Mastering The Left Hook

June 27, 2008 June 27, 2008 by Johnny N Boxing Techniques, Punch Techniques 145 Comments

Mastering the Left Hook

The complete boxing guide on how to throw the perfect left hook punch. This guide will help beginning boxers who can’t seem to get a left hook that feels right or even experts just looking to add power and form to their existing left hook. Learn 4 different types of left hooks and when to throw them.

I’ve worked with enough boxers to know that throwing the left hook is a difficult punch to master for some boxers and an easy punch to master for others. Like running or dancing, some people are born with great body mechanics and their body moves in a way that is very efficient and artful while others seem stiff and can’t get the motion to feel right. The good news is that the left hook can be taught.

Different Types of Left Hooks
Many people don’t realize this but there are many types of left hooks. Some left hooks will be easier for some people than other people. I recommend you to practice and learn all of them and to use that to your advantage.

  1. Power Left Hook – you lean into it and as you punch and you pull your head out and to the side so there’s head movement and you move your whole body and transfer your weight to the back foot and right hand. I’ll call this a power left hook.
  2. Digging Left Hook – you lean your head into the hook but you only rotate your body leaving your head close to the other boxer’s body as you punch him. Boxers will use this left hook to try and hammer to the body as they leave their head in close so that it’s hard to counter them. The digging left hook is also good for allowing you to throw multiple left hooks in a row since your body doesn’t move too far out of position when you throw it. (Some people also throw this punch in a ‘hookercut’ manner, meaning kind of like a left hook but also like a left uppercut.)
  3. Pivoting Left Hook -This kind of left hook is a pivoting left hook or a turning left hook. In this punch, the boxer rotates on his left foot and swings his body out of the way of the opponent as he throws the left hook. This type of left hook can be very powerful but also moves your body out of harm’s way so that you don’t get countered. It’s works very well as a counter punch and allow you to keep circling your opponent.
  4. Lunging Left  Hook – In this punch, you lunge forward and stretch your body towards your opponent as you throw your left hand in a looping motion. The left hand starts very close to your face and then you quickly bring it out to the left and then quickly shoot it towards your opponent’s face. This left hook is very different since your left arm will extend out as straight as possible to get more reach towards your opponent. It’s more of a tricky left cross than a left hook. Some people will lean forward and use their back as a spring when they throw this punch. This punch is one of those punches you weren’t supposed to be taught in the gym but with proper timing, it’s still very dangerous and effective.

A perfect example of a power left hook is one thrown by Mike Tyson or Arturo Gatti. Notice how they move their entire body.
A perfect example of a digging left hook is one thrown by Marco Antonio Barrera or Mickey Ward or Ricky Hatton. Notice how he leaves his head there to the side when he throws it.
A perfect example of a pivoting left hook can be seen by Miguel Cotto (he’s actually good at throwing all 3 types of left hooks) or Wladimir Klitschko or Floyd Mayweather Jr.
A perfect example of a lunging left hook is one thrown by Ricky Hatton (against carlos maussa) or Roy Jones Jr.or Prince Naseem.

For People Who Find Left Hooks to the Body Difficult Or Painful
The reason why your left hook to the body feels weird or hurts so much is because your arm form is bad.

Try these tips:

  • Don’t throw the hook perfectly horizontal, try making it a half hook and half uppercut. Give it a slight upwards curving motion. (a.k.a. “the Hookercut”)
  • Relax and drop your shoulder and keep your elbow down when you throw that punch to the body.
  • Rotate your feet so that they both point to the right when you throw the hook.
  • Your arm is moving too much, move your arm less and swing your body more.
  • Don’t cock your arm back when you throw the punch, just drop your left hand in front of you and punch from that position.

Left Hook Steps (for a power left hook to the body)

  1. Stand in your regular boxing stance.
  2. Bend your knees and waist a little as your drop your head and left hand forward and to the left a little.
  3. Quickly rotate your body to the right as you throw the hook.
  4. The entire body will turn with the hook as you turn your body to face the right side.
  5. Your right heel will drop to the ground as your left heel lifts up to push into the hook.
  6. The fist tightens as it slams into your opponent and STOPS when it hits the opponent.
  7. Stop your punch before it over-rotates so  you don’t get countered. Don’t just swing the punch all the way through.
  8. When you finish the left hook, your head, left fist, body, and feet should all be facing to the right.

Notes: Exhale when you punch, spin your feet and hips as hard as you can and don’t forget to recover.

If you’re doing a digging left hook, rotate your body but leave your head right where you dropped it. In most cases, you’ll want to drop your head close to opponent’s elbow so that you can really dig that left hook in without worrying about his right hand counter too much. You’ll also want to make this hook somewhat of a half hook, half uppercut (‘hookercut’) so that it’ll really dig through. You’ll have to try it to see what I mean.

If you’re doing a pivoting left hook, think of the arm traveling a little straighter. It’s more of a left cross than a left hook. You keep your left hand a little closer to your face for power. As you throw the pivoting left hook your whole body will rotate and your left hand will swing out in front of you as your right foot swings behind you turning your body out of the way. You body will probably turn 60-80 degrees clockwise when you throw the pivoting left hook.

If you’re doing a lunging left hook, quickly snap your left hand out and then quickly back in at your opponent’s head. It’s almost like a slingshot effect as you let your left fist out and then back in. Again, it’s more of a left cross than a left hook. You will jump or quickly reach forward when you do this and your head will come straight towards your opponent leaving you open to a sharp counterpunch. When you throw this punch, your arm is extending out straight so that you have more reach.

