How to Throw the Jab

March 26, 2010 March 26, 2010 by Johnny N Boxing Basics, How to Box 21 Comments

How to Throw the Jab

A guide for beginner boxers and a reminder for seasoned fighters on how to throw the most important punch in boxing.


The jab is everything. It is the most basic punch and always the first punch you learn in boxing. The easiest punch to land and sets your opponent up to be hit by your bigger punches. When used defensively, the jab is a very fast counter-punch that can defend your from opponents’ punches and make room for you to get away. Read on to learn how to execute boxing’s most important punch! – THE JAB.


Positioning for the Jab

1. Stand in your basic boxing stance with your feet spread shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, chin down, hands up, and eyes on your opponent.



2. Take a small step forward with your front foot as you push you entire body forward with the lead foot.
3. At the same time that you extend your left foot forward, you also punch your lead fist towards opponent’s head extending the lead arm straight out in front of you. (Don’t forget to breathe out when you throw the jab!)
4. As the you are throwing the jab, you are rotating the lead fist so that the palm is facing the ground by the time your jab hits your opponent.



5. Recover your lead fist back to your chin quickly by pulling the jab straight back. At the same time you are retracting your lead fist, you are sliding your BACK foot forwards so that your feet are shoulder width again.
6. When you are done throwing the jab, your body should be in the same position when you started with your feet back to shoulder-width apart and you are now a little closer to your opponent.



  • Don’t telegraph the jab! The rest of your upper body stays still as you throw the jab. It is a simple motion and does not require you to move your right arm or over-rotate your upper body when you throw the jab.
  • Keep your right hand by the chin the whole time. Don’t drop the right hand or else you’ll be easily countered by your opponent’s counter-jab or counter-lead hook.
  • Remember to bend your knees. If you stand too straight up, you lose power on the jab and your body gets slightly off balanced making it easy for your opponent to counter-punch you.
  • When you are jabbing your opponent, keep your chin down and aiming forward as you raise your lead shoulder high during the jab to cover the chin. Raising the lead shoulder to cover your chin will prevent your opponent from throwing an overhand punch over the jab into your face.
  • If you don’t want to step in and you’re already in range, you can throw the jab from a stationary position without having to move your feet as you throw the jab.

If you’ve done all this properly, congratulations! You have now thrown a proper boxing jab! The jab can be used for offense, defense, counter-punching. It sets up all your big punches and is VERY VERY important!

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egan April 11, 2010 at 9:06 am

hitting self with shoulder…
i started at a boxing club recently and they teach to keep the chin down behind the shoulder while jabbing for protection, but when im doing this im also kind of hitting myself with my shoulder when i throw the jab and after a while you can feel it in your head which cant be too healthy.
Any suggestions?


Johnny N April 12, 2010 at 2:51 am

how to jab – chin behind the shoulder

Here are a few things you can try to minimize the impact of your shoulder jamming into your chin:

– tuck your chin lower so that the shoulder is hitting you in the chin
– don’t spin your head into your shoulder, instead pull your head forward towards your opponent as you throw the jab forward
– concentrate on lifting and extending the shoulder FORWARD and not into your face

I hope that helps. Let me know. Good luck with the jab!


isaiah iverson May 2, 2010 at 6:17 am

😉 iv’e used this it works!


west brom g May 27, 2010 at 3:38 am

another way to do it drop your jab hand and make, tuck your shoulder into your chin, this will cause your opponent jab you he will miss and create you an opening for the over right


@Ricky June 29, 2011 at 10:14 am

closing the gap with the jab
5’9 about 150 with a pretty good reach,but i cant land my jab without taking punishment.. neither it falls short ,or im taking a jab to the face. IM ALSO trying to ASSOCIATe FEINTs. how can i set up the jab with my footwork?please help i need to utilize my jab more, i have good combos but im rushing in to close the gaps…thanks for the advise with the title fast feet 🙂 also while hitting mittt ,i instead get off balance when throwing the 1-2-1-2…


Johnny N July 5, 2011 at 5:08 am

@Ricky – Have you learned the step in jab? Stand 2 inches outside your opponent’s reach and take a SMALL step in as you throw the jab. Also try working the double jab (taking 2 steps in) to really close the gap. To throw the 1-2-1-2 without losing balance, make sure you’re not leaning forward. It helps to shadowbox more to improve your balance. You’ll know if you’re leaning forward when it takes you forever to pull your punches back.


frank September 14, 2011 at 4:28 am

Getting speed in a double-jab
I’m currently unable to deliver two jabs quickly without them lacking power. When I do, they are too slow and would easily be countered in a sparring session. How do I get some speed into this type of punch without compromising power? Thanks.


Johnny N September 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm

take a smaller step. and instead of focusing on shooting your arm out, work on stepping forward an inch. use that step to power your jab instead of your arm muscle.


frank September 15, 2011 at 4:04 am

Thanks for the reply. I’ll try that. Excellent site by the way.


Johnny N September 16, 2011 at 5:01 am

You’re welcome and thank you!


J February 14, 2012 at 11:31 pm

when i throw a jab do i throw it with my hips as well as other punches?


Johnny N February 15, 2012 at 10:06 am

No you don’t. Keep your hips still. The jab is arm only and power is added only by stepping forward or slightly dropping the hips. Some guys will reach forward but I don’t recommend that.


J February 15, 2012 at 10:40 pm

you dont recommend reaching forward due to falling off balance, and do i twist my upper body at all?


Johnny N February 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Don’t twist your upper body. Leave it still and extend your front arm to jab. The jab is not a power punch.


J February 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I know oscara de la hoya has a great jab. is he a good example on how to throw a proper jab?


Johnny N February 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

Yes he is.


J February 18, 2012 at 1:58 am

so a jab is not usually intended for power but rather to find your range, keep them off, set them up or even to distract them like when you recommend to throw for example cross, left hook, light left hook, cross. or am i mistaken sir?


Johnny N February 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Exactly, a jab CAN have power but it’s main purpose is not for power. You can throw whatever combo you want but usually the jab comes first.


Dre April 21, 2016 at 7:31 pm

My power hand is my right but I’m much more comfortable in a southpaw stance this helps my jab but I often find my left cross countered any tips on if I should try orthodox ?


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