Clinical Pilates in Practice: Hand Dexterity & Motor Function (July 2022)

This small study compared the dynamic and static motor capacities of each finger among elderly individuals who engaged in hobbies that involved daily use of the hands, and those that did not.


Aoki T, and Kadota K. Effects of Daily Hand Activities on Age-Related Declines of Dynamic Motor Function in Individual Fingers. Motor Control (Ahead of Print).



  • Aging is characterized by a decline in manual dexterity, and may be quantified by decreased grip force, decreased tapping frequency, and prolonged timing for the pegboard test.
  • Reports from static motor function studies on individual fingers show that the lower maximum pinch force in older adults is greatly reduced, compared with young adults.1
    • Pinch force is a precision grip whereby an object is pinched in three ways: lateral pinch, three-point pinch, and two-point pinch.
  • Individual fingers have a lower maximum flexion force in the elderly.

Training and daily use have the potential to maintain finger motor function in older adults.


  • Skilled finger training movement can improve an individual’s ability to control hand steadiness, submaximal pinch force, and manual speed in older adults.

  • Results from the study showed that daily use of the hands in older adults could help to prevent age-related declines in dynamic motor function in individual fingers.
  • Gender differences could not be ruled out, as there were not enough inactive female participants included in the study.


  • Use different straps/handles for arm work, with a focus on finger positioning. 
  • Integrate finger mobility and different grips/pinches into functional hand exercises.

    • Lateral pinch.
    • Three-point pinch.
    • Two-point pinch.
  • Integrate tapping motions of the fingers with isometric holds through the elbow and  wrist: 
    • Midback series on the Reformer.
    • Standing Arm Press at the Tower.
    • Seated Triceps Press at the Wunda Chair.
    • Rocking on the Mat.


1. Ranganathan, V.K., Siemionow, V., Sahgal, V., & Yue, G.H. (2001). Effects of aging on hand function. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 49(11), 1478–1484. PubMed ID: 11890586 doi:10.1046/j.1532-5415.2001.4911240.x

2. Poh Kiat Ng, Adi Saptari, Qiao Hui Boon, Meng Chauw Bee, Ka Xuan Chai and Shiong Lung Leh, (2014). Pinch Effort Variations with Torque, Shape, Size, Sensation and Technique. Journal of Applied Sciences, 14: 401-414.


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The Calibrate Pilates team translates research into clinically relevant information so that you can build your core practice and improve client outcomes. 

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