Throwing Multiple Left Hooks
If you’ve been experimenting with the steps above, you’ve probably realized it’s very difficult to throw two power left hooks in a row with maximum power. The most common way to throw two left hooks in a row is to throw a digging left hook first and than a power left hook. So what you’ll do is lean your head and left it there for the first left hook (digging left hook), and then you’ll yank your head out as you rotate your whole body for the second left hook (power left hook). You can also throwing a digging left hook to the body and then a pivoting left hook to the head. If you watch Shane Mosley box, he likes to throw three digging left hooks in a row.

Tips to throwing multiple left hooks:

  • Weak & Strong – make one of them weak and the other one strong. The weaker left hook should be use just to tap and force the opponent to shift his weight into the block at the wrong time. (Throwing strong then weak, is also ok.)
  • Slow & Fast – throw one of the left hooks slow and then a really fast one right after. (Throwing fast, then slow is also ok.)
  • Low & High – throw the first one to the body, the second one to the head. (Throwing high, then low is also ok.)

When To Throw The Left Hook
Many boxers have mastered the left hook but never learned when to throw it. Instead they wait around all day for the perfect occasion but the opportunity never presents itself. The important thing is to think of the left hook as more than just a weapon. You can use it to cause damage, open up your opponent for bigger punches from the right hand, or distract him. The important thing is to have confidence and to throw it without being scared of getting counter-punched.

Great Left Hook Combos to Try:

  • After a Right Cross – This one is obvious. Just about every boxer follows the right cross with a left hook.
  • After a Left Hook – Another obvious mentioned above. Many boxers are taught to defend left-right-left-right. You’ll trip them up if you throw two left hooks in a row.
  • Throw a pivoting left hook followed by a big right hand. Make sure you plant your feet right after the pivoting left hook so that the right cross does more damage.
  • Quick left hook to the body to drop your opponent’s right hand, and then you jab him to the head.
  • Hard left hook to the body to drop your opponent’s right guard, and then lunging left hook to the head. Follow it up with whatever you want.
  • If you see your opponent keeping his right glove tight to his face, throw your hook at his glove anyway and the damage will carry through.
  • Side step to your right and then quickly throwing a pivoting left hook if he chases you with his guard down. Another thing you can do to get his guard down is to TEMPORARILY drop your own guard for a split second.
  • Throw a light left hook to the head followed by a quick jab and then a big right hand.
  • When you’re being chased or you’re standing square with your back against the ropes, bend down at the waist as you throw a right hand to the body and then come back up as you throw a lunging left hook to the head.

I’ll add more left hook tips as I remember them but you should have plenty of things to try in the ring for now. By now you should have a greater understanding of the best knockout punch in boxing. Mastering this punch will make you a two-fisted fighter and a far better fighter in the ring. Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

You might also want to read: Setting Up the Left Hook

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145 Comments

LIGJJG October 19, 2008 at 6:42 am

Dude, I don’t think that you should stop whenever you connect, if you want a knock out punch you have to follow through.

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grant December 26, 2008 at 4:17 pm

stop hooks are better
If you push a hook through, you will get countered badly when you miss. It’s also possible to push a hook only a few inches more if you want but you can’t just let your body overswing. On a side note, learn some manners before you make yourself sound like a retard.

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umar January 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm

hook
very nice article,are u a fighter yourself?

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Johnny N January 15, 2009 at 12:12 am

yes I am
thanks for the comments… do feel free to ask questions if you have any

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ben April 1, 2013 at 7:06 pm

can you make a right hook guide my right hooks garbage and sometimes i even hurt my hand which makes me think I’m doing something very wrong. i’m probably doing multiple things wrong

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alexis August 30, 2009 at 10:55 pm

how u position ur fist when throwing a left hook. i know horizontal or vertical fist are correct. but i juz want a good explaination.

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Harry March 4, 2013 at 7:00 am

How do you angle your wrist
This seems really important but isn’t touched on at all here

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Johnny N March 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Watch my videos on the left hook. They’re on the youtube channel. This article is really old and will be updated with newer articles.

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Johnny N September 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm

horizontal left hooks VS vertical left hooks
Alexis,

Sorry for the late reply. I´ve been traveling lately. Ok so here goes. I have two answers for you:

- In my opinion, it shouldn´t really matter. Everyone´s wrist joint is built differently and throwing it one way may feel more comfortable than the other way. My first boxing coach use to teach me to throw vertical fisted left hooks when throwing to the body and then to use horizontal fists when throwing to the head.

- My more recent boxing trainer explains that you should always use a vertical fist when throwing the left hook because that way you can use your fingers to pry away his guard and sneak that fist in past his defense. Because the fist is vertical it forms a smaller edge and is more likely to squeeze in past your opponent´s defense.

So there you have it. Whatever you do, your fist MUST be vertical when you throw a left hook to the body. Good luck and do let me know which feels more comfortable for you and/or gives you more power. Thanks for writing!

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Amol V.Sakpal November 3, 2009 at 2:48 am

Learning boxing
Dear Rado,
I am very interestred in boxing. Presently, i am planning to join on good boxing club. My difficulty is that my my finger( next to thumb) of right hand was fractured five years ago, that’s why i can not make my right hand fist fully. I can make it half fist like tiger punch in Martial art game. As you have great experience in boxing, i want your advice in respect of my learning boxing. I read your this article, it’s really knowledgable.

Amol

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alexis November 12, 2009 at 1:06 pm

left hook
Rado i can feel the power of my left hook when using vertical fist rather than using horizontal fist. but using horizontal fist is more easier for me to throw wen i spar k thax

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Johnny N November 16, 2009 at 6:02 am

finger and fist positioning
Once again, sorry for the late replies.

