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Guitar Finger Stretching Exercises (Advice from a Medical Doctor)


Playing guitar is an athletic activity, and just like we need to stretch our muscles before a run, we also need to stretch out our fingers before a practice session or gig. I'm going to share an incredibly quick and effective finger stretching exercise I learnt from a fantastic fingerstyle guitarist by the name of Alex Kabasser, who also happens to be a medical doctor. I met him in Austria at the Thomas Leeb acoustic guitar boot camp around 10 years ago where he was one of the teachers, and this simple stretching exercise has stuck with me ever since and I believe it will be of great value to you.

Welcome to 'Fingerstyle For The World', my online lesson series where I strive to help guitarists around the world become better musicians.


Before You Begin:

Download my free resources to guide you along!


Step 1: Stretching the digits

Use the thumb, index, and middle fingers of your right hand to stretch the joint each digit of the fingers and thumb on your left hand.

Repeat the process on your other hand.

Step 2: Stretching the knuckles and wrist

Press the palm of your right hand against all 4 fingers of your left hand, stretching the muscles under your knuckles.

Relax the knuckles of your left hand and allow your hand to stretch backward at the wrist.

Repeat the process on your other hand.

Step 3: Hammering the webs of your fingers

Use your right hand like a chopper and hammer the webs between all your fingers of your left hand.

Repeat the process on your other hand.

Step 4: massaging the palms

Use the thumb of your right hand to gently massage the palm of your left hand. Pay special attention to the muscles between your thumb and index finger.

Repeat the process on your other hand.

That's it! the whole exercise is done.

Why I use this exercise and why you should too

This little stretching exercise takes less than a minute, but does wonders in waking up my hands and fingers before a gig or practice session. I find myself doing it the most is in the backseat of a taxi while travelling to a gig. Not only does it enable me to warm up my hands when I am physically unable to do so on my instrument, it's become a sort of mental preparation before a gig. After stretching I feel psyched and ready to go!

In my head I imagine I'm an athlete doing stretches before a big run. There's something about watching athletes do their warmups, you feel this sense of anticipation and preparation, both physical and psychological.


I hope you enjoy adding this little stretching exercise to your daily practice routine. Let me know in the comments: do you do any finger stretching exercises? What are some different exercises that have worked for you?

Also, follow along my musical journey on my YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and website as I share new music videos and lessons each and every week.

Until next time, I'll see you again!

By Neil Chan

3 kommentarer

Mark Darvill
Mark Darvill
30. mar.

Hi Neil, many thanks for the stretches above! I'm a guitarist, and I found your website recently while looking for information about stretces for instrumentalists. One thing that there seems to be a lack of consensus on is whether it's better to stretch before or after a practice/gig; I've found some people saying that before is better and some saying that after is better. So, I'm wondering what you think; should a guitarist stretch before or after playing, or both? Or perhaps there are certain stretches that are good to do before and some for after? Any info you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Mark D (fellow Thomas Leeb Bootcamp Alumnus!)

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Mark Darvill
Mark Darvill
16. apr.
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Hi Neil!

Many thanks for your reply; all the info is very useful. One quick final question for now: When you say you stretch in the morning even if you're not about to practice or perform, do you also mean the same stretches that you've demonstrated above?

Thanks, Mark

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