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Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Hand Exercise Vital for Weightlifting Strength & Balance

Q: I received a very good question from a weightlifter who is having forearm extensor pain. Basically he asked if certain activities he is involved with (i.e. weights vs computer use) wouldn't balance out the flexor vs extensor muscles. This IS A VITAL POINT OF MISUNDERSTANDING and SUCH A KEY QUESTION to ask when trying to understand the complexity of the hand muscles. One that has to be realized by everyone involved in repetitive grip activities... and BTW, both weightlifting AND computer use create chronic hand, wrist, forearm and elbow imbalance conditions.
Remember one main fact that will help to clear up the role of the finger extensor vs. flexor muscles: If your hand does not consciously FULLY OPEN during an activity (against resistance), there is no way you will offset the FULLY CLOSED gripping (against) that we do to hold items regularly daily. Stretching is helpful, but cannot correct this imbalance. It is HUGELY key to offset repetitive gripping by strengthening the opposing and assistive extensor muscles through their 'full range of motion.' - and that is why we developed Handmaster Plus.

A: Good question. We have studied most hand activities through sEMG (see hand exercise muscle studies) and although you are correct that the finger extensors are used A LOT (see link above to ‘Computer’) in computer use, it is not a healthy use. The reason is that the finger extensor muscles contract statically, mostly in support of the action of the finger flexors. In other words they contract repetitively (and in most cases all day long), but do not go through a full ROM (range of motion). The result is a static shortened muscles group. Another result is imbalance between the finger flexors and finger extensors, which also leads to instability at the hands, wrists and elbows.

The same is also true of weightlifting using grip (dumbbells, etc.). The finger extensors are constantly contracted, but again in a small range of motion (remember full ROM for finger extensor muscles is fully open).

In conclusion, I think you will really enjoy using Handmaster Plus to offset this common (almost inevitable) imbalance. The weightlifters we work with can’t believe this is not common knowledge, but it is getting there. So many needless injuries. We don’t ask our clients to stop using their hands in grip, we just ask them to train properly and train the opposing extensor muscles through full ROM’s, just like any other muscle group. The result is strong & stable hands, wrists, forearms & elbows. Please spread the word. You’ll now know more than many health care professionals and trainers about hand muscle balance!

You can purchase Handmaster Plus complete hand exerciser here.


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