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Episode 270: Grip Strength & Hand Health

Video Highlights

- Why it matters.
- Easy to follow sequence.
- Drill review.

Today we’re going to be looking at 4 amazing mobility drills for your hands and fingers.

If you studied anything about neuroscience or the human body, you will know that the hands are a marvel of engineering. This whole opposable thumb thing, very important for us as humans, and neurologically your hands are absolutely vital.

In fact, whenever we look at how brain space is devoted to different areas of the body, the hands play a huge role in what goes on in the brain, so as neuroscience guys here at Z-Health, we really focus on hands a lot. Dealing with pain and also, obviously, in any kind of performance.

So, if you’re wanting to get stronger, you’re wanting to throw a baseball better, you want to get out of shoulder pain, you want to improve your neck issue, hands can play a big role.

We have spent years and years working on different mobility drills and strengthening drills for the hands. I want to take you through a very quick series that you can do anywhere, that will start to help rebuild coordination and control for these guys.

The first thing that we’re going to do is a little just warm up. I want you to take about 30 seconds and just rub your hands. Make sure that you’re actually spreading the fingers. You want to work all through and get some skin sensation throughout the whole surface of the hand, the surface of the fingers. All right? Just work around there. Kind of [wait 00:01:28] the whole are up because you want them to be a little bit warm. It doesn’t have to be exact or anything. I just want you to move, all right?

You start off with some rubbing and even clapping if you need to warm the hands up.

Now, the next thing we’re going to do, we call it fast fist, all right? Fast fist, you’re going to start here. You’re going to spread your fingers as wide as you can and make a fist. I just want you to do that quickly.

The idea here is to do about 30 repetitions. Over time you want to go faster and faster and faster. In martial arts, they used to make us to do this. We’d could go for 100 to 200 reps. 30 is about enough. You’ll start to feel your forearms starting to blow up a little bit pretty quickly.

Once you’ve done that, the big thing I want you to focus on is, as you’re doing this exercise, make sure that you’re spreading and making a nice fist, okay?

Fast fist. From there, we’re going to go to finger circles. Very simple idea.

You’re going to try and keep your other fingers still as you do circles. I want you to do 3 to 5 circles in one direction, and then 3 to 5 in the opposite direction. Start with your thumbs. Then go to your index fingers. Again, 3 to 5 in each direction. Middle finger. Opposite direction.

You typically will get some sympathetic movement from the other fingers because there is some shared tendons, so if you can’t keep the other fingers completely still, don’t freak out about it. What you’re trying to identify here are fingers that you have difficulty moving. All right?

We’ve rubbed the hands. We did our fast fist. Now we’ve done some finger circles. The next thing we’re going to do are just what I call finger squeezes, so you’re going to spread and squeeze. Spread, squeeze. Spread, squeeze. I want you to do that about 10 times.

Then from here, we’re going to do a little coordination exercise. We’re going to start with your fingers like this and I just want you to try and opening the index finger. Open between the index and ring, and then pull the pinkie away. Index, spread, spread. Little coordination drills.

Shake the hands out of any tension and relax. Then we’ll go to our last one.

 Guy & girl doing pull ups on a long bar in a training gym

The last mobility drill really is more than anything a coordination drill.

We’re going to begin here and we’re going to close the fingers.

Close the hands starting from the pinkie and going to the index. Okay?

We’re just trying to do an index to pinkie close, and open. That’s just a little coordination drill. You’re going to do that about 10 times and then switch.

Now you’re going to go index to pinkie. Generally, what you’ll figure out is one of those is more coordinated for you than the other, but these are great little exercises to increase brain activation, help you re-coordinate your hands, and also to build some better mobility.

Couple of key points with all these hand exercises. Remember to try to keep the rest of your body relaxed and keep your face relaxed.

Very often, when people start moving their hands, you’ll see them tensing up the rest of their body because we tend to think that we should have great control of our hands and sometimes we figure out that we don’t.

Try to stay relaxed. Don’t stretch yourself out.

Quick review.

First of all we started with a warm, making sure that we warm up all the fingers. The whole surface of the hand, front and back.

Then we did the fast fist. I want you to do a good spread and enclose, working up to about 30 reps to begin with.

From there we went to finger circles. You want to do clockwise and counter-clockwise circles at each finger, trying to keep it as isolated as possible. 3 to 5 repetitions in each direction.

From there we went to the finger squeezes or spread and squeeze, so we spread and squeeze. Spread and squeeze. Do that about 10 times.

From there we did our basic openings where we did index, between index and ring, and then between the pinkie and the ring. You just want to work back and forth through those about 5 reps.

Then from there, you’re going to finalize this with some basic coordination exercises. Again pinkie to index closing and opening. Do that 10 reps. Then go from the index to the pinkie, opening and closing another 10 reps.

Shake your hands out after that and you can get on with your day.

If you have pain or some other issues going on in your hands, we’ve done a lot of blogs about hands and carpal tunnel syndrome, so make sure that you check those out because you need to be prepared from a neurologic standpoint and not be in pain, really, to get a lot of benefit out of these exercises.

Go carefully with them.

Make sure that you don’t cause yourself any undue discomfort, and don’t be surprised if you get a little bit of soreness because the hands, like I said, we need them, but we abuse them a lot, so take good care of them; they’ll take good care of you.

If you have any questions about any of this, let us know.

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