Beginners Guide to Hand Strengthening Program with Slow Recovery Foam

What is Slow Recovery Foam and why should I use it?

Secur Slow Recovery foam blocks are made of 100% memory foam which returns to its original shape when squeezed and released. They are soft to the touch and provide a range of resistances that allow for individually tailored grip strengthening programs; a perfect sensory tool for those who are new to these types of programs.

This sensory equipment is ideal if you have never done a hand grip strengthening program before, and this blog post goes into deeper detail of how to start one. Our Slow Recovery Foam is also a good hand exerciser tool for those who have experienced recent wrist or hand injuries, stiffness, or arthritis, as it is a simple way to start recovering your hand strength or movement.

Which colour foam should I use?

Our Secur Slow Recovery Foam is available in 4 different colours and their corresponding resistances. X-Soft Yellow foam is perfect for weaker hands or people just starting out with the hand strengthening program, and then progress with Soft Red, then Medium Blue and finishing with Firm Green which offers the most resistance. This is ideal for people at the end of the program or those who already have a reasonably strong grip but would like to increase strength further. We offer an assorted pack that includes all four colours if you aren't sure which resistance works best for you, or you plan to increase the resistance over time.

What are the best hand strengthening exercises for beginners?

Below, we’ve compiled a list of basic exercises to do with slow recovery foam blocks if you’re just starting out with a hand grip strengthening program.

1. Grip

Hold your chosen slo foam block in the palm of your hand. Squeeze, exerting as much pressure as possible, holding for 1-2 seconds before gently releasing.

Holding foam block in your handHolding foam block tightly in your palm

2. In-Hand Grip Rotation

Start by lightly gripping the foam block in one palm, then gently spin or rotate the block while still holding it in your hand. Your wrist should not be moving much; your fingers should be doing most of the work.

Gripping the foam block in your handGently spin or rotate the slo foam in your palmGently move your fingers around the foam

3. Three Finger Pinch

Hold the foam block with your index and middle finger on one side, and your thumb positioned on the other side. Pinch thumb and other fingers together, exerting as much pressure as possible until they almost meet, squeezing the foam between them. Gently release.

Hold the foam with your index and middle fingerPinch your fingers together to squeeze the foam

4. Tip to Tip Pinch

Hold the foam block with just the tip of your index finger and the tip of your thumb. Pinch finger tips together, squeezing the foam between them. Gently release.

Hold the foam with just the tip of your index fingerPinch your fingers together to squeeze the foam

5. Thumb Flexion

Gently grip your chosen foam block in the palm of your hand. Your four fingers should be wrapped around the length of the block, with your thumb resting on the top. Press your thumb down into the foam block, towards your pinky. Gently release.

Gently grip your slo foam block in your handPress your fingers and thumb into the foam

6. Tip Grip

Begin in the same position that you would use for a Thumb Flexion exercise (see activity E), but have just the tips of your fingers resting against the foam block. Squeeze your middle three fingertips into the foam. Gently release.

Gently grip your slo foam block in your palmSqueeze your three fingertips into the foam

Not all hand grip strengthening exercises have to be done with the full foam block! The slow recovery foam is a material that is easily cut with scissors or other implements. Fine motor skills and in-hand manipulation can be improved with smaller pieces of foam.

7. Fine Motor Skills

Cut your chosen foam block into several small pieces, around 1cm x 1cm. Once the foam has been cut, put all pieces together on a desk and take turns picking up each piece. Pinch the piece with your index finger and thumb, and then tuck it into your palm to then pick up the next piece. Once you can’t pick up any more pieces, try a few squeezes and gentle releases of the foam. This exercise is beneficial for strengthening your pinch and improving fine motor skills.

Cutting Secur Slow Foam into 1cm x 1cm piecesPinching and picking up foam pieces with index finger and thumbSqueezing and releasing small foam piece in the hand

8. Web Space Stretches

You will need a new foam block for this exercise. Cut the block into several long strips; you will use four strips during the activity. Place a single strip between each of your fingers. Bend your fingers to close against your palm, then release and straighten. Repeat. This exercise is designed to loosen the muscles between your fingers allowing you to grip things easier.

Cutting the slo foam block into long stripsPlacing foam strips between fingers for handgrip exercise

Want to change it up slightly but not ready to move on to the next resistance strength yet? These foam blocks are very absorbent; soak them in water and try out the full hand squeezing exercises (see exercises A and B). A small amount of resistance is added to again improve grip strength, and a multi-sensory aspect is now involved in the exercise.

Caring for your Slow Recovery Foam:

Due to the material’s nature, the foam blocks can be kept almost anywhere, though try to avoid conditions which may make the sensory tools dirty. These blocks can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth or sponge, and then air dried.

Please note that this post is not a therapeutic intervention program - we recommend seeking advice from your hand therapist for a personally tailored hand strengthening program.

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