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Exercises for fingers and hands
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Tipiaowsek
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September 28, 2017 - 7:34 am
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Hello all!

I've noticed recently that my hands are more prone to pain and soreness now than before. My articulations feel strange too. Like they are not as good as before. This Monday itself my left hand was trembling! I dunno if I've practice a bit too much or for too long at once. I was wondering if there were some exercises for to relax my hands/fingers/forearmsmore after practice. 

Do not practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.

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Charles
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September 28, 2017 - 9:04 am
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Caveat: I'm not a doctor, a nurse, or anyone else trained in anything remotely describable as "medical". This is what I've found that works for me.

Ongoing pain like that is not a good thing.  I'd suggest cutting your practice time down significantly (to 3/4s or even 2/3s of what you've been doing) for a few days, and see what happens. If the pain and trembling goes away, then I'd say yes, you've been overdoing it.  If it's better, but still there, you might need to cut back even more (for a while - you can build up strength and endurance, but it takes time.) If there's no change, then I'd say see a doctor.

I don't know of any specific or official exercises. What I always do for any muscle that is simply tired is stretch it.  Both hands are being pulled in, like making a fist. So pulling or pushing the fingers out should help. Try putting both hands against each other, fingertip to fingertip and (gently!) push the fingers back. A "cracking your knuckles" motion may help, too.  (They recently proved that that does NOT give you arthritis, in case you're worried about that.)

I occasionally get caught up in something and play too long, and when I finally untwist my left arm, it lets me know in no uncertain terms that it's unhappy about it. Both with the muscles of my left arm and with some assistance from my right hand, I stretch it by twisting it in the opposite direction.  Massage helps, too.

The main reason stretching the muscles in the opposite direction helps (to the best of my knowledge) is that the body mostly has muscles in pairs. When one muscle is being used, it bunches up, which restricts blood flow.  If you use only that muscle (and not its opposite) for a long time, it's undernourished and fatigue poisons build up.  When you use the opposite muscle, it is the one that has the restricted blood flow, so the blood has to go through the other one. That's why track coaches insist on runners kicking their feet up high. It doesn't improve their speed any, but it gives the muscles in the front of the thigh (that are doing the lion's share of the work) a blast of food, oxygen, and cleaning out. They get fatigued a lot more slowly that way.

It's not practical when playing a violin to throw your fingers way back in the opposite direction, but stretching them out (and maybe dropping your hand down and shaking it to help get blood back in it) during breaks will help some.  You can't take frequent breaks in a performance, but you CAN do so in practice. You might try that, too.

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RockingLR33
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September 28, 2017 - 10:55 am
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I agree with charles above on his recommendations. To help relax contracted muscles in the palm you can use a tennis or racket ball (or really anything around that size thats hard) and put pressure and roll the ball around your hand. It's kind of a deep tissue message that may help relax those muscles when regular stretching doesn't work. 

I also agree with him about trying to use the opposite muscles. I do exercise by like putting my hand out with my fingers spread like your showing the #5 with your fingers but has wide as you can make them then I relax a bit and open my hand back up. It helps my left hand after i've been playing a while and the muscles fatigue. 

But I agree with charles in scaling back or taking some days off and if it doesn't go away with some rest and stretching see a doctor! 

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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BillyG
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September 28, 2017 - 2:09 pm
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Yup, absolutely @Charles - neither am I in any way competent in medical / physiological matters - but - indeed - when it hurts, stop !

I've noticed this in the past - sometimes the "hurt" only occurred after I had stopped playing - by then - it's probably too late.   Soreness (as distinct from tiredness) is to be taken seriously - either there is something "basically wrong" with what you're trying to do, or, more likely, you've just been "stuck in that new-to-you muscle position" for so long that once you stop, you get the trembling / soreness.

I played a LOT when I started - and I observed and experienced that condition.

So I backed-off the amount of time I played...  then built it up gradually again.

Even now, none of my practice sessions tend to last more than 30 minutes at a time although I'll fit in 3 or 4 such sessions most days.   And having said that - yes - the occasional session may last for well in excess of an hour - and - it's absolutely fine.... 

Just be patient ( and relax those muscles, shake-out the fingers, hand, lower and upper arms before, during - when possible - and after playing.   Muscular tension should be avoided - but is sometimes difficult to be fully aware of.... )

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Tipiaowsek
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September 30, 2017 - 7:25 am
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Well your advices are gold! I've reduced my practice time and It's so much better. I'm actually hearing a difference in my playing now that my hands aren't as tired!

Do not practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.

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Charles
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September 30, 2017 - 11:52 am
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Glad it was an easy fix.

I don't know what your practice routine is, but if it's one long session now and your schedule allows it, break it up into several smaller sessions, and that will help a lot. Both your body and your mind will do much better with short, comparatively intense, focused periods of work, then a chunk of time (preferably at least a couple of hours) of relaxation from that type of work (which might not look like relaxation to an outsider), then another short, fairly intense session, and so on thru the day.

Mentally, it lets your subconscious sort through things and figure out how to integrate some of the stuff you just did. Physically, you work other muscles, and get some blood flowing through the ones that were being worked.  Long sessions of anything are bad for human beings.  (Says the man who works a 12 hour shift with no breaks or lunch...  This addiction to having an income is killing me...)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
October 6, 2017 - 10:03 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 12740

Another tip would be to keep your fingers close to the fingerboard and not press as hard if your fingertips are sensitive.

Glad that the tips you received are helping you. 🙂

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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