One of the most common questions that I am asked is, “can you use kettlebells to improve your punches?” the answer is yes! The high pull is the first kettlebell exercise that showed me that kb’s could be used to aid with striking.
One of the reasons I love the high pull is because you are pushing, pulling and hinging all in one exercise! So that means you are hitting your core, back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps and forearms all in one movement. I really feel that the high pull is one of the most neglected and underdeveloped exercises in kettlebell training. When performing the high pull the way I do, you turn it into a more explosive, compound movement.
The kettlebell high pull contains almost identical mechanics as punches do. When throwing a punch, you are using your core, chest, back, shoulders and arms. When doing the high pull you are hitting all of the same muscles. The traditional high pull is used more or less as a precursor to the snatch. Ive adjusted the technique into what I call a combat high pull. I also have other kettlebell exercises that come even closer to throwing actual punches. You can find these movements on my combat kettlebell systems digital download.
With the combat high pull we address the punching and retracting motions found in a real punch. So, when performing the combat high pull, you start the same way you would a swing. Once you pop your hips and propel the bell up to where it is parallel to the floor, you drive your elbow back as far as possible and then immediately punch it back out. This add that explosive element you need when throwing punches. You can see the exact mechanics in the enclosed video.
Since I am constantly teaching, I do not get to train my striking at all. But, I always do my kettle-jitsu training. Periodically I will spar with my students and they are surprised at how fast my hands are! Try out the combat high pulls for yourself and see the difference.