Training the Fingers and Hands

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Bram
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Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:34 am

Engage in a little masturbation with me — of the mental kind.

Recently, I have shifted my own training to include a balanced approach.

So, if I do calves, then I do shins. Biceps, then triceps.

What I’m wondering, is how one could train the hands in this way. Obviously finger flexors with extensors.

But the hand is a weird thing, rock climbers put their hands in a myriad of positions — often ending up with over-use injuries.

I was thinking, in addition to finger flexors/extensors (maybe towel chin-ups and those resistance bands for finger extension), maybe finger-tip and knuckle push-ups?

Any climbers, Judoka, grip-strength enthusiasts, arm-chair strength coaches, World Champs, please chime in!

What other categories could there be?
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by newguy » Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:23 am

Brookfield's Mastery of Hand Strength had a lot of useful information in that regards.

I think for the hand, balanced would be having strength through a variety of applications? Crushing strength. Finger strength. Holding strength, Pinching. Etc. etc.

But do you really want to go full grip fu?

Wouldn't you just rather do some wrist curls and reverse curls and call it a day?

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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Sangoma » Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:57 am

What are the movements finger extensors take part in? Most lifts involve finger flexors, and I am not an authority by any means, but it seems the significance is of extensors is limited. It may be that they get enough training from secondary signalling from flexors.

I get the idea of training opposing muscles. It's just the idea of specifically training some of them doesn't seem to make sense. Except for maybe rehab purposes.

I am talking out of my ass here and more than likely to be wrong. Just curious if there is a practical side to training finger extensors.
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by nafod » Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:06 pm

This is the only thing I could think of that really requires extensors

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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:33 pm

newguy wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:23 am
Brookfield's Mastery of Hand Strength had a lot of useful information in that regards.

I think for the hand, balanced would be having strength through a variety of applications? Crushing strength. Finger strength. Holding strength, Pinching. Etc. etc.

But do you really want to go full grip fu?

Wouldn't you just rather do some wrist curls and reverse curls and call it a day?
Ordered the Brookfield book, thanks for the rec!

Evidently, he breaks it into 5 categories:

Finger flexors, finger extensors, thumb, forearm, reverse forearm

Currently, I do two wrist exercises at the end of my upper body pull day — either wrist curls and reverse wrist curls, or radial and ulnar deviation.

Guess I’m just looking for some small benefits. Even 2 sets of each wrist exercise has given me carryover, so it’s only an extra 5 minutes or so I’d be adding on top of that.

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:40 pm

Sangoma wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:57 am
What are the movements finger extensors take part in? Most lifts involve finger flexors, and I am not an authority by any means, but it seems the significance is of extensors is limited. It may be that they get enough training from secondary signalling from flexors.

I get the idea of training opposing muscles. It's just the idea of specifically training some of them doesn't seem to make sense. Except for maybe rehab purposes.

I am talking out of my ass here and more than likely to be wrong. Just curious if there is a practical side to training finger extensors.
Not a lot of movements I can think of require them.

And I don’t know that my perspective of balancing them is an effective one. It’s a new idea and I’m testing it out.

And it’s for that reason, and that I know climbers suffer overuse (I think guitar players can as well), that I wanted to give it a try.

I think in crack climbing, the climber inserts their hand in a crack, then expands it to lock them in to the hold. I’d imagine mounting a small box to a gymnastic ring and expanding the hand for rows/chins could get the affect. Then super-set with pinch gripping the box.

Just spit-balling ideas.

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:43 pm

nafod wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:06 pm
This is the only thing I could think of that really requires extensors

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Too hard core lol.

But maybe if I do some of this shit I can return to Cat’s Cradle renewed.
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:46 pm

I will say I used to do finger-tip push-ups and knuckle push-ups on a regular basis.

Got me to where I could solidly punch a tree without marking up my hands, maybe I’ll add a few sets of each to my upper push day?
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by nafod » Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:08 pm

I bet the astronauts working outside in spacesuits get extensor work from their efforts, working within their gloves.

Crack climbing, using your hands to jam, is all about hand toughness and ignoring the pain. Hurts to think about it.

