’m talking muscle endurance!

So here are some options for each 

Weights/ Endurance

  • Free weights (2-5 lbs)
  • Weighted Gloves
  • Egg weights

Timing/ Speed

  • Resistance Bands
  • Double-end bag

Reflexes/ Reactive

  • Cobra bag
  • Reflex Bar
  • Headband Reflex Balls

I know what you're thinking. Damn all this for a Jab? Yes, heck yah. These help train all your punches but a quick reminder your jab is that Bread and Butter.

So let’s make it the best punch we got!

How To Increase Power?

Now that you have the speed, time to focus on building that power!

Using weights for power isn’t really what we want to do although strength training should be a part of your workout.

Boxers should use functional Dynamic movement for Power. What I mean is the action you will take to perform a hook or a cross should be done with a weight that can be moved quickly and forcefully.

Medicine balls are a great example. They can be set up in your boxing stance and thrown as hard and as fast as you can!

Another one is Banded Push-ups, these shouldn’t be slow and by this point should have good body control. At the bottom of the push-up, you want to explode up as fast as you can against that resistance band.

The most underrated one working that Heavy Bag. Of course, there are some people (my Uncle) that say a true heavy bag is filled with sand and should make your knuckles bleed after the 1st round.

That works too, at least it did for him. And there are the new Heavy bags filled with mostly cloth.

Your choice!

With all this, I can’t forget to mention how important it is for me to take you back to that Stance.

You need To be in a good stance to control your body and shift that weight through your body into the hand. Because honestly, you can have power and not know if you can’t produce it correctly.

Flicker Jab

I Love these jabs and this is getting its spot because of it.

These little guys are smooth criminals and you never see them coming.

You can have your lead hand at your waist and relaxed cool and chilling and on command, you want to flick it upwards when they least expect it because you look so relaxed.

Roy Jones Jr has one of the best!

Your hand is down so defense is an issue but I love it because I feel I gain more speed and surprise my opponent more often.

Boxing Jab Variations

  • Single jab

As explained its only one jab and its really a good feeler jab to see what your opponent does 

  • Double jab

A great variation of the single jab, doubling up your jab is good when your opponent is just a little out of range after you throw the first one

  • Up Jab 

Your palm on this punch should be facing towards the sky like you're going to skyhook a shot shout-out to Kareem! Palm faced up to split right underneath the guard 

  • Vertical Jab

This is the original Jab with the thumb facing up. Splitting the guard between the fists, narrowing your punch

  • Stiff Jab

Powerful and meant to stop your opponent in their tracks. Keep the arm stiff but not hyperextended palm can be horizontal or vertical. This punch should be aimed at the chest and body

These Jabs are used in all types of situations and are not for only one type of fighter you should learn and use them all.

Throwing Jabs

From the different Jabs, you can throw to the different ways to apply them

Step jab: Use this when you are slightly out of range. 

  1. Take a slight step forward do not stomp stay light on your toes
  1. Don’t step too far forward widening your stance losing balance
  1. Bring your foot back immediately when done

Body jab: This is called working the ladder. Use this to bring your opponent’s hands down, or to counter their jab.

  1. Take a slight step forward and at the same time bend at the knees and waist
  1. Use a stiff jab to bring their elbows in and hands down 

What Does A Jab Mean?

It means you need to use it as often as possible. Plain and simple

identify what situation is best for each jab. 

Your opponent depending on their height, reach, footwork to what type of style they have will help you figure this out.

Experiment maybe all of them work who knows!?

Dos and Don'ts

Now I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life but… I’m going to leave this right here.


  • Let the Elbow come out: You have less power, it telegraphs your punch before you throw it
  • Drop the backhand: Exposes your face, doesn’t set up your next punch correctly
  • Reach with upper body and head: Decreased balance, exposes you to a counterattack
  • Don’t lift the shoulder: You lose power, wastes energy 
  • Popping up with the Jab: Less grounded with the floor, less control of your body and footing
  • Rotate the foot inward all the way: Lose form on the rest of your punches 


  • Keep your guard up: Get into a good habit of bringing your hands back after your done with a punch
  • Extend your arm fully: Use all your length without hyperextending, keep your opponent away from you
  • Rotate your palm down: At the end of your punch you should have your palm faced down and your elbow facing outward
  • Chin tucked: Keeping your chin tucked into your shoulder without elevating your shoulder protects your jaw from getting checked
  • Bring your arm back: All the way back now, to the face! Hand to face elbow to ribs and Voila` you have completed the jab
  • Stay relaxed: Last but not least stay loose stay limber hit them with a jab and yell timber!

Extra Tips

Use this punch to feel out your opponent’s style and reactions, do they defend properly or are they looking to counter?

This punch you will be using quite often and therefore needs to be able to endure the output being used. Strength and endurance training are needed.

This isn’t a knock-out punch, use it for speed and dazing your opponent. Keep them on their toes defensively.

Don’t throw a lazy Jab, you can't get countered over the top, keep them long and strong!

You made it to the end of this round and that’s all, for now, practice and apply what you learned happy jabbing!

Alexander "The Great" Enriquez

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