Boxing is a sport that incorporates many different punches and punch combinations into its structure. The jab and the cross are two examples of some popular boxing moves. However, the two moves can often be a bit tricky to differentiate.

The difference between a jab and a cross is the position of your non-dominant hand. You jab with your non-dominant hand and punch a cross with your stronger hand. If you are right-handed, punching with your left hand is a jab and punching with your right hand is a cross.

The rest of this article will dive into deeper detail about these common boxing moves, so you can gain a better understanding of the differences between a jab and a cross.

Executing a Jab vs. Executing a Cross

One of the biggest differences between a jab and a cross is the execution of the two moves. Each move depends on your stance and hand dominance. Let’s expand upon this.

Your Boxing Stance

Before understanding a jab and a cross, it’s important to understand the two most common boxing stances: southpaw and orthodox.

Your boxing stance is determined by which hand is dominant. Depending on whether you’re left-handed or right-handed, you use either a southpaw stance or an orthodox stance.

Right-handed people pose with their right hand, shoulder, and leg extended slightly backward compared to the left, which makes an orthodox stance. Left-handed people tend to stand with their left hand backward, making a southpaw stance.

Throwing a Jab

A jab is a hit thrown with your non-dominant hand and is one of the most common punches. It keeps the opponent at a safe distance, and it’s a lot easier to execute than a cross.

How To Execute a Jab

While holding either an orthodox or southpaw stance, your guard should be up. This means that both arms should be in front of the face and protecting the head at all times.

Once your guard is up, throwing a jab is simple. You just extend your non-dominant hand straight towards the opponent in a flash and then bring it back to your body. This is called spring and recoil.

But a jab relies on more than just arm movement. The move should be executed by throwing your punch while leaning your lead shoulder forward and taking a step with your lead leg.

Throwing a Cross

A cross is different from a jab because it requires the use of your dominant hand, which is a lot stronger.

Typically, you throw a jab before a cross. You save your powerful hand for last because it delivers the fight’s strongest, most accurate punches.

However, during a cross, your hand will travel a longer distance before landing on the target than the distance required with a jab. This means that throwing a cross needs a lot more planning ahead than a jab does.

How To Execute a Cross

To execute a cross, you should start with the correct stance. Throw your rear hand straight in the opposite direction with the rear shoulder extended forward to increase reach. The rear leg should also step forward in harmony with the hand, acting as a pivot with the heel kicking out.

Note that your hips should also move in the opposite directions. For example, if you are a southpaw, your hips should turn to the right and face your opponent squarely. Lean forward with the dominant side, execute your punch, watch it hit the target, and then go back into your former stance. It is that simple!

A cross usually renders more damage to your opponent than a jab would because jabs are quicker and use less power. Although crosses are slower due to the long distance they must travel, they are often more effective.

The Purpose of a Jab and a Cross

While a jab and a cross do have their similarities, they are often used for different purposes. You can use either punch to confuse, scare, or land a heavy blow on your opponent.

Let’s discuss the different purposes of the two moves.

The Purpose of a Jab

Fighters often use a jab because it is near the opponent and travels a short distance. Opponents fear it because it can land very quickly within the blink of an eye, which helps to keep the opponent at bay.

A jab also plays a key role when it comes to punch combinations. For example, if you want to execute a cross and fear the opponent will know before you hit, use several jabs and follow with the dominant hand to keep your opponent aware of your strategy. The jab is one of the best foundations for a good punch combo.

Because a jab is not as powerful as a cross, many people use it to throw off their opponent before delivering a slower and more forceful move. Using your dominant hand will cause a lot more damage, but a jab is a great option for when damage isn’t the intention.

The Purpose of a Cross

A cross is much more powerful than a jab. This is due to the distance traveled, hand dominance, and momentum. Boxers use it often to deliver deadly KOs and TKOs in combination moves.

While a jab is often used for misdirection, crosses are typically considered the “real” punches. Jabs are used to help you determine the best possible striking opportunity, and crosses are used to actually deliver that powerful strike.

A cross is so much stronger than a jab. However, it’s a bit easier for the opponent to notice, which increases the chances of your opponent dodging your attack entirely. This is why crosses are better when included in a combo move.

A professional boxer will string the two moves together in a series of patterns, alternating between left and right to deliver the most confusion and highest possible damage.

Is a Cross Better Than a Jab?

Because a jab is weaker than a cross, you might be wondering if one is better than the other.

A cross is not better than a jab. While a cross inflicts more damage because it’s a more forceful punch, it is not better than a jab. They both have different functions suitable for different boxing scenarios. In fact, a cross is more effective with the help of jab misdirection.

A cross is not better than a jab and a jab is not better than a cross. To put it in perspective, a red crayon is not necessarily better than a blue crayon. They are both crayons– they just have different colors. But when the two of them are combined, you get purple.

The same goes for jabs and crosses. Both moves are more fitting for different boxing situations, and both are better when used in combination with the other.

Final Thoughts

A cross and a jab both require a direct punch from either hand. While they are both relatively similar, they also have their differences.

A jab is used with the non-dominant hand to create quick hits that are often used for misdirection or as a foundation for combination attacks. However, they aren’t as powerful as a cross.

A cross is a lot more powerful than a jab because it’s executed with the dominant hand. While a cross inflicts a lot more force and damage, it has to travel a longer distance so it’s a lot slower than a jab.

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