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Massage Today
April, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 04 >> Musculoskeletal Pain

Strength Training: The Importance of Strong Wrists and Forearms

By Teresa M. Matthews, LMT, CPT

Teresa M. Matthews shows how to use a flexible resistance bar. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Fig. 1: This flexion and extension wringing movement strengthens forearms, hands and wrists. As massage therapists, we work with our hands daily and on many occasions, for long periods of time. The constant overuse and necessary repetitive motions needed in our profession undoubtedly put us at risk for wrist injuries. Injuries such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome can develop over time, and can prove to be both painful and crippling to our longevity in this profession.

Teresa M. Matthews shows how to use a flexible resistance bar. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Fig. 2. With proper self-care and strength training, we can minimize the risk of these hand, wrist and forearm injuries developed from occupational overuse. A flexible resistance bar (see images) is a great tool for helping the massage therapist minimize the risk of injury. It's designed specifically to strengthen your hands, wrists and forearms - muscles which are extremely important to the massage career. In performing a beneficial massage on our clients, it's obvious we are continually using our hands, wrists and forearms and we need to make self-care a number-one priority to ourselves and careers.

Teresa M. Matthews shows how to use a flexible resistance bar. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Fig. 3: As we become stronger in this movement, the work we do with our thumbs or the heel of our hand becomes more efficient. It will give us the ability to keep our wrists straight, preventing injury. We not only use these muscles to do our work, but also in our everyday life, such as typing on the computer or lifting groceries from the grocery cart. Having strong hands, wrists and forearms undoubtedly helps in carrying out day-to-day activities. There are a number of good reasons why massage therapists should participate in self-care and strength training. Unfortunately, we don't spend enough time taking care of ourselves or doing any type of strengthening exercises. I use a resistance bar three times a week, usually Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for just minutes a day.

Using a flexible resistance bar is an easy, effective and a convenient tool for our hands, wrists and forearms. Strengthening the joints, tendons and muscles in these areas will not only improve your performance as a massage therapist, but also will help prevent painful and long-lasting injuries.

The Self-Care Wellness Team

For more information visit

The Self-Care Wellness Team. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Teresa M. Matthews, fitness expert and world champion athlete, has 30 years experience in the fitness industry. She is the president and founder of Health, Wellness & Fitness Professionals, Inc. and is the owner of Arlington School of Massage and Personal Training in Jacksonville, Fla. She is a sports massage instructor for the Florida State Massage Therapy Association and was awarded the FSMTA 2009 Sports Massage Therapist of the Year award. Teresa travels the country teaching self care and wellness classes. Contact her by e-mail at with questions or comments.


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