A hand injury can throw a serious wrench in your chest strengthening routine. Many of the most commonly performed chest exercises utilize your hands in some capacity and would be ill advised following an injury to this area. Despite this, all hope is not lost. There are several different exercises that can effectively target the chest muscles without aggravating an injured hand.
This machine is a great way to target the chest muscles without causing undue strain on your injured hand.
Place your forearms against the foam padding of the machine while making sure your injured hand does not make contact. Squeeze your two forearms together and hold this position for 1 to 2 seconds. Then, slowly release the tension and return your forearms to their initial position.
Resistance Band Flyes
Flyes activate both the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor muscles in the chest.
Lie on your back on a weight bench. Thread a resistance band under the bench and tie the ends of the band to each of your wrists. With each of your arms extended at shoulder level, bring your hands together above your chest. Make sure to keep your elbows straight as you do this. After your palms meet, slowly bring your arms back down to your side.
Punch-outs work your serratus anterior, a muscle on the outer border of your chest that attaches to your ribs.
Lie on your back and secure wrist weights around each forearm. Raise your arms over your head and keep your elbows straight. Then, punch your hands upwards towards the ceiling by rounding your shoulder blades forward. After holding the hands here for 1 to 2 seconds, relax your shoulder blades and lower your hands back down again without allowing your elbows to bend.
Resistance Band Internal Rotation
This technique strengthens the pectoralis major, which helps to internally rotate the shoulder along with several other muscles.
Secure one end of a resistance band in a door and tie the other end around the wrist of your injured arm. Keep your elbow bent at a 90 degree angle and resting against the side of your body. Rotate your forearm slowly towards your stomach. When it reaches your abdomen, hold this position for a few seconds before releasing the tension in the band and rotating the forearm away from your body.
This exercise also works the serratus anterior. This muscle is influential in maintaining proper posture and shoulder range of motion.
Get into a plank position on your forearms and your toes. Make sure your body weight does not go through the injured hand. You can place a pillow or rolled exercise mat under the forearm of your injured hand to elevate it off the ground. From this position, protract or round your shoulder blades forward. This will cause your upper back to elevate by a few inches towards the ceiling. Maintain this elevation for 1 to 2 seconds and then relax your shoulder blades as you return your upper back to the initial position.
Warnings and Precautions
To strengthen the chest muscle group, do two to four sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise. Ideally, this should be done two to three times each week. Any time you sustain an injury, it's important to speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. Failure to do so can cause further aggravation to your injured hand. While muscular fatigue or soreness is normal while working out, be sure to stop any exercise that causes increased pain.