Learning to write with your arm is like training a bull to tiptoe through a china shop. How can you take something that is large and powerful and train it to do something that requires finesse and accuracy? This lesson breaks down the mechanics of writing with your arm and provides a complete understanding of what you are up against when learning to write with your arm.
- A lot of people talk about writing with the arm, but few people talk about how arm writing actually works and why it is so difficult.
- Finger writing is great for control, but has a small range of motion and fatigues easily.
- We can model the writing mechanics as a lever which has a fulcrum, a power source, and a weight.
- When writing with the arm, your forearm muscle is the fulcrum, the forearm and upper arm muscles are the power source, and the weight is the tip of the pen.
- The arm writing lever takes power and amplifies motion (similar to a shovel). Compare that to a lever that takes motion and amplifies power (e.g. a car jack).
- When writing with the arm, the fulcrum is close to the power source which makes it hard to control the weight, or tip of the pen. This is why writing with the arm is so difficult to control.
- When writing with the fingers, we have a different type of lever. The power source is the smaller muscles of the hand and the fulcrum is close to the tip of the pen. This creates a lever system that takes motion as an input an amplifies power. Finger writing is therefore taxing on the muscles of the hand, has a small range of motion, and is easier to control.
With a pen in hand, take some time to feel the lever systems of finger writing and arm writing. Don’t worry about writing any letters or making any marks on the page, just feel the motion of the two lever systems and notice any differences.
Next, put the pen on the page and try to write some short words in any script using the fingers and then the arm. Notice how it feels in you arm, hand, and fingers when using each lever system to write.