In the movie The Fighter, Micky is seen drilling into a bucket of rice with his fist. I have seen speeding ball exercise, rope jumping, running, but this is the first time and only time I have seen a boxer training like this.

Do boxers in real life train like this?

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  • 5
    I have seen this mostly in Kung-Fu movies.
    – Rahul
    May 20, 2020 at 8:08
  • 1
    @Rahul, but most Kung fu movies are over the top. People fly around in complete disregard of gravity and etc.
    – Yu Zhang
    May 20, 2020 at 9:05
  • This is common in boxing. If you think about it, a sandbag is similar, just it has a cover so knuckles don't hit the sand(/rice) directly.
    – smci
    May 24, 2020 at 19:56

2 Answers 2


Apparently it is used by boxers as it is though to improve their wrist and forearm strength - which is important for landing heavier punches while reducing risk of self-injury.

From https://www.gloveworx.com/blog/strengthen-wrists-for-boxing/ :

Rice Bucket

The rice bucket exercise is a commonly used practice with athletes trying to develop strong wrists. If you're wondering how to strengthen wrists for boxing, this unconventional approach can make a huge difference.

  • 6
    As a side note a lot of rock climbers do this as well. It helps with general hand and wrist strength, especially in a way that is antagonistic to the exercises an athlete may typically do (helps prevent long term injury)
    – wearebob
    May 20, 2020 at 18:37
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Palm documents the Kung Fu version well.
    – Sean Perry
    May 20, 2020 at 22:43
  • 1
    Steve Carlton, a famous Major League pitcher from the late 60s to the mid 80s, was known for this as well.
    – chepner
    May 21, 2020 at 0:25
  • It also (or so I've heard) builds calluses on the knuckles, so that punching something doesn't hurt your fist as much May 21, 2020 at 22:18
  • 1
    @wearebob rock climbers should also be flexing/flicking the fingers open as hard as they flexed them closed while grabbing the rice after grabbing. The small difference focuses more on increasing finger extensor strength for holding onto small/poorly-angled surfaces (e.g. pinching or crimping) rather than just toughening up the skin and bones of the hand (more useful for closed-fist striking).
    – TylerH
    May 22, 2020 at 18:07

Sort of, Kung Fu and various martial arts practitioners punch sand which has no give. "Iron Palm" or conditioning the hands, canvas bags filled with gravel to be struck over and over again. Punching rice is no different than punching a punching bag. Conditioning your knuckles for greater hardness. Others do it or gaining grip strength by grinding it in their hands. It's called "Rice Digging"

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