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Hand Speed Exercises for Martial Arts

by
author image Mike McLaughlin
Mike McLaughlin has been writing news, entertainment and sports articles since 1990. McLaughlin has written for “The Maine Campus,” “The Bangor Daily News" and various websites. McLaughlin is also a martial arts instructor and certified personal trainer. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an associate degree in filmmaking.
Hand Speed Exercises for Martial Arts
Martial artists typically learn fast hand techniques. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Overview

Developing fast hands is an essential part of most martial arts. Martial artists need to be able to quickly block oncoming attacks and counter with their own defensive strikes. Fast hand techniques can help martial artists win at tournaments. More importantly, fast hands can also save their lives on the streets. There are several hand-speed exercises that a martial artist can practice. These exercises can make a martial artist a more skilled and well-rounded fighter.

Back Fist Counting Drill

The key to developing hand speed for martial arts is to frequently practice punching fast. An exercise for accomplishing this is the back fist counting drill. A back fist is a quick strike that snaps out at a target and hits with the back of the fist or knuckles. To perform the counting drill, time yourself for 30 seconds and see how many back fists that you can do in the allotted time. You can repeatedly hit a punching bag or just hit into the air when practicing this exercise. Achieving more than 150 hits in the 30 seconds is considered exceptionally fast. Try to improve your score with each practice session. A jab can also be used when performing this hand-speed exercise.

Plyometric Push-Ups

Plyometric push-ups are good for building explosive speed and power in hand techniques for the martial arts. To practice this exercise, you begin in the down position of a push-up. Powerfully push up with your hands and try to thrust your body into the air. Your hands should leave the floor, then return to the floor for the next repetition. To make your hands work faster during this exercise, try clapping them together while you are in the air.

Speed Bag Training

Speed bags are often associated with boxers, but they can also work wonders for martial artists. A speed bag is a small, air-filled punching bag that is connected to the ceiling. These bags bounce around quickly when they are hit. It takes a boxer or martial artist with some fast hands to keep up with the bag. You should start off slow when beginning to exercise with the speed bag. Once you are able to develop a rhythm with your punches, then you can hit the bag faster and harder. The speed bag is also good for exercising combinations of hand techniques.

Nunchaku Training

Nunchaku, commonly known as nunchuks, is a traditional martial arts weapon. The nunchaku is basically two short sticks connected by a chain or rope. This weapon can do a lot of damage to an assailant, but it is also useful for building hand speed. Martial artists who are well-trained at the nunchaku can whip the weapon around their bodies at high speeds. Beginners should start slowly with the nunchaku and learn basic routines. Eventually you can tremendously increase hand speed and coordination by working with the nunchaku. Accidentally hitting yourself in the elbows or head a few times may encourage you to get better with the nunchaku.

Coin Challenge

A fun way to build up speed in your hands is to have a friend or fellow martial artist hold a coin in the palm of his hand. Try to grab the coin out of his hand before he has a chance to close his hand. It may take a lot of practice to be successful, but you will know that your speed exercises are paying off when you snatch the coin from his hand. This was a favorite speed drill of one of the fastest martial artists in history, the late Bruce Lee.

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