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I don't have access to a piano every day of the week, but want to keep my flexibility. Searching on the Internet, I found many kinds of contraptions and devices that claim that they help keep and improve dexterity and strength. Including:

  • Finger weights, where small weighted rings are worn on each finger
  • Buttons that fit in your grip, where there is pressure when each one is pushed

Does anyone have experience with such or other devices, and do they really help?

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This came as a surprise, but as far as strength is concerned, I felt a positive difference in my playing after using a Powerball.

I'm guessing, but I'll let others confirm or correct this, that this could be useful for other instruments as well, such as guitar.

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I'll look in to this, but it seems to increase wrist strength instead of finger strength. Am I mistaken with this? What is the difference of this from a dumbbell? – TiansHUo May 5 '11 at 4:16
Well, they indeed sell this as a fitness device aimed at increasing wrist and forearm strength, but I noticed that I could last longer when playing demanding bass lines (e.g. boogie). Dumbbells target higher zones if I'm not mistaken, although it depends on how you use them. The main difference with dumbbells I think is that I feel no strain after using a powerball, even the next day. – Anthony Labarre May 5 '11 at 6:07

Out-side the box, personal experience: Any exercise will do.

  • Raquet-ball: Only one hand gets much work, but gets your whole body moving and blood circulating. This game works well because it is intense. (wear eye protection, it really is necessary)
  • Moving rocks: There are lots of large rocks on our property and I move them around to make walls or steps or what-not. This is more of an all day sort of thing.
  • Hammer-drill: Concrete screws require a hole to be pre-drilled. This I find to be the most helpful. It is also satisfactory because it's not going anywhere, almost no matter how much weight you put on it. (assuming you have good concrete or blocks). The hammer-drill required to pre-drill the hole creates a vibration that tends to strengthen the body parts involved.

After any of these activities, my piano skill is improved.

The general concept is, over-use is really just that you are under-using the rest of your body. The human body has tremendous capacity, but is often never used due to the comforts we provide ourselves with (air-conditioning, TV, computer).

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