Exercises to Make Hands Healthy & Strong

Add hand strengthening exercises to your daily routine.
Image Credit: Manuel Faba Ortega/iStock/Getty Images

When it comes to exercise, you probably focus on the major body parts such as the back, chest, arms and legs. However, it is equally as important to strengthen your hands -- you need them strong to effectively grip, hold and squeeze so you can perform a myriad of daily tasks. Get strong, healthy hands with exercises that strengthen the muscles in the hand, as well as the fingers and wrists.

Squeeze for Strength

Squeeze balls can be used to increase and improve hand grip strength. These small squeezable balls are usually about the size of your palm. You simply hold the ball in one hand with fingers enclosed around it and squeeze. Hold each squeeze five to 10 seconds, relax and repeat 10 to 15 times. Do this exercise three times a day for each hand.

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Range of Motion Motions

Your wrists connect your hands to your forearms and helps to keep your fingers in correct alignment. Increased wrist strength will strengthen the hands since the wrists help to stabilize the hands during movements upwards and downwards. Do wrist range of motion exercises in which you move your hand up and down daily. Start by resting your right forearm on a table with your wrist just off the edge and palm facing down. Stabilize your wrist with your left hand. Extend your right hand by moving it up towards the ceiling, hold for three seconds before slowly lowering all the way back down to point towards the floor. Return to neutral position and repeat 10 to 15 times for a total of three sets.

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Let Your Fingers Do the Walking

Strengthen the muscles in the hand with finger-walking exercises. Do this exercise by laying your palm down flat on a table with fingers spread wide. Slowly start to walk each finger toward each other by lifting the index finger and moving it toward your thumb; repeat with the middle finger toward the index; fourth digit toward the middle finger and, finally, pinky finger toward the fourth. Then, repeat the series backward starting with moving the pinky back to its original position; fourth digit toward the pinky and so forth. Repeat 10 times a couple times a day.

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Functional Activities

Strengthen your finger and hands by performing functional activities as exercise. Try picking up small objects such as pens, paperclips and rings; progress to larger objects that require more dexterity such as coffee cups and 2 to 3 kilo hand-weights. Repeat each exercise for a total of 10 to 12 repetitions or regularly incorporate into your daily routine a few times a day.

Related Reading

Hand dexterity is critical to the normal range of motion needed in our hands to perform various daily activities. Hand muscles should be subject to strengthening via exercise like any other muscle in your body, as HandExercises.org suggests. By completing a few simple exercises on your own, however, you can maintain hand dexterity rather easily. Before attempting any new exercise treatment program, be sure to speak to a medical professional.

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Finger Flexion

One example of a hand exercise that you can complete for improved dexterity involves hand-eye coordination and finger flexibility. According to the Ohio State University Medical Center, this exercise begins by holding your hand in front of your chest with fingers stretched to full extension. Next, using only the muscles of that hand, flex your index finger towards your thumb, forming the letter "O." Complete this movement with each finger touching your thumb, one at a time. You can increase your speed with this exercise in order to further benefit your coordination, and this exercise is simple enough to complete many times during the day.

Resistance Exercises

Grip is an important aspect of hand dexterity. As the Ohio State University Medical Center suggests, grip strength can be improved by grasping a tennis ball in your hand and squeezing your fingers around the ball. Hold this comfortable grip for five seconds before slowly and smoothly relaxing your hand muscles just enough to retain a hold on the tennis ball. Repeat this process four to five times daily with both hands for best results. Depending on your hand strength, other balls can be used in place of the tennis ball.

Thumb Exercises

Your thumb allows you to grasp small objects and move your hand in fine, intricate movements. One thumb exercise involves holding your hand in front of you, with your fingers close together and your thumb out to the side of your hand. Next, using only your thumb, flex your thumb across the palm of your hand towards your little finger. Hold this stretch for five seconds before slowly returning to starting position. This exercise can be completed many times during the day for both hands.

Finger Range of Motion

According to the Ohio State University Medical Center, another exercise that can be helpful in increasing hand dexterity involves flexing your fingers at each individual knuckle. Start this exercise by holding your hand in front of your chest with your palm facing you and your fingers together. Next, use your hand muscles to flex all fingers in one motion toward the ground. This motion should be slow and controlled, to focus on each individual knuckle. Once in full flexion, reverse the movement by slowly extending your fingers back to starting position. This exercise can be completed many times during the day, depending on your comfort level.

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