Punches issue

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    Punches issue

    Hi all,

    I am new to The Hive but I am a fan of Neila's job since 2012.
    So I used to be a sporty girl but I somehow stopped training when settling with my sweetheart and gained a few pounds and worst of all I became all chubby. But I got back in business, managed to plank every day for a month and gained a bit of strength back. Now I want to go next level !
    I started Athena's program just today, however I could use a piece of advice from you experts.
    I hate punches. I am the most pacific person on earth and hitting the air is already too much to ask for me. I know I do them all wrong, I don't get how to get better, I am aware I don't have this kind of fighting spirit and the move just feels utterly awkward to me. So I was wondering what kind of move I could use instead, arm hold or arm raise ? Or push-ups in some cases ?
    Thanks in advance for taking time to answer. And if you have any idea on what to do after I complete Athena's playbook, please share
    Cheers !

    Hi xx99xx, welcome to the forums!

    There's not really a punch substitution that we're gonna be able to recommend, because they are all gonna be punches in some way or another. They are all going to feature twisting your body, extending your arm with a rotational snap, and quickly reversing the motion to bring your arm back to start. You can do this with a fist, an open hand, whatever, but it's still basically a punch

    So, I'm gonna suggest that the reason you hate punches probably has more to do with the fact your bad at them than because you don't have "fighting spirit". Most people who throw punches well will never be/have never been in a fight. A punch is a mechanical movement. Much like a kick can be used as a dance move, a fight move, or just to open a door when your hands are full.

    If you're bad at punching and feel self concious doing them, the only cure is to do more of them and practice till you're better at them.

    With that in mind, what part of punching is giving you problems?


      Hi Daegan !
      Thanks for the response
      Yes I am awfully bad at punches and self-conscious, but also very uncomfortable. I get what you say though, I have to think of them as only training moves, not so different than squats or anything.
      I'll try and train but maybe I'll need a pillow or something to hit to be sure I am making the right move. Just punching the air feels so useless so far.
      Thanks again, see you around


        Well, we can try to break this down a bit and try to see what the issue is if you want.

        Start by reading this if you haven't already.

        So based on you saying the movement "feels awkward" it sounds like you don't have your whole body moving together. Like you're punching just with your arms, or your flicking your arm straight so it hurts your elbow.

        That sound at all like what you're feeling?


          You could try to do a grab motion, like if your sweetheart is going to fall and you have to grab him on the collar and pull him back. At least to beat the mental barrier to punch the air. This motion should be similar enough to have more or less the same training effect and you train your grip too that way


            If you don't particularly like an exercise, you can do something else similar to get the same motion or idea. There are plenty of exercises that can substitute for punches, especially if you're concerned your form or technique is off. That can result in hurting your arms or shoulders if you're flailing wildly and without control.

            Instead of a punch, have your hands open, your palms facing down, and use motions driving your arms forward, like an accelerated version of "Walk Like and Egyptian" by the Bangles. That way you're not making a fist and you don't feel nearly as silly. Imagine you're playing some kind of game where you tap parts of the space in front of you as quick as you can. Do letters, do the patterns of dice, but make a change if you think it's too much to ask of you, you're doing them wrong, or they feel awkward.


              Thanks you all for the tips !

              Daegan I read the guide, but this was not much help. I will go through it again now that I had this new advice, it'll surely appear clearer.
              As for the exact move, you are right I must be using only my arm and ending up doing something completely odd tearing myself apart.

              Artemi Nice idea, I understand more the move I should be doing now I'll keep that idea in mind.

              Warmaker You are right, I don't like the move also because it feels like I'm doing myself more harm than good trying it. I think using your techniques will help though, I'll try making a slow move at first, until I get more comfortable and then go faster. Lovely reference, now I'm going to play that song every time I have to throw a punch, pretty sure it'll help !

              Cheers !


                Ooh, that one's a doozy. Really wracked my brain and nothing comes up. I mean, technically you could do torso rotations and then something like explosive incline pushups like really-really fast but come on.

                Punches is one of the rather unique self-correcting exercises is that as long as you're generally familiar with the technique you'll get better at it the more you do it. It's really rather difficult to injure yourself doing it.
                And really "feeling awkward" is such a lame excuse - I feel awkward doing half the exercises, especially in the beginning. I know lots of people who don't workout at all because they "feel awkward doing it" or "other people will look and it will make them feel awkward". Sometimes you have to get better at something before you start enjoying it.

                One counter-intuitive solution is trying to punch something (you can use pillows or something soft). Punching air may feel pointless.

