The great Mike Tyson was known for dominating the boxing ring by punishing his opponents with a devastating uppercut. In this article, we’ll cover how to properly throw the Lead and Rear Uppercut punches (punches 5 and 6 in the punch count number system), tips for maximizing your punch power, and common beginner mistakes to avoid. Then, we will discuss different ways to hit and train your Uppercut punches depending on your target.
What Is an Uppercut Punch?
The Uppercut is a short-range power punch that travels in a vertical line towards your target. Uppercuts are most powerful when thrown in a vertical scooping motion on a bent-over opponent (think: catching someone under the jaw), but they can also be effective from other angles. Uppercuts can also be thrown to land on a target that is more upright, like the FightCamp punching bag.
The first thing you’ll notice about Uppercuts is that their mechanics are very similar to Hooks.
How To Throw A Lead Uppercut
Start in a neutral stance with your weight evenly distributed
Slip forward to transfer weight onto your lead leg
This will enable you to pre-load the punch
Consider throwing a setup punch (like a Cross) or just cheat over to that position with the slip
Bring your lead hand slightly off your face, dropping it slightly so your elbow is just above hip-height
Remember to use your legs and core to generate momentum through your hips and land your punch vertically with your elbow directly below your fist
Exhale and pivot your lead foot as you throw your punch to help open your hips and generate maximum power
How To Throw A Rear Uppercut
Start in your neutral stance
You do not have to transfer any weight from your neutral stance to throw a Rear Uppercut
Bend your knees and open your rear hand off your face
Engage your core and twist your torso to generate power
Think of twisting your core in the same motion as you would if swinging a baseball bat
Throw your punch with your rear hand, and land it vertically on your target with your rear elbow directly below your fist
Uppercuts are most effective when they are fast and powerful. To add a whip-like motion to your Uppercut and maximize power, open your arm up a little bit wider at the start of the motion. As you generate force through your torso and drive up, engage your bicep and close that angle to about 90 degrees. The uppercut is a sneaky punch. Be sure to never drop your hand past your hips, so your opponent is not able to time it.
How To Land Uppercuts On An Upright Opponent Or Heavy Bag
When boxing against an opponent or training on a heavy bag, you will very often have to throw the Uppercut at a sharp upwards angle. To land a solid Lead Uppercut on a heavy bag or upright opponent, follow these steps:
Transfer your weight to your lead side
Generate power by shifting your weight from your lead leg to your rear leg
Pivot your lead foot to open your hips and maximize weight transfer
As you transfer your weight, open your punching hand slightly and land your punch with your knuckles and palm facing up
Envision the bag as an opponent, and aim for the spot under the chin
Beginner Mistakes To Avoid When Throwing Uppercuts
FightCamp Co-Founder & Trainer Tommy Duquette warns that scooping Uppercuts too low below the waist or throwing them as arm punches can render your Uppercut woefully ineffective. “You won’t generate much power by just using the muscles in your arms,” he explains. “Properly thrown punches are compound full-body motions that engage the legs, the torso, and the upper body to generate maximum power.”
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Practice your Uppercut punches slowly in the mirror, while shadowboxing, and during your regular heavy bag training. You can also record yourself training and watch the videos in slow motion to look out for any errors that you are able to self-correct. With consistent practice, you will develop the muscle memory that will make sharp, powerful Uppercuts feel like second nature.
For more technique tutorials and at-home boxing training, check out our YouTube Channel and Blog. Download the FREE FightCamp App to start your first workout, and if you have any questions about these punches or anything in general about boxing and kickboxing don’t hesitate to reach out to Tommy and the other FightCamp Trainers in the FightCamp Community.