Wrist pain is one of the most common issues that I run into with clients on a daily basis. I would honestly say that 1 out of 4 people that I've worked with have an issue with their wrists. Most of the time they experience wrist pain or discomfort during any sort of exercise that causes extension and weight baring. This means push ups, mountain climbers, burpees, crawling, and a handful of other exercises all aggravate their issue.
If this sounds like you, don't worry! You don't have to stop doing any of the above exercises. Wrist pain doesn't have to prevent you from getting a great workout, and the steps to help ease or eliminate it are quite simple! Today we'll take a look at 3 simple exercises to help you eliminate your wrist pain.
These exercises are for those of you who I assume haven't had any type of wrist injury. If you have, be sure to check with a doctor before performing any of the exercises below.
1. Wrist Mobility Routines
Many people have tight muscles and fascia. Guess what, if you're hamstrings feel tight, your calves are tight, your shoulders are tense ... your forearms and wrists are most likely tight as well. This means you need to be addressing that issue and opening them back up! I always recommend that everyone perform a daily fascial release routine (foam rolling, using a lacrosse ball etc.) and a stretching/mobility routine for their whole body. Working on your posture, opening up tight areas of the body, and strengthening the weaker muscle groups is a must! Your wrists are no different. For starters, try using this wrist mobility routine in your warm ups and every morning.
2. Try Using Your Fists
If push ups, mountain climbers, and other exercises that force you to put weight on your extended wrists cause you pain, try performing them on your fists. When you do these exercises using your fist as the base it will align the wrist with the forearm and eliminate any extension. Most people find this stops their wrist pain and discomfort immediately! If you're on a hard wood floor you might want to use a towel or mat under your fists. Check out a much younger me in this early video describing how this is done!
3. Hang & Build Your Grip Strength
Grip strength is an often over looked aspect of training. Not only is grip strength functionally useful on a day to day basis (carrying groceries, opening up jars etc.) it's also been tied to longer life expectancy. By strengthening the muscles and tendons that surround the wrist you'll be creating a more stable joint. Many people find that this was actually the problem all along! I've written an entire blog piece on how to build some serious grip strength, you might want to take a look. But, one of the easiest methods for creating basic grip strength, and improving shoulder health/mobility, is the passive hang! The passive hang is simple, find something to hang on, grip it around shoulder width apart, palms facing outward, and hang! Let your shoulders relax and "hug" your ears. Let your body hang loose. Try hanging for as long as possible! Do this multiple times throughout the day, time yourself each time, and try to work up to 4-5 mins throughout the day. You could also throw them into the end or beginning of your workouts and do 3 sets of hanging for as long as you can. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
Give these 3 simple wrist exercises a try, and watch your pain disappear! For some of you it could minutes, others it might take weeks or longer, but hang in there. Before you know it, you're tight and weak wrists will be a thing of the past!