Do you have a hangboard? I haven't climbed in ages, but still have mine hanging in the garage. This 10 minute workout gets it done. Key with it is to stop way before feeling tired, since it's your tendons that are getting seriously worked. And don't crimp, always use open hands.

https://www.metoliusclimbing.com/traini ... 0_min.html
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by newguy » Tue Oct 27, 2020 6:07 pm

Bram wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:40 pm
Sangoma wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:57 am
What are the movements finger extensors take part in? Most lifts involve finger flexors, and I am not an authority by any means, but it seems the significance is of extensors is limited. It may be that they get enough training from secondary signalling from flexors.

I get the idea of training opposing muscles. It's just the idea of specifically training some of them doesn't seem to make sense. Except for maybe rehab purposes.

I am talking out of my ass here and more than likely to be wrong. Just curious if there is a practical side to training finger extensors.
Not a lot of movements I can think of require them.

And I don’t know that my perspective of balancing them is an effective one. It’s a new idea and I’m testing it out.

And it’s for that reason, and that I know climbers suffer overuse (I think guitar players can as well), that I wanted to give it a try.

I think in crack climbing, the climber inserts their hand in a crack, then expands it to lock them in to the hold. I’d imagine mounting a small box to a gymnastic ring and expanding the hand for rows/chins could get the affect. Then super-set with pinch gripping the box.

Just spit-balling ideas.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Keep your love life out of the training forum.

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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Tue Oct 27, 2020 6:17 pm

I’ll expand your crack you lil’ rascal
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Tue Oct 27, 2020 6:21 pm

nafod wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:08 pm
I bet the astronauts working outside in spacesuits get extensor work from their efforts, working within their gloves.

Crack climbing, using your hands to jam, is all about hand toughness and ignoring the pain. Hurts to think about it.

Do you have a hangboard? I haven't climbed in ages, but still have mine hanging in the garage. This 10 minute workout gets it done. Key with it is to stop way before feeling tired, since it's your tendons that are getting seriously worked. And don't crimp, always use open hands.

https://www.metoliusclimbing.com/traini ... 0_min.html
Those routines are painful just imagining. I lack the space to mount a hangboard (low ceilings, tall human), but I used to own a set of Metolius’ rock climbing pull-up jug things. That worked well for a low-price portable solution, though less options than a board.
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Thu Oct 29, 2020 5:13 pm

Received the “Mastery of Hand Strength” book, which is full of good ideas and aided by a nice writing style.

Pondering the finger extension puzzle, and not wanting more equipment if I can help it, I settled on attaching my scrawniest pull-up assistance band/power band to my coffee table, placing my working hand inside the end of the loop, then lightly pinching with my free hand to keep the band from slipping.

Did 2 sets of 20 opening my hand as wide as possible — with pretty shit range of motion — and was surprised at how difficult it was.

I think some version of this, coupled with 2 sets of any finger flexion exercise (e.g., farmer’s walks), should be plenty. That’s on top of a few sets of wrist exercises as well.
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bennyonesix1 » Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:55 am

Boris recommended the bands around broccolli for extensions. I'm doing those. And the tons of opening the hand too. Mike Dayton liked a long held max force hand extension. He'd do it every day.

I think you'll find that wrists and forearms are like calves and need a lot of work: volume and frequency.

I'd devote a day to them or do them at the end every time you work out.

Pure finger work I won't talk about all. I know nothing about it. Only that hanging from a board unless you weigh 165lbs or less is a bad idea.

Here's the Dayton thing:

https://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2013/12/h ... 8.html?m=1

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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by nafod » Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:41 pm

I lack the space to mount a hangboard (low ceilings, tall human), but I used to own a set of Metolius’ rock climbing pull-up jug things.
You can mount it on the underside of a table or something low, and put your feet on a chair. This also addresses Benny's concern about weight and finger strength. It's also more like the direction of loading when you actually climb. Finally, it's kind of fun.
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Alfred_E._Neuman » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:35 pm

Roadmap to hand strength mastery:
1 - Get manual labor job working with your hands.
2 - Go to work every day.

To be honest, even as much as my job requires hand strength and dexterity I can't think of many times I use finger extensors with any real force. I think it's one of those movements humans just aren't evolved to need.
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Fat Cat » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:05 pm

Alfred_E._Neuman wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:35 pm
Roadmap to hand strength mastery:
1 - Get manual labor job working with your hands.
2 - Go to work every day.

