In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to start a beginner hand strengthening program using SLO-FOAM™ gentle hand exercisers. 

These foam blocks are a safe way to introduce resistive exercises to your finger joints. And are ideal if you:

  • Are new to hand strengthening
  • Do not know how to start a grip strength program
  • Recently recovered from a hand or wrist injury and want your hand strength back
  • Struggling with finger arthritis and stiffness
  • Or want to prevent future hand problems 

 

First, I will do a quick product review of the SLO-FOAM™ exercisers so you can decide if these are the best way to start your grip strength journey.

Then, I will share a few exercises you can do with the foam to get you started on your beginner hand strengthening program.


What makes the SLO-FOAM™ exercisers a good fit for beginners?

First, they are made of 100% memory foam. This provides what is called a slow recovery, also known as bounce back. 

Basically, when you grip the foam block it slowly returns back to its normal size. 

The slow recovery allows you to squeeze and release the foam in a controlled range of motion. 

Metal grippers are not always joint friendly

Most grip exercisers, especially the metal ones, release quickly right after you squeeze. 

This can be rather uncomfortable especially if your joints are already tender and sore. Plus, many grippers, exercisers, or balls do not allow you to grip all the way down into your palm. 

Thus limiting your finger motion.

Not to mention, the memory foam is so soft, you don’t even feel like you’re working on your hand strength.

Choose a resistance level

These SLO-FOAM™ hand exercisers come in four different strength grades which are noted by colors.

Yellow is extra soft. Perfect for somebody just starting out.

Pink is soft.

Blue is a medium resistance.

Green is a firm resistance. This would be ideal if you don’t notice significant weakness in most daily activities but rather want to enhance your hand strength. 

You can find the foam blocks in the Virtual Hand Care store or on Amazon. 

 

Trying to decide which color is right for you?

I recommend getting a set of 3-4 SLO-FOAM™ Hand Exercisers. You never know what resistance will feel more comfortable for you, or when you may be ready to upgrade your hand strengthening program.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, or perhaps you had a very severe hand injury, you may not feel like you have a strong grip. 

In that case, the extra soft yellow, or soft pink, would be a good place to start.

 

Unique Shape Allows for Contact of All Fingers

Because the foam blocks are a rectangular shape, this can be helpful if you have limited finger mobility. The unique shape and foam recovery allows for all your fingers to touch the foam equally. 

 

 Kickstart your finger motion and grip strength with my GET A GRIP Program

 

Beginner Hand Strengthening Program

Now let’s get into a few finger friendly exercises to get you started on your beginner hand strengthening program. 

Keep in mind, it will be beneficial to have more than 1 foam block if you plan on doing several of these exercises.

Exercise #1: Simple In Hand Rotations

You can start this exercise by gripping and squeezing the foam block in your hand. However, add a little more to that by spinning or rotating the block around in your hand. 

Without dropping it!

Move the foam block around in your hand in a clockwise and counterclockwise rotation. Then give the block a squeeze. Again, manipulate the foam around in your hand, in both directions, then give it a squeeze or two. Repeat this sequence for 3-5 minutes.

This is better than just repetitively gripping. Plus, it is a great way to involve all your fingers and your thumb. 

If this is easy, start adding some complexity to your rotations by moving the block around faster or try it with your eyes closed!

Exercise #2: Fine Motor Strength

Another exercise involves cutting the SLO-FOAM™ in several small pieces.

An alternative to cutting them small is to cut them in long wedges. This way you can use them for exercise #2 and #3.

After you have cut the foam, pick up one piece at a time using your index finger and thumb. This works on pinch strengthening. 

Then tuck the small piece of foam into your palm. Repeat again by picking up one piece at a time.

Use your other fingers to prevent the small pieces from falling out of your palm. Once your hand is full of small foam pieces, and you can’t hold anymore, give a few tight squeezes. 

This exercise provides a challenging combination of fine motor skills, in hand manipulation, and grip strength.

Exercise #3: Finger Web Space Stretch with Gripping

This one is more of a gentle stretch to the web spaces between your fingers.

One reason why you’re having a hard time gripping could be due to tight hand muscles between your fingers. This can make gripping painful. 

Thus limiting your ability to work on increasing your hand strength.

I find putting light foam between your fingers while gently gripping can reduce pain and achiness. This can be especially helpful if you have finger arthritis or were in a tight cast from a broken hand.

So, you want to grab your scissors and cut three to four- 1 inch wedges. Place these between each of your fingers. You can also cut a piece for your thumb if you wish.

Next, actively bend and straighten your fingers 10 times. Note how your fingers feel with the foam blocks in place. 

Then give your web spaces more of a stretch by bending your fingers into your palm for 10 seconds then straighten for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Exercise #4: Just Add Water

Finally, this last exercise is to use your SLO-FOAM™ exercisers in water. Fill up a bowl of warm water, toss your foam in, and squeeze the water out of the foam. 

Continue with squeezing and adding the simple rotations from exercise #1 in the water. Repeat this for 3-5 minutes.  

The warm water helps decrease finger joint pain and adds a great low resistance way to increase your finger mobility and grip strength. 

 

Conclusion:

I hope you learned from this post that you don’t always have to start with heavy equipment or only do hand squeezing exercises to build strength.

With different resistances and uses, the SLO-FOAM™ exercisers could meet your specific needs. 

If you’re looking for more ways to increase your finger flexibility and grip strength then you’re going to want to check out my Get A Grip program. This self paced online program offers over 30 follow along exercise videos created by a Certified Hand Therapist to help you build healthy, strong hands.

 Kickstart your finger motion and grip strength with my GET A GRIP Program