There's a lot out there on the physics of boxing (mostly having to do with Newton's second law), and we thought we'd share this Prezi presentation as an example of one of the clearest and most comprehensive of the bunch. Enjoy!
Here are a few tidbits from research on punching (thanks to the Washington City Paper):
- A study of seven Olympic boxers in weight classes ranging from flyweight to super heavyweight showed a range of 447 to 1,066 pounds of peak punching force. Energy transferred from punch to target varied widely depending on how heavy the boxers’ hands and gloves were, how fast they punched, and how rigidly they held their wrists. The three flyweights, interestingly, delivered more oomph than all but the two super heavyweights.
- A study of 70 boxers found elite-level fighters could punch with an average of 776 pounds of force. Another study of 23 boxers showed elite fighters were able to punch more than twice as hard as novices, the hardest hitter generating almost 1,300 pounds of force.
- An oft-cited 1985 study of Frank Bruno, who’d go on to be World Boxing Council heavyweight champ, showed he could punch with a force of 920 pounds in the lab. Researchers extrapolated that to a real-life blow of 1,420 pounds, enough to accelerate his opponent’s head at a rate of 53 g—that is, 53 times the force of gravity.
- Martial arts punches generally involve much less force than those in boxing. A study of 12 karate black belts showed so-called reverse punches delivered an average force of 325 pounds, with the strongest measuring 412 pounds. Short-range power punches averaged 178 pounds. Another study found martial artists needed 687 pounds of force to break a concrete slab 1.5 inches thick. One early researcher estimated karate strikes could reach 1,500 pounds, but that figure was an outlier.