So many people work with keyboards and/or computers these days. Whether you work in an administrative/office environment or not, i'm confident you will find a keyboard of some description that you use frequently. It doesn't even need to be work related - just look at how many people are on Facebook or Myspace or any number of other social networking websites ... then there is the ever popular Text Messaging on your mobile phone ... or maybe you work in the Trade or Manual Labour industry using your hands and arms to do just about everything ... Do you ever take just 5 minutes to stretch your forearms and wrists?
Maybe you find yourself feeling tight and/or achy in your forearms - either occasionally or even frequently ... Stretching your forearms and wrists is so simple and easy, and you don't even need to move your body from in front of your computer to do it!
I am in the habit of identifying which muscles are the focus of the stretch each week, but there are so many small muscles, tendons and ligaments through the forearms that this week it is sufficient to say there is precious little soft tissue from your elbow to your fingers that is NOT being stretched with these techniques.
You can do this stretch anywhere, at anytime. Stand or sit, whichever is more comfortable for you, just be sure to be stable and balanced.
To stretch your Forearm Flexors - Reach your arms out in front of you and interlock your fingers. Roll your wrists so that your palms face outwards and away from your body, then gently push your hands out. Do not let your fingers get too loose because it is the extension chain from your elbows through to your wrists and fingers that create the stretch.
To stretch your Forearm Extensors - Reach one arm out in front of you with your hand and fingers pointing down, creating flexion in your wrist. Use your other hand to hold the fingers of the flexed hand ... following me ... then gently pull your fingers towards your body while bracing the outstretched arm to keep that elbow extended and the arm straight. Again, it is the extension in the elbow coupled with the flexion in the wrist and fingers that creates the stretch.
Both stretches should be felt closer to the elbow than the wrist if done effectively, because this is where the bellies of the muscles are.
There are multiple ways yopur can stretch these muscle groups, some include kneeling on the floor and resting on flexed wrists. I have chosen these techniques because I feel they are safer techniques for Stretching Beginners. If you rest your body weight on flexed wrists, it is way too easy to cause yourself more harm than good ... in my personal opinion.
As far as breathing is concerned, it is not necessarily as important with these stretches as it is with other stretches. The focus behind timing your stretch with your exhale breath is that stretching is more effective and you get greater benefit for effort when you do that. These stretches are so simple that you can hold them for as long as you like, and in that situation you can just breathe normally and it wont affect your benefit for effort too adversely.
It can be easy to over stretech these muscles and cause injury. To avoid injury/soreness from over stretching, do not apply too much force too quickly. Be gentle but firm with your technique, regularity and frequency are the key to increasing your benefit for effort.
Always remember to relax into your stretches - don't fight against the stretch (it may cause more harm than good), and always do each stretch 3 times, at least twice each day.
Taken from "The Anatomy of Stretching" by B. Walker pp61 & 65.