Amol – As long as your hand can fit into a punching glove. You should be ok. Some brands of punching gloves will give you more thumb support than other brands. You can also aid the positioning by wrapping your hands in a manner that gives more support to the thumbs.

alexis – This will simply be a choice you have to make. There will always be conflicting advice out there and it will be your discretion as to which advice to follow. Practice will always make anything easier. Perhaps you could use the horizontal fist to weaken your opponent and then throw the vertical fist once his reflexes have slowed.

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alexis March 5, 2010 at 11:28 am

left hook
thax rado

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don October 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm

!
i’v just found ur blog and i think theres plenty of cool stuff in it and i really liked some of ur tips and advices.keep up the good work brother…

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Johnny N October 7, 2010 at 12:03 pm

thank you, Don
Thank you.

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jared phelps August 30, 2013 at 6:09 pm

hey thank you for posting this and joe frazier in the ali fight 1 his hooks were kinda wild but still hurt and knocked down ali how is this? and how do you throw a frazier hook?

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Johnny N September 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Frazier threw all kinds of hooks, tight ones, wide ones, lunging ones. There are many different kinds. I suggest you start with the basic one and then start altering it from there depending on the situation you’re in.

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brandon November 21, 2010 at 11:49 pm

?
what’s the difference between the hoizontal punch and the virtical punch? more power?more speed? or in like tao kwan do

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Johnny N November 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm

horizontal hook VS vertical hook
I personally like vertical hook. Every person’s unique body mechanics will feel more comfortable one way over the other. A body hook is always vertical fist. Most coaches will recommend differently for a hook to the head. The trainers teach me to use a horizontal fist for a short hook and a vertical fist for a long hook. Personally, I like to use a vertical fist for all since it feels good to me. Again, the muscle build and bone structure of everyone’s shoulder is different and will feel different.

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azza December 16, 2010 at 10:09 am

Love the site – Thank you for the wisdom!
Love the site – Thank you for the wisdom!
;-)

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Jacobi January 22, 2011 at 12:01 am

Hi JOhnny .. please give me some tips also for mastering the right cross(for right cross lead vs southpaw/orthodox and also the exact range to throw them right leads) …Im a orthodox but I have huge problems with southpaws when throwing right hands and even i hit it seems my right is is so weak maybe because the angles are awkward, but when i switch to southpaw then I work with my right jab all the time I almost own those 3 little spar buddy southpaws! except for the taller southpaw .. this combi works for me when vs southpaws .. 1 – 1 – 2 ,1 – 2 – 1 , 3 – 2 i dont jab to the body when vs southpaw … slick southpaw will always be my nightmare!

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Johnny N January 22, 2011 at 8:56 am

Jacobi,

The right hand against the southpaw will always be tricky to land because of the angles. Have you read my southpaw guide for fighting orthodox? That will help you understand southpaws better. Here are some tips I can think of for landing the right:

- aim for the chest, not always the head
- throw short rights, not long rights
- aim for their left ear, that way if they pull their head back you have a chance of catching them square, if they pull their head forward then it will be closer to your left hand
- wait for them to throw their left hand before you throw your right hand
- throw double-rights! they don’t have to be hard

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Jacobi January 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

Thanks!I have read the southpaw guide , and i was also the Jacob who asked for Orthodox guide to beating southpaw! I’ll let you know! I dont know if it’s just me but one thing I learned from fighting southpaws is that I always had to be so close to be able to hit :cry: . A week have passed since my last spar with southpaw until I got some knowledge here .. It will surely help next time!

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Jess - Yukon Boxing February 18, 2011 at 6:29 am

Fist position while throwing a hook
Whether you point the palm of your hand towards you or towards the ground when throwing a hook to the head is ultimately a matter of personal preference, but there are logical explanations for both and both should be practiced.

By keeping the palm of your hand facing you when throwing a head hook you stand a better chance of getting behind your opponents guard and connecting. It also allows you to pry your opponents guard away from their face when you bring your hand back.

Keeping your palm faced down allows you to bring your elbow up which locks everything in place and allows you to use your whole body weight in the punch. This is a great punch against a shorter opponent.

Something to keep in mind when throwing hooks is defense. People often have a tendency to drop their guard when throwing a hook. Always protect yourself. Remember, if you’re close enough to throw a hook, so is your opponent.

Another thing beginners often have trouble with is defense after they throw a hook. Beginners will often bring their hand back low and leave their elbow out. The easiest way to correct this is to have them concentrate on bringing their elbow back to their ribs. When you bring your elbow back the hand will automatically follow.

Thanks for the great site! I have linked it to the Yukon Boxing Facebook page as a great source of information.

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Johnny N February 22, 2011 at 12:09 am

@Jess – Great points! I’m going to have to revamp this article soon, especially to cover the points you mentioned! Let me know if you have a gym you’d like to add to our gym page.

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TT March 17, 2011 at 12:49 am

Joe Frazier
Check out how Joe throws the left hook it’s picture perfect, in my opinion greatest ever left hooker, the one he downed Ali with was amazing. What do you’ll lot think?

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Johnny N March 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm

@TT – Joe Frazier did have a beautiful left hook. I think you should be careful to note that it’s very different from the typical left hook. He moves forward as opposed to pivoting it to the right. His left arm also straightens as he throws the left hook and so it’s more like a wide left cross than a left hook. Nonetheless, it was a deadly beautiful punch regardless what you want to call it. It gave Muhammad Ali hell and it’s truly beautiful.

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Peter April 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

So how would one be able to or what would one have to do to get a hook like Fraziers? Do you know any training steps for this type of hook?

