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How To Throw A Lead Hook

What Is The Purpose of a Lead Hook In Boxing?

The lead hook is one of the 6 basic punches in every boxer’s repertoire. It helps you deliver power, subvert your opponent’s guard, and build a killer combo.

How To Throw a Lead Hook

If it’s your first time learning to throw a hook, or if you want a refresher, follow along with FightCamp trainer Tommy Duquette as he guides us in-depth on how to throw a lead hook (link to video).

The Lead Hook

Whether you are a beginner or know your way around the bag, here are 5 (five) easy tips that you can practice at home on your own or with a bag to up the speed and power of your hook.

1. Nail your stance

A strong boxing stance is key to throwing a good punch (Guide To Boxing Stances). It provides a strong foundation so that you can leverage your weight to generate power and speed with every punch.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and your non-dominant (lead) foot and hand forward. As the name suggests, throw a lead hook with your lead hand.

2. Balance, distribute your weight, and get your guard up

Shift your weight to the balls of your feet, staying light and bouncy so that you can easily shift your weight, dodge punches, and move around. Distribute your weight evenly between both feet.

Keep your knees slightly bent and light when preparing for the punch, but resist the temptation to bend your knees when you throw your hook. Doing so throws off your balance, lowers your guard, and reduces the control and power of your hit.

Put your hands up in your fighting stance--elbows bent, tucked tight by your chest, and gloves to temples.

Even when your lead hand punches, keep your rear hand high and tight against your face and keep both elbows tight. Dropping your guard leaves you wide open for a counter punch from your opponent.

3. Power it up

Transfer your weight to your lead leg briefly to power up your punch. Keep your lead hand in a tight fist ready to throw.

4. Throw, rotate, and exhale

Bring the weight from your lead leg, up through your hips and into your lead hook. As you swing, bring your lead elbow directly behind your lead fist so that your punch lands with your lead arm bent at the elbow and your closed fist and knuckles pointing down. When you throw your punch, exhale sharply and keep your chin low and tight to your body the whole time.

When you swing, keep your elbow bent and avoid straightening your arm. When you straighten your arm, you end up “slapping” the bag and lose power to your punch. Keep your hand high and tight, inline with your elbow and shoulder throughout the punch. Swinging your fist down and back up wastes power and leaves you wide open for a counterpunch from your opponent.

5. Snap back

Snap your hand straight back as quickly as you extended it, and return to where you started: feet apart, weight on the balls of your feet, gloves to temples protecting your face and head.

How To Throw a Lead Hook With Power

You do not have to be a heavyweight boxer to throw a powerful punch (3 Ways To Throw a Lead Hook). Delivering a hard-hitting lead hook is all about using your weight and power efficiently. Imagine power coming up all the way from your toes into your lead leg, through your hips, shoulder, elbow and then fist as you activate your calf and thigh muscles, tighten your core, and swing your hook, keeping your elbow high and tight.

Once you are comfortable throwing a lead hook, practice your moves with a drill (Boxing Drills). Then, try incorporating other punches or kicks to create a combination (At-Home Boxing Workout). The Jab-Cross-Lead Hook or Jab-Cross-Hook-Kick are two common combinations to bring your punches to the next level.


The Author: Tommy Duquette is the Co-Founder and Head of Content at FightCamp. He is a former US Boxing Team member with 136 fights under his belt and qualified for the 2012 Olympic trials as the #2 seed. He has 18 years of experience training clients in boxing and fitness.