Strength part 3: Stretching

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Strengthening exercises Part 3:

Stretching

Wrapping up the strength series, this weeks strength tips will focus on stretching exercises for fingers, wrists, and forearms.

The last two weeks were dedicated to bringing about a strength balance within the muscle groups of the hand, wrist, and forearms.

This last installment will work on bringing balance to the strength itself. Whereas before the emphasis was on muscle tension to bring about power……… now it will be about relaxation, and flexibility to better control the power and increase dexterity.

Shake:
This will just work on loosening things up.
~ Hold your hands down at your sides and gently shake out your hands and arms. Try to relax everything when you do this, it will really help to loosen the whole arm. Let your wrists move in circles, back and fourth, and side to side.
~ This can also be done between (after) the different stretching exercises.

Fingers

Side stretch:
~ Touch the tips of the Thumb and Pinky of the left hand together. To do this, you should have to fold your hand slightly.
~ Now, insert the fingers of the left hand between the Index and Middle fingers of the right hand, to about the middle knuckles.
~ Spread the left hand out to stretch the right hand fingers out to the sides.
~Repeat on both hands with all finger combinations (Middle & ring, Ring & Pinky, etc.)

Downward:
~ Hold your hands out in front of you, palms up.
~ Now, one at a time, try to touch your finger tips to your palms, making sure to keep the other fingers pointing straight out.
~ Hold the position for a few seconds and make sure you feel the stretch.
~ Repeat with all fingers. Notice this exercise resembles the stretch exercise using the Balisong.

Back:
~ Touch the fingertips of the left and right hands together (as if praying only slightly spread apart).
~ Now slowly move the hands downward toward your navel (belly button).
~ The bottoms of the fingers will start to separate as you move down, thats OK, just keep the fingerTIPs together at all times.
~ Hold the position for a few seconds to feel the stretch.
~ This is a good dual purpose exercise in that you’ll notice the stretching on the underside of your wrist as well.

Wrist and forearms

First:
~ Hold your left hand out across your body, palm down, fingers pointing to the right.
~ Take the Middle finger and Thumb of the right hand, and grab around the wrist of the left, just below the hand. The palm of your right hand should be resting atop the back of the left hand.
~ Now, gently push down with the heel of right hand so your left hand fingers are now pointing toward the floor, and at the same time bring the left wrist itself upward. Make sure you stay at the center line of your body for this.
~ Hold the stretch a few seconds and release.
~ Repeat on both sides.

Second:
~ Hold your left hand in front of you vertically, fingers pointing up, and palm facing you.
~ Rotate your wrist “IN” slightly so the Pinky (or the blade of the hand) is now facing you.
~ Place the Thumb tip on the back of the left hand at the bottom knuckle of the middle finger. From here, wrap the Middle and Ring fingers of the right hand around the underside of the left wrist, just below the Thumb. If you’re in the correct position, the fingertips of the right hand will be pointing toward you at this point.
~ Now slowly move the hands (in position) downward alone the center line of the body.
~ Hold the stretch for a few seconds. Repeat a few more times

Third:
~ Hold your left hand out in front of you, palm facing forward, as if telling someone to “stop”. Make sure the arm is fully extended.
~ Now place the right hand palm over the top of the left fingers.
~ Gently pull the left hand fingers back with the right hand.
~ To intensify the stretch, you can move the left arm downward, while the right hand is pulling back.
~ Repeat several times on both sides.


These are just a few of the basic stretches to get you started. I think you’ll notice a big difference in your Balisong manipulation abilities once you work the strength and the stretching together for awhile.

…….. and as in the previous weeks, Don’t over do it in the beginning! Take it slow, and you’ll get just what you’re looking for.

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