17 strengthening exercises for hand and fingers - eMediHealth (2023)

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You'd be pretty crippled if you didn't have opposable hands, fingers, or thumbs. Without an easy thumb and finger to move, think of all the things you couldn't do.

17 strengthening exercises for hand and fingers - eMediHealth (1)

Typing, tying up a coat, pinching a small object to lift it: many things are impossible without a well-functioning hand.

hand care

Several degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, arthritis, tendinitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome can damage joints, making them increasingly painful, painful, and weak. The slightest movement can trigger joint pain, but standing still will only atrophy your muscles and worsen your condition.

Whatever the cause of your symptoms, whether it's arthritis in your hands or a neck problem, your hands and fingers are at risk of losing strength and flexibility. Therefore, to prevent the condition from becoming a permanent disability, you need to keep your joints active without putting too much stress on them.

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(Video) Hand Health Video: Hand and Finger Stretches and Exercises

Hand and finger exercises

Here are some hand and finger exercises that can be used in conjunction with primary medical procedures to relieve joint stiffness and restore full hand function.(1)(2)(3)

1. Handcuffs

Making a fist and releasing it is good exercise for your fingers. You can do this simple exercise anywhere, anytime to relieve hand stiffness.

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  1. Keep your left hand flat.
  2. Slowly clench your fingers into a fist, keeping your thumb outside. Be gentle and avoid squeezing your hand too hard.
  3. Slowly unfold your fist until your fingers are straight again.
  4. Do the exercise 10 times with each hand.

2. Claw extension

This simple stretch helps the tendons function smoothly and moves the finger joints through their full range of motion.

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  1. Extend your hand in front of you, palm facing you.
  2. Slowly bend your fingertips down until they touch the base of each knuckle. Your hand will look like a claw.
  3. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds and then release.
  4. Repeat this exercise 10 times with each hand.

3. Make an "O"

This is another simple exercise to get your finger joints working properly. You can do this exercise whenever you feel pain or stiffness in your hands.

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  1. Start with the right hand facing up.
  2. Slowly bend your index finger until it touches your thumb and forms an "O."
  3. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
  4. Follow with your middle, ring and pinky finger.
  5. Stretch your fingers again.
  6. Repeat this exercise 10 times with each hand.

4. Walking with fingers

This exercise is very beneficial for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis who cannot move their fingers without experiencing severe pain.

17 strengthening exercises for hand and fingers - eMediHealth (5)
  1. Place one hand palm-down on the table.
  2. Slowly lift your index finger and try to move it towards your thumb. Then fingers down.
  3. Raise the middle finger and move it to the index finger.
  4. Lift the ring finger and move it to the middle finger.
  5. Lift your pinky finger and move it towards your ring finger.
  6. Repeat this exercise two or three times with each hand.

5. Raised finger

This exercise helps increase the range of motion and flexibility of the fingers. It also strengthens the finger joints.

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  1. Place your right hand on a table, palm down.
  2. Slowly lift your thumb off the table.
  3. Hold the position for about 5 seconds and lower your thumb.
  4. Do the same with each finger on your right hand.
  5. Repeat the sequence with your left hand.
  6. Repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times with each hand.

You can also raise and then lower all fingers and the thumb at the same time.

6. The finger curve

This exercise is very similar to the finger lift exercise. All you have to do is curl your fingers instead of lifting them.

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  1. Extend your thumb and slowly bend it under your palm.
  2. Hold the position for about 5 seconds, then stretch your thumb up.
  3. Do the same with each finger on your right hand.
  4. Repeat the sequence with your left hand.
  5. Repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times with each hand.

7. Fingerdehnung

This is a simple finger stretch exercise that will help reduce pain. Another benefit of this exercise is that it improves the range of motion in your hands.

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17 strengthening exercises for hand and fingers - eMediHealth (8)
  1. Place your hand palm-down on a table.
  2. Gently stretch your fingers to place them as flat as possible on the table.
  3. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
  4. Release and repeat this exercise 10 times with each hand.

