Tight forearm muscles are tricky because very often people don’t even realize that they have them. And for the most part yoga teachers don’t really go on about the underside of the forearm that much. We hear lots about the hips and hamstrings, even the rotator cuff, but when was the last time you heard a teacher say we are going to work on the flexor digitorum profundus, or the flexor pollisis longus.
Those two muscles are the deepest layer of muscle on the underside of the forearm. If a teacher mentions the flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus or maybe the flexor digitorum superficialis they would be referring to the intermediate and superficial layers of what are usually extremely tight forearm muscles.
These muscles mostly pass through the carpal tunnel and under the flexor retinaculum of yesterday’s post. Their tension can affect the median nerve that also passes through the carpal tunnel and causes grief for so many people (carpal tunnel syndrome). I see these muscles as technological muscles because of the abuse they take from out modern way of living—living on our smartphones and sitting at a desk and computer for endless hours with our fingers on the keys or a mouse. As a teacher it is my job to repeat myself ad nauseum and one of my favorite refrains is any stretch that makes you moan and groan in class, you probably want to do about ten times a day until it gets easier.
The tight forearm muscles on the underside of your arm below the elbow usually fall into this category. I have been teaching the stretch in the video at the top for a number of years now and I am consistently amazed at just how tight some people are. When I ask students to turn the fingers around in the direction of the toes a good ten percent of the room can’t turn more than a quarter of the way around. And I feel for those people sincerely. If you fall into this category you don’t have to get on your hands and knees like I do in the video. You can do this at your desk every time you get up for a break or even standing and putting your hands on a wall. Be creative— find a way to stretch your tight forearm muscles.
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