Here are a few exercises that you can do before every practice to strengthen and limber up your bow hand. Younger students should only do each exercise a few times, and older beginning students can start with 10 times. As your hand strengthens, increase the repetitions to a few more. In the end, you should plan on doing these exercises for no more then 5 minutes each session.
Begin by holding the bow approximately one inch above the strings. Straighten your fingers down and lower the bow to the string. Curl your fingers up to raise your bow back above the strings. This exercise is all done with the fingers; you don’t need to move your wrist or hand.
Next, hold the bow in the air again and straighten your fingers out. Bring your fingers back in again. Think about spreading your fingers out and then closing them in a fist. The bow only moves a couple of inches and your wrist moves slightly.
This exercise does not need to be done with your instrument. Simply hold the bow parallel to the floor and rock it back and forth over your thumb. Use your index and pinkie finger.
Remember...don’t strain your hand! If you start to feel any tension, put your bow down and shake your hand out. Try again a few minutes later. After doing these exercises your bow hand will be ready to go to tackle some new bowing techniques.