Dynamite in Fists: All Ways to Set the Body-Weight in Motion for Punching

sb-dynamite-in-fists-logo-150pxWe attempt to classify and illustrate all ways how to add body mass to punches correctly based on the book by Jack Dempsey using examples by Floyd Mayweather.







1. Why and when do you need body mass for your punches?

2. Four ways to set body weight in motion for punching

3. Principles, applications, tricks and examples

4. Falling step

5. Forward hop

6. Stand up

7. Shoulder whirl

8. Conclusions



We continue”decoding” a very dense tiny boxing guide by Jack Dempsey [1]. The goal is to put all the ideas from the book into good illustrations. Here we attempt to classify and illustrate all ways how to add body mass to punches correctly. This will help us in future to:

  • lay a foundation to break down basic punching technique in full details
  • create the right perspective to understand the combination punching techniques, especially that by Mike Tyson in the Peak-A-Boo style

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Why and When Do You Need Body Mass For Your Punches?

Finishing power punch in a combo:

You may have heard from coaches to throw your most powerful punch last in a combo. Have you ever wonder how to do this actually? Most beginners tend to tighten their body muscles, clench the jaw or do other unnecessary things, instead of correctly adding body mass to the last punch.

Body punches:

You may try yourself that except chops to the liver or kidney or shot to the solar plexus, punches delivered with only the weight of arms and fists (so called “patial” punches) are too light to do the actual damage to the body.


The stunning, full-fledged knockout punch requires fast moving body mass backing it up.

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Four Ways to Set Body-Weight in Motion for Punching

Here we talk about the principles:


Four principle ways to set body-weight in motion for punching

1. Falling forward:

Gravity does the job of acceleration your body weight.

2. Springing forward:

Your body weight moves forward.

3. Surging upwards:

The center of mass of the body goes upwards.

4. Whirling shoulders:

This principle appears as a rotation along some axis, usually the vertical axis that goesthrough the middle of the body. During the rotation, one shoulder is movingforward while the other is moving backward.

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Principles, Applications, Tricks and Examples

From the standpoint of the fist arriving at the target, there are only three punches you can throw with each hand: straight, hook, and uppercut. However, even as a beginner, you may notice different top fighters may throw the same punch quite differently. The confusion steems from incomplete perspective. The variety of punches comes from the standpoint of how you can accelerate your body-weight towards the target, establish the snap and deliver the fist to the target.

Application of principles

Notice, that the formulation of a principles usuallymeans “what is happening”, not “what you should do”. The actual application of a principle to punching can be very different from the formulation of the principle as we show in examples below.


Every top fighter has his own individual manner of throwing his favorite punches. This is what we call tricks.


Every type of punches uses at least two of the above mentioned principles [1]. In the examples below, we will consider only extreme cases for illustration purpose and clarity, when one of the principles is prevailing.

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Falling Step

We made a detailed article before on the exact technique of the falling step. Here we recap the essence only:

  1. Shift your weight on the front (left) foot, so that you are almost ready to fall. Your rear (right) foot is resting only lightly on the ball of the foot
  2. Without any preliminary movement, take a long, quick step forward with your left foot, toward the object at which your left toe had been pointing

The application of the falling forward principle: the falling step

Notice that the step can be much shorter in actual fighting.

Application: power jab or stepping straight jolt

Best of all the punches done with the falling step is the “stepping straight jolt,” delivered with either fist. Apart from the falling forward principle, it uses the principles of springing forward and whirling shoulders.

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Forward Hop

The springing forward principles implies all sorts of jumps and steps forward. The application of the principle depends on the stance or the initial body position.

Application: The Jab

In the classical orthodox stance, the weight is more on the rear (right) leg. Therefore, the rear (right) leg is already charged for the jump therefore. Main stages of thetechnique are listed below:

  1. The motion begins with the front (left) foot going off the floor right when you push with the rear (right) foot forward.
  2. With both feet in air, the motion of legs is similar to some sort of a “hop”: front (left) knee goes upwards first while the rear (right) knee is low. Then the front (left) knee goes down while the rear (right) knee goes upwards.
  3. The front (left) foot touches the floor right before the fist hits the target as examples show.

Notice, there is no weight transfer here. In other words, the relative position of the body weight and legs is more or less the same in comparisson to the technique of the drop jab.


