How to Strengthen Your Less-Dominant Hand
For most people, one hand is used significantly more than the other and has a greater grip strength as well as more lifting power, with the difference often being equal to several kilograms of strength. This occurs as a result of hand dominance, with your less-dominant hand being used less frequently and being slightly weaker as a result. Fortunately, unless you have an injury or other medical condition that causes excessive weakness on one side of the body, it is possible to strengthen your less-dominant hand through simple exercises and increased hand usage.
Perform basic activities that you would normally do with your dominant hand using your less-dominant hand instead. This includes basic actions such as opening doors, holding a fork and carrying a book. These activities engage the muscles of your hand and improve muscle memory as well.
Write or draw with your less-dominant hand several times per week. While the results won't look the same as they would if you used your dominant hand, the act of using a pencil, pen, brush or stylus provides a workout to hand muscles that aren't normally used for these activities.
Use a grip-strength exerciser to further build the muscles of your less-dominant hand. These exercisers come in a number of forms, from spring-resistance models to rubber balls that provide increased resistance as you squeeze them. Because of their small size and the limited amount of movement required to use them, you can even use a grip-strength exerciser while performing simple activities such as watching TV.
Carry a small weight in your less-dominant hand while walking or performing other low-impact exercises. The weight provides gentle resistance for your muscles as you grip it, with your grip having to make small adjustments as you exercise due to the movements of your body and the shifting of weight itself.
Perform strength-training exercises that focus on your less-dominant arm. The dominant hand is typically stronger not only in grip strength but in overall arm strength as well, so focused strength training for your less-dominant arm will increase your arm strength in addition to your grip strength.
Lift weight plates or other weighted objects by pinching them between your extended fingers and thumb. This increases pinch strength, placing strain on the muscles of the fingers as they press into the object to lift it without gripping. An increase in pinch strength results in stronger fingers for both pinching and gripping.
Improving the strength of your less-dominant hand also has a positive effect on brain development. Since you are having to coordinate the movements of the hand you don't normally use as often, less-used parts of your brain will be stimulated while controlling your hand and arm.
As you increase the strength of your less-dominant hand, gradually incorporate additional exercises for your dominant hand as well. This will allow your hands and arms to develop additional strength together, providing you with a more even level of strength between your two hands and arms.
When working with any type of weight, do not exceed the weight that your hand or arm are capable of lifting. If you experience pain while trying to lift a weight in your less-dominant hand, stop lifting immediately to prevent potentially serious injury to your hand, arm or joints.
Born in West Virginia, Jack Gerard now lives in Kentucky. A writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience, he has written both articles and poetry for publication in magazines and online. A former nationally ranked sport fencer, Gerard also spent several years as a fencing coach and trainer.