Work Out Like a Pro

The Rice Bucket Workout Can Build Your Power at the Plate

It's the final game of the World Series, bottom of the ninth. You step up to the plate with your team down by three runs and the bases loaded. This is where champions are made -- or at least that's how the old saying goes. But if you ask any pro, true champions are built in the offseason.

The grind of two-a-days and 5 a.m. workouts is what separates the good from the great on the field. And when ballplayers look to build forearm and grip strength, the rice bucket workout is a staple.

Work Out to Win

Any kid who's played youth baseball has surely dreamed -- or fantasized -- about driving home the game-winning run or turning a series-clinching triple play. But before you make that dream a reality, there are some serious skills to develop. To gain elite bat speed or throw heaters like your favorite pitcher or catcher, you have to train the fast-twitch muscles in your forearms.

This is why so many players implement the rice bucket workout into their training regimen. This drill consists of a series of hand and forearm movements while the hand is submerged in a bucket filled with rice.

In addition to improving grip strength, the rice bucket workout can potentially improve forearm strength and prevent elbow injury. While the supporting research is limited, when you look at the movements that comprise the workout, the rationale is physiologically sound.

How It's Done

Each hand and forearm exercise that makes up the rice bucket workout is to be performed bilaterally, as many times as possible, within a 20- to 30-second period. The exercises vary based on the workout followed, with some routines consisting of four to five movements and others up to 13. Regardless of the specific routine followed, all exercises are to be completed consecutively.

Rice digging and grabbing is one of the more popular rice bucket exercises to help improve both forearm and grip strength. Another common set of exercises consists of submerging the hand in the form of a fist while simultaneously extending and flexing the wrist or deviating it medially or laterally. These two exercises can also be performed with the palm of the hand open. Internal and external rotation digs are another suggested exercise, as well as explosive finger spreading.

The rice provides resistance against the movements of the fingers and wrists, and performing the exercises explosively, consecutively, and to fatigue promotes fast-twitch muscle development.

Now you know one of the secrets to elite baseball performance. So whether your goal is to build stronger hands and forearms or impress everyone in your next recreational league game, you can train just like the pros do and hopefully turn fantasy into reality.

Posted in Work Out Like a Pro

Dr. Rami Hashish achieved his doctorate of physical therapy from the University of Washington School of Medicine and holds a doctorate in biokinesiology from the University of Southern California. Following his Ph.D. work, Dr. Hashish cofounded a footwear technology startup, JavanScience, which develops customizable footwear to help relieve and prevent foot and leg problems. Dr. Hashish is also active in the clinic, serving as the director of physical therapy for Regenerative Medicine - Pacific Pain & Wellness Group, at Urban Med in downtown Los Angeles.

More articles from this writer

An Active Approach to Feeling Better: Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Agility Ladder Drills Help You React Like a Pro Infielder

Connected Care: The Future (and Present) Age of Health Care

*This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute health care advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or physician before making health care decisions.