Knitting Health: Exercises for Knitters

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To prevent knitting injuries, your hands also need some pre-knitting work-out. These exercises for knitters are specially designed to help prevent pain or debilitating injuries.

In fact, we’ve all heard the warnings about what injuries knitting brings with it, the horror stories of friends who’ve needed operations on their hands, wrists, or fingers in order to correct an RSI they suffered while crafting some glorious sweater.

Close-up to a back of a woman's hands pushed against the edge of a blue table followed by a text area which says "Knitting Health: Exercises for Knitters,, " followed by the LKO lettermark

Knitting injuries are real, I know. While they may not be as confronting as an injury inflicted on an elite footballer, like a torn hamstring or ruptured tendon, the consequences are just as painful and debilitating as that.

You may not be running around a football oval, tackling the opposition, but the stresses knitting puts on your body are just as serious.

The pain might only begin with a niggly little inconvenience that lasts for a few minutes. But left unchecked, that niggly pain will quickly grow into a full-blown repetitive strain injury if you don’t prepare yourself for it.

There are many stories of people that left the pain alone, not bothering to pay it the attention it deserved. Don’t be one of them. Take care of yourself now and avoid the pain in the future.

How to Limit Injury

The aim of the following exercises for knitters is to reduce the chances of you getting repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel, or any other number of hands, wrist, or shoulder injuries.

While there are a huge number of exercises you can find to help you effectively a warm-up for your next knitting session, I’ve found the following to be simple, easily completed, and effective in what I want from them.

Exercises for knitters to help reduce the injury

Exercise #1: Extensor Stretch

One of my favorites to strengthen and work the wrist muscles. This exercise is easiest when sitting at the kitchen table. Sit back far enough that your palms just sit on top of the table.

With your arms straight out in front, bend your wrists with your fingers pointing down to the floor.

Back of the hands pushed against the edge of a blue table, doing the extensor knitter's exercise

Gently press the backs of both hands into the edge of the table. Make sure to have the backs of your knuckles pushing the table so your wrists are able to bend a little. Hold for around 20 seconds and then repeat 3 times.

Exercise #2: Flexor Stretch

Another one of my favorite exercises to do, this one is almost identical to the extensor stretch above. Sit at your kitchen table, far enough back that only the palms reach your table top.

With your arms held straight, touch your fingertips along the edge of the table and slowly push your arm forward.

Hands with palms pushed against the edge of a blue table, doing the flexor knitter's exercise

It’s like you’re trying to push your arms under the table but your fingers are holding you back. You should feel the stretch through the underside of your wrists. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat 3 times.

Exercise #3: Hands Tendon Glides

This exercise is completed in 3 steps, finishing with a fist. The first step is to hold your palms up and stretch the fingers apart and back on themselves. Next, curl just the tip of your fingers down to the knuckles.

Relax, repeat the initial stretch, then fold the fingertips all the way down to the palms and hold. Repeat the initial stretch, parting your fingers and stretching them back. Finally, make a fist.

Hands doing the four key steps of the Hands Tendon Glides exercise for knitters.

After reading about these simple but effective hand exercises, why not protect your hands further from pain or possible injury by following these tips from this article: Knitting Health: 16 Tips for Avoiding Knitting Pain.


  1. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for the helpful exercises I realize that I do all but the finger stretch and making a fist. I tried it now and an feel the tension so I know that I will be doing that exercise.

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