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Aris Tsangarides

Beginners Introduction with a Twist

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Aris Tsangarides

First and foremost, I would like to introduce myself to this wonderful forum Coach Sommer has assembled and made available to the public gymnastic enthusiast. The standard of this website and the people who use/used it is admirable.

Secondly, even though It's never pleasant talking about injuries especially as a first poster here, it is a question i have been wanting to answer for about 3 years now and even though the "web" is crammed with so much info (ranging from very useful to extremely futile) i have not yet found any info concerning my "not so common" inquiry.

So down to business.. I believe my wrist flexibility is fairly good yet there seems to be an issue when it comes to hand extension with the fingers totally extended. See, when my hand is parallel/or lets call it in line with my forearm, I can completely extend my fingers with very little effort. However, when i extend my hand(bringing my hand perpendicular to my forearm vector) my fingers start curling. It looks very similar to the so-called "Tiger claw" they use in certain martial arts disciplines. To be more specific, the PIP and DIP joints of the fingers are where the lack of ROM occurs, which leads to 2 conclusions:

1)Either my flexor musculature is way stronger that my extensors, which is basically a muscular imbalance issue; BUT the issue is that since the issue is at the PIP/DIP level it can't really be muscle(can it?) since that region is occupied (exclusively?!) by tendons and ligaments. (So since I dont know much about flexibility, let alone flexibility in tendons and ligaments..my conclusion remains..inconclusive

2)the other option may be that I have a lack of active flexibility in my "strong/stiff" hand flexor muscles (i.e.weak extensors + not flexible flexors). If I pull on the curled fingers while in a hand extended position, they can be passively stretched to be perpendicular to my forearm. But without an external force/assistance I cannot actively extend my hand. 

So my question is a twofold one: Does anyone have similar issues with this and if so do you know why this happens and how do you correct it?



I attached a video demonstrating what I've tried to explain above.

Thanks,
BirzieX

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Connor Davies

To explain, what you're experiencing is totally natural and what you're trying to do is quite hard. :)

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Aris Tsangarides

I really appreciate your help. I went through all of the novel movement videos available on your channel. Very insightful. 
But how could you explain why most people I ask whether or not they can perform a full hand extension with extended fingers, most of them can(not completely, but with better ROM than I can) whereas in my case they seem to curl extensively?
What really confuses me is that I can pull my fingers into that position using my other hand but I cannot actively do it with one hand? 
Is it a lack of hand extension training?
Genetically inherited shorter hand extensor musculature? 

Your exercises will be integrated into my warmup/cooldown plans, but could you please provide me with an explanation as to why this happens?

Cheers, 
BirzieX

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Kate Abernethy

There's a possibility that it is due to the way the sheaths of your palm and finger tendons interconnect with each other - this differs from person to person. As the sheaths are stretched when you extend your hand it pulls down in a certain way on the tendons.

It reminds me of the game where you try to flex a combination of fingers without the others moving and for some people it was just impossible.

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Connor Davies

Not my channel, but thanks. Latestarter here might be onto the right idea. I've experienced this one myself. If you try placing your hand down so all your fingertips are touching the surface bar your ring finger which is curled under, you,ll likely find it impossible to raise only your middle finger.

To some extent these things change with age. I had greater ability to move individual fingers when I was a child. I have no idea if this process is reversible, or if you would even want to. But a couple of questions:

When you say you have good wrist flexibility, what specifically do you mean? Can you hold a false grip? Can you do all the beginner wrist exercises in H1?

How old are you?

What specifically stops you from reaching full extension? Is there overwhelming pain or can you simply not reach the end of the movement?

Can you bend your fingers back 90 degrees? Again, I know latestarter had problems with this, but I don't know if she ever suffered from the same problem that you have...

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Aris Tsangarides

Bipocni:

I am 24 years old. I can hold a false grip(but I don't train my false grip that much). I used to climb a lot(not that often nowadays), but I can do 10 clean pullups with a crimper hold, pushups on 3 fingers, pushups on the dorsal part of my hands, dorsal pushups, hold a handstand for about 90 seconds(working on my line-trying to open my shoulders-

).
I can bend my finger back 90 degrees but I can't actively bring them back by simply using my hand extensors. 

