Hand in Hand

Musicians use their hands to make music but don’t typically remember to warm them up as they would other body parts before and after exertion. Here are some stretches that will come in handy.

It is easy to remember to take care of body parts such as your back, legs or feet, but what about your hands? Hands seem to be easily forgotten, even though they bare most of the work when it comes to making music. Here are some stretches to help you take care of your “instrument.”

Fingers and Wrists

Stretch your right arm straight from your shoulder, out in front of you. Flex your right hand, so that your fingers point up. Press into your right fingers with the fingers on your left hand. You should feel a stretch at the base of your fingers. Hold for three breaths. Repeat on the other hand.

Stretch out through the right arm again, this time pointing your fingers down. Press into the top of your right hand with the palm of your left hand. You should feel a stretch through your wrist. Hold for three breaths. Repeat with the other hand.

Interlace your fingers with your elbows bent and your palms facing towards you. As you straighten your elbows, press the palms of your hands away from you. Hold for five breaths. Make sure to keep your shoulders away from your ears. After five breaths, inhale and move your hands above your head, keeping your fingers interlaced. Once again, make sure to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears.

Down to Your Toes

Get into a comfortable seated position, one in which you can easily grab your foot. Interlace your right fingers through your left toes—it is as though you are holding hands with your foot. You should feel a stretch through the tops of your knuckles, between each of your fingers, and as a side benefit, between each of your toes. Hold for three to five breaths. Repeat with the other hand and foot.

Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Roll forward from the crown of your head. Lift your right toes and slide your right hand under your right foot. The palm of your hand should be touching the sole of your foot; the top of your hand will be against the floor. Your fingers should point toward your heels. Do this with the left hand as well.

Once both hands are underneath your feet, release the top of your head down toward the floor. This position also creates a hamstring stretch. If it is too difficult for your hamstrings, turn your fingers toward one another. Try to slide just your fingertips under the outsides of your feet. If still too difficult, go as far as you can. Take five to 10 breaths.

Think about your body, especially your hands, as being an extension of your instrument. Stretches are like scales for your body.

About the Author

After dancing since the age of 3, Haley Greenwald-Gonella thought it was time to try a new art. In elementary school, she began playing the flute and was in the marching band in middle school and for the first two years of high school. She also played the bassoon during concert season. Dance drew Haley back while in high school.

She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts).

Haley is also a certified registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She draws upon her dance and yoga training when it comes to all things fitness and the arts.

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