Strength in the fretting hand

Over the last couple of weeks or so, I’ve been noticing that my fretting hand feels a lot stronger than it used to. Shouldn’t come as a surprise, with all the barre chord training, but my hand feels tangibly different than it used to. Like I could crush rocks between my thumb and index finger now. I keep looking down at my hand thinking “is this really my hand?”. I can also stretch my fingers way further apart and independent finger movement is vastly better.

It’s a particularly odd feeling because of the asymmetry. My right hand feels the same as it always did.

I guess this would be a pretty common experience for people learning guitar.

I don’t really have a point to this post, except perhaps to say – the practice routine is definitely having an effect! :smiley:


Keep at it. You seem to be doing just fine. :slight_smile:

This is good to know, l’m also practicing my barre chords and wondering if the soreness I feel in the hand is only the positive consequence of workout or I’m doing something wrong…the wrist seems in a good position…I think it’s just soreness but wouldn’t like to harm my hand…I need it!

If the soreness is in the muscles between your thumb and first finger, then I think that is just because you are building up strength in those muscles, so it’s fine. But obviously I’m not a medical professional, so if it feels wrong or you’re concerned you are doing damage, then you should probably get some proper advice on that.

Wrist position is definitely something to look out for. In my previous run at learning guitar I had terrible wrist position and had a lot of wrist pain as a result. But it sounds like you’re on top of that.


I’m actually concerned as I happened to do very badly with my fingerpicking hand, over stimulating the tendos there…but I think I’m doing better with the fretting hand :sweat_smile:

Totally normal I think Brendan. I’m right handed but after several years playing guitar the muscle between my thumb and fingers on my left hand is bigger than on my right hand. My left wrist has become slightly thicker than my right. Overall though my right hand is still stronger.


Only because you’re still using your right hand for other things. You’ve had some decent weather for a change in Scotland so I’d expect you’ve been busy taking care of your botanic garden my good friend.

You’re going to feel some soreness. It’s just like exercising. Remember to listen to your body though and don’t over do it. Take it slowly to build up those muscles. Don’t want you injured and unable to play a game of thumb war.

Yes it’s a funny thing. Although my left hand has become good at fretting guitar chords and is stronger than it used to be, I would never use my left hand to do other tasks like using a hammer, a saw, cutting something with a knife etc etc.

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I’m right handed and when it comes to opening a bottle I use the left hand to turn the lid. So I suppose there are things we use our weakest hand to do without thinking about it. Since learning that F chord there are no stuck lids in my house hold :wink:

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It is important to recognise soreness due to exercise against inflammation of the tendons due to poor technique or overloading.

For instance I did a season for a company building some of the biggest Festival Stages in the country. I aways had general muscle soreness all over as I became stronger but the weight of some of the kit required such grip in my hands and wrists that became so painful I could no longer play guitar for a few months after the season finished.

That is an extreme example but the same kind of pain can occur just through playing the wrong way.

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My experience with this kind of injury is that the pain mainly occurs after practice, and as a sharp stabbing pain that occurs unexpectedly when you move your arm and hand in certain ways.

Here’s a link to my experiences with Trigger Point Therapy to treat pain caused by poor technique. There are lots of other suggestions in that thread as well.