8. Tennis ball squeezing

This is a very simple grip strengthening exercise that will benefit your finger and wrist joints. This exercise also helps with stress.

17 strengthening exercises for hand and fingers - eMediHealth (9)
  1. Squeeze a soft tennis ball as hard as you can for 5 seconds.
  2. Release your grip.
  3. Repeat 15 to 20 times with each hand.
  4. Do this exercise two to three times a day.

Caution:Do not perform this exercise if you have a thumb injury.

9. Flexion of the thumb

A strong thumb is important for a strong grip. This thumb flexion exercise strengthens your thumbs and increases their range of motion. Improved thumb mobility helps with activities like picking up cutlery and holding a toothbrush and pen.

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17 strengthening exercises for hand and fingers - eMediHealth (10)
  1. Hold your left hand out in front of you, wrist straight.
  2. Bring the thumb close to the palm by bending it inward.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds and return thumb to starting position.
  4. Repeat 10 times.
  5. Now try to touch each of your fingers individually.
  6. If possible, do 4 repetitions of this exercise.
  7. Repeat the entire sequence with the other hand.

10. Pinch strengthener

This exercise strengthens the muscles in your fingers and thumbs. It also increases finger mobility.

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  1. Hold a baseball in one hand.
  2. Squeeze some baseball between your fingertips and thumb.
  3. Hold the tweezers for 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times.
  5. Repeat the exercise with the other hand.
  6. Do this 2-3 times a week, resting your hands for 48 hours between sessions.

Caution:Do not perform this exercise if you have a thumb injury.

estimatePhoenix Rehaband Physiotec for the following images.

11. Wrist flexor stretch

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  1. Sit up straight in a chair and look straight ahead. Bring your fingers and palms together.
  2. Slowly lower your hands. Keep your palms together and try to open your elbows as much as possible.
  3. hold 10 seconds.
  4. Relax your hands.
  5. Do this exercise 10 to 20 times twice a day.

Use:If you're following correct form, you'll likely feel a slight bend in your wrists with a stretch in your inner forearms and palms.

12. Fingerstreckung/Abduction mit Gummiband

17 strengthening exercises for hand and fingers - eMediHealth (13)
  1. Spread your fingers and thumb against the elastic without bending them.
  2. Do this exercise 10 to 20 times twice a day.

13. MCP Flexion (tabletop)

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  1. Start with your hand and fingers straight and in line with your forearm.
  2. Without moving the wrist or interphalangeal joints, flex the metacarpophalangeal joint to form a 90° angle between the fingers and hand.
  3. Extend your hand and fingers back to the starting position.
  4. Do this exercise 10 to 20 times twice a day.

14. Finger extension with elastic band

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  1. Place a small elastic band around the outside of your thumb and forefinger.
  2. Separate these two fingers from each other.
  3. Repeat with thumb and other fingers.
  4. Do this exercise 10 to 20 times twice a day.

Use:Repeat with a thicker band to progress.

15. Pronation/Supination des Malleus

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  1. Rest your forearm on the armrest of a table or chair, but not your wrist.
  2. Hold a hammer by the handle and rotate your forearm up and down with your palm.
  3. Do this exercise 10 to 20 times on each hand twice a day.

Use:You can increase the difficulty by keeping the grip farther from the top.

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16. Eccentric wrist extension

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  1. Hold a dumbbell and place your forearm on a table so your wrist is palm-down on the edge of the table.
  2. With your other hand, lift the weight and hand as high as you can, keeping your forearm on the table.
  3. Slowly lower the weight all the way down.
  4. Do this exercise 10 to 20 times on each hand twice a day.

Use:The aim of the exercise is to only strengthen the downward part of the movement.

17. Eccentric elbow flexion

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  1. Start by standing with your arms at your sides.
  2. Use your left arm to help your right arm bend at the elbow, as if doing a bicep curl.
  3. Release the affected arm and slowly lower it back to the starting position. Reverse directions for the opposite arm.
  4. Do this exercise 10 to 20 times on each arm twice a day.

last word

You need your hands to do the most basic of daily tasks, so it's important that you take good care of them.

