Why Do Boxers Put Their Hands In Rice

Why Do Boxers Put Their Hands In Rice

If you are training to be a boxer, then you need to take good care of your hands.

Why Do Boxers Put Their Hands In Rice

They are your best weapons and your defense. To be a successful boxer, you are going to need to keep your hands strong and healthy with a good grip so you are less susceptible to injuries that may cause you to take long breaks from boxing.

So how do you do it?

Well, your trainer may have recommended you put your hands in rice. It’s a common training exercise that boxers all around the world do – but why do they do it and exactly how does it help you train for a boxing match?

The Ancient And Alternative Roots Of Hand Training With Rice

Strangely enough, this training tactic didn’t even start out in boxing.

Centuries ago, martial art students would train by strengthening their hands through exercising them in buckets of rice or sand. This helped the students improve their gripping power by building muscles in the hands, wrists, and forearms.

This common tool for martial arts training became popularized in modern times by Phillies baseball player Steve Carlton in the 1970s.

Carlton was renowned for using Eastern martial arts techniques in his grueling training routine, and images of him twisting his fist to the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket of rice was splashed all across the media.

Carlton went on to be titled the best professional athlete of 1972, and attributed his astounding baseball success in the 1970s to his training techniques – including the rice bucket training.

Baseball players across the world now use the same training technique, and the practise of rice bucket training spread to other sports like rock climbing and boxing.

The Pros Of Rice Bucket Training

So what exactly is rice bucket training and how can it benefit you as a boxer?

Well, rice bucket training involves a bucket full of rice and an individual submerging their hand within the rice. Once in the rice, the individual performs specific movements to practice gripping and clenching.

The rice provides resistance when performing the movements, which helps the individual build their strength in their forearms and grip.

This is why a lot of boxers have taken up this technique in their training. Strong extensor muscles allows boxers to keep a strong grip when they make a fist in a fight. So when a boxer throws a punch, they have a lot of strength in the muscles around their forearm and hands to give a powerful blow.

Not only that, but the strength built up in the muscles in these areas allows a boxer to throw strong blows without risking damage to themselves. This means that by practising this technique and incorporating it into your training, you are less likely to injure your hands and wrists in a fight.

You also build endurance in your hands and forearms, making it easier for you to keep your fists clenched in a fight for longer without losing strength when it comes to throwing punches.

Without good endurance, a boxer may loosen up their grip when it comes to striking round after round and struggle to clench their fists on impact.

And these pros of rice bucket training are not limited to benefiting boxers alone. Rock climbers use this technique so they can grip ledges better and pull themselves up.

Baseball players use the strength in their muscles to pitch – Carlton himself had an incredibly tight slider, and credited this training technique for helping him achieve that.

All in all, hand training using a bucket full of rice is an easy way to build up strength and endurance in the muscles in your hands, wrists, and forearms. This training could be the key to you throwing more powerful hits in a fit and it helps you keep that strength up for longer during a match.

It’s also an inexpensive way to train, as it does not require you to go out and buy expensive equipment. Instead, all you need is a bucket and a lot of rice.

How To Start Hand Training Using Rice

How To Start Hand Training Using Rice

If you want to try out this technique for yourself, then getting yourself ready is really easy. You will need to find a deep bucket (or buy one from a store) and purchase a sack of rice.

50 pound sacks of long grain rice are available for cheap at a lot of superstores, so pick up enough to completely submerge your two hands in rice.

Fill the bucket up with rice so you can stick your hands and fully extend your fingers.

The first exercise you can do is by making a fist and then spreading your fingers out so you have an open palm. Stretch out your fingers as far as possible, and then make a fist again.

The rice makes this action more difficult to do and it requires you to use your extensor and flexor muscles more, exercising them and building up their strength and endurance.

Repeat this action for a certain number of times – ask your trainer or other boxers how many repetitions they would recommend when you are starting out.

Another exercise you can try begins in a very similar way. Make a fist, then spread each finger out one at a time, starting with the pinkie finger and working your way through all the fingers until you finish with the thumb.

Once all your fingers are extended, you can now work your way back into a fist, starting with the thumb and ending with the pinkie. You should repeat this exercise as per your trainer’s recommendation.

These are the two most common exercises practised by boxers, but your trainer may recommend some more specific exercises that could help your own personal technique. There are many more techniques out there, and baseball players use a lot of different exercises to help their pitches.


So why do boxers put their hands in rice?

Boxers submerge their hands in rice to exercise their muscles by making fists, using the rice as extra resistance. This makes their hands stronger and more durable in a fit, as well as protecting them against the risk of injury.

It’s a highly recommended exercise to incorporate into your training, so if you are training as a boxer, it is worth trying out this ancient martial technique yourself.


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