                As far as you next program, keeping in mind your weightloss goal I'd suggest Fighters Codex. Kidding. Cardio Trim (Run) / 30 Days of HIIT

                Good luck with your training.

                P.S. Going slow at first is the key to proper understanding of the technique.
                You may find this vid useful


                  xx99xx The other thing is to not feel like you're cheating yourself if you don't throw punches. You don't have to throw punches ever and you can still have toned arms, defined musculature, and a healthy lifestyle. Punches won't make or break a work-out or a lifestyle.

                  Instead, try Sun Gods, which are where you extend your arms straight out in front of you, directly out to the sides, or straight in the air, and rotate your arms in small or large circles. Do 30 rotations forward, 30 backwards, and you can add 2,3, or 5 lb weights to start adding resistance. These are great exercises for shoulders and core control while you move your arms. It's as analogous to punching as possible and it's less explosive, which means less chance of injury.

                  Try those out, and you don't have to whistle a Bangles song while you do it.



                    I have been nice to like everybody ,but we are having a discussion here because you have an issue with punches in the air in a training because you are a pacific person? Seriously?


                      Ulli !!! Be nice!

                      xx99xx I struggled with feeling like punches were useless. It's not the point of wanting to fight someone or not, they're simply an excellent way to work your back muscles. They have nothing to do with getting better at fighting in this context, but they're accessible to everyone in a way things like pull ups are not. Try slowing the motion down and really throwing forward with the entire upper side of your body (I really try to drive forward from my shoulder). They don't have to be fast and snappy all the time, and the muscle soreness I get from that method tells me they work the muscles, which again is the only point in a program like Athena.


                        J3ster Sorry for the lame excuse. I always give my best into my workouts, including tough and painful ones such as push-ups or burpees. This is the only exercise I struggle with and could use help with. Thank you for the advice, I'll use it to get better. The video helped and I'll have a look at my next program, Fighters Codex. Kidding, Cardio Trim, or HIIT, or why not both.

                        Warmaker Thanks for the suggestion, I had never heard of Sun gods but they seem to be a good and effective workout, I'll try some instead of punches from time to time.

                        Ulli I hate violence and only could picture punches to be used in a fighting context. I understand they can be part of a great workout but I was still reluctant. Now that I got the advice I came for, and not bashing, I'll do my best to get better at them. Sorry if you don't understand how I feel.

                        Kelly I had no idea punches were so great for the back muscles. I thought they would only do good to shoulders and arms. I'll use your technique and wait for the soreness to tell me if I got it right thanks !


                          xx99xx , I had a similar issue, not really with any specific exercise, but I didn't enjoy the killing parts in Age of Pandora programme and certain jobs (hunting deer, I think?). So I would make up my own stories and twist them into something resembling the initial plot. As the others have proposed, start slowly and precisely, maybe you have a gym near by and could ask the coach to show you the technique? I'm sure they wouldn't charge much and this would be the fastest way for you to learn to how to punch and start to see it as another mechanical movement and not something violent. Good luck!


                            My two best pieces of advice are to go slow and focus on form, and to make sure you are hitting or otherwise contacting something (not hard, just light taps are fine)
                            Going slow will allow you to focus on form, develop the neurological response to the exercise (creating muscle memory), and prevent you from injuring yourself. Additionally, if you find after time that punches are an agreeable exercise, I would do this for combos too
                            Just reaching out and tapping something as you punch, at least in my experience, makes the exercise feel less silly, and it helps you ensure you are a) making contact with the right part of your fist and b) on balance.

                            As to the issue of throwing a punch as a peaceful person: I won't lie, I used to get in a lot of fights as a kid, but I actually never threw a punch. Even now, I'm not sure if I would throw one if I needed, but I still practice them on the off chance I will and more importantly because they are a really effective full body strength/cardio exercise (depending on how you throw them). That said, if it's still not agreeable, I recommend palm strikes, because you can really think of then as aggressive and disciplined hi fives

                            Good luck, and hope this helps!


                              Ann-Core Glad you understand how I feel I wouldn't be comfortable with these parts too I had to do them. Making your own story will definitely help, I will picture myself doing some Shaolin monk training, still challenging but not in a violent spirit, more about self discipline. As for the coach it could be something to do, and now that I think about it my boss is a former boxer, maybe he could help ? Thanks for the tips anyway

                              JohnnyDangerous Yes, I guess slow practice will be needed to make the move right and natural. I was not feisty as you were as a kid more like the quiet one minding her own business who would get slapped because the other kids were fighting too close xD. Still I get the point in practicing punches, hoping I'll never have to use them outside of my workout. Thanks for the advice.