An athlete may pack a powerful punch, but it won’t do much good if their hands are so slow that the opponent has ample time to duck or deflect. Increasing your hand speed enhances your ability to execute attacks, transition from one technique to another quickly, and block your opponents’ offensive maneuvers. The following exercises can help martial artists increase the speed of their hand movements for better performance, whether in the practice room at your dojo or the fighting arena. Shadowboxing with resistance bands Resistance bands add external force that your hands have to work against. As they stretch, they create tension in your muscles and force them to contract when you punch. First, securely tie two resistance bands around a stable object such as a pole to anchor it in place. Face away from knots and loop one end over each hand. Close your fist and throw punches. You’ll be able to see improvements to your hand speed with this routine and enhance your strength and stamina. Push-ups Push-ups are a classic plyometric exercise that trains your upper body to respond quickly and adds explosive power to your punches, strikes, and chops. To perform a push-up, get down on all fours. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Then, bend your elbows and lower your body to the ground. Keep your core engaged—do not let your hips sag or your back round. Practice performing push-ups more quickly. Make sure you do the movements with correct form to avoid injuries and reap their full benefits and to get a faster hand speed. Speed bag drills To start, stand in front of the bag with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your fists to chin level, then lightly hit the bag with the side of one fist. Return the fist to its starting position, then wait for the bag to rebound thrice before hitting it again. Over time, you’ll find your rhythm and will be able to hit it faster. Speed bag drills improve your reflexes and fine-tune your hand-eye coordination. With practice, not only will you boost your hand speed but also enhance the accuracy of your punches. Performing these three exercises can help you increase your hand speed and become a better martial arts practitioner. For more ways to boost your athletic performance, connect with the team at Aplomb Martial Arts.