Whether you are recovering from a hand injury or training to be a better rock climber, hand strength is important. You need strong hand muscles to grip items, flex your fingers and do repetitive motions. Building the hands requires specific strengthening exercises and finger work. With any training program, doing exercises consistently is the best way to make progress.
Improve Grip Strength
Grip a pull-up bar underhanded (palms facing you) and hang from it. This is an isometric exercise because the joints are not moving while you hang from the bar. Try to hang for 60 seconds and gradually increase the length of time as you get stronger.
Hold heavy weights and walk. Grip heavier (15 lb. to 25 lb.) weights in each hand and walk for a certain distance or amount of time (start with just a brief walk). This is another isometric exercise for hands and arms.
Squeeze a small stress ball or partially deflated children's ball. Use your hands and fingers to squeeze the ball for 20 seconds to 30 seconds and then relax. Do this multiple times.
Indent a small children's ball with each finger on one hand. Do this for 20 seconds to 30 seconds. Then switch hands and do the same exercise.
Perform Hand Exercises
Perform wrist curls using handheld weights. Hold the weights in your hands with palms up. Rest your forearms on a table or on your thighs with your hands off the end the table or your legs. Slowly let the weights drop into your fingers. Then curl the wrists so the fingers curl toward the forearm. Do this 10 to 15 times.
Do reverse wrist curls. Hold the weights in your hands with knuckles up. Rest your forearms on a table or balance them on your thighs. Gently curl the wrists so the knuckles point down toward the ground and then curl back up toward your forearms. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.
Press a ball with flat hands. Keep elbows close to your waist and hands open, facing each other. Press the hands together and try to change the shape of the ball. Hold for three seconds to five seconds, then relax. Try 10 to 20 of these.
Improve Finger Strength
Do sand bucket exercises. Put your hand in a bucket full of sand. Try to curl your fingers slowly making a fist and then open them slowly against the sand's pressure. Use the full range of finger flexion (closing) and extension (opening). Repeat several times.
Use rubber bands for finger resistance. Put one or two large rubber bands around all fingers. Wrap the bands(s) around a second time. Open and close your fingers against the rubber band several times.
Do fingertip push-ups. Get down in the modified push-up position (knees on the ground). Support your weight by putting your fingers (instead of your palms) on the ground. Perform three to five push-ups in this position. Gradually build up to performing 10 push-ups in this position. Advance to doing these in the regular push-up position on your toes.