Hand Strengthening - TheraPutty

For those of us on the slight side I want to look for a means to help build hand strength quicker than just my time on the Guitar.

I’ve tried the spring devices but found them to be a little lacking so I decided to brows the web and came across a product called Therapy Putty.

Surprisingly this stuff is quite the challenge for my hands. It’s come on multiple densities. The pack I purchased had 3, Medium soft , Medium and Firm. Even the Medium Soft is firm enough to give my hand a work out.

I’ve added this to my daily practice of 3 mins using different grips that help develop more muscle around the thumb.

I’ll let you know how if goes, good or bad…



Hey Libitina - I’d been contemplating the same thing.

Before restarting guitar I’d been having hand physio for something unrelated and had picked up a range of those putty and still use them. I’d also considered the D’Addario Varigrip Hand Exerciser or a more traditional grip strengthener. What was the upper kg on the one you had tried?

One thought I’d had was on the difference between hand strength in general and the very specific kind of functional strength guitar playing needs? There does seem a potential advantage on being able to do some hand exercises in down time away from the guitar. For me I’ve got a tracking issue with some of my fingers, so focus on this in addition to allowing guitar playing to bring things up to where they need to be.

Hi ,
If there’s a guitar around you don’t do this kind of thing… and there are even a lot teachers who think this is completely nonsense (Justin isn’t a fan either),

Edit: @Sound_Bound thanks for the reminder of that clay/putty :scream: :hot_face:… :grin:

Yeah, I’ve got to do the exercises anyway for a non-guitar related issue. From having engaged with a hand physio it did highlight an issue I had with overall hand strength being below par. I totally get that practicing the guitar is what builds the competency of the guitar, but perhaps in some instances there is a need to bring strength back up to what might be considered the norm?

I’ve also hung around in occupational therapy for a few years over the years, and used these things and many variants, but for building guitar muscle strength I certainly don’t recommend them, and you’re not near a guitar (shame you then :grin:) then in many cases there are things you better practice,
Are there new devices that may be better in the future, well then I assume that Justin will show and recommend them here :sunglasses:

Sorry but, I have to dissagree there, If you’ve have had physio therapy for any reason they you know they work WHEN used correctly. I too have had therapy forboth biceps and not being able to lift a cup to drink from. The putty is no different to a soft rubber ball for compression exercises with the added advantage that I can mould the putty for variations, Aslo I’ve done my guitar work for the day and the putty is on hand (pun inttended) :stuck_out_tongue:


Hi Rachel,
You’re mixing things up , but if you think it helps to get better at playing the guitar to sit with putty in your hands instead of a guitar then you’re going against a lot of guitar learning connoisseurs (I’m not one of them i just listen to them)…
my story is purely about getting better / stronger with playing the guitar … for the right fisio cases it can work very well, and sometimes it makes people much worse (but you always the case)

I never brought therapy into it lol, but, i’ll still say that compression of an object that exercises the same muscles is no bad thing in moderation. You cannot always be holding a guitar and If i need to watch a video on JG Site its perfect time for something else. :slight_smile:

I just want to save other people from buying unnecessary stuff… this topic has been covered before and I’ll just repeat Justin’s words “why in the world would you do exercises that are supposed to make you better at playing guitar without a guitar when you’re there have access to a guitar?” and I think he says something more about it, but I will stop.

What I’ve always done is to take a large newspaper and take a single sheet, put the heal of you hand on the corner of the sheet and use your fingers and thumb to scrunch it up into a ball, rinse and repeat several times. That was shown to me by a friend who is a session guitarist, she’s not a fan of the springs contraption, her method is beneficial because it involves range of movement.

Thats got nothing to do with to be honest. As a beginner I cannot hold and practice with a guitar every time I have a few spare minutes to exercise my thumb muscle simple because my finget tips wouldn’t go the distance.

With a soft item being used they can so, it’s all benefical whats more it can be even more times per day !

You dont have to be on the water to learn how to row or on the snow in ski’s to Ski, there’s more than one way to skin a cat as they say, use them.

R. :slight_smile:

Ya also gotta realize that Justin’s job is handling a guitar so it’s always at hand… some people work in an office or at a machine for 10 hours a day and can’t have a guitar with them. I would say the way it would be bad was if it was taking away time from hands on the guitar practice. Just my opinion.


My 2 cents: if you feel it’s useful, then sure, use it. However, when I see discussions about beginners trying to “stretch their fingers” and “build hand strength”, I get the feeling that the expectations are a little off.

True, you need to train the muscle between your thumb and index finger for barre chords, but it’s not the same kind of muscle building that bodybuilders do. That muscle won’t double in size and your fretting hand won’t be any bigger than the other one.

The same with “finger stretching”. Fingers won’t grow any longer, but the hands and the muscles will become more flexible and agile. The hand remains of the same size, but stretchy chords will become easier over time.

Also, most pro players exert minimal extra force when playing, some of them have a very light touch.

I’d say that if you can manage 30 minutes of daily practice on average (not doing all of it in 1 day) as a beginner, then you have nothing to worry about regarding hand strength.

The classical teacher I follow on the side, say no need for stuff to train the hands and fingers. He shows a very simple method, where all fingertips are pressed on the leg or whatever really, and then some finger exercises, different stretching and stuff they do before concert… You can do anywhere and no need to spend money on anything and you train exactly what is needed for the guitar playing. (not sure if its good behaviour to mention his name, as he is guitar teacher behind a paywall, though having free videos also) But think actually its part of their education going into serious classical music. Their warmup before a concert is also very elaborate. So maybe not a bad idea to learn some stuff from those classical nerds :blush:

I’m a big believer in general strengthening to help with any kind of physical activity (including guitar). When you’re stronger, things are easier, and you’re less likely to get injured.

There is a reason that almost all professional athletes, regardless of the sport, work out in the gym, and work on rehab and prehab exercises. Because they prevent injury and help them perform better.

My personal experience was a long time ago. I spent a lot of time at a drum kit, and also in front of a computer - studying computer science in uni and being a computer geek in general. I was around 18. I ended up with major pains in my wrist - RSI, OOS, carpal tunnel, whatever it’s called this week in your part of the world - even at such a young age. I was scared I would be permanently in pain so I quit drumming and sold my kit. It was the main reason I stopped (that and I needed the money to travel and see a girl… that’s another story). My career was going to be in front of a keyboard. The pain didn’t go away, though.

So I did some research, and started using hand grippers. Things that look like this. Not those exact ones though. I started with a light set, and used them a few times a day, every day. The pain went away. Then I graduated to stronger ones over time.

The pain has never come back.

Eventually I went to the gym and lifted weights. I don’t use the grippers anymore. Lifting weights uses your grip strength, which does the same thing, to a degree. I’ve been inconsistent with gym over the years and as I’ve got older I’ve got a couple more persistent injuries/niggles (caused by working at a computer and some sports stuff, not wrist related). The pain goes away when I go to the gym, but if I don’t go for a couple of weeks, it comes back. Hmm, gotta be something in that…

Having strong grip strength helps with barre chords, or playing for extended durations. No, of course you don’t need to do it. And I don’t believe there would be any “guitar-specific” benefits other than general hand strengthening. But that is probably a good thing in general. I see lots of posts from people with hand pain and fatigue issues and I can’t help but think that some general strength & endurance would help.


Couldn’t agree more.