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Hand Training With A Rice Bucket

I’ve written about training the hands with a rice bucket before, but the video below helps to illustrate some of the specifics.

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I first learned about the rice bucket as a young baseball player.  Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton popularized it.  He credited the rice bucket for developing the necessary hand strength to throw his tight slider.  Several other well known pitchers used the rice bucket as well (ex. Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens).

The rice bucket is also useful for fighters.  It is important to have strong, enduring hands.  Not only will strong hands be less susceptible to injury, but the added grip endurance allows the fighter to continually clench the fist when striking round after round.  A fighter who lacks grip endurance will struggle to clench the fists on impact, particularly when the hands are wrapped with gauze, inside small competition gloves.

The rice bucket is an inexpensive option for hand work.

The Specifics

I fill each bucket with approximately 20 pounds of rice.

To fill each bucket, I use “extra long grain” rice.  The 50 pound bag below cost less than $15.  Smaller bags could obviously be purchased for personal use.  I buy the 50 pound bags to fill up multiple buckets.

In summary, the rice bucket may seem odd, but it is actually quite useful and can be used almost anywhere.  If you are looking for an inexpensive hand training option, a bag of rice may just what you need.

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14 Comments so far

  1. michael September 14th, 2010 4:09 pm

    Wow, thanks Ross. How long till u see results?

  2. Josh- Home Made Fitness September 14th, 2010 5:18 pm

    Very effective, I remember watching Clemens do this training years ago. Interestingly enough, I came across a paper by Dr. Ellington Darden (of HIT fame), discussing do similar work with mud.

  3. dodo September 14th, 2010 9:00 pm

    I like the ability here to train finger flexion (gripping) and extension with the same tool. Good for longterm joint health.

  4. craig September 15th, 2010 3:11 am

    great idea!!

    this is useful for any sport using hands

    here’s a link for more exercise info:

  5. Mufabo September 15th, 2010 12:19 pm

    Do you have to change the rice once in a while?

  6. Hand Strength « Combat Hard September 16th, 2010 1:14 pm
  7. Administrator September 17th, 2010 12:27 pm

    Mufabo – The rice will last a long time (years)

  8. charanga September 29th, 2010 7:56 am

    great workout. as dodo said this is a great way to work the extensors and flexors muscles. I have a silly question, wouldn’t the rice get bugs with time? is there a substitute for rice to perform these exercises? thanks.

  9. Tony M November 1st, 2010 1:42 am

    Just got my own bucket with just 5lbs of rice. Probably will need more, but its working for now.

  10. [...] wollte mal fragen ob jemand erfahrung mit dem training hat und ob es sich fürs grappling lohnt? Blog [...]

  11. Sarah May 20th, 2013 2:37 am

    Great idea! For how long do you do it each time? How many times a week? Maybe it is said in e video, but I do not have access…

  12. james July 11th, 2013 3:34 pm

    also great as injury prevention for rock climbers!

  13. Egor December 17th, 2014 4:32 pm

    Could someone recommend clean rise, that keeps ur hands clean of white residue post work out?

    I have been using the bucket for the past 2 months. I’ve filled my bucket with the cheapest white rice, called “riceland” grown in u.s. I do several sets in between typing, writing etc… but it requires me to wash my hands every time or else everything is permawhite for months… so this work out becomes more of a hassle.

  14. admin December 18th, 2014 8:42 am

    @Egor – All the rice that I’ve ever used has left some sort of residue. Wearing gloves may be the easiest solution. If the glove is taut, it won’t interfere with any of the exercises (ex. flexion, extension, wrist dominant, etc.).

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