The hammer punch is a powerful strike with the bottom of the fist. Picture someone banging on a table with their fists, impatient for dinner, or banging on a door, yelling “Let me in!”. The difference between those motions and our hammer strike is that instead of using the elbow as a hinge, the strike is done with the entire arm, and it’s the shoulder muscles (including your lats on the back) that are engaged in the movement, instead of the biceps. In addition to using the shoulder muscles to power the movement of the arm, a downward hammer strike is really done with the entire body, so that at the instant of impact, the body is locked, resulting in a “force multiplier” of the power that could be generated by the arm alone. The hammer punch can also be done sideways, still using that same part of the fist to make contact.
In the punching routine, we practice the downward hammer strike (like the other punches) from an H stance. And just as in other punches, there is a turn of the fist at the very last minute. The angle of the elbow is what I call the “magic angle” which maximizes the strength and stability. You can practice along with me in the short video below. Wish my eyes weren’t closed when it started – that’s definitely not part of the hammer punch!
Let me know your thoughts below – I’d love to get your comments.