The finger, wrist and elbow joints are among the most stressed joints in the body and are therefore susceptible to wear and tear. This damage is often compounded by other medical conditions that lead to the gradual breakdown of joint structure, particularly with age.

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This is accompanied by severe pain, stiffness, and a general difficulty moving the affected joint, which can be very disabling. It is imperative that you seek professional medical attention to reverse or mitigate joint damage.

You can also try the above exercises to improve joint mobility and finger and hand strength while also getting some pain relief. Always consult your doctor before beginning any joint exercise, as improper exercise can cause greater damage.


  1. Østerås N, Kjeken I, Smedslund G, et al. Exercise for osteoarthritis of the hands. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6464796/. Published on January 31, 2017.
  2. Ünver S, Akyolcu N. The effect of manual exercise on symptom reduction in hemodialysis patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Asian Journal of Neurosurgery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5820891/. Released in 2018.
  3. SA; KTWLJHPDHC. Effects of a finger exercise program on hand function in autoworkers with hand osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. Surgery and rehabilitation of the hand. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30401613/. Released in 2019.
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What are the best exercises to strengthen your hands? ›

  1. #1: Putty Grip and Squeeze. I like using the putty versus a ball because you can squeeze all the way through to your palm. ...
  2. #2: Thumb Pinch Strengthening. So many hand strengthening exercises forget the thumb. ...
  3. #3: Isometric Hooks (Claw) ...
  4. #4: Rubber Band Abduction. ...
  5. #5: Rubber Band 'C' with Fingers and Thumb.

What is the average grip strength of a 70 year old man? ›

Handgrip strength for the dominant hand was assessed by the average of three trials using a JAMAR dynamometer. The sample was categorized into the following age groups: 65–69 years, 70–74 years, 75–79 years, 80–84 years, 85 and over. The average HGS was 19.98 kg (16.91 kg for women and 26.19 kg for men).

Why do hands get weaker with age? ›

One of the most common changes in aging skeletal muscle in the body is a major reduction in muscle mass ranging from 25% to 45%, which is sometimes described as “sarcopenia of old age” (13). The diminished muscle strength of the aging hand (14) has been attributed to decreasing muscle mass (15).

How can I do physiotherapy at home for my hands? ›

Hand Strengthening Exercises with a Therapy Ball
  1. Power Grip. For a basic hand strengthening exercise, squeeze a therapy ball with your fingers and thumb. ...
  2. Pinch. Pinch the ball with fingers and thumb extended. ...
  3. Thumb Extension. ...
  4. Table Roll. ...
  5. Finger Flexion. ...
  6. Thumb Roll. ...
  7. Finger Squeeze. ...
  8. Thumb Opposition.
Nov 6, 2020

How can I strengthen my fingers for arthritis? ›

Finger strengthening

Pull your fingers together by pressing your hand down into the table and bunching up the towel between your fingers. Repeat. You can also do this without using a towel or tissue, and simply by pressing down on the table and squeezing your fingers together and then stretching them apart.

How long does it take to build finger strength? ›

Lesson 3: How long does it take to build finger strength? All good things take time. Generally speaking, it takes 6 months to 2 years for climbers to build and improve their finger strength.

Why am I losing strength in my fingers? ›

Poor grip strength can be a sign that the muscles are wasting or shrinking. In most cases this is caused by disuse of the hands and fingers but it can also be a sign of peripheral neuropathy, cervical compression, brachial plexus syndrome, MS, parkinson's, and arthritis.

What causes loss of strength in hands and fingers? ›

Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually the cause of a weak grip. Other causes of weakness in hands include inflammation of the hand joints, a conditions known as tennis or golfers elbow, or an injury to the hand.

