Many martial artists consider hand conditioning an essential component of their boxing and other striking arts training. The hands are fragile, especially if they are not used to punching hard objects. The purpose of hand conditioning is to strengthen the bones in the hands to better withstand impact and protect them from injury during combat.
There are many techniques and methods for hand conditioning, but one of the most popular is punching a wall to create calluses or a rough skin on the knuckles. The premise is that this will harden the hand, allowing it to take more force when striking. However, the practice can result in a serious injury if not done properly.
This is because punching a wall with unpadded gloves can cause the bones in the hands to crack, break or fracture. It is also possible to injure the soft tissue surrounding the bones, which can be very painful and may require medical attention. Professional fighters use heavily padded gloves to protect their hands during fighting and are more likely to avoid such injuries.
In addition, punching a wall can cause damage to the tendons and ligaments of the hands, which can be very difficult to heal. This is because these muscles and joints are often overworked during boxing training, causing excessive stress on the hands. This can lead to a variety of problems, including soreness and swelling, which can be very difficult to recover from.
Another way to condition your knuckles is to do knuckle pushups on hard surfaces. This is a great workout for combat sports, such as boxing, MMA and Muay Thai. It is recommended to start on a soft surface such as a workout mat or carpet and move onto harder surfaces over time. Knuckle pushups can be performed on the floor or even concrete.
A common symptom of over-conditioning the knuckles is Raynaud’s phenomenon, which causes the blood vessels in the fingers and toes to contract. This can be very painful and is associated with an autoimmune disease called scleroderma. Other symptoms include a loss of grip strength, ringing in the ears and a high heart rate. The knuckles can become bluish or black in color as well, which is known as scleroderma of the hand and is typically caused by excessive punching or overtraining with bare knuckle workouts. It is best to use padded gloves when punching the heavy bag or using other knuckle conditioning exercises. This will help to prevent damage to the hands while still enabling the fighter to train effectively and throw stronger punches. This will improve the accuracy of the punch and reduce the risk of injury to the knuckles, carpals, metacarpals and phalanges.