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Finger Independence Exercises

By Michael Jones

Not many people even know they can exercise their hands, but finger fitness can help with many things in life. People wanting to learn how to play guitar or piano greatly benefit from doing finger independence exercises, and those with injured fingers can get them back to normal shape with a few such exercises. If you have never done finger exercises, they will be really hard to do when you first begin. The trick is to start off slowly and do each exercise correctly. You'll become a master of the exercises in no time; just be patient.

Bear Claw

Put your hand in a bear claw shape and push down on a flat surface. The pads of all your fingertips should be pressed down on the flat surface. As you press down with your fingers, lift one finger at a time and hold it for one second. Start this finger independence exercise with your thumb and go in order to your pinky. Do this for five minutes and then switch hands.


Fold 1: Put your hands together with the palms touching each other and fold your fingers down. If you're right-handed, you'll notice that your right thumb is on top of your left thumb. If you're a lefty, your left thumb is on top. Unfold your hands and shift your fingers so that your other thumb is on top when you fold your hands this time. Keep alternating between folding your right hand in front and folding your left hand in front. Start off slowly and move your fingers all the way down when you fold them. In time, you'll be able to go faster.

Fold 2: For this exercise, you fold your hands as you did in Fold 1, except you fold only one set of fingers at a time. One set of fingers means the same finger of each hand, such as your right and left index finger.

With both of your hands together, fold down one set of fingers at a time. First fold down your index fingers. Do one fold with your right finger in front and then switch so your left finger is in front. Do this with each set of fingers down to your pinkies, and then do the exercise for each set of fingers back up to your index fingers. Start slowly and make full folds. With time, you'll be able to do this exercise faster.

Fold 3: Instead of folding one set of fingers, for this exercise you fold two sets of fingers. Put your hands together and fold down two sets of fingers at a time. First fold down both index and middle fingers at the same time. Do one fold with your right fingers in front and one fold with your left fingers in front. Then fold your middle and ring finger sets and, finally, your ring and pinky finger sets. Eventually, you'll be able to go faster. Keep exercising finger sets up and down your hand.

Fold 4: With your hands together, fold three sets of fingers down at the same time. Start with your middle, ring and pinky finger sets. Then fold your index, ring and pinky finger sets; do your index middle and pinky finger sets next; and, finally, fold your index, middle and ring finger sets. Make one fold for each set with your left fingers in front and one fold with your right fingers in front. See what speed you can work up to.

Fold 5: Put your hands together and fold all your fingers down. Then, one at a time, lift all your fingers (excluding thumbs), working from one end of your hand to the other and back again. You also can lift one set of fingers at a time. Start with the index fingers and go all the way down to your pinkies; then work your way back. Start slowly, and soon you'll do this exercise with speed.


Put your hands together (palms touching each other) and tap your fingertips together. Keep your thumbs touching each other as you point your fingertips outward as much as possible and tap them together. To work on independence, tap one set of fingers at a time. Start with your index fingers and go down to your pinkies. When you get comfortable, you'll be able to quickly go up and down your hand. After you do one-finger taps, move on to tapping two sets of fingers and three sets of fingers. When you get really good, tap every other finger as you use the fingers up and down your hand.

Bends and Spilts

Put both your hands up in front of yourself with your palms facing away. Make your fingers straight and point them upward. Bend all your fingers down at their middle knuckle. To work on independence, bend down one pair of fingers at a time. Start with your index fingers and go down to your pinkies. The goal is to keep all your other fingers together and firmly pointing straight upward while you bend one finger of each hand. Once you get comfortable, bend two and three fingers at a time. When you're really comfortable, bend every other finger at the same time.

Aside from bending exercises, perform split exercises. Start with both of your hands in front of yourself, fingers pointing upward and palms facing away from yourself. Keep all your fingers together while you split your index finger away from the other fingers. Then split between your middle and ring fingers. Finally, split your pinky finger away. Go back and forth among the fingers. Do this exercise slowly until you can do each motion properly.

You also can use a combination of bend and split finger exercises. With your palms facing away from yourself and your fingers facing upward, bend your index finger and split away your pinky finger. Start by first bending one finger and then splitting the other, but the goal is to be able to do both simultaneously. Then bend your index finger and make a split between your ring and middle fingers. You can choose whatever fingers you want to bend and split as you get comfortable, but work every finger on your hands.

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