I was reluctant to use guitar hand stretches before playing guitar. However, I noticed the more I played, the better I got, but the more fatigue my hands felt. Also, the more I had to stop playing and rub my hands. I needed some guitar hand stretches.
From various sources, mostly online, I came across in my guitar journey, I accrued some great guitar hand stretches. Now was the time to start using them.
I settled on 5 guitar hand stretches that I’d do each time I practiced or played.
5 Great Guitar Hand Stretches
Guitar Hand Stretches #1: Traffic Cop
For this one, I like to stand, but it’s not necessary. Put your arms straight out to the side parallel to the ground. Extend your hands straight out from your arms. Now bend your wrist so that your palms are pointing directly away from your body.
Hold your hands in this position as you feel tension and count slowly to 15 (about 15 seconds). Be sure to breathe.
I often tilt my head side to side and back and forth to make this a double-duty stretch, but don’t let it distract you from holding the tension in your hands and forearms.
Guitar Hand Stretches #2: Partial Crane
After the Traffic Cop guitar hand stretch, leave your arms out to the side (or move to in front) and rotate your wrists so that your fingers point down. You should feel this in your forearms and tops of your hands.
Now curls your fingers. You don’t have to make a fist, but feel the tension in the top of your hands.
Again, count to 15 and breathe. Feel free to include other stretches like your neck during this, but only if it doesn’t affect your Partial Crane (named because of the similarity with a certain “Karate Kid” maneuver).
Guitar Hand Stretches #3: Sumo Prayer
To continue the Asian flare,… Put your hands together in front of you palm-to-palm with your arms parallel to the ground. Keeping your palms together, alternate pushing with one hand’s fingers the other hand’s fingers back.
Do this a few times to warm them up, then (sitting in a chair), rest your left arm on your left leg just above the knee. Use your right hand to create tension on your left hand and write while pushing the fingers back.
Feel this guitar hand stretches again in the forearm and fingers/hand.
Count to 15 and breath then switch to your right arm on your right leg and repeat for the other side.
You can do this stretch on both hands at once by putting both arms on your legs and lowering your hands into the middle for tension.
At the end, with your hands still together (but arms not on your legs), spread your fingers and apply some pressure to stretch your fingers.
Guitar Hand Stretches #4: Finger Semi-Torture
This guitar hand stretch reminds me of something from a torture scene of a movie.
For each move, hold the stretch for a few seconds or so.
Hold your left hand out in front of you with the palm up. Grab your index finger with your right hand and place your thumb under the knuckle where that finger meets your hand. Using your thumb as the anchor, bend your finger backwards to create tension.
Do this for each finger one at a time. Switch hands and repeat.
Bonus: Extend and wiggle the other fingers around. This is the torture part to me. I hope with time this stretch becomes more tolerable.
For the thumb, also wrap around the front (away from your body) and pull the thumb so that the arm stretches around to the left. Extend your thumb across your palm and apply pressure from the back. Finally, rotate your wrist down, extend your thumb and apply pressure toward your forearm. Switch hands and repeat the stretch.
Guitar Hand Stretches #5: Yoga Break Dancing
I learned this hand stretch from a hand yoga video online for carpal tunnel.
Lock your fingers together and pull with your arms. Hold your hands together with the tension between your fingers. Move your left arm up and your right arm down creating a zig-zag. Hold for a few seconds and then switch: right arm up, left arm down.
Hold for about 10 seconds focusing on keeping the tension in the arms and holding with the fingers. Breathe.
Now do the same but roll your palms to face you. Then move your left arm forward so that the zig-zag is “lying down.” Reverse the arms and repeat.
Hold the tension and breathe.
Other Guitar Stretches
Of course it’s good to stretch anything and everything not only to loosen up for playing, but also to generally feel good. I recommend stretching your back (and good posture), your neck, shoulders and legs. It’s good to stretch in general.
I recommend making this a part of your practice session (make a list or see below of what you do when you practice and follow it).
5 Great Guitar Hand Stretches
- Guitar Hand Stretches #1: Traffic Cop
- Guitar Hand Stretches #2: Partial Crane
- Guitar Hand Stretches #3: Sumo Prayer
- Guitar Hand Stretches #4: Finger Semi-Torture
- Guitar Hand Stretches #5: Yoga Break Dancing