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Johnny N April 12, 2013 at 10:10 am

Work on your punching technique. Joe Frazier throws many kinds of left hooks. He’s versatile. It’s not just the same left hook over and over again. So you probably start developing different kinds of left hooks and maybe one day yours may be as versatile and powerful as Joe Frazier’s.

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Jay April 5, 2011 at 6:14 am

left hook foot work
hi

while ive been doing the left hook on my heavy bag i realise my foot ont he left wher i twist to the right to get more momentum and body … my left foot near the Foot THUMB like nurves hurts? i dont knwo if u get it but yea my foot hurts maybe i do it too much the left hook like spin it too much or ? is that natural?

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Johnny N April 11, 2011 at 9:20 am

@Jay – I hope you are using the proper boxing shoes. Also make sure your knee is not twisted too much or angled too much to the left or right side. Does it hurt when you are just posed as if you are landing the hook?

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pav April 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm

what kind of left hook did de la hoya have

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Johnny N April 23, 2011 at 5:09 am

@pav – De La Hoya had a perfect left hook. Power left hook without loading or leaning into it. Great body mechanics, great leverage. Everything about it was beautiful.

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JaketheSnake April 24, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Navarrete right hook
Hi Johnny,

Don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but before Manny became famous there was this filipino southpaw boxer named Rolando Navarrete who was active in the early 80′s. He had great fights with Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Choi Chung Il, and Rafael “Bazooka” Limon. He had a very unique style as he did not jab very often, if at all, did not have a great chin, not very active foot work and a porous defense.

What he had, however, was a great right hook.

What was great about it was he was not shy in throwing it. In the Boza-Edwards fight where he won the QBC Junior lightweight belt, his hook took the place of a jab. It had a lot of juice on it, but he never overextends it like some boxers (by some boxers, I mean me..hahaha…) He always kept it nice and short and compact so that if it missed, he was not off balance. He also used it as a trap, setting it up with nice slow exchanges, sometimes with his back against the ropes, before exploding with that crisp counter hook to the chin.

His fight with Boza-Edwards, his finest performance, is on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro69OTOprOY&feature=related

His 12th round against Limon was also a thriller at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D9Kj1dmGsE He was doubling up the hooks and doing lunging lead hooks in this one. Too bad he got caught by a prime and durable Limon at the end.

What do you think about his hook? I think he has the best one of the Filipino boxers. And very unique because his whole offense looked like it was based on the right hook, not the jab.

Thanks and more power!

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Johnny N April 26, 2011 at 9:45 am

Hi Jake,

I have heard of him but never really watched his fights. The fights you showed were a lot of fun. His right hook varies from time to time. He doesn’t swing too much and he throws it more like a wide overhand right cross than as a hook. Either way, it’s very effective. Comes out fast, relaxed, and hits hard. Fun fighter to watch.

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DKL May 13, 2011 at 12:51 am

Good ol’ left hook
It seems the easiest, most natural way is to set this punch up with lighter punches to get the guy thinking of defense, and then throw it sharp. It’s like you said, you really don’t even have to throw it hard. It’s the angle it comes at is what makes it a devistating/knockout punch. I think this a miss conception among some fighters. I used to think the knockouts came from just throwing your body wieght into it. If you miss (which most of the time I do) I’m off balance and get put on blast anyway. Sneakyness is the key.;-)

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Johnny N May 13, 2011 at 8:36 am

@DKL – “set up the punch with lighter punches”…you said it perfectly

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saber khan August 1, 2011 at 9:47 pm

my 2 cents
amazing, 16 years later this is still the most confusing topic in boxing :-) id like to contribute my little ideas since my left hook paid for quite a bit of my med school, i owe it and young fighters that much.
theres a lot of sayings in boxing which over time and a pro career of 43 fights ive found to be mostly crap. but the saying about the left hook being born into a boxer may be true.

coach has written it all, some other guys put in the the extra stuff. the left hook is like breathing to those who can do it well, its the hardest punch humans can execute and close to equal to the hardest kick possible. yep the hardest hooks have exhibited 1.2 to 1.5 times the power of the cross and the hook is really a clean move. the cross is a bastardised hook.

here’s what i remember:

1. u dont need to cock the fist to hook for God’s sake. ppl who do that give the hook a bad name.
2. the left foot is the plant foot and it should burn a HOLE IN THE FREAKING CANVAS. your body can turn just 30 degrees but your left foot should burn. if it isnt, brother u arent hooking right. your right leg has NOTHING TO DO. its only job is to let your left leg do its business and then keep boxing balance.
3. the sideways hook is never a power hook. NEVER. please guys understand this. all the best hook artists have this in common, every coach screams it, yet somehow no one listens. everybody asks ppl who hook naturally, yet no one seems to listen or remember. you need to dip the left shoulder and flex that left leg, put your weight on it. how else are you gonna pivot all your weight into a punch ? if you do this one thing, you will find a change in your power immediately. the best hooks come from a slightly lower position. trinidad went so far as to get up on the ball of his right foot (which always made us laugh) so he could throw the punch. roy jones used to lean forward totally on his left foot. there is no successful left hook puncher who doesnt dip.
4. the power of this punch is NOT IN THE ARM, OR THE BICEP, OR THE SHOULDER, OR THE TORSO. you can spin those as much as you want and you wont do anything. there’s a sequence to the hook. and that means, you can control only the main switch and leave the rest to do their own job. where is that switch? the left raised foot which will turn you, and the flexed knee which will give u some upwards momentum.

put whatever weight u have into that left foot, dip that shoulder, and and explode off that left knee and burn those toes spin your foot into the canvas clockwise like youre going to make a hole in the canvas. your foot and your knee are the power-the torso kicks itself in dont worry about the torso. when your toes rotate, and your slightly dipped shoulder with that flexed left knee explode, you can hit the heavy bag with your shoulder and send it swinging. dont believe me, go ask a pro. do it urself but commit to it. your torso is the slave to your toes and knees. it turns in a whiplash effect. i suggest everyone just try turning only with their toes and extending only with their knees, and letting their shoulder hit the bag. ill bet you 9 times out of 10 once you bring your arm forward, you’ll find you hit WEAKER. thats a good clue that youre taking the torso and arm under your conscious control and fudging whatever power in your left hook God gave ya.

