Iron body is similar to iron vest training, but it also employs an external component. Iron body training typically involves using bags filled with various material, such as mung beans, gravel, or steel shot (similar to iron palm bags) that the student uses to strike his forearms, shins, and body, to allow it to take more damage in a fight without injury. The concept is similar to how the hands are conditioned in external palm styles.
Dit da jow is also used in iron body training to help repair damage between training sessions. There is also commonly an internal component, such as a series of qigong exercises that are designed to bring qi to the areas of the body being trained.
Iron body training typically begins with a warm-up, and then a qigong exercise. This is followed by some body striking exercises which may include hitting one’s body with one’s arms/legs (such as hitting the forearms together in front of the body, or hitting oneself in the torso with one’s own fists) or striking the body with iron body bags. After the striking, dit da jow is applied and the area of the body that was just trained is massaged to help blood flow and to break up any bruises that may be forming. Additional qigong exercises may be performed at the end of the session.
A general rule is that one should spend at least as much time with dit da jow and massage as one spends striking the body.
Much like with palm conditioning, iron body progress should be made slowly as going too fast could cause injury to the student. Bruising is generally considered an indication that one is trying to progress too quickly.