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Iron Palm Training

Goku, Gohan, Trunks, Uub, Vegeta and the rest of the remaining of the Z fighters take fighting to another level with their ultimate strength and power. In their stories, they can blast energy through their hands, blast their opponent away with a simple flick and have the ability to generate an abundance amount of strength to not only punch through their opponent but also buildings of concrete, boulders from earth and mountains of all sizes. As human warriors, it’s unrealistic for us to shoot out energy balls from our hands or punch through mountains, however, it is possible to learn fluid hand striking techniques using our entire body and build strength in our hands to develop an iron palm that can provide us the finite ability to deliver powerful hand strikes and break through solid objects such as wood and brick.


What is Iron Palm

History of Iron Palm

Misconceptions of Iron Palm

Palm and Hand Strikes

Iron Palm Training Exercises

Things to Keep in Mind

Final Thoughts

What is Iron Palm

Iron Palm or Iron Hand is both an internal and external training system that can be used in any martial arts to help strengthen your hands skin, muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue and can teach you how to cultivate and embrace your chi energy allowing one to execute inconceivable, powerful and precise hand strikes.

History of Iron Palm

This system of training was developed in the Shaolin Temple to train Chinese monks to condition their hands and arms giving them the ability to execute powerful hand strikes with minimal damage.

Misconceptions of Iron Palm

Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions when it comes to Iron Palm training. To start, Iron Palm does not mean training your hands to become an indestructible, powerful hammer but more so to train your hands to increase bone mineral density and improve striking power by learning to use the entire body when delivering a hand strike; essentially turning your body into one, long whip. This training technique is very similar to a Muay Thai fighters kicking Thai pads, kicking a bamboo tree, or even kicking a stack of tires to train their shins and learning how to generate power through their whole body but instead, Iron Palm training focuses on training the hands and a variety of hand strikes by striking a sandbag.

Another misconception is that you must strike solid objects like rocks and trees to develop an Iron Palm. This is a huge “no-no”. Yes, there are videos of individuals striking trees and rocks but there are two things to remember here, either the practitioner has been practicing Iron Palm for decades or the practitioner is pulling back on their strikes. Iron Palm should be trained on an object that will “give way” to prevent any potential damage to the hands.

Final common misconception of Iron Palm training is that you’re killing the nerves in your hands so when you execute a strike to hit a target, your hands won’t feel any pain. To be completely transparent, this is what I believed when I would strike my shins with a piece of wood during my fighting days but when in reality, I was simply putting myself through “pain-conditioning", in other words, getting myself acclimated to pain. Based on human physiology, the complete opposite may occur where more blood flow will actually circulate to the hands to aid in recovery, thus making the hands more sensitive (not less sensitive) which then can benefit in hand-to-hand combat allowing you to "feel" more thus react quicker.

Knife Hand Attack

Palm and Hand Strikes

The punch is the most common strike we will see in mainstream televised combat competition and Hollywood productions. However, the hand is capable of executing more strikes than a series of punches. Remember when future Gohan used a flat hand to knock out Trunks during the fight against the Androids to stop and protect him from fighting the Androids himself? That’s called a knife hand strike. This is executed by striking with the pinky-side of the hand with the hypothenar muscles that are located between the pinky and wrist. Essentially Future Gohan struck Trunks at a pressure point site using this knife hand technique.

In addition to the knife hand, below are other hand strikes that can be strengthened through Iron Palm training.

  • Punches

  • Knife Hands

  • Palm Strikes

  • Finger Strikes

  • Mid-Knuckle Strikes

Iron Palm Training Exercises

To improve your Iron Palm, it’s imperative to maintain consistent and progressive training. If you don’t train enough, you may be wasting your time. If you train too much, you may hurt yourself. If you train inconsistently, it may take longer to see results or you may see zero results. Depending on your fitness and experience level, Iron Palm training should be trained “almost” as much as you your punches and kicks. Below are training techniques that can help train your Iron Palm.

Striking Exercises

  • Sandbag striking - Punch

  • Sandbag striking – Palm

  • Sandbag striking – Backhands

  • Sandbag striking – Knife hands

  • Sandbag striking – Tiger claw taps

Non-Striking Exercises

  • Finger-tip push ups

  • Finger-tip plank

  • Fist push ups

  • Fist plank

  • Finger-tip dead hang

Things to Keep in Mind

If you haven’t already seen, videos exist showcasing Iron Palm strength from practitioners breaking bricks in half, striking through wood, or even striking through a coconut. Before achieving this level however, you must recognize a few key points:

  • It takes years of progressive and safe practice to achieve that type of Iron Palm level.

  • It takes more than conditioning and strength to power through these types of objects. You must learn how to use your entire body and control your chi (energy) when delivering a strike.

  • Iron Palm should complement your training and not be the majority of it.

  • It’s important to learn Chi (energy) control when practicing.

  • It’s imperative to learn proper hand striking techniques on and off the sandbag.

Final Thoughts

Iron Palm training may bring great benefits to some and may be a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo, “arthritis” developing practice. I can’t say if it’s beneficial or if it will cause arthritis, but if you choose to practice, please be sure to seek out a practitioner who has mastered this training style!

Disclaimer: All information presented and written within this article are intended for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.


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