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Iron body training methods for Shaolin Kung Fu

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I don’t understand why it’s impossible to find buckets of rice on every climbing wall in the world.
This simple device to strengthen the hand and forearm has been used by warriors for longer than we know the history of the world, and when used correctly, it can reduce many climbers injuries.

The last question in the article “Training that all climbers should do”, which we discussed, was devoted to the importance of strong shoulders for stabilizing the movements of the upper body during climbing. Today we’ll talk about the forearms and hands.

Obviously, hand strength is very important for climbers. Unfortunately, climbing itself and most of the exercises to increase grip strength work almost exclusively for flexors of the hands and arms.
This creates an imbalance between the strength of the flexors and extensors, which leads to diseases such as lateral epicondylitis and biceps tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon at the attachment site), carpal tunnel syndrome, and various injuries of the ligaments of the hand and fingers.

If climbers spent more time creating balanced muscles, then injury rates would definitely decrease. An interesting fact was illustrated by the test back in the late 90s, which showed the strength of the hands of climbers only slightly above the average level, which is very surprising for people holding with their fingertips. The reason is probably due to a lack of balance.

As I said in a recent article, muscle balance not only helps eliminate biomechanical shifts, but also helps muscles move according to the original correct model, and thus, your muscles become more effective in their work. Climbers with the muscular balance of the hands and forearms not only receive fewer injuries, but also have greater grip strength.

Training with rice does not focus only on extensors of the hand and forearm, but involves flexors, allowing weaker muscles to develop together with strong muscles, without disrupting their interaction and creating a harmonious balanced interaction.

Your muscles will respond quickly to this workout, but allow the volume to build up gradually. Most of the serious climbers to whom I gave these exercises got tired in 30 seconds of each exercise, which is a rather miserable indicator given the categories that they overcome.
Two sessions per week will be enough to start until you can do one exercise in 45 seconds.

In principle, you can complete each training session with such exercises, doing one-minute intervals. When you feel this workout as a light massage or warm-up, you have probably reached a point where you can no longer worry too much about extensor extensors and subsequent injuries to your hands and arms.
Start with a bucket of rice or sand. Sand thickens over time, making rice more preferred. About 20 pounds (9 kilos) will be enough, but you can take more.
It’s not necessary to bow to a bucket of rice, as the guy in the video below does :)


  • 1. With a sharp movement, immerse your fingers in the rice, like a guy in a video, as if sticking a knife, and then squeeze them into a fist. Pull out. Repeat.
  • 2. Dip your fingers deep into the rice, and then open your hand as wide as possible.
  • 3. Stick your fists deep into the rice, as if trying to hit, turning them in one direction, then in the other.
  • 4. The brushes are immersed in rice and clenched into fists. Move your fists from side to side. Then up and down.
  • 5. Grab and squeeze the rice as quickly as possible, as if crushing the dough.
  • 6. Now push the rice away from you using only your fingers.

A few more exercises are given in the video.

P. S. Editor's note - a rather original way of pumping the muscles of the forearms and extensors in particular, but it has a right to be. Tested at home - hands hurt so that it is impossible to straighten. It is quite suitable when you really want to work out at home and there are extra 5-10 kilos of rice.

Iron legs

There are four levels of iron leg training. First, the legs simply hit with the hands of the student alone on his knees 100 times. This is done two to three times a day for three to six months. The next level includes the same practice with a sturdy bag on canvas filled with beans. After a few months, the beans are replaced by gravel. The final step is placing the steel balls in the bag. Variations of this practice from sect to sect exist, especially during the third and fourth phases, where the bamboo sticks and feet of other students come into play.

Iron shirt

The first phase of the torso begins with the use of fists to repeatedly strike the abdominal muscles, chest, outer arms and ribs. The practice is carried out every morning and night for up to six months. The fists are then replaced by a canvas bag of beans, which are systematically replaced by gravel and finally steel balls. Each specific area that the practitioner wants to train must be individually removed 100 times per session. This protocol can vary from school to school, with the principle that the tool used to strike gradually becomes more and more difficult over time.

Novice students use a towel bag that measures approximately 10 inches by 10 inches to train an iron palm. At the first stage, it is filled with mung beans, and the second and third phases require gravel and iron balls, respectively. Students subject their hands to daily exercises by using four different strokes: open the palm face down, open the palm face up, open the position of the palm and claw arm. Each phase lasts from three to six months, during which the palm, back of the palm, side of the hand and fingertips undergo a hardening transformation. Arthritis is avoided by daily use of a herbal remedy called Dit Da Jow.

Iron head

The head is tempered over time through static contact with other objects. The focus is on the forehead, the upper part of the head and the back of the head. The student begins by tilting his head perpendicularly or vertically to sandbags for several months, twice a day. When the head begins to become firmer, the student moves towards the trees and finally sways. The start of the training lasts only a few minutes on sandbags, and at the advanced stage it can take at least 20 minutes against the stone slab.

1. The expander

Push And not just the barbell. An authoritative trainer, fighter and repeated hero of the MN Sergey Badiuk recommends: buy yourself a bunch of expanders, good and different. Let them roll in the pockets of outerwear, on the desktop, in the car. Make a habit of reaping the expander every day. Press rings of various thicknesses, press hard expanders, press rubber balls.

On impact, not only the strength of your long-suffering knuckles (relatively small and fragile joints), but also the density of a clenched fist is important. If your fist is a clot of muscles, then breaking it when it hits the jaw will not be so simple. (Yes, and you can unscrew any tight cap on a bottle or can from the first time.)

2. Powerball

We write about it separately, because this ingenious invention of the sports industry trains not only grip strength, but also perfectly clogs the wrist and the entire forearm. When hitting the head of the attacker, your hand should be strong and monolithic. The brush should not break in the most crucial moment. Let the enemy break.

No powerball? Order it, for example, in the online store. And so - twist the dumbbells, press the rubber harnesses, push yourself with the other hand, using an isometric load.

3. Push ups

On the fists, of course. Wide grip, narrow grip. On the carpet, on the hard floor. Push-ups are the oldest and simplest exercise for training the muscles that are actually responsible for transmitting a shock pulse - extensors of the shoulder or triceps. In addition, when doing push-ups, the back, and the press, and the trapezius muscle will work, and they also turn on when struck as synergists. So let them work.

4. Fist Stand

Tired of push-ups - get up on your fist and stand until you mature. Ripe - change your hand. This proven exercise gives the solidity of the entire impact structure that you need in the phase of emphasis - when the strike hit the target.

As you can see, instead of the secret methods of Chinese kung fu, newspapers by the wall and sandbags with chopped nails, there are still a bunch of quite traditional ways to train your fist. Do it first at least every day for half a year.

There are no secrets. Do you want to be able to beat hard - hit. Work on shells - on bags, on paws, in sparring. When practicing equipment, put on “cue ball” - thin overlays on knuckles. When working on impact power, wear normal gloves - take care of the bag. Work in bandages while training as hard as possible. Throw light punches without bandages. There is makivara - hit her. There is a pear-drop - work with this shell. If you exercise regularly, your fists will strengthen without any problems, and that will be enough for you.

And after training, go home and ... my dishes. Firstly, your lover will be delighted. And secondly, this way you will restore your full joints of the brush. Domestic karate master Yuri Fedorishen explains: after hard stuffing the fist, the joints inevitably receive microtrauma. It is necessary to run the bloodstream there in order to accelerate their natural recovery. And when you wash the dishes in hot water, you just massage your hands, stretch your fingers and drive the blood where it is needed. Do not neglect this proven method.

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