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saber khan August 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm

left hook part 2
u need to realise your left hook isnt the opposite of your right hook or your right cross.
the right cross starts with the right leg and finishes with the left leg. its a composite motion. the right hook starts with the turning of the right leg and ends with the left leg. its a composite thing. the left hook is a pure punch. test it. lift your right leg and see if you can throw any punch with any degree of power except the jab and the hook. the cross is easier than the right hook isnt it ? do u feel it missing some BOOM ? but the left hook feels nearly the same. do you wonder why?

if you realise the powers in your toes and your knees and your torso follows through, you gotta have the right position for the arm and fist. the elbow should be held high, because the you are moving upwards and sidewards. so the elbow should be high unlike the right hook or right cross. the punch should land with a fist that is squeezed shut just before the moment of impact.

when you land, land with the last 3 knuckles. if you try and land on the first 2 you will never get real power. and if u land on the knuckle of your middle finger and have good power, odds are 2 to 1 you will break either the knuckle or a bone in your forearm on impact. the last 3 knuckles look small but carry the power right into your arm. you can feel the recoil of your punch in your feet. which means its passed through. put ur hand on your elbow and ull realise why. which side is your elbow joint, to the inside or outside of your hand ? is it behind your bigger knuckles or the smaller ones ? u know force moves in a straight line. but i still see ppl ploughing away with the 1st 2 knuckles, and in order to do so, mentally they decrease the power of their shot. the best evidence is bare knuckle punching. i dare any person to punch full power using their first 2 knuckles on brick with even a stiff jab. i can throw my stiffest jab and a good cross when punching bare knuckle on brick. i dont dare do it with the hook cuz even with wraps and gloves i feel like i might break my hand if i land on the 1st two :-) thats how deadly the left hook is. and thats how important the point of impact is. why do guys go breaking their thumb? because its on the side of the bigger knuckes. use the last 3 knuckles together, and when u got wraps and gloves on and shut your fist tight just before landing the punch you dont have anything to fear.

is the hook susceptible to counter punching? the left hook is impossible to counterpunch unless ure lunging. in which case a jab will counter it and actually do some significant damage. dont lunge unless you know you can land it fast and hold your hands low, and you see your opponent’s not ready or you are at to your opponent’s extreme right. a proper close hook in a combo or as a counter or as in a body punch (hooker-cut, digging hook whatever) is not something that can be countered, it has to be ducked. even blocking is very risky.

recovery, someone already beat me to the punch, its all about remembering to keep the right mitt up, keeping the shoulder infront of your chin as much as possible, and bringing your left ELBOW back to your abdomen.

different amounts of scapular leverage, muscle power (not strength) in your legs, hips back as well as the ability of your tendons and ligaments to not lose power are things u cant change. what u can do is follow these guidelines to have the greatest hook possible for your body.

summary

dont cock your fist but starting with your shoudlers turned gives more left hook power.
dip the shoulder and flex the left knee
toes and knees are the basics of the hook forget torso turn the toes and explode off the knee
keep the shoulder high to protect your chiin and your right hand to protect against coutners to the other side
your fist should press shut just before contact and you should land on your last 3 knuckles at once. some like it with the horizontal fist some vertical. i did both didnt seem to make any diff to me, but the horizontal fist is easier to land on the last 3 knuckes with. a pro can do both just as easy. if you wanna go vertical make sure you tilt your fist so the thumb is at 11 degrees to be able to land better on the 3 main knuckes
you should finish 15 degrees out of your normal position and recover by pulling that left elbow back to your ribcage.

thats it. the left hook will always be a bit of an enigma cuz so much is done so fast, and its a one-leg power motion so compensation is not possible. but within your genetic capability, u can max out ur left hook and get at least KDs and make ppl respect that hook. u just have to forget some nonsense people have told u about it. at least, try and see what we say, maybe we;re totally wrong-whats the harm in trying?

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Dennie August 2, 2011 at 1:01 am

Thanks
Thanks guys, I’m gonna try and put this tips to practice at training tonight!

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Johnny N August 6, 2011 at 4:05 am

Great help, Saber. I’m going to be re-writing all these guides written over 3 years ago and will have to incorporate some of your details. Thank you.

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tim August 27, 2011 at 5:56 am

Right hook
will you do a artical on a proper right hook please

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Johnny N August 27, 2011 at 9:54 am

@tim – yes I can. It’s more overhand right than right hook but I’ll have it for the future.

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jim sheppard November 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

anybody wanting to master this punch should watch cooper in slow motion if possible its true he was a converted southpaw so the stopper was always his left hand but he also threw the punch from low down gaining more power

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ahmad December 2, 2011 at 10:05 pm

thank u all

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J December 18, 2011 at 2:11 am

“The easiest way to correct this is to have them concentrate on bringing their elbow back to their ribs.”-Jess – Yukon Boxing (don you feel this technique works with every punch?)

