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Got Rice? Perfect for Grip Strength, Power in Forearms

Not all training drills include the traditional ball, bat and glove. In fact, some of the most productive exercises can be performed without any baseball equipment at all. It just takes some thinking outside of the box or a quick Google search.

For decades ballplayers from the Dominican Republic have honed their hitting skills by hitting bottle caps with a broomstick. A drill that has been modified over time in other parts of the world with other small objects like popcorn kernels. Former Minnesota Twins great Kent Hrbek used to maintain his power stroke in the off season by chopping wood. Mark McGwire used to enhance his vision training by picking out two small points and practice a smooth eye transition between the two targets.

There are endless ways to improve your hitting abilities and the only thing preventing a player from doing so is a lack of imagination or the dreaded - laziness. Today we will discuss a drill that will enhance an athlete’s grip strength and the power in their forearms, and all a player needs is a bucket of rice.

Physicians often recommend that patients with broken wrists, hands or fingers utilize a bucket of rice to regain strength. So, it makes sense that the exercise would serve as proper strength training for athletes looking to build those muscles. Besides, who doesn’t want Popeye forearms?

In this drill an athlete will fill a five gallon bucket with 25 lbs. of uncooked rice. Imitate a motion of giving the full bucket of rice a handshake and drive your hand to the bottom of the bucket. Open and close your hands repeatedly for 30 seconds, 1 minute or until fatigue sets in. Shake hands repeatedly like you are at a Catholic Church service. Feel free to say “peace be with you” if that makes the drill more exciting or inspiring. After fulfilling the reps with one hand, switch hands and repeat.

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The next movement to perform in the rice bucket is by twisting the arm by rotating at the shoulder. Again, complete the reps and switch arms. Another solid rice bucket drill is to place a certain number of objects in the rice and search for them. Like a young swimmer finding toys at the bottom of the swimming pool, place dice, marbles and other small objects into the rice bucket and seek them out.

As with other strength and conditioning drills, this exercise should be performed either early in the day or after all of your baseball work has been completed. Strong hands are a trait in every hall of fame hitter. A great exercise for ballplayers to develop that strength is with the rice bucket drill. 

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