A boxer’s hands are the most precious part of their entire body. If you have brittle hands, you cannot use your full punching power just in case you fracture or even break your hand, which causes great pain in both instances.
Since your hands will have to undergo sustained impact, it only makes total sense to protect them as much as possible to reduce injuries. Here are 5 of the best methods on how to strengthen your hands.
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1) Rice Digging
This is an ancient martial arts technique that has found its way into a number of modern MMA and boxing gyms. It’s a technique that pound-for-pound boxer Andre Ward is very familiar with.
- Get a large tub of rice (you can buy it at any cash ‘n’ carry).
- Keep all your fingers together and straight, and begin digging your hands into the rice).
- When bringing your hands back out, you can grab a handful of rice in each hand and squeeze, then release.
- Repeat this exercise over and over.
The more you do this exercise, the tougher your hands get because it builds calluses all over your hands and toughens the skin. It’s also very therapeutic.
2) Wall Punching
This is another ancient martial arts technique used by the Shaolin Monks of China. It strengthens all the tiny bone fragments within your fist.
- You need to find a solid flat wall about the same height as yourself.
- Hang a large stack of newspapers in front of the wall (so it’s at least 1-2 inches thick when pressed down).
- Begin punching the wall gently and continuously with one hand, from about 10 inches away. You can increase the distance and power bit by bit when you see improvement. Never punch the wall with too much force (only use about 1/3rd of your entire power).
- Switch hands and repeat. When the newspapers get worn out, change them around.
Though the Shaolin Monks usually perform this 2 hours at a time non-stop, I don’t expect you to match that (unless you really want to of course). Start off with 5 minutes, allow your hands to meal, then increase to 10 minutes and so on.
3) Push Ups Using Fists and Fingers
You’ve most probably seen this in action before or have even done it yourself. It’s very simple as it’s just a regular push up using your fists or all fingers instead of your palms.
This exercise strengthens your wrist and also your fingers. If you find it difficult on hard ground to begin with, then perform it on a soft towel for each hand.
4) Hand Grip Exercises
Another simple and common exercise to strengthen your hands is to use a device called the hand grip (see the top 5 best hand grips here). It allows you to continuously squeeze and apply pressure to a lever type device, which provides additional resistance. Some other benefits include:
- Strengthens the muscles in your forearms
- Increase your hand endurance
- Improves dexterity (skill in performing tasks with the hands)
- Simple to do this exercise whenever and wherever
- Improves your ability to do everyday tasks such as carrying things, typing, writing etc.
5) Thin Gloves on Heavy Bag
This is a little tip that I picked up from the Ten Goosen’s Gym in Van Nuys. The likes of Jesus Soto Karass, Jose Luis Castillo and Andre Berto all implemented this into their training regime.
- Get a pair of gardening gloves, which you can pick up for very cheap, and cut off the fingertips.
- Ensure that your hands are wrapped properly and adequately.
- Punch the heavy bag with only straight punches, and don’t put your full power into the shots because you can damage your wrist and hands.
- If you want to do hooks and uppercuts, then use the same method on the double end bag.
Using big gloves will surely condition your arms, but they won’t condition your knuckles, but this exercise will. You can watch a video of Ricky Funez demonstrating this exercise here.
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Building Rock Solid Hands
Many fighters break their hands early and often because they fail to implement hand strengthening techniques into their training regime. Pauli Malignaggi and Floyd Mayweather Jr are known to have brittle hands, therefore limiting their punching power because they tend not to follow through on their punches.
Ensure that you condition your hands whenever you can as many of the techniques are simple and doesn’t require much expensive equipment. Soon your skin will become tough and your fists will become solid, allowing you to punch harder while drastically minimizing the chances of an injury.
To get the most out of your training, I highly recommend the following articles:
► How to Increase Punching Power
► 10 Tips to Improve Boxing Footwork
► Boxing Basics
► Top 10 Best Heavy Punching Bags
► Top 10 Best Boxing Gloves