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Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Finger Exercise for Classical Guitar Carpal Tunnel

I recently ran into a great blog for classical guitarists, for whom I have the utmost respect (and strong hint of jealousy as a wannabe guitarist, especially picker). Classical guitar is beautiful, difficult to learn and can be challenging on the body, especially the hand, carpal tunnel wrist and elbow... all due to repetitive gripping. When I see classical guitarists not understanding the finger exercise application of Handmaster Plus as a MUST-HAVE training aid to keeping them strong, performing well and preventing injury, I have to comment... otherwise carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow will continue to run rampant.
I have been working with repetitive grip injuries for 20+ years. If you play guitar, you WILL develop finger muscle imbalance - it is simply a fact relating to the mechanics of gripping. If your technique is better, the imbalance may be less. Regarding carpal tunnel syndrome, there is a basic muscle imbalance at play here which will be shared by ALL guitarists. Several of the intrinsic finger muscles that contract repetitively in both the cording hand and picking hand are attached to the transverse carpal ligament, the roof of the carpal tunnel. There is nothing to offset the shortening of these small muscles and thus the space within the carpal tunnel changes and pressure within the carpal tunnel increases putting the median nerve at risk. Strengthen the muscles that oppose flexion (grip) and you remain strong, healthy and in balance. It is not an emotional topic to me, just factual. I used to see musicians come in over and over with this same simple muscle imbalance displaying as carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow mostly - and yet no one in the music industry to this day has any idea of what to do except 'treat' the symptoms (rest, ice, cortisone, etc). It appears that no one (other than my group) has worked to understand the imbalance itself. It is not complicated. It is the same imbalance seen in repetitive-grip athletes and workers for over 20 years.
We used to give patients multiple exercises (elastic bands, grippers, etc.). But they would not resist accurately through full ROM's and the patient wouldn't find time or wouldn't remember them. Now since developing Handmaster Plus, the musician will easily be able to exercise all 18 hand muscles (the 9 that close AND the 9 that open the hand) through full natural ROM's in one easy, continuous exercise. Muscle balance couldn't be easier. The only barrier to proper training for the hand, wrist and elbow NOW is the musician or poor advice.
Do not misunderstand, Handmaster Plus is a 'training tool' and a 'rehabilitation tool', not a stand alone treatment tool. It is designed to maintain balance, prevent injury or rehab/rebalance injuries (after proper treatment). If you are have acute pain Handmaster Plus is not meant as a panacea in place of a health care professional. See your doctor for acute treatment - and then advise them about using Handmaster Plus as a complimentary rehab and rebalancing exercise after treatment protocol. In other words, SO IT DOESN'T DEVELOP AGAIN! Most doctors do not understand the mechanics of grip or the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow. If they did this simple flexor vs extensor muscle tone imbalance would not be such a neglected issue and musicians would understand and act accordingly. When I see musicians say to visit a doctor and not use Handmaster Plus, I find it humorous. Repetitive grip activities CAUSE muscle imbalance. If you do not think for yourself and learn about your body (in this case the interplay between the grip muscles and the hand opening muscles (the grip stabilizers), you will never understand this imbalance and always be chasing your symptoms. You must offset this inherent muscle imbalance if you expect to stay healthy and strong, play well and prevent injuries from classical guitar. Keep in mind the flexor/extensor muscle balance issue is also at the root of most classical guitar elbow, wrist, finger and thumb problems as well - so it is no small subject if you are serious (which I find most classical guitarists are!). Thanks for the opportunity to speak on this most vital muscle imbalance. I hope I can influence classical guitarists toTHINK and train properly BEFORE this conversation so that they likely never enter it. Your performance and injury risk are both at stake. Feel free to ask me any questions at or visit for more information.

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Thank you for adding this post!
finger rehab
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