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Episode 171: Counter Keyboard Strain

Video Highlights

- Quick exercises to counter keyboard strain.
- Relief for hands, wrists, fingers, and elbows.
- Aim for four to five reps of each one of them.

Today, we’re going to take a quick look at what I call counter keyboard exercises, focusing on the elbow, wrist, hand and fingers.

When you spend all of your days working on a keyboard, you know that eventually your posture and your body can pay a price for it. Obviously, there’s this huge movement around the world right now to get rid of desk, get people standing and all this kind of stuff, which is great, but I want to give you a few little exercises that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

All that you need is your body and a wall.

We’re going to go through these really quickly. The basics are this. Turn and face the wall and generally speaking, the height of your hand on the wall is going to be dependent upon your wrist flexibility. We’re going to be starting off with elbow circles. For me, I’m going to place my hand on the wall, take my other hand, and I’m going to cover it, or grip it. I’m going to give a little pressure into the wall.

Once I’ve done that I’m going to bend this elbow, make a small circle, and lock it out again. I’m just going back and forth doing three or four reps each direction.

Now I’m going to repeat that same exercise in three additional hand positions. I’m going to come here, reach underneath, again grip the hand however is comfortable for you, bend the elbow, small circles. It doesn’t really matter how big the elbow circle is. We just just want to get some mobilization happening. Then we’re going to point the fingers down. Normally when you go into this position, this stretch is going to be a little bit more intense. The movement is going to be a little bit more weird, so you may find that you have to reposition your hand on the wall.

Fingers are going to be down. Again, grip, bend, small circle. The bigger thing here that you’re trying to achieve is you’re always trying to re-lock that elbow. All right? Now be careful of over raising the shoulder as well. Finally, point the fingers inside and repeat. Okay? Same thing

Now after three or four reps of each of these, as you start to figure the movement, you can put more pressure into your hand. You can try keep the palm of your hand more in contact with the wall. That will increase the requirements on your elbow and your wrist.

All right. Now that we’ve done that, we want to go into some wrist and finger work. This is actually really simple. What you’re going to do is you’re going to start with your fingers here, you’re going to curl them, gently put some pressure into them, and fold all the way up. Then you’re going to reverse that and fold all the way down. All right? We’re gripping the wall, rolling our fingers up, and eventually, in this position, we’re trying to get to the point that we can touch the back of our hand to the wall. You may have to again adjust the position of your hand on the wall.

Once you’ve done it in that position, you then want to go in this direction. Again, it’s a slightly different feel, slightly different mobilization. Then you can try it here. What you’ll find is that each of these different hand positions increases the intensity of the stretch, or the mobilization, in different parts of the wrist. Finally, we can come to this position and repeat. Usually four to five reps of each of these, and you’re pretty good.

Now we’re going to go into hand figure eights. I’m going to take my hand and I’m going to put it on the wall. I’m going to spread my thumb and my index finger apart. I’m then going to roll my wrist into that space. I’ll make it a big circle. My palm is now facing me. I’ll role across the little finger. Spread, put the wrist into that space, roll all the way around, roll over the little finger. All right? That is one direction of hand figure eight.

Now that we’ve worked on our hand figure eight through the thumb side, we also want to repeat it on the pinky side. We’re just going to reverse the motion. We’re going to take our wrist. We’re going to move it to the outside of the pinky, roll all the way around, and in this position I’m going to spread the thumb and the index finger again, and roll down through there. I’ll roll out, come all the way around, spread, and come in contact with the wall again. Our two versions: thumb side, and pinky side.

Now finally we have our fingers. What I like to do for the fingers is pretty simple. I’m going to get in this position. I’m going to grip it. I’m going to pull it out. Now this finger and this finger are going to work cooperatively to do five to ten circles in each directions. Now this feels pretty simple until you get down here.

Once you get into this more stretched position, you’ll really feel this mobilization all the way through the hand, through the joints, and also through the tendons and ligaments.

That is the basic, what I call “counter-keyboard series” of elbow, wrist, hand, and finger exercises. Aim for four to five reps of each one of them. Make sure that you change hand positions. The whole thing will take you somewhere between three and five minutes to do for both hands.

You usually have to do them independently because your helping. Give this a shot, see how it feels. Remember that in everything that we teach in Z-Health, no pain. Make sure that you don’t hurt yourself. Keep the intensity really low. I think you’ll really enjoy these, and they’ll make your hands and arms feel tons better after a long day of typing.

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