Perfecting the Pivot Hook Technique in Boxing

Perfecting the Pivot Hook Technique in Boxing
Boxing Tuesday

The pivot hook technique used in boxing involves a boxer pivoting on their lead foot as they move their body off the centerline while throwing a hook.

Proper boxing technique requires you to pivot your feet when throwing punches, but the pivot hook requires you to move your body out of the way. It is commonly known as the check hook and it’s an effective technique inside the ring, in other combat sports where punches are allowed, and in self-defense situations.

Pivoting your feet while throwing punches allows you to generate more power by turning your entire body into the punch.


Mastering The Pivot Hook

The hook is often the first power punches new boxers learn and the lead hook covers more distance than the rear hook. A skilled boxer can attack with a lead hook from outside range, while the rear hook usually works best in mid to close distance.

Throwing a hook with the lead hand comes naturally for some boxers while others struggle with it often because they don’t have much dexterity with their weak hand. Fortunately, anyone can master the technique as long as they’re willing to put in the work.

There are many different types of hooks used in boxing, and some will be easier than others for you to learn.

To help you better understand how the pivot hook works, let’s take a look at the mechanics of a basic lead hand hook. We’ll assume you’re in the orthodox stance for our breakdown, which means your lead hand is your left hand:

  • Get into your fighting stance with your left leg in front and your rear leg back. Your hands should be in the guard position. Keep your knees slightly bent.
  • Pivot off the balls of your lead foot and turn it to the right along with the rest of your body as you throw.
  • Your entire body should turn with the punch and you should be facing the right side at the moment of impact. Tighten your fists just when your hand is about to make contact. Avoid following all the way through since that can leave you exposed to counterpunches.
  • Bring your arm back to the guard position and set up your next punch. Exhale as you throw.

That’s the basic idea behind throwing a basic hook. The only difference with a pivot hook is that instead of only turning your lead foot to the right, you use it as a pivot to move your entire body to the left, creating an angle for you to land your hook cleaner while limiting your opponent’s offensive options.

Floyd Mayweather is a master at throwing the check hook and it’s one of the tools that made it so hard for opponents to walk him down and cut off the ring on him. It was one of his signature moves during his prime and he used it to hand Ricky Hatton his first loss as a professional fighter.

The move is equally as offensive as it’s defensive. The pivot moves you out of the way of whatever punches your opponent plans to throw at you as they aggressively move toward you while putting you in an excellent position to throw a hard hook to the head or body. The pivot hook also allows you to use your opponent’s momentum against them, increasing the power your punch lands with. The angle the technique creates makes it virtually impossible for your opponent to counter your hook so you can load up as you throw it.

You don’t necessarily need to pivot to land a check hook, you can also step away from your opponent’s forward momentum and throw your hook while doing so.


Creating Muscle Memory

Boxers like Floyd Mayweather who excel at throwing the check hook don’t have to think of their footwork or punch mechanics during their fights. They’ve worked on these techniques so many times, it’s something they instinctively do when the opportunity presents itself.

Some of the things boxers can do to master the pivot hook include:



You should be shadowboxing often if you plan on developing serious boxing skills. It’s one of the first things you learn when you train and it’s how you master the mechanics behind most punches and defensive movements.

Find some space you can move freely around and start practicing the pivot hook as if an imaginary opponent were coming at you. Use some tape to indicate the centerline so you can gauge how much you’re moving off it as you train.


Heavy Bag Work

The heavy bag helps to develop the timing required to land check hooks and increases the power behind your punches. Heavy bags also swing away from your punches and back toward you, so try to land a check hook whenever the bag comes toward you. It’ll give you a better feel of what it’s like to try and land a check hook on an opponent moving toward you.



Sparring is where you fine-tune the timing required to land check hooks like Mayweather. Try to use the technique as often as you can during your sparring sessions until you’re confident you can land it at will. Keep practicing the skill often to keep it sharp.


Other Types Of Lead Hooks Used In Boxing

The check hook, or pivot hook, is only one of the many variations of the hook. Other effective types of lead hooks used in boxing include:

  • Digging Lead Hook: This involves leaning your head into the hook as you rotate your body. It keeps your head close to your opponent’s body, protecting against counters to the head while positioning you to unload hard hooks to the body.
  • Power Lead Hook: This involves leaning into the punch as you throw it while pulling your head out to the side so you can transfer all your weight into the punch.
  • Lunging Lead Hook: This involves lunging forward as you extend the hook. It is used to close distances on opponents.



The lead hook covers more distance than most of the other power punches used in boxing and the pivot hook is the ideal balance of defense and offense. You remove yourself from harm’s way while setting yourself up to land a hard lead hook.


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