The Jab Punch in Boxing – Beginner’s Guide

What should we know about the jab? Why do fighters use the jab so often? How does it work? How can it be improved? What are the variations? These are all excellent questions.

This article is about the jab punch, a particular punch that I believe is often underestimated.

How to throw a jab properly

Starting from the boxing position with the right foot half planted on the ground and with the help of the resulting pushing force, the left foot is slid forward into striking range, while the left hip and ball shoulder are swung forward, and the fist is pushed onto the opponent’s chin. The body moves slightly forward and left to right. The left fist meets the target palm down.

On arrival at the target, the left shoulder remains up to protect the chin from the side, the right shoulder is loosely down, and the right fist is placed in front of the chin, the right upper and forearm rest on the body, the left foot is slightly bent in the forward slide, and the right foot is extended. At the end of the stroke, the left foot is brought back to the starting position. Following the movement of the initiating left foot, the left fist is brought to a standing position in the plane of the stroke.

The described jab is the traditional and perhaps the simplest weapon of the pugilist. The preparation of the opponent and the possibilities offered by the ring require several variations of the jab.

Here are also two crucial rules.

  • The punch is a defined series of movements in which the movement of the foot, hip, shoulder, and arm form a unit.
  • The punch is effective if the fist meets the target when the arm’s elbow goes from extension to flexion.

Learn more: Here are the 5 most common jab mistakes to avoid


Different types of jabs

Attacking jab

Hit when you want to start with a powerful punch. With the back foot, the weight is shifted to the front foot – without stepping – and the left fist is pushed forward forcefully. The fist is twisted palm down at the end of the punch. The bodyweight is completely on the front leg, which is slightly bent at the knee. The heel of the back foot is lifted, just the toe touching the ground.

Jab leaning to the left

It is used as a simultaneous counter-strike against a jab. The body weight is shifted to the left foot by pushing the right foot while simultaneously turning the torso from left to right and pushing the left hand forward from the hip to the left. In this case, the palm does not turn downwards, the back of the hand faces outwards to the side, and the thumb faces upwards.

Jab with a right lean

Here the weight remains on the right foot. We lean slightly to the right and striking the jab while the left foot slides forward briefly. The torso turns slightly from left to right.

Jab while stepping forward

Push the body weight forward with the sole of the right foot while simultaneously sliding the left foot forward and throwing the jab. Simultaneously pull the right foot forward to the boxing stance by pulling the hand back.

Throwing jab with back step

With the sole of the left foot, push the bodyweight backward and slide the right foot back while hitting the jab. On the next beat, pull back fist and left foot to the boxing position. This punch isn’t so powerful as there is no bodyweight behind it. The aim is to distract the opponent while stepping back from the attack.

Jabbing with left step and left lean

This is a two-stroke counterpunch. First, step briefly to the left with the left foot and place the bodyweight on it. If we step out long, this won’t be easy. From this starting position, hit the familiar jab with a left lean. The bodyweight remains on the left foot. After execution, we move to the starting position.

Jab to the body

Same as jab with right lean, only here you bend more. So much that the opponent’s imaginary jab passes over us.

Let’s check out some of the best jabs in boxing history.


Why are jabs so important?

Among all the punches, I think the jab is most important. Fighting doesn’t end with the jab, but it sets everything up for it. By jabbing your opponent, you make him play defense rather than consider his offense. Your opponent is stunned when you use a jab. We have a chance at that moment.

The jab sets up your shots, and it’s fast. A good jab has calm and relaxed movements, hitting with little power and hitting with high accuracy. You can make your jabs stronger by stepping forward or by using proper timing along with effective angles and footwork. The strength of your jab should be such that your opponent cannot continue in the middle of a combination. A good jab should prepare you to land your power punches. Jabs can be used to create space, keep your opponents away, and provide distraction.

Photo of author

About us

There is no better fitness system than boxing. Your muscles grow, your endurance improves, your heart gets stronger and you're more energetic. Since boxing uses practically your entire body, you'll burn tons of calories. Because I love boxing so much, I started this blog to help others get started.