Learning to throw an effective and mechanically sound hook takes a lot of practice. It requires coordination and an understanding of balance to shift your weight as you punch; allowing your lead hip and shoulder to rotate for a powerful hook. Teaching boxing classes in Poughkeepsie six days a week, I get a lot of questions on the hook. Nearly every day new boxers ask me, “which way should my hand face when throwing my hook?”

The “thumb up” hook variation

I think of “thumb up” as the most common hook thrown. It allows the fist to travel in a tight circle, usually thrown from a short distance. This hook is extremely effective for inside fighting and is typically the first hook most people practice.

Local boxers practicing long “thumb down” hook during our Poughkeepsie boxing classes

However, the thumb up hook has a limited range. If you were to throw a jab, cross, hook using a thumb up hook, the hook would surely be too short and miss unless you stepped in to throw it. To compensate for a longer range, I recommend throwing a “thumb down” hook. This punch will travel in a more narrow arc; making contact directly with the index and middle knuckle when landed. This way you can keep your wrist straight with your bones stacked, instead of curving your wrist to force the thumb up hook to land. Any bending in the wrist can lead to injury.

The “step-out” or “Soviet check hook”

The third hook that we discuss in the video at the top of the page is the step-out check hook. Also known as the soviet check hook, this is a defensive maneuver that allows you to step off line from your opponents punches as you land your hook. By stepping out with your lead foot, you’re moving yourself out of the way of straight punches. As you step, turn your knee and toes of your lead foot to face your opponent. This will allow you to rotate your shoulders and hips to whip your hook.

If you’re new to boxing, start with the thumb up hook and move on to the other two once you feel comfortable. Developing the ability to generate powerful hip rotation while staying balanced is key for an effective hook! If you want to know what it’s like to be part of the best martial arts classes in the Hudson Valley, check out the video below. Give us a call at (845)392-8495 or click HERE to get started now!