Okay... It’s been a while since I’ve contributed to this thread with worthwhile instructional information. So without further adieu, I give you a step-by-step on how to throw a proper hook. I will start with how to throw a hook from the lead hand.
First things first: Contrary to popular belief, the best hooks are thrown in a tight, compact manner. Just like the straighter punches, power in a hook starts from the ground up, but an even greater majority of the power is generated by the rotation of your hips and shoulders toward the target. Think about throwing a hook being analogous to “slamming a door closed.” Your upper body is the door, and your rear foot would be the door hinge. When you rotate your hips and shoulders over, you are essentially “slamming the door”* and your arm is connected to it.
Arm position: A good tight hook is fired with your arm cocked in a position that has your forearm locked 90 degrees to your upper arm. Opening up your arm further than that will make your punch “loopy” and lessen the amount of rotational force. Any closer than that and you may be better suited throwing an elbow over a hook
. Part of the reason why hooks carry so much power is that your fist will continue accelerating through the target as you complete the punch. In fact, I’ve found that if you can throw a decent cross/horizontal elbow off your lead side you can usually throw a decent lead hook as the core body movements are the same.
To fire the lead hook:
1) Push off your front foot and pivot your front heel out. This will begin the rotation of your hips toward the target.
2) Off the rotation of your hips, rotate your shoulders over to point your lead shoulder toward your target. Your shoulder should always lead before the arm in a hook!
3) On that rotation, bring your forearm horizontal and swing you arm across in a compact manner like you would with an elbow. Your upper arm is going to swing across your view and continue until your fist travels past your centerline by 4 to 6 inches.
4) Coincide the swing with a small shift in weight forward to commit the whole of your body mass into the target. You can accomplish this by pushing off your rear foot. You don’t want a huge lunge forward as this will upset your base and leave you completely off balance (I know, we see top guys do it all the time, but they are talented enough to get a way with it from time to time).
5) Return your lead hand to guard position along the same path.
To fire the rear hook, move the door hinge to your lead foot. You’d start the punch by pushing off your rear foot and rotating that heel out.
Things to keep in mind:
- Fist Position – Are you trying to figure out if you throw the hook with the palm facing down, or palm facing you? If the hook is in tight, throw it palm facing down. If it more on the outer range and loose, throw it palm facing you.
- Drill Hooks by Drilling Elbows – Like I stated earlier: Throwing a hook is like throwing a good horizontal/cross elbow. Drill throwing the elbow, and your will get a better grasp on the body rotation that goes into throwing a good hook.
- Concentrate on Throwing Fast Hooks - The power of a hook is generated by rotating the whole of your upper body mass in the direction of your opponent. Don’t concentrate on “muscling” your hook or you will hamper the amount of acceleration you can generate off of your punching arm. Remember your physics: Force = Mass X Acceleration. If you lessen one or the other, your shots won’t hit with as much force.
Here’s a few vids of some real vicious lead hooks:
A series of vicious lead hooks thrown by Rocky Juarez here
Tommy Morrison punishing James Tillis with lead hooks here
An early Roy Jones KO off of a beautiful lead hook here
. You can completely see him load up his lead shoulder before throwing on this one.