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Grip followup: The Fist

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:50 pm
by Onlyethic
I'm trying to develop fist strength. My guess is that this has more to do with forearm strength than anything else. Not sure though.

Basically, I do one-arm hangs from pullup bar, grippers, pushups on fists, etc.

Other ideas for developing fist strength and tightness?

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:39 pm
by pdellorto
Er, punch stuff?

Why are you looking for a stronger fist? To hold stuff in a fist-like grip, or do you need the fist per se stronger for striking things?

For punching

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:13 am
by Onlyethic
Martial arts... been doing a lot of punch work in my martial arts training.

I saw a video by John Hackleman in which he speaks about the fist being one of the most important aspect of power in fighting.

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:48 am
by pdellorto
The only way I know to strength your fist is to strength your grip, strengthen your forearms, and strengthen all the rest of the body to give your punches power. Practice punching things. Contact training is very important. Punching air, no matter how hard your grip your fist, isn't going to help much. Start working the heavy bag.

Some people do "toughening" exercises, punching stuff ranging from soft makiwara (padded boards) to rope and trees all the way up to rocks and pieces of iron or steel. You can get cool callouses that way, how much it helps you punch harder is somewhat debatable. Some people swear by it, others are willing to suffer some loss of manual dexterity in order to get a little punching power. All that kind of stuff will make your hands more resistant to damage, though. Muay Thai fighters do this to their shins, turning them from vulnerable targets into hard striking surfaces.

All in all, though, the most important things I learned about punching harder are:

- follow through. Your fist is only the contact point, your entire body has to explode into the target to make a real impression.

- treat your hands with some care. They are very easy to injure. Work up slowly when it comes to punching harder materials, or even punching the bag a lot. Learn how to wrap your hands with bandages, even if you intend to fight without them. I've hurt my hand more than once training, and I ended up with swollen right hand after raining one-twos on an opponent's face in an MMA match. My hand actually took more damage than his face did, thanks to the gloves and his hard head.

Oh yeah, and if you need to actually slug someone in self-defense, use the heel of your hand. Or your elbow. Hands are delicate, skulls are less delicate. All it takes is missing his chin and hitting his forehead with an ungloved fist for you to be the one in the hospital.

Hope that helps.


Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:27 am
by Hoister
I am not sure what you mean by strenghtening your fist, i am assuming you mean "make your fist harder and tougher"?

pdellorto - gave you good advice for that - but as he said, be careful - hands are extremely easy to damage.

Assuming you are after knock out power - all you really need to focus on is ensuring you punch with a CLOSED fist. No improvements in grip strength will help increase the tightness of your closed fist - it can only close as tightly as your hand/finger size and shape permits. Just close it tightly on all punches to reduce the risk of breaking your hand.

As for knock out power that comes from your posterior chain and upper body - legs, hips, glutes, back and shoulders - and is transmitted through your arm and fist. Imagine that your posterior chain and upper body are swinging a rope (your arm) with a rock (your completely clenched fist) tied to the end of it.

I fought Kick boxing, Muay Thai, Boxing and MMA for 10 years - 57 fights total, full contact, no gear, - never trainied grip directly, never broke a hand.


Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:54 pm
by Onlyethic
Both very interesting responses. Thanks.

Right now, most of my grip training comes indirectly, from pullups and fist pushups which seem to strengthen my forearms.

I think hand shape may have something to do with this: when I make a fist, it feels as if I should be holding something, as if there were an empty space inside my fist. It may be mostly to do with not being used to making a fist correctly. Probably because most of my previous martial arts training was Brazilian jiu jitus-- not too much striking work there.

Anyways, interesting answers. Will keep it in mind.

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:10 pm
by Ryan A
You can always take up a martial art that doesn't used closed fist strikes.

What exactly are the rules on striking? I know Karate guys work a lot on finger strength by "punching" (open handed) through rolls of bamboo to work the fingers. Also do a lot of hand strikes (mostly palm stuff) on rocks.

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:38 am
by Matt Z
Also, keep your wrists straight when you punch. If you hit someone with a bent wrist you can break your wrist.