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Johnny N December 18, 2011 at 7:32 am

I agree, J.

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J January 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm

are these an example of the hooks you outlined sir?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_aA9JaL1Xhw#!

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Johnny N January 18, 2012 at 10:05 am

Ummm…somewhat. I really don’t agree with his technique.

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J January 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm

if possible can you point out what you see johnny? it will help me and others get better

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Johnny N January 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm

His technique is so different, it’s almost like a entirely different kind of left hook. Later on, I will make my own left hook videos which will help me demonstrate what I want you to see.

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J January 20, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Saber said to punch with the last three knuckles, only for the hooks or all punches?

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Laura January 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm

You should always punch with the two largest knuckles of your fist while maintaining a straight wrist, otherwise you could end up seriously hurting yourself. Broken bones are not fun.

As for the left hook, here is a better example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URd4pL3gzbs

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Johnny N January 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Laura is right, aim for the first 2 knuckles.

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Jesse whitehorse mma February 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Ha whoa Jess from Yukon Boxing you were my coach once
. i just came on this site to check out some tips for my striking, never woulda thought I’d see someone from whse on anysite i commented on, small world huh

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Picolo March 6, 2012 at 4:40 am

Which was the technique of left hook that made frazier against mahoma mismo tuvo una ali? .That was not a simple hook left ,it was like a hook surprise,but what you would like to ask is how was your feet movement of legs and all ,to launch such hook.Thank you ;)

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Johnny N March 6, 2012 at 5:42 am

Joe Frazier’s left hook was more like a left swing. He crouches a little low to bait the punches coming down, then he pops up and swings his hooks into the opponent’s head. It’s more like a swing because the punch loops across but his body is still kind of facing his opponent and doesn’t turn away so much like a pure hook.

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Nyox March 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Thank you for this wonderful site and helpful tips. I have read along the comments and somehow got some ideas on how to properly execute a hook. This is one of my problem. My straight, upper cut and overhead is perfect and powerful but I just don’t have enough left hand power. If I have to rate my left hand compared to my right, it’s just about 30-40%. My aim is to make it if I could at least 90% or similar of what my right hand can generate. This is my first aim and I was also told by my coach. Any advise and drill? I’m still an amateur. Thank you and more power!

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Johnny N March 16, 2012 at 4:09 am

Most weak left hooks are the result of off-balanced left hooks. Find a way to punching using both legs, not just one. ;)

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Jonathan T March 20, 2012 at 4:29 am

Is this Article for Southpaws too?

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Johnny N March 21, 2012 at 10:10 am

Yes, reverse the instructions for the southpaw right hook.

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mike178 March 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

johnny would you mind telling which one is the strongest hook that allows you to turn ur hips to the maxium and get a good snap in the shoulders. thank you

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Johnny N March 27, 2012 at 10:40 am

In regards to this article, I would say the power hook and digging hook.

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Tony March 25, 2012 at 7:09 am

Joe Louis had a great left hook, the triple left hook he knocked down Max Baer with was a thing of beauty.

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heavy hands March 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm

yo john how u doin im wonderin on the bare knuckle hand which one is more likely to prevent injury the horizontal or vertical hook?

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Johnny N March 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

The horizontal hook is less likely to injure your wrist and shoulder. But do know it’s a little different for everyone. All depends on how your joints are built and how you move your body.

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john March 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm

is this an example of a pivoting or power left hook??
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmAFFvdGc_o

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Johnny N March 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm

That’s a power hook. With a pivoting hook, your back foot swings to a new position.

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Julius May 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I’m a southpaw new to boxing… But my left hook is horrible… Any suggestions on making it better?

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Johnny N May 17, 2012 at 8:32 am

Do you mean left hook or right hook? Either way, I would recommend the tips above as a good starting point.

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vvtill July 15, 2012 at 5:02 am

Appreciate if you could make a short video demonstrate how to mastering left hook, because it was hard to visualize your depicted in words.Anyway it is a good article

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Johnny N July 19, 2012 at 1:16 am

I released a video recently. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxIWai9sDR8&feature=plcp
It shows the basic techniques for the left hook. Check it out.

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BAXTER July 17, 2012 at 11:29 am

JHONNY, WHICH OF THE LEFT HOOK 4 DANNY GARCIA LAUNCHES?

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Johnny N July 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

You’re talking about the left hook that knocked Amir Khan down? That was more of lunging hook. He dipped a little bit and then sprung up with a left swing. It’s a little similar to the ones Joe Frazier throws at Muhammad Ali.

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Ironfist August 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm

yo mike how are you blud lsn i tend to lose balance when im trowing right hooks combined with left hooks while pivoting i need your help man i had to stop going to the gym cause of the finances so plz help me out fam appreciate it

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Ali August 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm

what type of left hook did george foreman throw??

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Johnny N August 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm

All kinds. No professional is going to limit himself to only one kind of left hook.

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Jamal August 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm

did joe frazier pivot with his left hook?

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Johnny N August 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I’m sure he did with some and didn’t with others.

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Joe37 August 4, 2012 at 6:56 am

EARNIE SHAVERS WAS A BEAST but i feel his right hand was much more deadly than his left out of curiosity what type of left hook did Earnie shavers throw because he is commonly refared to as the hardest hitting boxer in boxing history?

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Johnny N August 15, 2012 at 9:34 am

Earnie threw all kinds of left hooks. No trained fighter throws only one kind of a punch. If you show me some exact footage, I can explain the punch he’s throwing.

