How to Properly Throw Your Jab

How to Properly Throw Your Jab

We all know the 4 main punches in boxing: jab, cross, hook, and uppercut. Yet, the most advantageous of them all is the jab. A single jab can hurt, push, distract, create openings, and can counter your opponent’s strong punches.

Why It’s the No.1 Weapon

Compared to the other punches, the jab is faster, more efficient, and least likely to leave you vulnerable for a hit. It consumes less energy than other punches, enabling you to follow up with a powerful blow (e.g. a right cross). It’s accurate and effective from many angles. It’s a very useful tool even if you have limited boxing skills.

However, the jab isn’t only just used for your offence, it also serves as a defence strategy. Instead of blocking, slipping or rolling, you can use your jab to counter almost any punch. Remember, your entire boxing ability can be measured by the skill of your jab. 

How to Throw A Jab

1. Do Your Starting Position - The Boxing Stance

To do a boxing stance, put your hands up, elbows in, chin down and eyes up. Stand with legs shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and back foot about 45 degrees. Make sure to have loose fists, hold your right hand by your chin (left hand for southpaws) for protection.

2. Initiate Punch

The next step is the speed portion of the jab. Extend/punch your front glove (left hand for orthodox, right hand for southpaws) toward your opponent, whilst exhaling a sharp breath. 

Key points to remember:

  • Nothing else moves, not even your arms. Let your front arm do the work. Do not shift your weight forward or backward. Always keep your weight at center.
  • Your punch should be relaxed and fast. If you tighten your fist too early, your jabbing speed decreases. Instead, try to imagine your fist like a fast, cracking whip, with your knuckles slapping upwards at your opponent. 
  • Lead the punch with your knuckles. If you feel that you’re unable to throw a powerful jab, then try to focus more on your arm rotation and tightening of the fist rather than its whipping motion.

3. Rotate Your Arm

The last step is the most powerful part of the jab. While the glove is extending outwards, rotate your entire front arm so that your punch lands with the palms facing down and your shoulder rotated up to protect your chin.

Key points to remember:

  • Rotating your entire arm means rotating your shoulder, elbow and fist.
  • To fully rotate your arm, try to lift your front shoulder. Lifting the front shoulder gives your more reach and shields your chin from overhand counters.
  • Bring the elbow straight up into the jab instead of sideways so your jab comes out straighter for better power, less telegraphing, and harder penetration.
  • Rotate the fist for power and snap. It would be very awkward to punch and hit your opponent with your palm facing upwards. The rotation should feel natural; the fist rotates because your arm rotates.
  • Tighten your fist right at the moment's impact. Once the fist tightens, the entire body contracts and delivers an explosive blow in just a split of a second. 

Common Flaws With The Jab

  • The “Chicken Wing” (moving your elbow sideways)
      • Disadvantages: Less power, telegraphs, bad posture
  • Dropping the right hand
      • Disadvantages: vulnerable to left hook counters, telegraphs your right hand
  • Reaching with the hand
      • Disadvantages: Decreased power and balance, vulnerable to counter attacks
  • Not lifting the shoulder
      • Disadvantages; Less power, shorter reach, lack of rotation, leaves your chin open
  • Straightening the legs during a jab
      • Disadvantages: Less balance and control
  • Rotating the foot/body
      • Disadvantages: less speed, slower reaction time

    Types of Jab

    Step Jab (provides more reach)

    How to do it:

    • Step forward with your front foot (just a few inches) as you throw your jab.
    • Recover your back foot as you recover your front arm.

    *Every time you do a step jab, you move a few inches closer to your opponent.

    Body Jab (for scoring body shots, pushing the opponent off balance)

    How to do it:

    • Throw a step jab but bend at your knees and waist as you aim your job at your opponent’s body. 
    • To hurt your opponent, you need to give it a ‘push’, meaning, digging your jab a little longer into his body. This can even put him off balance if he blocks it.

    Pivot Jab (great for both offence and defence)

    How to do it:

    • Throw a jab while simultaneously rotating your body as back foot swings behind you, causing you to pivot clockwise (orthodox) or counter-clockwise (southpaw).
    • As you pivot, allow your opponent’s punch to miss into the space you just occupied.

    *Pivot jabs require some timing skills.

    Power Jab (great for setting up combos)

    How to do it:

    • As you throw the jab, slightly drop your hips, doing it simultaneously.
    • In the moment of impact, let your hips and legs exert a little bit of downward force to counteract your fall. Do not stand up or move your hips from their position. 


    For a natural game of boxing, the jab fight matters. Whether it’s a low-level or a high-level fight, the jab will always be your go-to move.  The way you jab determines your overall boxing ability. Want to improve your boxing? Improve your jabs!