boxing question

why do boxers stick their hands in buckets of sand?

a scene in The Fighter, after training with a punching bag the boxer sticks his hand in a bucket of sand, why?

Grip strength.

ETA: It was rice in The Fighter too.

Baseball and football I get but why does a boxer need grip strength?

Moved to the Game Room from GQ.

General Questions Moderator

in the movie

the fighter had broke his hand and was trying to get fit again

could that be it?

What the OP said above. Edited to not give any plot details away.

If you are punching someone you want your fist clinched as tightly as you can while at the same time having your arm relaxed as much as possible.

It’s not necessarily grip strength so much as overall hand strength. When your fist hits an opponent the force will be dissapated through your body down to your feet where they contact the mat. The stiffer all parts of your body are at the point of impact increases the amount of force delivered. In addition, the stronger the hand’s muscles are, the less chance there is of hand injury caused by the bones moving. I think most boxers just use rubber balls and V type grip strengtheners now.

Conqueror, I’m not sure what you mean about having your arm relaxed, that will just dissapate the force of the blow. You want all of your muscles tensed to exactly the right amount at the right time to avoid wasting energy, but when the punch connects you want your body as stiff as possible to form a solid connection all the way between your feet and the floor.

Basically, so they can hold a fist tighter and longer. Their punches are harder and it also protects against breaking their hands/fingers.

There’s a progression in kungfu called iron fist training.

You start with sand - plunge your hands in, tighten around material for a set time, lift out, remain tight, release and repeat… for hours. There are nuances to the training that I won’t go into here. You switch up materials as you progress through the training, e.g., sand, dried beans, ice, buckshot.

Not only does it increase grip strength but also toughens the outsides of the hands.

Right. A stronger hand and tighter fist means harder punches and less injury to the hand. Having good grip strength and endurance helps keep the fist tight in the later rounds inside the smaller gloves used for competition.

TriPolar, in my training I was taught to keep my fists clinched as tightly as possible, but keep my arms relaxed so as to be able to react quickly for blocks and strikes. I suppose suppose the muscles do tighten at the moment of impact, but I’ve never really thought about it that way.

Yeah, I thought you must have meant something like that. It’s not even really tightening muscles at the point of impact, but in training you learn to prepare for the shock of impact and the added force needed at that point. I’m not sure how to describe it precisely because it is something that develops naturally with practice. Learning how to relax between punches may actually be more difficult to learn.