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John August 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm

i feel that most heavy left hookers dont pivot patterson, tyson robinson,tua julian jackson shavers, foreman well thats just my opinion i feel that pivoting is a must only in the amateur division correct me if im mistaken johnny appreciate it

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Johnny N August 15, 2012 at 9:36 am

Whoa!!! Not true at all. Have you seen Arturo Gatti or De La Hoya? All the other guys pivot too….especially Tyson, Julian Jackson. Now, there are some ways of throwing the left hook where you don’t require as much pivot, especially if you throw it as a hookercut. But generally, you have to pivot if you want some power.

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j August 7, 2012 at 3:39 am

I always here you say to watch miguel cotto and wow i admire that man technique, he has alot of set ups for the left hook and sets it up so easily well he makes it look easy, i somewhat underestimated cotto myself maybe because he is quiet unlike mayweather and broner, but miguel cotto hands down is one of the best i see do the left hook, your thoughts sir?

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Johnny N August 15, 2012 at 9:37 am

Yes, he is. I love his left hook.

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LeftHookSinister August 9, 2012 at 9:23 am

What type of left hook did de la hoya throw

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Johnny N August 15, 2012 at 9:37 am

All kinds! You can’t be world champion only throwing one kind of left hook.

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OG123 August 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm

how do you avoid losing balance while throwing flurries johhny apprecfiate it

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Johnny N August 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm

By lowering (grounding) your weight with each punch instead of lifting it.

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John August 16, 2012 at 10:18 am

ohh sorry man so if you dont pivot will it be considered an arm punch?

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Johnny N August 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm

If you don’t add body weight, then it’s an arm punch.

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Upperuct090 August 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm

shoud u pivot with the left uppercut to?

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Johnny N August 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Yes.

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OFO August 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm

did Gerry Cooney and Sonny Liston pivot too cuz in my opinion gerry cooney has the hardest left hook?

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Johnny N August 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Everyone pivots, it’s part of basic punching technique. All punches but the jab will generally require some pivoting.

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k August 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

i always wondered why are the left uppercut and right hook not mention in the 4 basic punch which are jab straight left hook right uppercut i dont see any video turorials about the right hook or left hook ?

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Johnny N August 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I will add those punches later.

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k August 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

*left uppercut

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JQ August 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm

is it true that heavy knockout punchers like Foreman and Shavers are born and not made?

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Johnny N August 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

DAMMIT!
SOME PUNCHERS ARE BORN!
AND SOME PUNCHERS ARE MADE!

But you’ll never find out how good you can really be until you go out there and stimulate yourself with every resource possible. GOOD LUCK!

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m August 23, 2012 at 4:48 am

what type of left hook was Carl Froch throwing specifically in the lucian bute fight?

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Johnny N August 27, 2012 at 8:55 am

It looked like he threw everything! Hahaha.

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ko August 27, 2012 at 1:19 am

thank you soooooooo much man your tips actually helped me knockout this bully whos been on me for weeks i owe it all to you know all the girl are hitting on me LOL thank you again bro

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JLO August 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm

johnny is it ok if ilean a little bit and use upperbody motion rather than pivoting cuz i tend to lose balance when i pivot?

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Johnny N September 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm

You lose balance when you pivot because you were off-balance in the first place. It’s hard to pivot with balance if your axis isn’t straight. Leaning is fine for beginners, but for better power and faster movement, you need to develop balanced pivots.

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g August 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm

what type of left hook is this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URd4pL3gzbs

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Johnny N September 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm

It’s the “mid-range left hook”!

He’s throwing his version of a typical normal hook using body pivot, some leg pivot.

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OG September 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

i have a little problem im facing when i try to throw repititive left hooks on the heavy bag it doesnt feel right is it with everyone one or ami exucting it wrong??

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Johnny N September 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm

If it doesn’t feel right, you’re definitely doing something wrong. The reason it feels weird either has to do with the pivot or the impact. The pivot will feel weird if you’re off balance. The impact will feel weird if you have poor form. Work on developing the right shoulder, elbow, hand positions.

Watch my left hook video on youtube!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxIWai9sDR8&feature=plcp

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JOnes September 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm

what type of let hook did Gerry Cooney throw?

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Johnny N September 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Everyone has multiple ways of throwing the same punch.

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es September 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I have a little concern im in MMa and if i pivot im totaly exposed for a takedown or low kick is there anyway i could get the same power if i dont pivot?

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Johnny N September 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm

You can still get a lot of power without pivoting but no, it won’t be as good as with a pivot.

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mas September 7, 2012 at 5:49 am
Johnny N September 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Yes, it is. That is one of several proper ways to throw a left hook..

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Sir September 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm

great article, I love the left hook i feel like its the only punch i actually throw correctly. I was told by a friend that when you throw a hook to the body it is different than when you throw it to the head and that instead of going straight into the hook it was more of a… straight turned into a hook. I’m not exactly sure how to describe it though it is like a hook but i guess with more arm movement putting it farther away from your own body. I am curious as to what your thoughts on this are, is it another possible way to throw it or is it something that is done to hit more around the kidney rather than the liver or just something that should not by done?

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Johnny N September 12, 2012 at 9:08 am

Your friend is partially right. There are different ways to throw the left hook to the body and his explanation covers one method. It’s good in certain situations but not all. It comes down to a matter of strategy, not technique.

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Sunny M October 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Hey guys,

Thought I’ll point out a little tip I learnt myself recently.

I’m just starting out training and am hoping to start competing next year.

With the left hook; I always found it fine to use and my left hook was very quick and powerful.

