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Old 07-11-2019, 05:50 PM
dtpolk dtpolk is offline
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Default Building hand strength off the guitar.

Anyone have any exercises for building up fretting hand strength but not on the guitar? Also stretching exercises for multiple fretted chords and shorter fingers? I've been squeezing a rubber ball, but it doesn't really seem to do anything. No ideas about stretching.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:32 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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I'd just play the guitar. IMO adding in other repetitive exercises just makes it more likely you end up with overuse injuries.
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:44 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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To add to rick-slo's comment, one really doesn't need a lot of raw strength to play guitar.

There are a bunch of small muscles/tendons that work together for just about every motion you would want to make. So the isometric approach of isolation does not help, since you want the various muscles to progress together. I think the best way to build strength is to (referencing Frank Zappa) 'shut up and play the guitar.'

For flexibility/stretches, I have found a few yoga moves to be helpful, one in particular is called bound fingers or bound hands. It stretches the finger joints as well as the palm tendons. But the best finger stretch exercise I know of is a challenging tune or three with lots of movement.
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:21 PM
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I do a lot of different exercises off the guitar, have for years. I picked them up from various places. Howard Roberts had a book, long out of print, I think, that some came from. Hard to describe in print, tho. They'd be easier to demo over skype or something, give me a shout if you want, I'd be glad to walk you thru some of what I do.
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:49 PM
thechariot1x thechariot1x is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtpolk View Post
Anyone have any exercises for building up fretting hand strength but not on the guitar? Also stretching exercises for multiple fretted chords and shorter fingers? I've been squeezing a rubber ball, but it doesn't really seem to do anything. No ideas about stretching.
I would agree with the above that it is better to play than to exercise if you have the choice, but if you want something that you can use to work on guitar related things when you are away from the instrument or have to be working on something else (which I completely get as a grad student) you could try a guitar finger strengthener which you can get on Amazon for $10-15. I use one for this purpose and it works fine but be careful not to overdo it at first.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:45 PM
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:02 PM
dtpolk dtpolk is offline
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Heh, yea...already.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:42 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is online now
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If you feel a lot of hand strength is needed to play, your technique is wrong. Many players use a death grip clamp and then wonder why they get cramps.....your hand isn't really exercising when you play as your hand isn't going through its full range of motion. I guess you could call it isometric exercise.

I recommend practicing playing as lightly as possible while still getting good, clear tone, not trying to push the frets through the neck

Your fingers need independence and dexterity, and there are exercises for that. But there are no muscles in the fingers, so you're not really building strength. You need toughness in the fingertips of course, which best comes from playing guitar (or bass....)

In addition to regularly riding my '85 Harley with an old cable clutch, I've always done a lot of manual activities - carpentry, yard work, plumbing, electrical work, wrenching on engines, cutting and splitting wood to heat my home, etc. so I've never had a lack of strength in my hands.
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