A powerful yet underestimated technique to punch or kick harder is to increase your rotational strength. Simply put, rotational strength is your ability to twist your body and use the strength of that twist to generate force.

Martial artists need rotational power to transfer force from foot to fist. When throwing a punch, you need to drive your foot into the ground and rotate your torso from the hip. The kinetic energy travels on the transverse plain from your foot and through your core, before allowing the arm to follow through with the strike. The stronger and more connected the transverse plane, the harder the punch.

Here’s why: our musculature is designed to link the left shoulder to the right hip, and vice versa. Think about throwing a ball. The moment the throwing hand pulls back, the opposite hip moves forward, effectively ‘winding up’ the body. When you release the throw from this position, the ball moves with more power than if you were to simply throw it with the arm – keeping shoulders and hips straight. Winding up puts more mass behind the movement and involves more muscles. It’s the same for a good kick or a punch: the power comes from the connected rotation of the body.

The stronger the core, the stronger the rotational power, but generic core exercises such as plank and crunches provide very little benefit. It’s important to train in the transverse plane, using movements that twist the body.

For example:

  • Shotput throw with a medicine ball
  • Hitting a tire with a sledgehammer
  • One-handed pushups
  • Lizard crawl
  • Rotational lunges
  • Kettlebell swing across the body (rather than forward and back)

Other benefits of rotational power include improved stabilisation of the spine and hips, increased resilience to injury, and greater range of motion in the punch.

Worth a try, don’t you think?