The application of the springing forward principle: the forward hop

Though we are talking here about the contribution of the moving body-weight or its acceleration to the punching power, it is the decceleration of the body before the impact that is important. Of course, this deceleration is dependant upon the intial acceleration or how fast you have thrown your body weight toward the target. In the examples, pay attention how effectivvely boxers use the front (left) leg as a sudden “break” for the purpose of stopping the body-weight and conveying the inietia into the punch.

Example of a jab by Floyd Mayeather

The speed in the example might be too fast for an untrained eye. You can always slow down and pause the GFYCATs with the drop down menue (red down arrow):

OPEN GFYCAT in a new window. OPEN PINTEREST in a new window.

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Stand Up Erect

Essentially you have to rise, using the muscle of the back and legs.


The application of the surging upwards principle: stand up erect

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Shoulder Whirl

You give whirling motion to your body-weight by whirling the shoulders. One shoulder whips forward while the other whips back. Muscles of the shoulders, back, stomach and legs cooperate in achieving the whirl. Also, the process is assisted by shifting the weight from one leg to the other. You need concern yourself only with the shoulder motions. Nature will supervise the assisting muscles and movements.


The application of the whirling shoulders principle: the shoulder whirl

Application: Straight Punching from the Whirl

Turn your shoulders easily to your own left and, at the same time, extend your right fist to the chin of an imaginary opponent. As your right fist moves toward the opponent’s chin, turn the fist so that it will land palm-down.

Meanwhile, your left shoulder is well back, and your relaxed left hand is still in front of your left breast. Aim at left hand at the spot occupied by your extended right fist.

Now, suddenly whirl your shoulders to your right, and let the shoulder-whirl shoot your left fist straight at the spot just occupied by your right fist.


Straight punches from the shoulder whirls. Shoulders drive fists (left) vs. fists pull shoulders (right)

Be sure you let the whirl shoot your fist instead of letting your projecting left arm pull your left shoulder around. In other words, shoulders drive punches, not punches pull shoulders. As your left fist shoots at the imaginary target, turn your hand so that the fist lands palm-down. Meanwhile, your right hand returns to its relaxed guarding position before your right breast.

Application: Hand Speed and Flurries

Everytime somebody talks about the hand speed (example 1 and example 2), in most cases (but not all), what they really mean is the speed of whirling shoulders by the fighter.

Application: Shoulder Snap

One of the main reason the shoulder whirl principle is present in the technique of almost all punches, because it is related directly to the important phase of punching called the snap.

Example of straight punches driven with the shoulder roll by Floyd Mayweather

The speed in the example might be too fast for an untrained eye. You can always slow down and pause the GFYCATs with the drop down menue (red down arrow):

OPEN GFYCAT in a new window. OPEN PINTEREST in a new window.

The shoulder whirl principle and its applications definitely deserves an extra article. We will expand more on it in future.

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We filled an important phase of punching technique. There several open question we need to cover to be able to give the full solid explaination of the punching technique as a whole. The relationship between setting body-weight in motion and the snap is the most important aspect from what is left. Apart from that, the application of the principles within the context of a particular fighting stance and style. We will cover it as soon as possible.

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1. Jack Dempsey. Championship Fighting by Jack Dempsey (1950). pdf source 1, pdf source 2

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7 Responses to Dynamite in Fists: All Ways to Set the Body-Weight in Motion for Punching

  1. Malik says:

    In the “shoulder whirl” section it seems to emphasis the opposite shoulder must go back before everything else. Whereas in the snap article the shoulders moved moreso in unison. Which is right?

    • SugarBoxing says:

      thank you for your question

      Both is right, because the principle is working correctly in both caes, but the trick with the non-punching shoulder moving or tedning to move backwards gives you a little bit of extra snap, speed and power.

      Hope this helps

  2. TS says:

    Excellent site and explanations, finally someone properly illustrated what Dempsey wrote in his book.

  3. Anmol says:

    Whril and snap are they same ?
    can we use whril in both uppercut and hook in the place of snape ?

    Guys you are doing really great,
    keep going !

  4. boxboy says:

    why dont your turn the glove over the extra snap is important and utilized by all pros.

    • SugarBoxing says:

      you are absolutely right. This helps in the last phase of the punch, here we talk about the initial phase

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