What is the best grip strengthener? ›

5 Best Grip Strengtheners
Grip StrengthenerScoreHandle Material
Top Pick: IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper74Aluminum Alloy
Best Finger Trainer: Gripmaster Pro Hand Exerciser71Plastic
Best Value: Luxon Hand Grip Strengthener70Plastic
Gripmaster Hand Exerciser68Plastic
1 more row
Oct 20, 2021

What strengthens ligaments and tendons? ›

Collagen makes your tissues strong, while the protein elastin in ligaments provides some elasticity. Protein from your diet allows your body to produce new collagen and elastin to help keep your tendons and ligaments strong.

Can finger tendons get stronger? ›

It's been shown that tendon and ligaments of fingers degrade slightly as a result of training and then regenerate to regain homeostasis and strengthen slightly during the recovery period. This is quite similar to the process by which contractile muscle fibers hypertrophy as a result of training.

Can finger joints get stronger? ›

The results suggest that strength training is an effective way to improve finger strength.

Is grip strength related to heart? ›

Generally, it is an alternative for muscular fitness and a marker of frailty; as a result, it is a strong predictor of all-cause mortality. Previous large longitudinal population studies have reported that handgrip strength is associated with cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke.

What is normal grip strength for 75 year old male? ›

For the Subjective Global Assessment, the optimal cut-points were 24.9kg for men 65–74 years, 20.8kg for men 75–90 years, 15.2kg for women 65–74 years, and 13.5kg for women 75–90 years.

Why do old people's hands curl? ›

Knots of tissue form under the skin. They eventually create a thick cord that can pull the fingers into a bent position. The condition gradually gets worse with time.

Why am I losing muscle in my hand? ›

Muscle atrophy can occur due to malnutrition, age, genetics, a lack of physical activity or certain medical conditions. Disuse (physiologic) atrophy occurs when you don't use your muscles enough. Neurogenic atrophy occurs due to nerve problems or diseases.

Why do I have old lady hands? ›

As you age, your skin becomes naturally thinner, making veins underneath the surface more visible. Protruding veins in the hands can give the appearance of less youthful skin.

How to do physical therapy on finger? ›

Finger Stretch

To improve range of motion, flexibility, and decrease pain in the fingers. Place your hand flat with palm down on a flat surface (ex: a table). Slowly straighten your fingers as flat as you can without forcing anything. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and repeat four times with each hand.

How long does physical therapy take for hand? ›

A hand therapy plan will generally last one to two months. Throughout the treatment plan, various interventions will be utilized, such as ultrasound and IASTYM (a soft tissue therapy), to help with decreasing pain levels and increasing overall function in order to enjoy everyday life.

Can you give yourself physical therapy? ›

The short answer is — yes. But that response comes with a caveat. If you plan to look up a bunch of exercises online and try doing them whenever you can find the time, your at-home physical therapy regimen is probably not going to work very well. Physical therapy is beneficial for a multitude of injuries and illnesses.

What vitamin helps arthritis in fingers? ›

Vitamins D and K are both important for bone strength, and vitamin K is involved in cartilage structure. Supplementing these two nutrients may be helpful if you're deficient in them.

What is the best thing for arthritis in your hands and fingers? ›

Exercises — strengthening and stretching — to reduce symptoms and improve function. A hand therapist will work with you to prescribe the exercises best suited for your hand arthritis. Hot and cold packs. Cold can help reduce pain and swelling.

Can arthritis in finger joints be reversed? ›

There is no cure, but healthy lifestyle habits and treatments can help manage your symptoms and keep you active. Non-Drug Treatments: Reducing strain on joints with a splint or brace, adapting hand movements, doing hand exercises or using hot or cold therapy can help to ease pain.

How can I improve my finger strength and dexterity? ›

Lift your fingers.

Hold each of your fingers one to two seconds, and then lower them. Repeat with your right hand and then repeat eight to 10 times for each hand. This exercise can help increase the range of motion of your hands, as well as finger flexibility.

How many times a week should you train grip strength? ›

Move up slowly: For those just starting out with grip training, I like to suggest one or two grip-intensive lifts per session once per week for two weeks. After two weeks, move up to two workouts where you include grip-specific lifts.

