View Full Version : A few questions on a knuckle conditioning method.

11-22-2000, 06:18 AM
I would like to start a knuckle conditioning method where you hang a canvas bag filled with sand from the ceiling and you lightly punch the bag. However, I would like some specifics about it. So here is what I would like to know:
1. What is the right way to align your knuckles when punching the bags? 2. What is the optimal number of punches to throw at the bags? 3. How many times a day do you need to do this for optimal results? 4. How many days a week? %. do you need to shake out your hands while doing it, as well as after doing it? Thanks in advance.

11-25-2000, 04:38 AM
Could somebody please help me out here?

Sam Wiley
11-25-2000, 05:12 AM
Maybe you should try about 100 reps per hand, twice a day, 7 days a week, for about 90 days. If you miss a day, no problem, but if you miss two days, you should begin your day count over from the beginning.

How you hold your hand should be in accord with how your style insists you punch. You should integrate the knuckle training with your own style. The above recommendation on reps is assuming you are using just one type of hand weapon. If you have multiple punches, or have multiple hand weapons you want to train, you should use less reps, say 50 for each weapon.

I would recommend getting some good jow to put on your hands both before and after training this way. I would "shake out" my hands in between sets of reps, just to get the tension out, and so that you don't have trouble opening your hands afterwards.

Many styles prefer to punch with the knuckles of the index and middle fingers, because they offer a very firm surface and make it easy to smash things. Many other styles prefer to punch with the last three knuckles, becacuse there is some give in your wrist on that side and it is more difficult to break your hand. You should practice with whichever yor own art insists. That way you will use your own art when you actually fight, and will strike the way you have trained and will not have any trouble or broken bones hopefully.

"To enter is to be born, to retreat is to die."
-An Old Taijiquan Saying

11-25-2000, 05:18 AM
Thank you very much, Sam. Good day.

11-25-2000, 05:21 AM
Sam, what about after 90 days?

11-25-2000, 05:29 AM
Also, how many reps should I do in a set?

Sam Wiley
11-25-2000, 05:55 AM
Well, I'd say that you should probably start striking the bag a bit harder, maybe tie it to a tree or something so you can. And maybe up the number of reps. Do that for about another 90 days, then fill the bag with pebbles or shot or something (steel, not lead), and do that for another 90. After a while, you'll have worked your way up to striking stone. You'll be able to strike hard objects full force without pain or injury.

By reps I mean the number of times you strike the bag. So it should be about 50 times per hand for each hand weapon you train in (one set, a total of 100 strikes), or if you are just using a normal fist, I would say about 100 times per fist. After the first 90 days, and maybe a week or two rest, you could progress to more strikes with each hand, more reps.

If you're going to do this kind of external hand training, may I recommend some qigong that will focus your qi in your hands? Take a horse stance, about shoulder width or a little wider, with your feet parallel. Hold your hands out in front of you, palms out (facing forward, so that if you were to look at your hands you would be looking at theback of them), with your fingers pointing to the sky. When you breathe in, imagine the breath coming in your hands and travelling to your dantien, about three inches below your navel. On the out breath imagine it coming up from your dantien, and out of your hands into infinity. Now, on each in breath, you must push the center of your palms out, and on each out breath you must relax them inward again. Do this qigong for about 5 or 10 minutes every day. This is an internal iron palm qigong, so you will be doing both internal and external training at the same time.

"To enter is to be born, to retreat is to die."
-An Old Taijiquan Saying

[This message was edited by Sam Wiley on 11-25-00 at 11:06 PM.]

11-25-2000, 06:08 AM
A word of caution.

Some people who have done this type of training
have had problems with the skin of their hands,
especially around the knuckle area, start to
crack open partly because of the toughing / drying out of the skin and partly because of
the impact from hitting the bag. Once the
skin cracks open it is very easy for these
"cuts" to get infected and/or split open more
to cause deeper "cuts".

I have heard that Red Flower Oil- made by the same company that makes the White Flower Oil,
is to be used in helping to prevent this from
happening or to help heal this type of injury
when one first notices it starting to happen.