To be honest, even as much as my job requires hand strength and dexterity I can't think of many times I use finger extensors with any real force. I think it's one of those movements humans just aren't evolved to need.
Agreed on both accounts. Look at the musculature on the dorsum of the hand versus the palm, it's all you need to know.

Also, the strongest grip of any guy I ever wrestled was a Mexican stonecutter. He had a grip like a bear through no special training, just work. Too bad he got deported.
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Sat Oct 31, 2020 12:54 am

Bennyonesix1 wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:55 am

Here's the Dayton thing:

https://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2013/12/h ... 8.html?m=1
That is an awesome link, thanks Benny!
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Sat Oct 31, 2020 12:54 am

nafod wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:41 pm
I lack the space to mount a hangboard (low ceilings, tall human), but I used to own a set of Metolius’ rock climbing pull-up jug things.
You can mount it on the underside of a table or something low, and put your feet on a chair. This also addresses Benny's concern about weight and finger strength. It's also more like the direction of loading when you actually climb. Finally, it's kind of fun.
That’s a cool idea, thank you!
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Sat Oct 31, 2020 1:00 am

Alfred_E._Neuman wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:35 pm
Roadmap to hand strength mastery:
1 - Get manual labor job working with your hands.
2 - Go to work every day.

To be honest, even as much as my job requires hand strength and dexterity I can't think of many times I use finger extensors with any real force. I think it's one of those movements humans just aren't evolved to need.
I dunno about the hand extensors utility, but I will say mine are horribly weak. I could imagine it could help with guitar, but who knows.

But I’m glad I started the thread! There’s been some very thought-provoking information shared.

Echoing you, Fat’s, and Benny’s comments about frequency:

The only time I remember having a noticeably strong grip was when I was doing towel chin-ups three days a week. I remember shaking a much bigger guy’s hand (I weighed ~185 at the time) and just crushing it — he had asked to test my grip in a friendly way.
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by motherjuggs&speed » Sat Oct 31, 2020 1:59 am

It's not that the extensors will ever need to exert much force. The rationale I've seen is: training extension may prevent too much of an imbalance. But maybe it's just not needed.

Anyone tried farmers holds with DBs and doing sets of inward flexion SSed with outward flexion? My thought is that since the forearm muscles need and can tolerate more work than the big muscles this would be a way to get that work in, in a way that feels friendlier to the wrists than regular and reverse WCs.

The reason being that there's far more muscle in the forearms than in the hands, and it seems unlikely that a really strong grip will be built without hitting the forearms hard. There are specific skill grips but we're looking for general strength, right?

BTW, this book is great -- The Hand: How it's Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture https://www.amazon.com/Hand-Shapes-Brai ... 0679740473

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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Sat Oct 31, 2020 4:33 am

motherjuggs&speed wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 1:59 am
It's not that the extensors will ever need to exert much force. The rationale I've seen is: training extension may prevent too much of an imbalance. But maybe it's just not needed.

Anyone tried farmers holds with DBs and doing sets of inward flexion SSed with outward flexion?

BTW, this book is great -- The Hand: How it's Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture https://www.amazon.com/Hand-Shapes-Brai ... 0679740473
Agree with the idea that extension should help counter imbalances....and what do you mean by inward and outward flexion?

Will check out that book, thanks!
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by JimZipCode » Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:19 pm

Bram wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:34 am
What I’m wondering, is how one could train the hands in this way. Obviously finger flexors with extensors.
How's your piano practice coming along?
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bram » Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:56 pm

JimZipCode wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:19 pm
Bram wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:34 am
What I’m wondering, is how one could train the hands in this way. Obviously finger flexors with extensors.
How's your piano practice coming along?
I gave my piano away...so, terribly lol

That said, I was improving!! How’s yours?
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Re: Training the Fingers and Hands

Post by Bennyonesix1 » Tue Nov 03, 2020 4:01 am

nafod wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:41 pm
I lack the space to mount a hangboard (low ceilings, tall human), but I used to own a set of Metolius’ rock climbing pull-up jug things.
You can mount it on the underside of a table or something low, and put your feet on a chair. This also addresses Benny's concern about weight and finger strength. It's also more like the direction of loading when you actually climb. Finally, it's kind of fun.
That's a good idea. I may try that.

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