How often should you finger train? ›

The rationale for having multiple training sessions in a day separated by a long break is to give the finger pulleys enough time to return to their normal shape and get hydrated before loading again. In regards to the frequency, 2 days per week separated by two days of rest is an ample stimulus for beginners.

Can I train finger everyday? ›

Think of this brief training session as “prehab”—because it will enhance collagen synthesis in your tendons and ligaments…and, thus, improve the health and strength of these important structures. Best of all, this is one climbing exercise that you can do almost daily!

Is grip strength the same as finger strength? ›

Grip strength refers to whole hand strength. Pinch strength involves the thumb and index finger (and the middle finger if required). ◗ Encourage your child to do everyday activities by herself and only assist if necessary.

Can hand muscles be strengthened? ›

That said, the hand is powered by about 30 muscles, and they can grow stronger and more flexible with a variety of exercises. And increasing the strength and reach of your fingers and thumbs, even just a little, may help you no matter what sport or instrument you play.

What causes lack of grip strength? ›

Poor grip strength can be a sign that the muscles are wasting or shrinking. In most cases this is caused by disuse of the hands and fingers but it can also be a sign of peripheral neuropathy, cervical compression, brachial plexus syndrome, MS, parkinson's, and arthritis.

Can you harden your hands? ›

The most natural way any fighter builds up his knuckles and fist is by hitting the heavy bag. It provides all the resistance you need to punch as hard as possible without injuring your hands (if you are smart about it, of course). However, punching with big boxing gloves will not do enough to condition the knuckles.

What does squeezing a ball do for your hands? ›

The squeeze ball targets muscles in the wrist, fingers, and thumb flexors. The rhythm of repetitive movement can increase grip strength, improving overall fine and gross motor skills. Within 2-3 seconds of squeezing the ball, it will return to its normal spherical shape and size.

Does squeezing a ball help hand strength? ›

It may seem like nothing, but squeezing a ball is an effective hand strengthening exercise to strengthen your intrinsic hand muscles. Use a small ball that fits in the palm of your hand like a tennis ball, wrap your fingers around it and squeeze as hard as you are able. Hold for around five seconds and repeat 10 times.

Can grip strength be increased? ›

"Most people will dramatically increase their grip strength just by lifting regularly," exercise physiologist Mike T. Nelson, Ph. D., C.S.C.S., tells SELF. However, a general strength training program will only develop your grip strength up to a certain point.

Does grip get weaker with age? ›

Grip Strength

You can lose this naturally as you age, especially after 65, and that can make it harder to do everyday tasks. If your grip gets weaker over time, it's probably caused by brittle bones, arthritis, or muscle loss.

How long does it take to build up hand strength? ›

To build hand strength and muscle mass, you should use hand grips for at least 24 hours for two weeks. You need to use hand grips at least 2 hours a day in a day. You should use the hand grips regularly for at least six months to see visible changes.

How can a woman build muscle after 60? ›

Strength training is the secret to muscle growth for older adults. It's best to do this with light weights and to work slowly. Slow movements with lighter weights force your muscles to work harder. If you don't have a set of weights, you can use your body weight with resistance exercises like push-ups and squats.

Do hands get rougher with age? ›

Roughness. As we age our skin holds less water, so our skin becomes drier. This can cause your skin to feel rough. Treatment: To smooth rough skin on your hands, your dermatologist can apply a mild chemical peel.

How can I harden my finger skin? ›

Used by amateurs and professionals alike, rubbing alcohol helps harden the skin and, in some instances, can also help ease the pain. Simply soak a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol 3-4 times a day, and rub it over your fingertips. Another liquid mixture that some guitar players use to harden their skin is salt water.

Can you overuse your hands? ›

Overuse injuries in the hand, wrist, and elbow can happen as a result of repetitive motion related to sports, work, or hobbies. Our combined 50 years of experience as hand surgeons make our doctors experts at diagnosing and treating overuse injuries in the hand, wrist, and elbow.


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