Build Better Grip Strength with Ulnar Nerve Glides
What I want to do today is work a little bit on your ulnar nerve.
If you don’t know anything about your ulnar nerve, it’s going to be the primary nerve that supplies your little finger and your ring finger. It will help with flexion, particularly. So when you’re gripping things. What we’re seeing in a lot of athletes, particularly athletes that are involved in any kind of gripping sports, so that’s Judo or wrestling or if you work out in the gym a lot, you like to do a lot of heavy deadlifts, we will often see people who struggle with grip strength because of a loss of capacity in the little finger and the ring finger. So I want to show you today is a very fast, easy-to-perform nerve flossing exercise for the ulnar nerve.
Here’s how we’ll do it. We’ll sit or stand. I prefer to teach all these standing. So stand in a good neutral stance. Lengthen up from the bottom of your spine, all the way up to the crown of your head, particularly lengthening through the bottom of your neck. Now, I’m going to work on my right side.
So what I want you to do first is let the arm hang down by the side, and then I want you to elevate it to about 90 degrees. And I want you to open your fingers, and pull your fingers and wrist into extension. So, the fingers are pointing at the ceiling. Now, from here, all we’re going to do first is,
we’re just going to bend the elbow and straighten the elbow. This is just a little warm-up series depending on how tight your ulnar nerve is.
Once you get into this bent position, you may already be feeling a little bit of a tingling sensation in the little finger and ring finger distribution.
Make sure that you keep this at a 3 out of 10 level. Keep it very, very comfortable.
Now, once we’ve done that work here, you also want to consider doing it out to the side. As we begin to externally rotate from the shoulder, you may feel even more tension building up on that ulnar nerve. So those are going to be our basic warm-up series. Do three to five repetitions in each position. Now, from here, we’re going to add in a couple of other components. So we’ll begin with the arm by the side, spread the fingers, pull into wrist extension. Now we’re going to flex the elbow, we’re going to flex the shoulder and now we’re going to add in scapular depressions.
We’re going to pull our shoulder blade down toward the floor, and will start to move the elbow out to the side. If you hold all of this in a small amount of tension, you should feel a lot more activity occurring in that ulnar nerve distribution.
Last but not least, we’ll reset. We will begin with the arm by the side, we’ll open the fingers, extend the wrist, flex the elbow, flex the shoulder, depress the scapula, go out to the side. Once we’re in this position, we’re now going to tilt our head away. So once we’re in this kind of final position, we have some options. We can use the head and neck for movement. We can turn our thumb forward to the front of the body. That will also increase
and decrease tension on the ulnar nerve. We can also elevate and depress our scapula.
So you have a lot of different options. Any joint involved in the exercise, you can flex and extend it in order to get a flossing effect on the ulnar nerve.
So, guys, give this one a shot, I use this a lot as a warm-up, even for people who are not having pain, or grip problems. Very often, a lot of our athletes who are going to be doing pull-ups, doing deadlifts, you will find that by just warming up lightly keeping the tension low with the ulnar nerve that it improves their grip strength. So give this a shot and see how it works for you.
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