Backwards Arches

Backwards arches open the joints.

As well as stretching the “clenching” muscles, they increase the flow of blood to joints, and prevent calcium deposits along the outer joint surfaces.

Many backwards arches can be performed against a surface. Often your thigh can be used – but any surface will do.

Backward arch : wrist

Opening the hand should normally begin with the wrist.

The fingers should not be extended at the same time – that’s a different pose.

Backward arch : index finger : first knuckle

The first knuckle is the first that should be opened up.

Here force is applied beyond the second knuckle – but stretching that in incidental – the idea behind applying force far from the joint is to get leverage.

Backward arch : index finger : second knuckle

The second knuckle is more delicate than the first. Do not apply so much force – and exercise caution.

Backward arch : index finger : third knuckle

The third knuckle is the most delicate. However it’s not easy to get enough leverage to apply excess force accidentally.

Backward arch : index finger : all joints

This is a compound stretch involving all the knuckle joints and the wrist. It is intended to stretch long muscles – rather than individual joints.

You have a fair bit of leverage here – and the stretched muscles are relatively few – exercise some caution.

Compound stretches dealing only with two or three consecutive joints are worthwhile – but are not illustrated here.

  • The stretches on this page all show the left index finger – for illustrative purposes. However they should be practiced on all the digits of each hand.
  • Stretching the fingers one at a time gives maximum leverage. However, stretching several fingers at once saves time – and can be attractive because of this.
  • Few of your hand joints are hinges – you will find most of them multiple degrees of freedom.

This is of most relevance here because it allows back arches to be forformed at different angles.

The most important is straight backwards – but backwards-and-to-the-left and backwards-and-to-the-right are also possibilities – and they should be practiced as well.

One of the main reasons the different directions are significant is that they allow different joint surfaces to be pressed together – preventing calcium deposits arising.