Strengthening exercises Part 1:
Wrist and Forearms
On the surface, Balisong techniques might seem like an exercise in hand strength and dexterity only. Rolls, finger twirls, pivots, and slides all depend on strong, confident fingers.
While this is true in a general sense, you’ll notice some of the biggest improvements in your techniques once you start involving the wrist and forearms more.
Think about this:
Did you ever hear the saying …..”a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link”? I’m sure you have, and this is a great rule to keep in mind when trying to become your best at anything.
If you have access to an Anatomy book, crack it open to the section on “the Muscular system”. Find the breakdown of the hand and forearm.
You might be surprised to see how many muscles, tendons and ligaments are in this area. You’d be even more surprised to find out how many of them have to work to perform even the simplest of finger movements.
With this in mind, consider the “chain link” rule. Sure your fingers and hands are worked in your average Balisong workout, but your forearms are not worked to their full potential……… nor will they be until you decide to work on them. And until you do, they will surely be the weak link.
Once you do isolate them, you’ll notice a big difference in your Balisong technique, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner.
Here are a few good exercises to get you started:
~ Hold a staff or broomstick out in front of your body, ends pointing up and down. Slowly rotate the stick to the right (clockwise), then to the left (counterclockwise) as far as you can go. Five minutes or so (constantly alternating) should be good if you’re just starting out, but, don’t over do it………..especially if you have a heavier stick. And heavier sticks do work better for this exercise.
~ Hold the staff in the same position as mentioned above. This time the movement is going to be forward and back……… similar to the motion of casting a fishing pole, only, isolate the movement to the wrist alone. Again, don’t over do it.
~ For this one you’ll need a length of rope, a stick (about a foot long), and a weight of some sort (between 2-5 pounds to start). Tie the weight to one end of the rope, and tie the stick to the other end (in the center of the stick). Now, place the weight on the floor and stand in front of it. Hold the stick out in front of you horizontally, as if you were water skiing.
From here, alternate between the left and right hands to slowly “reel” the weight up toward your hands. Once you hit the top, slowly take it down. Alternate this exercise between palms up, and palms down.
For the first two exercises, you can substitute shorter sticks (Escrima sticks) if you’d like. Just remember to take the motion as far over as it will go.
Nunchaku (Nunchucks) are another good way to build wrist and forearm strength…….. and learn another cool weapon in the process. “Kill two birds with one stone” so to speak………. give it a shot.