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The below the elbow workout

The below the elbow workout

The human hand is a miracle of construction and function. Even if most of us think we only need our thumbs for texting, life with restricted hand use is very difficult. Just ask anyone who has had an arm in a sling, let alone those with missing or damaged hands.

Strong hands and lower arms are also an essential for fitness, especially if you work with weights or cycle. Modern life can cause problems for hands and wrists. If neglected, these can turn into permanent damage.

Try these quick stretches and strengtheners whenever you have a few moments. As always, if something hurts, stop and take advice.


Hands and wrists suffering from too much keyboard or steering wheel time will appreciate these. Stay seated with head up and core engaged.

Forward stretch: clasp your hands together in front of you. Then push your elbows out and your hands forward with your fingers towards you. This releases keyboard tension in the wrists.

Upward stretch: begin with hands clasped as before, then reach upwards as high as you can. Now turn your palms to the ceiling as far as possible, hold for 10 seconds and release.


These spare moment exercises for hands and wrists mean that you don’t even have to leave your desk. The boss may not even notice!

Push the desk: while seated, push up on the desk or table with your palms. (If the desk is wobbly, don’t push too hard!). Hold for 10 seconds and then release.

Rubber band stretch: This is the opposite of the stress ball. Put an elastic band round your fingers and then simply stretch and release, stretch and release. A good use of time during a long phone call!

Grip fix: find a heavy book and pinch the spine between thumb and forefinger. Then ‘walk’ your grip up and down the spine, without dropping the book. Harder than it seems!

Your hands help you, so give them a hand in return!


the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.