Let's face it; you use your hands for many tasks throughout the day. In the midst of work, family and exercise, there's no time for weak hand and finger muscles to slow you down. Although your regular workouts are probably focused on getting you ready for that little black dress, you can add simple exercises to your normal daily routine to strengthen the muscles of your hands.
What's the Big Deal About Hand Strength?
Your grip strength can be used by health-care professionals to help determine your overall health and fitness. Although you don't need to have the grip of tennis player Serena Williams, your hand strength is important and needs to be strong enough to get you through daily activities. Right now, grabbing hold of something in the kitchen might not seem important because you know you can just do it. That's exactly why you want to strengthen your hand muscles; so, as you age, you can continue to just grab on to things without having to think about it.
Regular or modified pushups are an effective way to strengthen the muscles of your hands. As with most any strength-training exercise, forget quantity and go for good form. If you can do one excellent pushup, that's better than eight with an arched or rounded back. Aim for eight to 16 pushups every other day. On the off days, do finger pushups at your desk to strengthen the muscles of your fingers and hands. Place your fingertips on the desktop while sitting at your desk. Spread your fingers out before flattening your hands over the desk. Use your fingers to push your palms up and away from the desk. Do 10 to 20 fingertip pushups, every other day.
You can do exercises that involve squeezing and releasing your hand muscles anywhere at most any time. You can do this type of exercise with or without an item to squeeze. Without equipment, just make a fist and squeeze it tight. Release and squeeze alternately for one minute. Or use a tennis ball, stress ball or an old sock filled with rice to squeeze and release your hand muscles. Hold each squeeze for one to five seconds, and perform hand squeezes for one minute.
Strengthen your grip for better performance in sports and exercise activities, such as racquet sports, or to tend to daily activities. Hold a hand grip in your right hand, and squeeze and release it for one minute before switching to your left hand. Work toward squeezing the hand grip until it's completely closed.
You can also work on strengthening your hand muscles by performing the farmer's walk. Stand with your feet hip-width apart while holding a 10-pound dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. Grip the weights tightly while walking 20 to 30 steps forward. Turn around and walk back to your starting point. Increase the time or distance you perform the farmer's walk as your hands get stronger.
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.