5 Effective Finger Stretches For Guitar

Keeping our fingers limber and flexible is important – We’ve put together our top five finger stretches for guitar to help you stay sharp!

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In this free lesson you will learn…

  • 5 effective finger stretches
  • How to properly roll your finger joints to loosen muscle tension
  • The importance of seeking medical advice for your muscles
  • The importance of good posture

Caring For Yourself As Much As Your Instrument

The guitar is an instrument that causes you pain the first day you play it.

Everybody remembers feeling like the guitar string is slicing a finger open before that finger develops a callus.

  • The guitar can cause discomfort so many ways!
  • The strap cuts into your neck. Barre chords make your hand do weird things.
  • You lose sensation in your fingers. Your forearms hurt. Your shoulders slouch.

You may have read about guitarists who come back from horrible injury to reclaim their successful careers – Pat Martino, Larry Carlton, Ani DiFranco, etc. – but, for obvious reasons, you hear significantly less about people who got hurt and had to give up the guitar.

Today we’ll get into some easy ways that you can retain and improve flexibility, endurance, and dexterity so that you can enjoy playing the guitar and avoid unnecessary pain and injury.


Doing finger stretches for guitar will improve the circulation in your hands and forearms and help you stay flexible.

  • Although the focus is on the fingers since that’s what we use directly on the guitar, what happens elsewhere in the body impacts how effectively we use them.
  • For that reason, our finger stretches for guitar also include some posture-improvement stretches and general exercises to maintain strength and movement.

Do these finger stretches for guitar regularly, and you will be happily playing guitar as long as you like!

Just don’t overdo them!


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Finger Stretches for Guitar, Before You Pick Up the Guitar

There are a few things that some guitarists do almost constantly, even when they’re nowhere near their guitars.

  • Hand massages are amazing. You can do them at any time, anywhere, and it keeps your hands loose and ready to play.
  • An awful lot of us spend our non-guitar time at the computer or on the phone or doing other things with our hands that can cause the types of discomfort or injury we’re liable to experience playing guitar.

Fold some of these techniques into your finger stretches for guitar and you’ll have a routine that keeps your hands and arms feeling good!


Finger Stretches For Guitar: Hand Massages

Your hands have two main muscle groups, as you can see in the diagram above.

One is between your thumb and first finger, and the other goes up the pinky side of your hand.

  • When we play the guitar, we’re gripping chords or notes with the fretting hand and gripping the pick or fingerpicking with the other hand, so those muscles need some love.
  • Spend all the time you like massaging these muscles and gently moving the joints of your thumb.
  • The thumb muscle group in particular gets a lot of work and no praise when we play the guitar!

To keep your wrists healthy, gently massage the area where your hand meets your wrist, but be sure not to use too much force.

The goal is mobility and openness!


Finger Stretches For Guitar: Injury Prevention For Your Finger Muscles

That hand diagram doesn’t show much in the way of finger muscles. Weird, right?

  • That is because your finger muscles attach at your forearm, and that is where the business end of those muscles is.
  • One of the most common career-stalling problems for a guitarist is tendinitis.

Tendinitis is an inflammatory condition that locks up your forearm, feeling a bit like a permanent muscle cramp. without some care, it can make it very painful and difficult to play the guitar.

You can keep your forearm muscles and tendons functioning smoothly by administering self-massage to your forearms, near your elbows.


Look at everything going on in your forearm!

  • There are four layers of muscles, all of which are heavily involved in playing the guitar.
  • This is where finger stretches for guitar extend far beyond the fingers themselves.
  • Use your thumb to gently press into these muscle groups, feeling for anywhere that feels sore or tender.

Again, do not apply too much force, especially to any tender areas.

Those areas may benefit from fascial release, which you should learn about with the help of a bodywork professional.

We are not in the business of advertising products, but if you do have a case of professionally diagnosed tendonitis, you may want to consult with your provider about getting one of these little life savers: the Armaid.


Pro-Tip: We’re experienced guitar players and teachers, and we’re interested in your health and longevity as a musician!

We are not, however, medical professionals. If any part of the finger stretches for guitar or the self-massage techniques we’re describing feels in any way painful or wrong, please get off the internet and go see a live person who has a degree or two in how your body works!

Finger Stretches For Guitar: Preparing The Fingers

There are plenty more finger stretches for guitar that can prepare you for a pain-free and exhilarating practice session, jam, or gig.

Hand and forearm massage prepare your body by improving the circulation in those muscles and loosening everything up before you pick up the guitar.

There are similar things you can do for your fingers to prepare to play.

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