Topic: Hand strength - Best way to get some?  (Read 8010 times)

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Offline Big Yummy

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Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« on: November 04, 2011, 09:45 AM »
What's the best way for a drummer to develop hand strength?  Some of the devices used by climbers look like they'd be great for strength, but I suspect they'd kill what little dexterity I have.  I want something that will build strength without making my hands stiff or numb from the impact of sudden movements or vibration.

Any advice?
"Some people say I ain't so super groovy.  Why don't I leave the music alone?"  Black Uhuru

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2011, 10:10 AM »
Not sure I understand what you mean by "strength." Are we talking about dexterity?

The "best" way, regardless of your answer, is more than likely this: practice more. That is practice and play the drums more, the right way, meaning using proper technique and movement.

My suggestion, rather than tempting yourself with more gadgets is to spend the money on a good drum instructor who has a firm understanding of ergonomics, motion, movement, etc., as it applies to drumming. Just a few lessons with someone who is well aware of these types of things will make a HUGE difference in your playing.

Offline Tim van de Ven

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 10:18 AM »
Back in my classical piano days, my teacher suggested this simple exercise to strengthen my hands, fingers and wrists:

1. Take a broadsheet newspaper
2. Take out one full page and lay it flat on the floor
3. Place your open hand, palm down, in the middle of the page
4. Crumple the newspaper into a ball, with you hand, without moving its position nor aiding it in any way; it is supposed to be difficult (at first).
5. Do this exercise with one hand and then alternate for the other hand

This comes in handy if you have a wood stove or are using your newspaper to light your barbecue.

Total cost: the price of a newspaper subscription. 

Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2011, 09:53 PM »
Yes, I probably agree with bart 100%.
Check on your technique from time to time, with the help of a teaching professional. And play, play, play.
When I was having my best years I was playing many hours every week. And you could have knocked the sticks out of my hands with a light tap. But I had more precision, more endurance and I was super relaxed instead of tensed up, with tired feeling fingers and wrists.

Offline Chip Donaho

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2011, 01:21 PM »
While in the Army Band, I would sit around and squeeze a rubber ball in my off time. I would alternate hands while doing it.  ;)
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Offline Todd Norris

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2011, 03:05 PM »
JoJo Mayer has this exercise for the wrists where you put your elbows and forearms together in front of you and you clap your hands together rapidly.  In his video, he does it walking down the street.  Hilarious, but I've used  this exercise and it does seem to make the wrists stronger.  Doing a lot of stretching of the hands and wrists does a lot of good too. 

Offline Nathan Cartier

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2011, 11:42 AM »
Back in my classical piano days, my teacher suggested this simple exercise to strengthen my hands, fingers and wrists:

1. Take a broadsheet newspaper
2. Take out one full page and lay it flat on the floor
3. Place your open hand, palm down, in the middle of the page
4. Crumple the newspaper into a ball, with you hand, without moving its position nor aiding it in any way; it is supposed to be difficult (at first).
5. Do this exercise with one hand and then alternate for the other hand

This comes in handy if you have a wood stove or are using your newspaper to light your barbecue.

Total cost: the price of a newspaper subscription.

This is one of the things Billy Ward mentions in the Big Time DVD. 

Offline Big Yummy

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2011, 08:39 AM »
Not sure I understand what you mean by "strength."

I should have been more specific.  I'm talking about "grip" strength.  It would be nice if I could use power tools for a few hours without my fingers being useless for days afterward.  The wrists are fine, it's the palms and fingers.

I'll try the newspaper thing.  That sounds like what I need, something that works the grip without a lot sudden snapping or vibration that would be hard on my aging joints.
"Some people say I ain't so super groovy.  Why don't I leave the music alone?"  Black Uhuru

Offline Tim van de Ven

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2011, 10:35 AM »
This is one of the things Billy Ward mentions in the Big Time DVD.

It shows that great minds think alike; my piano teacher taught this to me in the 1970s, so perhaps a mentor or teacher of Billy's did the same for him.

Offline Bart Elliott

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Building Hand / Finger Strength
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2011, 12:48 PM »
Rather than trying to type out a response, I thought I would make a quick video to show and explain another way to develop finger strength and dexterity by way of a castanet machine.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6vdd4aXDkQ#ws]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6vdd4aXDkQ#ws

Check out the Toca T2300 Castanets.


Offline Scot Holder

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Re: Building Hand / Finger Strength
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2011, 06:43 PM »
Rather than trying to type out a response, I thought I would make a quick video to show and explain another way to develop finger strength and dexterity by way of a castanet machine.

So... this may be a silly question, but is the castanet machine really required?  Would it be equally effective to perform the finger strokes you demonstrated on other surfaces, like a drum pad, edge of a coffee table or desk, etc...?  Or is there something that the castanet machine provides that makes the exercise better or safer?

It would be great if this could be one of those anytime/anywhere exercises that required no equipment.

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: Building Hand / Finger Strength
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2011, 06:49 PM »
So... this may be a silly question, but is the castanet machine really required?  Would it be equally effective to perform the finger strokes you demonstrated on other surfaces, like a drum pad, edge of a coffee table or desk, etc...?  Or is there something that the castanet machine provides that makes the exercise better or safer?

It would be great if this could be one of those anytime/anywhere exercises that required no equipment.

Sure, you could just do this on any surface, but the castanet machine, with its spring tension, give and resistance, allows for the snapping motion of the fingers, thus giving a greater workout. You can adjust the tension so that it's very difficult to play the castanets, which really gives you a workout.

Just take the concept and apply it as you see fit. Just know that the machine really does make a difference. I know I wouldn't mess with it if it didn't matter ... for finger exercises that is.

Offline Dave Kayser

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2011, 07:20 PM »
Before I started playing drums I trained in martial arts for a number of years.  I don't really know if this would work from drumming but I knew a few people who used this and swore by it for strengthening grip.  Here's the link:   http://www.awma.com/productdetail/1595-eagle-catcher.html.]http://www.awma.com/productdetail/1595-eagle-catcher.html.  
 
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Offline Big Yummy

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2011, 02:11 PM »
Thanks for the video Bart.  How loud are the castinets?  Would they work with a drum kit? 

I can see how the castinets would be easier on the joints then an unyielding surface, like a table top.

My concern with a lot of spring devices, like the martial arts gizmo, is that there's a small but sudden bit of impact at the start and stop of each squeeze.  That tends to annoy my aging joints.  The castinets look like they offer a nice follow-through.
"Some people say I ain't so super groovy.  Why don't I leave the music alone?"  Black Uhuru

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2011, 03:00 PM »
There's really no impact; no more than snapping your fingers.

Increasing the spring tension also increases the spacing between the clappers, which in turn increases the volume.

Offline Scot Holder

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Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2011, 06:31 PM »
Ok, I'm sold. Adding castanet machine to my Christmas list :-)

Offline Todd Norris

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2011, 06:39 PM »
Wow, that metal contraption looks like a torture device...  Thanks for the machine demonstration Bart!

Offline Big Yummy

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2011, 10:55 AM »
Hmmm... I'm imagining it atttached to a circular piece of wood that would sit nicely on my floor tom for a couple of tunes.
"Some people say I ain't so super groovy.  Why don't I leave the music alone?"  Black Uhuru

Offline Eric Pancer

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Re: Hand strength - Best way to get some?
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2013, 02:16 PM »
Buy a conga and learn how to play it... your hand strength will be amazing.

 

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