Oftentimes, I've noticed boxers and MMA fighters corkscrewing the jab/cross while shadowboxing. As far as I understand, this is to avoid injury at the elbow.

But I don't really see the corkscrewing in an actual fight.

Is it only a method to avoid injury while shadow boxing?

2 Answers 2


It definitely happens in fights. Even in a boxing/MMA match on straight punches you want to "corkscrew" it or turn the knuckles over, you will activate certain muscles in your shoulder and back and will help you deliver more power.

Interestingly enough about a hundred years ago Jack Dempsey used to throw a "jolt" as he called it or a power jab without forming the knuckles over.


It's not so much to avoid injury, as it is to focus and deliver the power of the punch with the first couple of knuckles. Elbow injuries happen when you lock out the elbow, which can happen on any punching technique.

MMA/Martial arts will tend to carry their hands more forward, "flat" (Palm parallel to floor or slightly tilted) in order to parry and/or grab. Boxers carry their hands more perpendicular and closer to their chin in order to parry/block. In each case, though, a full punch will generally start with the hand vertical to the floor and rotate to flat as it extends.

About the only punch you won't see a hand rotation is the hook. Uppercuts, almost every other punch (Excepting specialized punches such as a vertical punch) will have rotation. It adds a focus and "snap" to the end of the technique. The power mainly comes from leg drive and torso rotation, the arm/shoulder muscles mainly direct and focus. That's another reason the jab is not really considered a knockout punch, is that it is almost all arms/shoulders, no real leg or torso drive to it.

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