Get a Grip: Exercises For Strong, Flexible Hands And Wrists

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Everyday living is more challenging when your hands and wrists are weak or stiff. Regardless of why, when your hands and wrists don’t work like they should, routine activities like grabbing handrails, opening doors, typing, and gripping utensils aren’t as easy as they used to be.

You can help keep your hands and wrists in prime working order with simple exercises.

When done daily, these exercises should help you maintain or regain strength and flexibility in your hands and wrists.

And everyday living should become a little easier.

P-W-WMN02961-Strong-Hands-Exercises-smAs you do each exercise:

  • Go slowly and purposefully. Don’t rush or jerk.
  • Keep each movement smooth and steady.
  • Breathe deeply. Don’t hold your breath.

If you feel sharp pain or numbness, stop exercising and talk to your doctor, an occupational or physical therapist, or a Certified Hand Therapist. 

Simple Exercises For Your Hands and Wrists

Get ready for the following exercises by resting your forearm on the arm of a sturdy chair or table with your hand hanging loosely over the edge and a folded towel under your forearm:

  • With your palm facing up and your fingers curled into a fist, slowly bend your wrist up and down. Do this 10-15 times, then do the same with your other hand. If you are able and without pain, hold a one-pound weight in your fist to strengthen your wrist even more.
  • As your hand hangs loosely with palm facing down, slowly lift it upward until you feel a gentle stretch. Return your hand to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, then do the same with your other hand.  
  • Turn your arm so that your thumb is sticking up. Keep your wrist on the folded towel. Move your hand up and down as far as it will go, almost as if you are hammering something. Repeat 10 times, then do the same with your other hand. If comfortable, you can try this exercise on the edge of your knee instead of a table.
  • To reduce stiffness in your thumb, turn your hand so your palm is facing up. Slowly sweep your thumb across your palm and back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, then do the same with the other thumb.

    Do these next exercises while sitting up straight or standing firmly on the floor:

  • Hold your right arm straight out in front of you with the palm facing down. Now use your left hand to gently press down on your right hand, bending the wrist, until you feel a stretch in your wrist. Be sure you’re not having pain or numbness/tingling in this stretch. Hold for five seconds. Repeat 10 times, then do the same with the other arm.
  • Keeping your arm at your side, with your elbow bent and your hand facing away from you and your wrist resting comfortably, curl your fingers down at their middle joints. Hold for a few seconds. Then slowly curl them down further, holding for a few seconds at each stage. Now open your palm completely and repeat 10 times. Do the same with the other hand.
  • Put your right palm straight out in front of you as if you are stopping traffic. Use your left hand to gently pull back on the fingers and palm of your right hand until you feel a stretch. Hold for three seconds and repeat five times. Do the same with the other hand. Be sure you’re not having pain or numbness/tingling in this stretch.

Hold a soft rubber ball or toy in your right hand and gently squeeze it 10 times. Do the same with your left hand.