In the introduction post to this series, we reviewed and answered some common questions regarding stretching, including why, when, how, etc. Click here to review it.
In this post we will be talking about how to stretch out the hand. This area includes the muscles/tendons of the fingers and thumb and is a common area for overuse injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
1) Stretching should NEVER hurt. The goal is to only go until you feel a pull in the muscle. It should not be to go until it hurts in one of those “no pain, no gain” efforts. It should be comfortable and repeatable, allowing you to move a little further with each repetition.2) Perform stretches when the muscles are warmed up. This can be following a workout or following work with the foam roller. Click here to review the self massage post for the hand (this includes pictures and video using a foam roller and tennis ball to review 3 self muscle release techniques).
2) Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times. You can hold longer than the 20 seconds, but the reps are key. You will always get more out of stretching frequently versus one killer session a week.
3) If hurt- be sure to stretch out the surrounding muscle groups first. For the hand, this means stretching out the wrist and forearm. As the injury allows, work you’re way up to stretching the injured muscle out.
Here is a video demonstrating how to stretch out the hand.
1) Keep your hand down on a flat surface. This will keep you from working the wrist more than than the hand itself.
2) There are three different stretches you can do for the hand (the fingers themselves, the thumb, and then the entire palm of your hand). Try to do them in that order to really open up the hand.