Hand Muscle Stretches
“If you want to work the extensor muscles [in your hands], I tell people they need more broccoli,” Dennis says. Likely responding to my quizzical expression, he elaborates, “Get the broccoli, take it home, and take that rubber band off that holds the bunches together. Then throw the broccoli away, and use the rubber band for an extension exercise to strengthen the muscles that extend your fingers.” Byrn demonstrates stretching the band:

How to do it:
  • Find a heavy rubber band, like those that wrap produce in the grocery store.
  • Bring your fingertips together and put the band over them, resting it loosely on the fleshy area between the fingertips and joints. 
  • Spread out your fingers as far as you can against the resistance of the band, 10-15 times.
  • Switch hands and repeat.

Another exercise that will be beneficial to your hands is one that applies to those with carpal tunnel as well—so if you spend most of your non-playing time typing and clicking, pay attention. You can use a Thera-Band Soft Weight for this, by extending and flexing your wrist to stretch the area affected by carpal tunnel.

“If you stretch against resistance like this, it helps to line up the molecules in the tendons and muscles in the right fashion so they’ll heal—lined up the way they’re supposed to be,” explains Dennis.

Byrn demonstrates using the Thera-Band Soft Weight to prevent carpal tunnel:

How to do it:
  • Hold a small round weight, like a Thera-Band Soft Weight, in your upward-facing palm. Your forearm should be facing up and parallel with the floor.
  • Roll the hand holding the ball from each extreme of its extension forward and back without turning your forearm 10-15 times
  • Repeat exercise for the opposite hand