Finger Flexor Stretch
This rudimentary stretch targets the forearm muscles that enable finger flexion and your grip on the rock. Be sure to perform this stretch in the two hand positions described below. In a standing position, bring your arms together in front of your waist. Straighten the arm to be stretched and lay the fingertips into the palm of your other hand. Position the hand of your stretch arm so that the palm is facing down with the thumb pointing inward. Pull back on the fingers of your straight arm until a mild stretch begins in the forearm muscles. Hold this stretch for about twenty seconds. Release the stretch and turn the hand 180 degrees so that your stretch arm is now positioned with the palm facing outward and the thumb pointing out to the side. Using your other hand, pull your fingers back until a stretch begins in the forearm muscles. Hold for ten to twenty seconds. Perform this stretch twice, in both positions, with both arms.
Finger Extensor Stretch
This important stretch is unfortunately overlooked by many climbers. It stretches and warms up the numerous extensor muscles and the often tight brachioradialis muscle of the back of the forearm; when used daily, it will help your prevent tendinosis of the outer elbow (lateral epicondylitis). In a standing position, bring your arms together in front of your waist. Straighten the arm to be stretched and then make a tight fist; place the fist in the palm of your other hand. With your fist hand in the thumbs-up position, gently pull the fist inward to create a mild stretch along the back of the forearm. Hold this stretch for twenty seconds. Now release the stretch and rotate the fist until it’s in the awkward thumbs-down position. Again, use your free hand to flex the fist and hold for twenty seconds—hold a solid fist and keep your arm straight to best work this strange, yet important stretch. Repeat this stretch with your other hand. Do two or three stretches with both arms.
Copyright 2008 Eric J. Hörst. All rights reserved.