Whether you are a pencil-pusher who finds their wrists ache after a day of typing, or a construction worker lifting several hundred pounds a day, strong hands can be the tool to preventing back, neck, and shoulder pain. Without the strength in your hands, it can be difficult to lift heavy weights, to support your body under strain, or even to open a jar! While you could use a sprung hand-strengthener, not everybody has one, or knows where you would go about sourcing one. So that just leaves the imagination. Try using some of these handy tips for strengthening from wrist to fingertip, and even up into the forearms.
- The Active Fist
One of the problems is that we often don’t move with intention, or that we rely on some muscles to take the strain of others. Try by simply making a fist, with your thumb tucked inside. Try to clench as tightly as you possibly can for 30 seconds. Then extend the hand as widely as you can, spreading the fingers for a further 30 seconds. Repeat this 10 times a day on each hand.
- The Claw
In order to have strength in your fingers, it is integral to stretch them and tense the forearm, as the forearm provides the supporting muscles for fingertip strength. This can be seen in climbers, who have very strong forearm muscles from utilizing the tips of their fingers. To strengthen from forearm to fingertip, clench the tops of the fingers over into a claw shape. Try to touch the very tips of the fingers to the inside of the bottom of the fingers. Hold this for 30 seconds at a time and then rest for 10 seconds. Make sure that each time you repeat this, you try to actively engage the forearm.
- Finger Lifts
This is a two-part exercise, which requires active push-pull engagement. Place your hand on a flat surface, actively pressing the palm down. Lift the fingers one at a time, trying to lift them as high as you can, while pressing as hard as you can into the flat surface with the palm. Hold the finger up for 20 seconds at a time before moving on to the next one.
- Thumb Band
For this exercise, you will need a tight, heavy-duty elastic band. Place the elastic band around the widest part of your hand and thumb, just below the bend in the thumb. Place your hand flat on a surface, again pushing down actively. Open and close the thumb, keeping the thumb open for 20 seconds at a time. You will feel the burn all the way into your wrist and forearm.
- Finger Count
Curl the fingers over so that the tops of the fingers are touching the bottoms of the fingers. Make sure to actively clench. Now move the thumb along, touching each finger individually. You will feel a stretch on the inside of the thumb as the outer muscle builds.
When building hand strength, remember that your hands need to rest as much as other muscles do. After working them out, remember to warm them down, rather than diving into everyday tasks. After a hand workout, soak your hands in a bowl of warm water for 10 to 20 minutes.