I wouldn't say its pain is preventing me from doing it. It's like when you tell a 2 year old to lift 20 kgs. It's as if my extensors are too weak or my flexors are too strong/stiff, or both. But it's odd, since anyone i ask can do it.  I do want to be able to extend my fingers completely because i feel like if i don't, it may lead to a wrist injury-> which is the last thing I want. 

Below are 2 videos. One of me doing my "full" hand extension & flexion  and in the next one the hand of a friend. 

Video 1--> 


Video 2-->  
 (still being processed ATm)
 

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Connor Davies

By bend your fingers back 90 degrees I mean with a straight wrist, bending back the fingers at the knuckle joint. I would post a link to what I mean but I'm on my phone. Look in the gallery under latestarter@46 she has a few pictures on her progress with this. As far as I can tell you have beaten up your fingers doing rock climbing. I see no reason why this cant be fixed with time. If you're really worried, you can always seek professional advice.

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James Hall

Mate a specialist hand physio might be worthwhile looking into- It sounds less like wrist alone and more like an issue with muscles within the hand as well I.e. intrinsic hand muscles. They are complicated in their anatomy and extremely confusing bio mechanically. In short there are a group of muscles that have both flexion and extension at various interphalangeal or the metacarpophalangeal joints. They are implicated due to the difference in wrist and finger extension. I'm not however diagnosing so the individual muscle names aren't relevant. For those climbers out there picture your fingers on a tricky finger hold. Notice how static flexion strength at all the interphalangeal is often required independently. I'm struggling to think of any other time when these intrinsic muscles are taxed in specific positions. If you're interested in functional anatomy the hand is simply fascinating ðŸ‘😊

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Aris Tsangarides

James Hall I have studied the anatomy of the body while studying medicine in germany (hands on experience with a real Mrs.Jane Doe :P) and I agree.. the hand anatomy as well as the rest of the body is certainly fascinating. My issue however is not the understanding of human muscle anatomy, but the reason behind what's restricting certain hand movements. I completely understand the "seek to understand, before you diagnose/apply" mentality but since diagnoses never really worked for me, apart from them costing a bunchload of money, I'd rather seek to understand through doing (a sort of trial and error method where the error part is kept to a minimum to prevent any sort of injury).. If its a neurological problem, understanding the biomechanics behind the Handmusculature will just broaden ones knowledge on the subject but it won't really lead to any significant results in terms of rehabilitating the "injury/issue". I've been integrating Bipocnis' novel movement exercises in a pre-nap and post-workout routine, and will wait 2-3 months to see if it helps. All I know is that i can only benefit from those exercises.  

Thanks again Bipocni 

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Connor Davies

You may want to ask your question again over at kitlaughlin.com.  I know he lurks around the forums here but there's no guarantee he's going to see this thread.  He may well have some advice on your specific issue.  I know he knows more about flexibility than, well, he knows more about flexibility than anyone else I've ever heard of.

 

Send him a PM here or go ask on his forum.

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James Hall

Excellent, more medicos on this forum the better. I hope your jane for wasn't as old or as shrivelled as mine 😋.

Have you tried using a bucket of sand/rice/something similar for training finger extension? An elastic band works ok. Rolling your palmar aponeurosis with a golf ball?

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Aris Tsangarides

@James Hall shrivelled like a dried raisin with plenty of fat to keep us busy for a month.

At 5:45 Kit performs a stretch. I felt a very intense stretch in my hand(not as much in my fingers-amazing!!)

At 6:25 he mentions Dupuytren's Contracture..



Dupuytren's Contracture:


sounds similar--> no pain, functional deficiency yet it seems to affect people around +50 years old. 

I definitely see a correlation between the symptoms I have and the symptoms of Dupuytren's Contracture..perhaps the fascia are what's causing the restriction in motion. 

 
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James Hall

I do love how we study cadavers whose muscles have almost always wasted away. A climbers forearm on the table would be awesome😛

Mate from memory this contracture isn't easily treatable-surgically- and is associated with a more permanent contraction of the fingers. It definitely sounds like a specialist is needed. It's not something i'd want to self-diagnose not listen to a tv quack over. I'm sure everyone over 50 who watched it went away believing they had it 😉

I need to look over Kit's exercises. The video above is from his DVD and are nicely described in his book. All the best

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