The hand muscles may be small compared to larger muscle groups in the legs, chest and back but they serve a significant role for everyday functioning. Weak hands resulting from medical conditions such as arthritis, accidents or poor fitness in general can impair your ability to lift and hold onto objects as well as write, knit or do woodwork. Strengthen hand muscles with exercises daily or every second day to maximize results. Consult with your physiotherapist prior to starting any exercises that could adversely affect your current condition.
Press It Out
Finger presses strengthen the intrinsic muscles in the fingers, thumb and palm of the hand. Stronger fingers and thumbs will allow you to pick up and hold on to small and larger objects such as pens, necklaces and books. Do this exercise by pressing your thumb to your fifth fingertip for approximately five seconds. Repeat with digits one to four by pressing your thumb to fingertip. Repeat three times per finger once or twice a day.
Squeeze It, Squeeze It
Squeezing a ball is a great exercise to strengthen the intrinsic hand muscles. You will improve your grip strength, the ability to open jars and doors, and to hold on to coffee cups or handbags. Do this exercise with a small ball that fits into the palm of your hand, such as a tennis ball. Wrap your fingers around it and squeeze as hard as you can, barring any pain or discomfort. Hold approximately three to five seconds and repeat 10 times two to three times a day.
Get Some Wrist Action
Wrist flexion and extension exercises improve range of motion and increase strength in the hand, including the wrist and fingers. The wrist flexor and extensor tendons cross the wrist joint into the hand, thus impaired mobility restricts hand motion, leading to weakness. Strengthen wrist flexors by sitting or standing with your elbow bent and palm facing up, holding a light weight that will leave you fatigued by 10 repetitions. Your elbow and forearm should remain steady as you curl your wrist up, pause then lower. Repeat 10 times for three sets. Train the wrist extensor muscles by flipping your forearm over so your palm faces down. Bend the wrist to bring the hand up, pause, lower and repeat 10 times for three sets.
Strengthen the finger extensors with a simple rubber band at home a few times a day. Place the band around your fingers and thumb and simply push out against the band's resistance until you must stop. Repeat 10 to 15 times for three sets in total. You can also isolate individual fingers by placing the band around two fingers at a time such as the thumb and fifth digits or index and middle fingers.
- Therapeutic Exercise for Musculoskeletal Injuries, Third Edition; Peggy Houglum
- Sports Injury Clinic: Finger Exercises With Rubber Band
- Harvard Health Publications: Harvard Health Medical School: 5 Exercises to Improve Hand Mobility and Reduce Pain