Body Hooks


If a boxer wants to target the ribs of their opponent, there is no better punch than an explosive body hook. However, for many new boxers, throwing one may feel awkward because it is quite different from a high hook. This article introduces to the beginner boxer the body hook.

What is a Body Hook:

The body hook is a looping punch targeting the sides of an opponent’s torso. This punch can be used in the pocket or at mid-range. At mid-range, it is similar to a high hook but just thrown somewhat squatted. In the pocket, it is different as the angle of the boxer’s arm (from his ribs) does not have to be near 90 degrees.

How to Throw Body Hooks:

Mid-Range Body Hook
  1. Lower your stance so that your fist is leveled with your target (opponent’s liver, ribs, etc.). Use mostly your legs (knees, ankles) to lower yourself, and always apply your basic footwork principles (e.g. Your weight is evenly distributed.).
  2. Once you have lowered yourself, turn your torso and hips, pivot the foot corresponding with your punch (e.g. If it is a rear body hook, pivot with your rear foot.), and throw your hook (arm 90 degrees away from your side, elbow bent 90 degrees.) Even here, you shouldn’t drop your punching or your other hand before you punch.
Infighting Body Hook
  1. In the pocket, lower your fist until it is leveled with your target (opponent’s liver, ribs, etc.). When lowering, try to maintain at most a 90-degree elbow bend. This means your elbow bend can be more than or exactly 90-degrees but not less.
  2. Keep your other hand (the one not punching) closely against your head (as if you are holding a phone). This step is very important when in-fighting.
  3. While lowering your fist, angle your arm (from your ribs) just enough to loop around to your target. Unlike your high hook, your elbow should not be a great distance from your side (since your opponent can throw her own body hook.)
  4. Turn your torso and hips, pivot the foot corresponding with your punch, and throw your hook. Remember to keep your non-punching hand up to protect your head. Since you are in the pocket, the rotation involved with your infighting hook would be less than with your mid-range body hooks and your regular hooks.

When to Throw Body Hooks:

The body hook has different uses depending on the fighting distance. A mid-range body hook is a great alternative to a straight or jab only when you have a good angle. This angle can be any angle where the punch will land without much technical variation. For example, if you are slightly to the left (your right) of your orthodox opponent’s center line, a lead body hook can do much more damage than a jab. On the other hand, an infighting body hook is your primary punch when in the pocket, especially when in the pocket for more than a second. It can set up an uppercut or a high hook since your opponent would have to drop her arm to protect her ribs and obliques. It can wear down an opponent, and sometimes, go right through their guard, especially if your body hooks are powerful enough.


The body hook is a lot different than your regular hook, although both are used at mid-range and close-range. Once in practice, the mid-range body hook is less viable than the infighting body hook as the infighting body hook is a necessity in the pocket. Yet, occasionally a mid-range body hook will do damage, though it’ll probably look a little sloppy.

Author: Le Ho

I am currently a law student at the University of North Carolina Law School. As an undergraduate, I boxed for Carolina and earned its first men's national championship title.

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