Dumbbell Punches - Side-to-Side, Cross Up, Cross Down, Hooks
Get the shoulders of a boxer without ever entering the ring. This exercise builds your shoulders with a series of classic boxing moves, with weights in each hand to up the ante.
Stand upright with your feet wider than your shoulders and your knees slightly bent. Sit down into your hips and engage your abdominals. Hold dumbbells in each hand just above shoulder level. Your elbows should be bent close to your body, and the dumbbells held with palms facing each other (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, turn your upper body to your left, pivot your right knee slightly forward and your left hip back, and punch your right arm straight from the shoulder. Rotate your arm as you punch so that your palm winds up facing downward, and punch straight out from your chest. When you have reached a fully extended position, reverse the movement and bring your right arm back to the starting position, and then, without pausing, turn your upper body to your right, pivot your left knee slightly forward, turn your right hip back, and punch your left arm straight from the shoulder. Alternate punches, going only as fast as you can while being able to completely control the movement (see Photos 2 and 3).
- Complete 10 of the alternating side-to-side shoulder punches, then return to the starting position. Next, repeat the alternating turn and punch motion described above, but this time punch the dumbbells up diagonally at about a 45-degree angle. You should pivot through your hips, feet, and knees as you punch up and across (see Photos 4 and 5).
- After you have finished 10 of the alternating cross-up punches, return to the starting position. Next, perform the same crossing motion angling at an approximately 45-degree angle diagonally downward, again pivoting as you punch (see Photos 6 and 7).
- After you have completed 10 of the cross-down punches, return to the starting position. Next, perform 10 hook punches. For these, first lower down to a modified squat position, with your knees and hips bent, your weight in your heels, and your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle (see Photo 8). Punch your right arm up and across your body in a hooking motion, keeping the arm bent at the elbow and jabbing upward (see Photo 9). As you punch upward, push up out of the squat and stand, pivoting your body to the left (see Photo 10). When you are fully standing, reverse the motion and squat, reversing the hook back to the modified squat position. Immediately begin a hook with your left arm, turning your body to the right as you push out of the squat position. Do 10 of the alternating hooks to complete the set.