T Nation

Stronger hands and fingers

Everytime i lift heavy without gloves, or dunk hard in basketball my fingers either develop small cuts or hurt like hell or both.

Does anyone else suffer from the same problems?

How can one make his hand and fingers–in particular-- stronger and more capable of taking a beating?

Look up something called an iron claw bag. It is used by martial artists to toughen their hands.

What kind of work do you do? Just from lifting alone, I have tons of callouses.

use moisturiser :slight_smile:

Get some cardboard boxes. The ones that grocery stores use or restaurants get thier eggs etc. delivered in. Start tearing them into 4" pieces. Do a few boxes twice a week. It puts alot of stress on the skin and will toughen 'em up in no time. It’s great for the forearms as well.

do you lift without gloves?

i used to have the same problem, dunking etc would cause them to hurt like mad (dunking hard/hanging). thats when i lifted with gloves.

if you lift without gloves your hands should develop some good tolerance (calesous) to pain and not be so tender/sensative when you dunk.

most every bball player i know is afraid of calesous etc, they think it will mess up their shot or something… it doesnt though :slight_smile: at least in my case it doesnt and with some of my friends it doesn’t also, they seem pretty soft when playing, the calesous aren’t 100% rock hard.

anyway hope that helps

no gloves/straps son! if you already do that, then i got nothing for you :slight_smile:

What do you mean exactly by cuts and tears ? On your hands or on your fingers ? I lift heavy and while I cannot dunk (5’8) I also play basketball… Are you getting cuts from the equipment or is the skin on your hands really thin ? Keep lifting til you develop calluses and they should help deaden the pain in at least your hands…
If you are developing cracks and cuts in the joints of your fngers, drink more water and use mositurizer to keep your hands from cracking.

Hope this helps. JAY

Here’s a good exercise to use to strengthen hands and fingers:
Get yourself a big 10 gallon paint bucket from a hardware store and fill it up with kidney beans. Then practice by driving your open hand, one at a time into the bucket. Do this for 20 minutes 3x a week. Your hands will eventually get stronger.

Hope that helps!!

when i dunk and hang the callouses on the bottom segment of my finger tear off and bleed like crazy

how big are they loop? mine are between pennies/dimes, they rarely if ever bleed.

ok i guess the option is to stop dunking and go ahead and do some oldschool oldfashioned layup dunks :slight_smile:

Last time I dunked, it bled profusely. I had just got finished saving two small infants and an elderly woman from a 15 story apartment building. It wouldnt have hurt my hands except I had to scale the brick on the outside of the building to get in. I then filled several pitchers of water and carried them and put out fires as I came back down the stairs while carrying the soon to be rescued.

I then sprinted 2 miles in 10 minutes to make it to my basketball game in time. Luckily, I kept a guy from getting car jacked and he gave me a ride the remaining 5 miles.

After pushing his car a quarter mile, when it ran out of gas, my hands had started to get raw and then as soon as I dunked the ball I bent a nail and it bled really bad.

thank you for reading my story.

Yeah you’ve ended up with what are known as ‘rips’ where the hard callous tears away from the soft skin. I have the same problem.

Ignore all the 'ardmen telling you to suck it up. Theres no point in suffering for no reason. I personally don’t like gloves because of the loss of feel and grip strength so I just file the callouses down, simple.

I am hoping someone can help me. I am having a problem with banging my head on the rim when playing ball. I don’t realize how high I am and BOOM, my head hits the rim. Any advice???


I should have clarified a bit more, its basically always my fingers that start bleeding, but the reason i asked about hands as well is because i want to increase my grip strength as well.

Anyway i have attached a picture, there is no bleeding, but you can still see the blood bluid up under the skin of all 3 big fingers( i have put a small box around the areas). The last time i played ball was thursday so these arent anything close to what i suffer from during a full game, or worst of all a dunk off against someone. I will be participating in a game on thursday and might have fresh pictures with the actual bloody state i am trying to describe by then, lol.

I remember when i used to be a kid growing up i used to be like “look at those taller idiots if i could dunk, i would be throwing it down hard enough to crash the board every time.” But now that i have a great vert and good height i end up having to lay it in because my fingers hurt when i throw it down. Which really blows cause i worked way too hard to get my vert up and be capable of dunking.

I notice alot more blood build up, or bleeding when dunking on rims that dont have springs ( you know the rims they have on the street and backyards). I also notice a little build up of bloos to a smaller extend when doing a heavy workout without gloves.

Anyways thanks for all the advice as yet. I really do appreciate it.


personally my hands are like rocks covered with sandpaper. I started working construction at 10 with sledgehammers and chisels. I played baseball for 5 years (catcher). Boxed for 3 as well as lifted on and off during that time, I have been playing the drums for the past 12 years ( i am 23 now). anyway what this boils down to is the toughening of hands takes a long time. and it only happens from constant use and work! be patient…start carrying things like large rocks, toss them for distance, do more gardening with your bare hands…you get the idea.

Screw it, just keep dunking!!!

If your women complains that your hands are rough, then tell her to touch herself! HA

Also, using chalk can help…

I’m just going to speak for your teammates (and possibly the other team). Please carry some alcohol swaps with you onto the court and thoroughly wipe the ball of any and all bodily secretions before you pass or shoot the ball.

eeeww, you are just sick you virus spreading vagabond.

Actually, the moisturizer suggestion would be a good idea. As someone else mentioned, I personally get ‘rips’ in the skin from when callousy areas pull away from the soft surrounding areas when the hands get dry.

I also just brainstormed that you could try bandaids (I think) liquid bandages and liberally coat the area before you play. Its elastic and tends to stay on quite well. As long as you dont get your finger tips, it shouldnt affect your sense of feeling or your ‘touch’. Of course, if you are a backboard busting, lane violating, ball dunking, bad mofo, then you probably dont have ‘touch’ anyway. hehe (Thats what people who cant dunk say. I did grab the rim once, but my fingers didnt bleed.)

are you hitting the rim as hard as you can?

I was until this thing started becoming too annoying.

“you are a backboard busting, lane violating, ball dunking, bad mofo, then you probably dont have ‘touch’ anyway”
Bang on brother. Thats the reason dunking is so important to me, because being a menance in the post is the only way i get respect from the other team(and my teammates) cause i sure as hell aint a consistent shooter.

I really like that liquid band-aid idea, i am going to give it a shot this thursday.

I am using an empty bucket of 15 pound weight gainer filled with beans and even pebbles like adviced above and even though i have done it only once as yet, i can sure as hell say either my hands will get stronger within a few weeks of doing this or they will die.

Thanks for the advice fellas, it was truly helpful.