Monday, June 23, 2014

Christie's Karate Newbie Tip of the Week: Hands & Wrists

Writing Contributor: Christie McGowan
Student at Choe's HapKiDo of Loganville
Info Page:

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The benefits of training in HapKiDo are plentiful, for I am seeing personal changes outside of training. As it is wonderful to kick and scream at a place where they are greatly demanded, the workout relieves so much stress and results in a relaxed state-of-mind. I am also impressed with the increasing physical strength, and specifically more with my hands and wrists.

I am still very much a newbie at Choe's HapKiDo of Loganville, but problems with my hands and wrists are old.

Tip #2: Spend at least once a day exercising your hands and wrists.

The wrists and hands are like the ankles and feet of our arms; they take us everywhere else that our legs do not. We use them daily for multi-purposes, but it does not mean they are being exercised. By spending time to stretch out the activities from the hands and wrists, their strength can increase and also become healthier.

Taking care of your hands and wrists produces positive results such as preventing hand cramps, improving wrist support, and bettering the core. One instance where all of these benefits come into play is my music playing. It is always a performer’s desire to get better. Although piano practice has taught my fingers and hands muscle memory and how to be flexible, they would unfortunately cramp. After weeks of HapKiDo instructors showing me various types of push-ups, and me returning to hand/wrist exercises learned from physical therapy, the strength in my hands has greatly increased. My hands cramp less, and I have better wrist support and posture, which betters my overall performance.

I relate to how exercising can be a drag sometimes, but once you experience the benefits, it becomes enjoyable and turns into a rhythm. 

HapKiDo Students Engaging in Push-Ups.
Note: Some hands are faced inward, while some planted straight. 

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The following hand/wrist exercises are what work for me, and maybe they will work for you.

You may be familiar with push-ups being done with the hands placed on the floor and using the arms to push the body up and down. Now, this exercise can be formulated to fit your physical level. The hands can be placed straight, inwards, on knuckles, or on fingers. But if the weight of your body is too much for your hands/wrists, do push-ups with the knees also on ground to reduce the weight being pressed. Other tools you can use to assist in weight distribution on your hands/wrists include a wall, dumbbells, or an exercise ball. 

Wrist Curls
This exercise is like stomach crunches but for your wrists. Make a loose fist. The idea is to curl the fisted-wrist upwards on three sides: inside of forearm, side of forearm, and outside of forearm. You can do these with light weights, but use a pillow for your forearm to rest on. 

Hand Stretch
This exercise is like a single leg hamstring stretch but for your "arm ankle." The following exercises are better when altering between exercises 1 and 2. Suggested reps: 3 sets of each kind, they will take up a minute of your time while getting a good stretch.  
  • Exercise 1: Extend an arm to about shoulder level. With the other hand, stretch the hand being stretched to about ninety degrees. Stretch and hold, starting with 10 seconds. 
  • Exercise 2: Extend an arm to about shoulder level. With the other hand, slowly push down the hand being stretched to about ninety degrees. Stretch and hold, starting with 10 seconds. 

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