As a guitarist, I have often heard that it was not good to train your hand with certain aggressive strength training tools. Are the more aggressive tools for strengthening your hand (Finger Pullups, Grip Master, and the like in the image below). Many other guitarists swear by these tools as a way to improve their skill. Grip master and similar products

My concern is that these tools can increase the risk of Carpal tunnel syndrome for an already risky activity (guitar playing) in a world of risky activities (typing, keyboard use, computer mice, cell phones, etc.)

My question was inspired by the question here:https://music.stackexchange.com/q/2298/15535

The actual question is: Does the use of such hand strength training tools such as these increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, and by how much?

2 Answers 2


i agree with Ramyar, since CTS is the result of nerves in the wrist area (on the palmar side) being stuck and under pressure due to direct and prolonged pressure (while using mouse, keyboard, etc.-but most cases are idiopathic) and narrowing of the tunnel through which the nerve passes(due to thickening of the sheaths, tendons etc. as a result of constant pressure on the spot) and finally damage to the nerves; any activity helping to widen the canal and to lift the pressure off the nerves in a suffice proper interval, to stretch tendons and also at the same time, to strengthen the muscles supporting wrist- both flexors and extensors- will most probably help counteract the pathophysiology of CTS.(exercises with tools like powerballs which provide pressure outwards so they help stretch your wrist while also strengthening it and the muscles (flexors) that support it by squeezing the ball ,and etc.- but should keep in mind that you also need to strengthen your extensors too, and to avoid direct and high pressure to the base of your palm and the wrist) BUT!!! you should always be careful about any exercise you are going to do with delicate parts like your wrist, and if you are suffering or are concerned about your wrist, you'd better pay a visit to your doctor for proper evaluation and counseling. if you hurt your wrist or your median nerve passing through carpal tunnel, it will take quite a while to fully recover if any recovery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668198/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5820891/ there are also findings that disprove any of such discussions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072780/

  • I like your answer and it is helpful to me, but lets say I wanted to provide a recommendation to a guitar student. Aside from a powerball like device, is it likely these contraptions will do harm? I have spent some time recommending against these devices (Powerball/stress ball excluded) and I want to know if my advice has been incorrect.
    – amalgamate
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 18:00
  • Perhaps instead there is a correct way and an incorrect way to use them. I think you may have hinted in this direction.
    – amalgamate
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 18:01

as a medical doctor I have not seen such a phenomenon !your ability as a professional guitarist can be affected by working with such devices due to the fact that these device may increase the muscular tones ! but it does not related to CTS.

  • Can you provide any backup for your assertions?
    – JohnP
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 0:54
  • womenshealthbulletin.sums.ac.ir/…
    – Ramyar
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 18:24
  • ir.lib.uth.gr/handle/11615/27298
    – Ramyar
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 18:24
  • 1
    The links are either dead or unclear. Thank you for your answer, BTW. Perhaps I would be more convinced by an answer that explains if there is a right way and a wrong way to use these tools, explains the physiology involved in CTS and why these tools do not present an issue or an answer that has some data, study or even a reference to back up any assertions. Still I appreciate your input.
    – amalgamate
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 15:12

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