Strengthening Your Wrists for Boxing & MMA

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Do you want to become a heavy hitter? How about landing those winning knockouts? Well, it’s all connected to one body part: strong wrists.

Think of it this way: if your muscles are the engine that fuels your punches, your wrists are the wheels that deliver all that power to its target. This means you need strong wrists as much as big muscles.

In today’s article, we’ve got you a ringside seat to all the secrets of strengthening your wrists for boxing.

Why You Should Strengthen Your Wrists for Boxing

Many boxers complain that their wrists hurt after training, especially after hitting the bag. This usually happens with boxers who don’t train their wrists.

The reason such pain occurs is that the repeated action of punching puts stress on the ligaments and tendons in the wrist.

Weak wrists and repeated heavy bag training can lead to a painful injury. Studies have shown that wrists are one of boxing’s most common sites of injuries.

While it’s important to utilize hand wraps for support, strengthening your wrists can significantly reduce the risk of wrist or hand injuries.

With stronger wrists, your punches will be more powerful and have a greater impact.

How to Strengthen Wrists for Boxing

Many exercises can help strengthen your wrists for boxing; these are some of our favorites. These exercises are simple and effective, and anyone can do them.

Dumbbell Wrist Curls

Wrist curls are a popular exercise for building stronger forearms and wrists. What’s good about wrist curls is that they’re suitable for beginners.

All you need for this exercise are handheld weights, such as dumbbells. Start with a lighter weight, especially if you’re new to this exercise.

Here’s how to do wrist curls:

  1. Kneel on a flat surface, like a bench.
  2. Rest your forearms straight on the surface with your wrists hanging over the edge and your palms facing upwards.
  3. Keep your back straight and lower your shoulders.
  4. Hold the dumbbells and slowly curl your wrists upward as you exhale.
  5. Extend your wrists downward as far as you can as you exhale.

Wrist Curl Variations

There are other variations of wrist curls. Each variation has the same basic idea as wrist curls but with some modifications.

Reverse Wrist Curl – The reverse wrist curl is like a normal wrist curl, except that your palms will face downwards. In other words, just flip your hands over, and the rest of the exercise will remain the same.

Reverse wrist curls focus more on strengthening your wrists than your forearms. So, to get the most out of the move, you should alternate between the two exercises.

Seated Wrist Curls – If kneeling on a bench feels uncomfortable, you can do the same exercise while sitting.

This variation is perfect for people who suffer from knee problems or want to exercise their legs while doing this exercise.

The most crucial aspect of seated wrist curls is to keep your feet flat on the ground and your back straight.

Here’s how to do seated wrist curls:

  1. Sit on any chair or bench.
  2. Position your legs shoulder-width apart and rest the back of your lower arms on the armrests or directly on your knees.
  3. Perform the normal wrist curls exercise.

The Farmer’s Walk


The farmer’s walk, also known as the farmer’s carry, is an exercise that targets various muscles in your body, including your forearms, biceps, triceps, quadriceps, and shoulders.

So, it’s extremely beneficial for both boxing and overall strength. Moreover, it’s one of the best exercises to improve the strength of your grip and the power of your punch.

During the farmer’s walk exercise, you should always keep your back straight and your chin up. You should also keep your shoulders pulled down and back while walking.

For this exercise, you’ll need dumbbells or kettlebells. Here’s how to do the farmer’s carry:

  1. Place a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells on the floor, with one next to each foot.
  2. Squat down to carry the weights and engage your core muscles.
  3. Begin walking while carrying the weights.

More Advanced Variations

Once you’ve got the hang of the normal farmer’s walk, you can take it to the next level. There are many ways you can make the exercise more difficult, such as:

  • Gradually increasing the weight.
  • Walking for a longer period or distance.
  • Walking in a straight line.
  • Adding more squats to the exercise.

Knuckle Push-Ups


One of the common variations of push-ups is the knuckle push-ups. It’s just like regular push-ups, but instead of placing your palms flat on the ground, you touch the floor with your knuckles.

Knuckle push-ups are popular in many martial arts, like karate and boxing. That’s because they strengthen your fist and other muscles in your upper body.

If you’re new to exercise, you should start with normal push-ups first. You want to complete two sets of 10–15 repetitions without breaking a sweat.

Here’s how to do the knuckle push-ups:

  1. Place a mat or a towel on the floor to cushion your knuckles.
  2. Get into an all-fours position, just like you would do in normal push-ups.
  3. Make a fist with both hands and position them slightly wider than your shoulders.
  4. Rest your upper body weight on your fists and let your knuckles come in contact with the floor.
  5. Lower your upper body and bring your chest as close to the ground as possible, just like normal push-ups.

Wrist Rotations

Wrist rotations strengthen your wrists, hands, and forearm. That’s why they’re perfect for increasing the mobility of your wrist and hands.

Additionally, you can do them while standing or sitting. So, they’re fairly easy to do.

You should do two to three sets of 5 to 10 times daily.

Here’s how you can do wrist rotations:

  1. In an upright position, grab a dumbbell or any type of weight in each hand with your palms facing downward or toward the back of your body. You must keep your forearms at your side.
  2. Rotate your hands to the other way to face upward or toward the front of your body.
  3. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds, then return to the original position.

Grip Strengtheners

There’s exercise equipment that can help you strengthen your grip significantly. Training balls, squeezing balls, and hand grip strengtheners are all common ways to improve your grip, which significantly impacts your punch.

The best part is that you can take them with you wherever you go to get some exercise. You can practice while waiting or taking a coffee break.

How to Stretch Your Wrist and Fist

Wrist stretches are a fantastic way to warm up your wrists and increase their flexibility and strength.

Just like how the muscles in your body need some stretching before and after exercise, so do your wrists.

Prayer Stretch

One of the most common wrist stretching exercises is the prayer stretch, which is easy and effective.

Here’s how to do the prayer stretch:

  1. Put your palms together as you’d do in a praying position. Your palms should be in front of your chest, right below your chin, and standing straight.
  2. Slowly lower your hands to your waist level while keeping your back straight and your palms touching.
  3. Maintain this posture for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat two to four times.

The Clenched Fist

One of the best parts about this exercise is that you can do it anywhere and at any time. All you need to do is simply sit down, place your hands on your thighs with your palms facing upwards, and slowly make a fist with your hand.

Hold this position for around 10 seconds and then unclench your fist and open your fingers as wide as you can while stretching them.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to strengthen your wrists for boxing is important for your success and longevity in the sport.

Wrist curls, the farmer’s walk, knuckle push-ups, and wrist rotations are some exercises that can help you strengthen your wrists so you can deliver those knockout punches.

Just remember, start with a lighter weight, and don’t push yourself too hard. Strengthening your wrists for boxing is a gradual process!

Thomas Davies

Thomas has spent over a decade teaching and growing Boxing and MMA through his writing. His goal is to teach and inspire with the unique discipline & health benefits that combat sports can provide. More About Us.

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