How Can I Punch Harder?
Look no further than right behind your back to… your trapezius! Let me say this though, you should train every muscle you can if you are a fighter. Fighting is a tiring task, so you need as much help from your muscles as possible. But, if you want something to focus on to see some quick and effective improvements, then train your trapezius muscles. They are the root of your punching ability.
The trapezius is a postural and active movement muscle used to tilt and turn the neck. They shrug your shoulders and twist your arms. They elevates, detract, and rotate your scapula (shoulder blades). Let’s break them down into two sections: the top (workout ex: weighted shrugs) and middle/lower (workout ex: weighted rows).
Many people who have postural slumps have a lot of tension in the top section of the trapezius, as well as a low sunken chest. There are times when I’m in a yoga class and the teacher will say to bring your shoulders down and back, and sometimes I see people doing the exact opposite! Not properly retracting and depressing your shoulder blades when you’re doing any type of pulling/pushing movement is an easy way to cause injury. So keep your chest high as much as you can to take the strain out of your neck!
Not only is learning how to properly train your entire trapezius going to increase your striking ability, but it will also increase your posture, decrease risk of injury, and improve your overall structural integrity.
My favorite exercise for building the middle/lower trapezius is the upright row:
My favorite exercise for building the upper trapezius is the cable or the dumbbell shrug: