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“Thumbells” Available for Exercising Thumbs

Update Date: Aug 02, 2013 01:38 PM EDT

Although the thumb is a vital digit that helps people with everyday activities, the concept of exercising and prepping the thumb for work sounds kind of farfetched. But, with all of the extra work thumbs have to put in due to texting and utilizing smart phones and tablets, a company from the United Kingdom has developed a miniature dumbbell that fits a human thumb and exercises it.

The new product was the result of a "Fit for 4G" campaign that was created by O2, which is a mobile phone service provider and device company. O2 is about to offer a faster network and thus, the campaign was designed to help physically prepare customers. One of the preparation techniques is the thumbell.

"Our research shows that excessive usage of the phone can leave people with sore thumbs, so we want our customers to make sure their thumbs are well looked after so they can make use of all the great technology that is available at their fingertips," David Johnson, general manager of devices for O2, said to ABC News. "That's why we're trialing the Thumbell units and have worked with BMI to develop the Fit for 4G fitness routine. Ultimately, we want to make sure our customers are ready for 4G here in the U.K. and all the extra work their thumbs are going to be doing."

The introduction of the 4G network will start later this summer. The concept of the thumbell is to prepare customers who will start using their thumbs even more now that the service will be faster. The thumbell is placed directly on the thumb. Users are encouraged to flex their thumbs while holding the 65-gram item. The item has been distributed internally to some of the company's employees, who have been encouraged to use social media and share their experienced with the thumbell via pictures or videos.

"They help build the muscle. If you are moving your muscle through ranges of motion it will strengthen the muscle," Nicola Goldsmith, who worked on some of the exercises, said. "Obviously, you need to slowly increase the repetitions and frequency."

Surprisingly enough, thumbells are not the first product of its kind. A few years ago, a thumb and hand exercise glove called the Xtensor was marketed. Before that, similar products were marketed for people who played video games. 

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