6 Tips For Warmer Fingers During The Winter

These are my tips for keeping your digits warm and ready for fast action anytime, anywhere.

Ultimate Guitar
Winter. I'm not big on it. If you play any instrument that involves dexterous finger work you probably aren't much big on it either. How many times have you started playing a fast riff or lick onstage and quickly realized your fingers weren't moving as fast as your brain? Up here in the Northeast and elsewhere in the world, winter temperatures can last over half the year. When people watch you play, they expect it to be good - every time. No one grants mercy points for cold hands. Needless to say, it wasn't long before I had a few tricks up my sleeve for old man winter. Use these tips for effectively (and cheaply) keeping yer digits warm and ready for fast action:

1. Wear gloves.

Not to state the obvious, but it's so simple and brilliant that it's hilarious how so many of us forget (or refuse) to do it when driving to a rehearsal or show. Once I got over myself feeling like a dweeb wearing them to gigs, I stapled each glove to my jacket sleeves and - just kidding... but I do keep a pair stuffed in the pockets after reaping the benefits so many times.

2. Air squats.

Yup. These are gonna ramp up circulation all over. If your body is cold, how can you expect your fingers to warm up? Forget jumping jacks; you need a bigger burn and squats will increase your body temperature faster. If you're new to squats, watch this. Do 50 reps or squat at a medium tempo for 60-90 seconds. Then do these...

3. Push-ups.

No, this isn't supposed to be boot camp but sometimes you gotta just go with what works. To learn a proper push-up form, go here. If you can force yourself to squeeze out even 20 or 30 reps in a row you will start feeling some serious heat especially if you perform these right after the squats.

4. Windmills.

Now it's time to get some of that blood moving to your fingers. For this, I know of no better method than swinging your arms in big circles not unlike Pete Townshend's famous windmill strumming move. Guitar not required.

5. Ginger tea.

Fill a small pot with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Get a thumb-sized chunk of fresh ginger root and cut it into thin slices. Add the slices to the boiling water and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Next, pour the water into a teapot and serve. Squeeze in some lemon juice and sweeten with honey, maple syrup or agave nectar. Careful, it's a strong brew - prepare for a ginger "kick" in the back of your throat. This potent, thermogenic concoction will increase blood flow to extremities as ginger's circulation-boosting properties can create a full-body warming effect.

6. Nuts.

Eat 1/2 cup of your favorite nuts. I like pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts or walnuts for this. Seeds work great too. Try spicy pumpkin seeds. *** Now it's your turn: give us your best tips to kill the chill in the comments below! [For more great tips, tricks and a veritable think-tank of information for your musical journey, head on over to Cool Drifter Music Motel.]

21 comments sorted by best / new / date

    STICK YOUR HANDS DOWN YOUR PANTS seriously, i'm from north dakota and its effin cold up here, i know what i'm talking about
    The links are not present in your post, blakesco. You reference a video for squats and push-ups, but neither is working.
    Thanks for catching that! This article was taken from my blog which had all the hyperlinks--and here they are: Squats:
    PT windmills:
    .be&t=28s Spicy Pumpkin Seeds: http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=185
    Thanks for posting this. I always get cold fingers, and when I go to play they barely move, so hopefully this will end my pain...
    And also the tea is good for any guitarists who sing whether lead or back up as well as the hot water and ginger are good for preparing your vocal cords.
    Insanity ninja
    Some nice tips, just a bit of a shame you didn't do this before the weather started getting warmer hm?
    Winter isn't the same around the globe - in more notheren places, it tends to last into spring. OBVIOUS JETPACK, ACTIVATE! -flies off into the horizon-
    Run warm water over your hands until your hands feel really warm(not just skin deep), then make sure to dry them properly as soon as you take them out from under the water. The warmth will expand the blood vessels in your hands, drawing more blood and therefore more warmth from your core, so it lasts longer than most other methods.
    Bucket of warm water, about 40 C for a minute. I have had tendonitis, so stretching is out. Warm water does the trick.
    what about rubbing your hands together, or using your hot breath to warm them? seems more quick and easy than to make some tea or work out in advance of playing the guitar. also requires less energy
    If blood isn't circulating to your extremities as well as it should, then chances are it's not circulating to your brain as well as it could either. Having your circulation stimulated will make you play better in your mind, thus inducing more creativity, as well as your hands being more dextrous. Plus, who doesn't love ginger?
    Danjo's Guitar
    I've always found that breathing on my hands just makes them sticky and still cold. (Well not sticky, but they stick to my guitar neck more.)
    Thanks for catching that iaceu! This article was taken from my blog which had all the hyperlinks--and here they are: Squats:
    PT windmills:
    .be&t=28s Spicy Pumpkin Seeds: http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=185