Plyometrics are exercises in which you use the force of your muscles to defy gravity and lift yourself off the ground. That’s a pretty lame description, but an accurate one. Plyometrics included clapping pushups, depth jumps, and things like that. Clapping pullups are a real challenge for many, but they work beautifully for developing plyometric (also known as explosive or elastic) strength in the biceps and upper back. This works because of the way muscles deliver force: maximal force is applied within a certain time. The time it takes to apply maximal force is much greater than a fighter is able to continue to “push” on the opponent, and so maximal force is never applied, because there’s not enough time for the muscle to contract maximally. Plyometrics work to decrease the time it takes for a muscle to contract maximally, thus allowing one to use a higher percentage of their maximal strength in striking.
Mix training up. Training the same all the time never got anyone very far. Mix it up; try different drills, switch feet, etcetera. Some of my favorite drills include tabata punching drills, in which you strike the bag as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds, and then rest 30 seconds, and repeat. Another good drill is the 100 punch drill…Which is just what it sounds like. 100 punches, as fast as you can. As a general rule of thumb, train the way you fight, because you end up fighting the way you train. Always punch fast. Unless your goal is not to.
Master the technique. So many people who are already strong punchers could be amazingly more devastating if they would master the technique of the punch. Often, by the time someone’s done the technique the wrong way without any correction for a long period of time, it’s extremely difficult to re-teach. Frustration ensues; get it right the first time.
Learn about body kinesthetics; this ties into “master the technique”, but it bears repeating: the power flows up from the foot through the legs, hips, core, and ends up accumulating in your strike. Note how you can’t do much damage unless you put your body into a punch. That’s rudimentary kinesthetics / body mechanics. When you were first learning how to punch, or before you had any training, you might’ve even lunged into the punch because you knew instinctually it would give your blow more power.
Learn to gauge the distance well. You can’t do as much damage with a straight right up close as you can with a straight right at just the right range, which is usually medium range. Often, you’ll find that if you’re too far away you overextend and expose yourself, and you become vulnerable. Not a good habit to get into.
This one’s going to get me in trouble with a lot of people. But I’ll say it anyway: lift weights. Lift heavy, and use compound movements. There, I said it. Deadlifts, bench press, power cleans, military press, and a variety of other movements will work very well. In addition, there are handful of rather arcane movements that work wondrously for a developing fighter but have been passed over nowadays due to them being regarded as inferior to the traditional powerlifts (bench, squat, deadlift).
Go forth and punch!