Dynamic Tension Hand Workouts

Keep a man around because you love him, not because you need him to open your jars.
i George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Don't ignore your hands when you're digging into your workout. You need your hands to stay strong as you age to keep opening your own jars and even turning simple doorknobs. According to Richard Bohannon, physical therapy professor at the University of Connecticut, women can lose up to half their grip strength between ages 30 and 80. You don't have to be one of those women, and you don't need fancy equipment to keep your hands strong.

Dynamic Tension

    Dynamic tension workouts use a form of isometric contraction, which is basically tightening certain muscles and holding the tension for a few seconds. In most dynamic tension exercises, there's some form of movement as well or an additional type of pressure on the muscles you're working. This helps you develop stronger muscles anywhere, even sitting in your office, without special equipment.


    Much of the strength you need in your hand comes from your thumb and how it interacts with the rest of your fingers. Making a "C" shape with your hand, where your thumb is on the bottom and your fingers curve up top, helps build those muscles when you contract them and hold that shape. Add some more tension by making the "C" with both hands, then turning your hands so you can hook your curved fingers under each other. Pull outward to add tension while your fingers stay curved. Go for three 10-second pulls. If your long nails dig in a bit, you can wear gloves to make this move more comfortable.

Fist Squeeze

    Close your fist, squeeze and hold -- that's all you need to do to complete a very effective isometric strength-building exercise for your hands. Doing this in five-second intervals for 30 to 60 seconds a pop is a simple way to get a better grip. However, adding a bit more tension makes this exercise more effective. Put your fists on a wall at chest height and lean forward with bent elbows, then push back until your elbows are straight, keeping the squeeze going the whole time. If you're feeling a bit more advanced, try doing pushups on your fists, squeezing them tightly as you move.

Finger Adduction

    Find some inner peace as you press your hands together in front of your chest for some finger adduction work. The isometric squeeze comes in by holding your hand flat with the thumb tight against the outside of your hand, then squeezing your fingers together. For some dynamic tension, hold the squeeze as you press your palms together in front of you with your elbows out, looking very zen. Press in and release, all while squeezing your fingers together. Do this for two sets of 10.

the nest