Anatomy of a Jab

I feel like the best place to start this blog is at the beginning. Every great story starts with a strong introduction—and the Gloveworx story starts here.

When it comes to boxing, the first punch many people are taught is called the jab. When learning how to throw a jab properly, you must first understand that the jab is one of the most fundamental components of this craft. Since it is used very frequently, it must be refined and mastered in order for it to be a dangerous offensive tool and a vital defensive tactic.

When working on your jab technique, there are a few key coaching points that need to be addressed. Among them, the most important points are how to safely and properly throw a jab and how to use it effectively.

The first order of business when trying to build a powerful punch is to find a proper boxing stance. At Gloveworx, we use tape—two pieces applied horizontally on the ground—as a reference to create a consistent pattern and find the optimal distance and range for your punch.

Before learning how to properly throw a jab, approach the tape with your feet positioned a little wider than your shoulders. From here, rotate your feet to face 1 o’clock for a sturdy, athletic base position. In this position, keep your shoulders pointed at an angle towards your opponent.

Working on your hand position, keep the right hand up by your ear, as if answering the phone, and the left hand in front of your face, at the same level as the chin. Remember, your chin needs to be tucked firmly into your chest. Hands up, chin down!

For the jab, all of the power is generated from the back leg in a proper boxing stance. Start by stepping forward to the tape and pushing off of your back leg—this approach is called “step in the hole.” Practice a few steps to determine your range, which is how close you need to be to deliver a powerful punch. It’s important to determine your range to ensure that you are not over or under extending (stepping too far or too close) and throwing yourself off balance.

Now, it’s crucial to grasp how to combine the action (stepping in the hole) and the extension (the punch). While staying “on the phone” with your right hand, step forward and extend your arm into the jab. At the end of the extension, the arm should be parallel to the ground with the knuckles rotated 180° from their starting position.

You’ve now learned how to throw a jab properly!

To return to your neutral boxing stance, all you have to do is bring your front foot back to its original position and return your extended hand to your chin for critical protection.

Now that you’ve learned about the anatomy of a jab, you can continue on to learn about the other essential punches in the boxing repertoire.