Also, depending on how much time / amount / energy - you spend hitting the bag, it might
be a good idea to use some Dit Dah Jow before
during and after your practice as well as
massaging your hands after your workout.

11-25-2000, 06:56 PM
..... choosing this method over traditional Iron Palm? Iron Palm trains the whole hand and Chi flow to and out of the hand.

11-26-2000, 01:04 AM
You shouldnt condition any joint in the body. This greatly increases the chances of developing arthritis or some degenerative joint disease later on in life. A gradual hand conditioning method like iron palm would be a safer bet in long run. But if you going to bang your knuckles anyway. Get some dit da jow medicine to help heal your fists.

Sam Wiley
11-26-2000, 01:34 AM
I'm not saying that the method I presented is the best in the world, or traditional. But over the past years I have seen somehwere around 20 different iron palm and hand conditioning methods, all of which claim to be the "traditional" method Some of them are said to produce iron palm without damage to the hands in any way, and some of them are known to deform the hands grotesquely but people still practice them today.

It doesn't take a genius or a stickler for tradition to develop or stick to a hand conditioning method. Just pick a routine (that won't damage your hands I say) and stick with it until you reach your goal. It doesn't matter whether or not it is the "traditional" method or one you designed yourself.

However, with that said, a traditional method would be a good guide. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"To enter is to be born, to retreat is to die."
-An Old Taijiquan Saying

11-26-2000, 02:29 AM
Hemp rope wrapped around a tree. Start slow and light and work your way up.

I used to be daga

11-26-2000, 04:16 AM
Much thanks, all. Good day.

11-26-2000, 05:18 AM
If your just starting of, then a heavy punch bag is always ggod to start with. Work with different strike repetitively, depending on your style, not only for your knuckles, but to condition yourself for throwing that punch/technique.

Take it easy and don't rush it, or you'll have hard split knuckles, instead of just hard knuckles. When moving into harder striking surfaces, I try to concetrate on condition the striking surface and not try to over do the pressure I put on the bone itself.

Hope this helps.


11-26-2000, 03:08 PM
..... please excuse me, my question was directed to sugarsteve. I did not mean to question your responce to him (which was a good response I might add) :-D

11-26-2000, 05:41 PM
The best, and safest, knuckle conditioning meathod I have found has simply been punching a very heavy bag. Everlast makes some great bags. Get one that's at least 150lbs. and punch away. I still say anyone not punching with their first two knuckles as thier primary fist hitting surface is nuts.
But just hit the bag. Either horsehide or canvas bag. Spend the money for a good bag, it will last the rest of your life. Hit it a least 100 times with each hand 3 days a week. Better would be say 50+ with each hand. Do 50 jabs, crosses/reverse punches, front and rear hand hooks, front and rear hand uppercuts, front and rear hand roundhouses. Tough hands and wrists and no time.

Don't hit hard surfaces with your knuckles. The risks far outweight the benefits.


Sam Wiley
11-26-2000, 06:44 PM
That's cool. No offense. I'm not an expert on the external iron palm practices anyway. My response was a sort of simplified version of a program a Wing Chun friend of mine gave me.

Other than what I wrote above, the responses about punching the heavy bag are right on. I would say that if you use a canvas bag the results would be even more noticable. Try a similar routine to what I presented above, but remember to hit the bag lightly at first, or you will really hurt your hands.

And the pole wrapped in rope is good, too. But you have to be even more careful with that one. Wrapping it with two or three layers would be the way to go, so that you can have some padding in the beginning, and eventually the rope will be beaten flat, though by that time you will no longer need it.

"To enter is to be born, to retreat is to die."
-An Old Taijiquan Saying

Grays Anatomy
11-26-2000, 06:46 PM
As was said before - take your time. No matter which way you do it - take your time.

There are quite a few different methods for hardening the body - some are faster some are slower. Typically you find that the faster methods tend to have long term side effects whereas the slow methods allow the body to change with the conditioning and in many cases prevents the long term side efects. Don't push to have iron hard knuckles over night.

If you take a few years to develop the "hardness" your hands will be much better for the long haul