If you’re looking for unique finger and hand strengthening exercises that don’t require gripping or squeezing a ball, then these 5 are for you.
You can use a lacrosse ball, tennis ball, stress ball, massage ball, or whatever you have.
In this blog post, I am using YOGA TUNE UP BALLS which are my favorite.
Gripping a ball is a frequently recommended exercise however, there are far better finger and hand strengthening exercises you could be doing.
In this blog post, you will learn how to uniquely target the small muscles in your hand but also workout the whole arm.
Many hand strengthening exercises can be hard on your finger joints.
They also lack key movements such as fine motor coordination, finger dexterity, and proprioception. If you are not familiar with proprioception, it is knowing where your hand is in space.
It’s knowing how hard to squeeze, or where to place your hands on an object, and so much more.
Adding these unique types of movements will build strong, stable fingers without aggravating your joints.
Keep in mind, most of these exercises should be performed on one hand at a time to make sure you focus on the correct muscles.
One quick tip, if these hand rotations with a ball are difficult, you’ll want to read my post on How to Start a Beginner Hand Strengthening Program with Foam. This post shares how to use SLO-FOAM™ hand exercisers which are gentler on your finger joints.
Wanna give these a try? Go grab a ball and let’s get started!
Finger and Hand Strengthening Exercises with a Ball #1
This first exercise is a little warm up called simple rotations.
Begin by placing the ball in your hand. Use your fingers and thumb to rotate the ball around in one direction. For example, rotate the ball clockwise only.
Then rotate, or manipulate, the ball in the other direction. Or counterclockwise.
If you have trouble with this, mark a dot on your ball and rotate the dot around using your thumb and fingers.
As you can see, this type of movement loosens up all your fingers and thumb. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes or perform 20 simple rotations.
Now perform this same exercise on your other hand.
Warning this may not be as easy as it seems on your non-dominant hand.
Finger and Hand Strengthening Exercises with a Ball #2
Now let’s take those simple rotations up a notch. In this 2nd exercise, you will manipulate the ball in more complex type rotations. That means moving the ball clockwise, counterclockwise, upwards, downwards, no real pattern.
Just manipulating the ball around in a variety of directions quickly. Your thumb and every finger should be moving nonstop.
To upgrade this finger and hand strengthening exercise, rotate your forearm in a palm up position. Rotating with more and more complexity.
Now increase the speed of moving the ball around.
Do not use your other hand to help. And try no to drop it!
Repeat this by turning your palm up and palm down. This involves the entire arm.
Set a timer for 3-5 minutes or perform 20 complex rotations.
Now repeat your other side. Remember it may be more difficult to do on your non-dominant hand.
Finger and Hand Strengthening Exercises with a Ball #3
This 3rd exercise is a ball toss using both hands at the same time. Now we will test your proprioception abilities.
To start, slowly toss the ball back and forth to both hands. As you get more comfortable, move your hands farther apart.
Stay here for a few minutes.
Once you are warmed up, increase your speed. Toss the ball back and forth faster and faster.
After a few tosses, take it up another notch by looking away from the ball.
Now continue tossing the ball but close your eyes.
This is a really good proprioception exercise because you need to know where your hands are to catch the ball. And not drop it!
Finger and Hand Strengthening Exercises with a Ball #4
Index Finger Interossei Contraction
This 4th exercise is going to target a small but mighty muscle on the side of your index finger. This muscle is your 1st dorsal interossei and is a strong stabilizing muscle for pinching and gripping.
To strengthen this muscle, curl your fingers around the ball, then lift your index finger up into a hook or claw position. Slightly move your index finger out to the side.
You should see your interossei muscle on the side of your index finger plump up and contract.
Lower your index finger back down on the ball. Repeat and lift up and out to the side. Continue for 10 repetitions.
Finger and Hand Strengthening Exercises with a Ball #5
This last finger and hand strengthening exercise you will work on your thumb.
Curl all your fingers and thumb around the ball. Make sure the tips of your fingers are pressing into the ball.
Start with your thumb by the side of your index finger.
Next, slide your thumb across the ball away from your index finger. Move your thumb as far as you comfortably can.
You are looking for a contraction of the bigger thumb muscles on your palm side.
Hold 2-3 seconds, then slide the thumb back towards your index finger.
Repeat 10 repetitions, making sure you are getting a good contraction of your thumb muscles.
Of course, repeat on your other hand.
You just completed 5 finger and hand strengthening exercises with a ball. Those exercises worked on coordination, strength, and proprioception. And we didn’t even grip or squeeze the ball.
If you are looking for more ways to increase your hand motion or grip strength then you’ll want my Get A Grip Program. This is a step by step, hand therapist created online program offering over 30 follow along exercise videos to help you build healthy, strong hands.