The Rice Bucket Exercise is a simple but very effective exercise used regularly by American Football players to build arm and handgrip strength. It is deceptively simple: by simply pushing your hands – with fingers extended – into a bucket of raw rice, you will build strength from your fingers all the way to your shoulders.
- Fill a large bucket with raw rice to a depth of about 6-9 inches (the rice should be high enough to submerge your hand when fully extended).
- Place the bucket on a stable, waist-high table. Then, stand close enough to the bucket so that your lower abdominals are touching the bucket. Place your forearms against the inner side of the bucket while digging your hands into the rice. Remember, the deeper you go into the rice with your hands, the more resistance you will receive.
You can either do one hand and switch, or submerge both hands in the rice.
Push your extended hand into the bucket with your palms facing outward. When your hand is fully submerged, grab a handful of rice and – with your fist remaining submerged in the bucket – slowly turn your wrist in a clockwise direction (towards your body) until your (clenched) palms are facing inward. Repeat.
Grab and Drop
Push your extended hand into the rice. When fully submerged, grab a fistful of rice, lift your hand and open your fist (dropping the rice) once you get close to the top of the bucket. Repeat.
Internal Wrist Rotation
With palms facing away from your body, push your extended hand gently into the bucket until fully submerged. Then rotate your wrist upward (fingers moving toward the inside of your forearm) while drawing your elbows close to your side. Repeat.
With you palms facing each other, gently submerge both hands. Then rotate each hand inward (thumb moving inward toward your abdomen) for as far as you are comfortable or until your palms are facing outward and the backs of your hands are facing each other with your elbows pointing out. Repeat.
4 Way Palm Drop
- Palms facing each other, submerge, grab, lift and drop.
- Palms facing away submerge, grab, lift and drop.
- Palms facing your body submerge, grab, lift and drop.
- Palms facing away from your body submerge, grab, lift and drop.
With hands submerged in the rice, use your thumbs to slowly pinch two fingers together, starting with index finger down to your pinky. Once you have done one cycle, go back to the 4 Way Palm Drop (internal and external) before coming back to this exercise for 1-2 more sets.
Open and close fully submerged hands quickly for 8-10 reps. Rest and repeat 2 or more times.