Roskopf in the Box – The Happy Mapping of Arms – Part 4

OK, here is the 4th and final installment of the mapping of the arms. We are going to now cover the wrist and hand. . 
Here’s a bit of irony. A number of people who have come to me with serious use-induced problems in their wrists or hands don’t even have a wrist in their body maps. They think their hands just meet their forearms at the location of the wrist. 

Here is a wrist. It is comprised of 8 bones. The collective joints created by these 8 bones is a lot…like a million or something like that. What we are going for with wrists is simple. We want no pressure on them, in particular no chronic pressure. We want a long easy sweep of skin and muscle and tendon across the joint, and we want full mobility with no retracting across the joint in movement. We want the fingers to move without the wrist stiffening, even when gripping or striking. In order to achieve the freeing of the wrist it needs to be accurately mapped. 

Notice that the first joint of the thumb is at the wrist rather than at the end of a metacarpal. Chronic tightening of the wrist loses the thumb its mobility in relation to the other fingers and then the thumb will not lie easily in the palm as it should. So, free your wrist, free your thumb. 
One final piece I have always been fascinated with….fingers and palms. I have found that a lot of us think our palm to be very large and our fingers to be much shorter than they truly are. 
Touch your thumb and pinky together. See the crease created at the wrist? This is where your thumb begins. Your thumb begins at your wrist. Now bend just your pinkly finger all by itself. See if you can find where it really bends from. See how it really begins down in the hand, not at the webbing of the skin. Try this with all your fingers and you will see that the fingers are all much longer and mobile than you may have thought and the palm is really no larger than a quarter or silver dollar at most. I like to think of the scene in the move “Terminator” when he pulls the skin off of his hand to reveal an extremely articulate collection of artificial bones and joints. He was soooooo mobile.

Practice moving your fingers from the correct place and you will experience consistent opening of the tissues of the hand and wrist. You’ll see your front rack position become much easier and grip strength when doing pullups or holding a barbell or kettlebell increase dramatically. 

If you have questions about this, ask me when you see me at the box. I will gladly demonstrate.

To contact Rich, either give him a call at
503-939-2524 or email him at 

Conable, Barbara, and William Conable. How to Learn the Alexander Technique: A Manual for Students. Portland, OR: Andover, 1995. Print.