However I occasionally got bicep pain. I realised that this is due to me slightly bringing my fist inwards near impact (which no one spotted but seemed to increase speed and snap). But this was obviously wrong and now I don’t really contract my bicep on impact and more keep the shape of the arm and concentrate more on my legs and hips to twist. With this my bicep pain is gone and my left hook is more powerful and stable.

Just thought I’d mention this for any beginners as I was puzzled about my bicep pain for a little while. (Apparently from looking on the net other beginners occasionally have this issue).

Cheers

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KoJohnny January 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm

lsn bro i throw the legt hook like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwyRqHn9p9w and like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGOLFLBxamo will it give me less power i fell when i dont pivot i get more power especially when i try to double up on punches it takes more time when i pivot i just wanted ro know if this way will give me less power or will it be the same power thank you sir appreciate it.

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Johnny N January 22, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Different methods will be effective in different situations. So which hook is best? It depends on the situation. Just know that there are many ways to throw it. Of course, double hooks will be slower if you have to pivot back and forth.

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KoJohnny January 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Btw Johnny i was taught to pivot the right foot and keep the left foot grounded and take a little turn when i throw the punch

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Johnny N January 22, 2013 at 8:30 pm

There’s more than one way to do things. Try all methods you learn.

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Pain January 7, 2013 at 12:02 am

Hello Johnny can u post some tutorials on the liver shot ko and how its executed because the live shot ko is the most painful there ever is thank you..

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Johnny N January 22, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Yes I can.

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DA January 12, 2013 at 4:50 am

Did frazier pivot with the hook that knocked down ali i dont think so i just need to know it looked like he loaded up than explode upwards???

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Johnny N January 22, 2013 at 8:31 pm

That’s because it was a left swing. He generated a lot of springing energy through his back and legs and then just swung him arm across.

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Straightright January 20, 2013 at 12:30 am

btw johnny i like to snap back my left/right shoulder when i throw punches will this give me more power? especially with the straight right??

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Johnny N January 22, 2013 at 8:31 pm

It can if you do it right. And it won’t if you don’t. If you feel like you’re getting more power, then you’re doing it right.

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Harry March 4, 2013 at 7:01 am

How do you angle your wrist when throwing though. Nobody seems to talk about it

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Johnny N March 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Either horizontal or vertical. It creates a different effect which is useful for different purposes.

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Juha March 19, 2013 at 2:08 am

What way should the fist be pointing upon impact? I’m a begginer myself but I figured that if I turn my fist around so that my thumb is pointing down and I hit with my knuckles, I get more power into my hooks. Is that a “valid” left hook or is it bad for some reason? Never seen anyone recommend it anywhere… Or am I just doing it wrong? Thanks.

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Johnny N March 21, 2013 at 3:50 am

You can hit with either a vertical fist or a horizontal fist. Both are ok. In certain situations, one will feel better than the other.

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Abdul May 10, 2013 at 10:59 am

Hey Johnny, really like the tips you put up on the website, keep it up!!

Whenever I throw the hook, I feel a pain in my shoulders. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong. Thanks for any advice.

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Johnny N May 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm

It sounds like you’re swinging your shoulders from an unnatural position. Practice your hook technique slowly to see where it starts to feel unnatural. Try different variations of a horizontal vs vertical fist.

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henry February 13, 2014 at 10:25 am

Hey johnny did mike tyson rotate his foot before he turned his hips, or did he turn his hips then rotate his foot, i don’t understand because when u watch it looks like he rotated hips first.

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Johnny N March 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm

The hips and feet rotate at the same time. Now it’s much harder to see the feet rotate because they are small (the movements are subtle) and sometimes the fighter will angle his feet rather than rotate his feet.

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Eluvvv April 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm

I’ve been practicing my left hook (2nd week into my mma class, once per week because that shit is expensive – so major newbie here) and after watching your video on youtube – which says you should bring your right heel down and pivot the ball of your left foot – I tried that and got really excited because it was easier to swing my whole body if I sort of stomped my right heel down, making the hook feel so much more natural and better. But it says here that you should be leaning into your left hooks, and I realized I was sort of leaning back (I guess if you can imagine it, it might be because the force is traveling down my right heel, giving me grounds and perhaps momentum to snap my hips and the rest of the body (left arm and fist included) to follow..? Am I doing this all wrong? Would greatly appreciate your thoughts!

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Johnny N April 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm

You’re not doing it wrong. There are many ways to throw the left hook. Sometimes, your weight stays on the front foot. Sometimes, it stays centered between both feet, and sometimes it shifts to the back foot.

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griffzilla May 26, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Could you touch on the rising hook?

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Johnny N July 22, 2014 at 8:52 pm

I’m not sure I understand what kind of hook you’re referring to. Do you have any video footage, Griff?

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griffzilla July 22, 2014 at 9:10 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd2ZXzMxmws

At around 7:15 ish, the ko.

I was told that this kind of hook provides with better leverage than the traditional horizontal hook.

Thanks for replying to all of my posts, you’re the man.

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Johnny N July 23, 2014 at 12:28 pm

WOW! What a shot.

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nguyendoantung July 23, 2014 at 5:02 am

HI johny, I would like to ask something: I am 6.05 ft and it is extremely tall in my country, all of my partners are about 5.5 => 5.6 ft. When we practice the left hooks, we don’t aim for the chins but the shoulder. Because they are all far shorter than me, when i throw the left hook to their shoulders, my shoulder and elbow are so much higher than my fist that I feel I would break my hand if I throw it with more power, how can i fix it?

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Johnny N July 23, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Put your elbow at the same level of your fist. Lower your elbow if need be. Learn to adjust things to fit your specific needs.

Last note…enjoy your reach advantage. :)

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