How to get your hands and grip strong
Do you ever suffer from hand fatigue after a long day at the office on your computer? Wrists ever sore or achy? This blog might be for you!
The other day my husband got home from his third day in a row of tennis matches, and noted his hands were really feeling the brunt of the games. He asked me how to get his hands stronger.
First, before we tried any of the hand positions below, I gave him a quick forearm massage which mirrored what I had witnessed in the hand therapy office. Remember that blog on fingers? http://justmuscles.net/injury-treatment/six-tips-fix-finger-wont-bend/
I knew that three days of gripping might have maxed out his forearm muscles, and since every muscle only has so many contractile fibers, he might be at capacity. When your muscle is maxed it feels like you don’t have any strength left, and the uneasy feeling of weakness starts to creep ….into your psyche. Next, you feel old. Further, you wonder why three days of tennis (fill in your sport here) could be so taxing. Finally, you despair that you might not be able to keep this up.
Don’t let it!
Fortuitously, I had just taken the most interesting yoga class, and the teacher decided to focus on hands! The following are some of the positions she had us try. My suggestion is to try them first on your hands and knees, and then to pump up the volume, pop up into a plank or downward dog.
I came out of class, despite the fact that I had been furiously taking notes and shooting photos of my fingers so I wouldn’t forget any of these cool hand moves, with hands that were curiously (and amazingly!) refreshed and invigorated.
1. Steeple Hands
Before you go down on your hands and knees, try just bending your fingers in the “steeple” move below. My pinkies just won’t cooperate as I think there might be some double-jointed weirdness going on, and in this case my coworker couldn’t get his thumbs to cooperate, either.
2. Pinkie Fist
Everybody is great at making a fist starting with your thumb, but this time I want you to start with your pinkie. (Curling my pinkie first is such a challenge!) Once you have your fist, go onto your knuckles and put some pressure on your hands with your shoulders loaded on top. Then sit back and unfurl your fingers slowly, one at a time, ending with your pinkie. Your brain is getting some great work here, too!
3. The Claw
On your hands and knees, press down what my instructor decided to call the “ring finger mound” – so the bottoms of the fingers/top outer edge of the palm. Press that so the palm is lifted and just the base of the fingers and the fingertips create the “claw”. Try something on your hands and knees here, or again, pop up into plank! Notice that most of the time you divert force away from your fingers and use the bottom half of the palm of the hand.
I had never paid much attention before, and now it took lots of concentration to keep the fingers in their “claw-like” formation.
4. Thumb Fist
First we tried a fist with the pinkie leading the way, and now we have the thumb leading the way. Again, once you have your fist made, put some pressure on it in a hands and knees (or fist and feet) position. Careful of rings, ladies!
5. Open Steeple Hands
Get ready to go onto your fingertips by pressing fingertips actively together in the air, and then actively on the ground.
6. Fingertip pushups
Just kidding, but do try going on just your fingertips to see how it feels on your hands and knees.
Wiggle around a little and go from there.
7. Back of Hand Jive
Notice we have spent time on the palms, on the knuckles, the fists, and fingertips, but nothing on the back of the hand yet. Try a Pinkie Curl, and then place the back of your hand on the floor, and load up.
Was that ever tight on me! My poor coworker couldn’t get his arm to a ninety degree angle for this photo. That was his best effort, sweating bullets. Can you bend your wrist to 90 degrees? If you are having difficulty, this move is for you. Try pointing your fingers in different directions.
Let me know if these hand motions and positions were helpful, and what your results were in the comments box below. Have fun!