Elastic Band open/shuts
Judokas are constantly clenching the gi and therefore utilizing the flexor muscles in the forearm a great deal more than the ones used to open the fist. Elastic bands open/shuts will strengthen the opening muscles and tendons thus creating a balance between the two muscles. To perform open shuts simply place an elastic band over your fingers and begin opening and shutting your fingers. At the beginning start with one elastic band and perform around 50 repetitions and slowly build up to 100 repetitions with 2 or 3 elastic bands.
Stretch your forearms
Make sure you stretch your forearm muscles, especially after an intense training session. So many Judo players finish Randori, bow off and head home without stretching. Stretching will help loosen the muscles in the forearms and prevent any future injuries.
Tape your fingers
There are a few things you can do that will prevent finger injuries when doing Judo. Care for your fingers by:
- Warming them up before practice
- Keep your nails cut short
- don't entwine your fingers within your opponents Gi
- Do finger strengthening exercise
- Tape them every session.
I tape my fingers every session, whether it is with one my clients, a technical session or a Randori session. For me personally I 'feel' stronger when I'm taped up, and if something as simple as taped fingers makes me feel stronger when fighting, then I'm going to do it.
Avoid 'locking out' in the gym
Locking out is a lifting term which describes straightening a knee or elbow joint as far as it can go when performing exercises such as bench press or squats. 'Locking out' results in your joint bearing the load opposed to the muscles. It is important to protect your joints by not locking out when strength training. Always keep a slight bend in your joints at all times. This will also mean that your muscles are constantly under tension opposed to your joints giving them a quick break every now and then.
Locking out is mostly seen during a bench press but exercises such as shoulder press, dips and other lifts where the elbow is extending. It is important when performing these exercises to keep a slight bend in the elbow joint.
If you implement these strategies into your day-to-day training and lifestyle you will find that you will not suffer from any forearm or finger problems.
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