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7 Essential Wrist Exercises for Wrist Pain & Health

This article is for anyone that has wrist pain from their training, or more importantly, never wants it. Whether it’s load bearing (handstands, press-ups, sun salutations) or gripping (hanging, pull-ups, climbing), a comprehensive and consistent wrist exercise routine will not only make your wrists, hands and forearms stronger and more mobile, but will safeguard them against injury.

Why Do I Get Wrist Pain?

With over 25% of all sports-related injuries occurring to the wrist and hand, it’s no wonder we are all bound to experience it at some-point during our movement journey. A whopping 40% of yoga injuries are to the wrist! So why is wrist pain so common amongst movers? Excluding traumatic injury (fractures, tears, dislocations) for the most part it’s about repetitive stress - resulting in acute injury, overuse and degenerative damage. The most common of these in the movement community include tendonitis (inflammation or tear), nerve injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and stress fractures. Although these often start as minor hindrances, if left untreated, they may become chronic and require significant time off and in some cases, even surgery. So look after your wrists blokes. 

7 Essential Exercises for Wrist Pain & Health

We’ve put together 7 essential wrist exercises covering the entire movement range of the wrist - for unstoppable strength, mobility and injury-proofing. We recommend integrating this routine into your current warmup, or completing before any movement practice. Doing this daily - including rest days - will be of huge benefit, not only to your practice but in your day-to-day life.

We recommend checking out the exercises below, then watching the video to see how they're done. We’ve also included a useful summary table at the end of this article which you can print off at home, including all the exercises, for quick and easy reference.

Let’s get stuck in.

1. Wrist Extension Rotations

Why?

Builds strength, stability and mobility on the inside of the hand, wrist and inner forearm.

Directions

Come onto your hands and knees with your shoulders directly above your wrists. Place your palms down, turning your hands to face outwards at right angles to your body length. Starting slowly and small, move your body over your wrists in a circular motion, gradually increasing the depth. Focus on quality, controlled movement. You should feel the greatest stretch on the inside of your forearm and load on the top of your wrist. The stronger and more mobile your wrists are, the more bodyweight you can apply to the movement.

Repetitions

10 x rotations clockwise, 10 x rotations anti-clockwise through your available range of motion.

2. Wrist Flexion Rotations

Why?

Builds strength, stability and mobility on the top of the hand, wrist and outer forearm.

Directions

Come onto your hands and knees with your shoulders directly above your wrists. Place the back of your hands down, turning them to face inwards at right angles to your body length. Starting slowly and small, move your body over your wrists in a circular motion, gradually increasing the depth. Focus on quality, controlled movement. You should feel the greatest stretch on the top of your wrist and outside of your forearm. The stronger and more mobile your wrists are, the more bodyweight you can apply to the movement.

Repetitions

10 x rotations clockwise, 10 x rotations anti-clockwise, through your available range of motion.

3. Deep Wrist Extensions

Why?

Significantly increases flexibility of the inside forearm and wrist.

Directions

Come onto your hands and knees with your shoulders directly above your wrists. With the palms down, rotate your hands so that your fingers are pointing toward you and the underside of your wrists are pointing in front of your. If it’s difficult at this angle, come back to sit on your heels to reduce the pressure and keep your palms lifted. Starting slowly and small, move your butt toward your heels, forwards and backwards, gradually increasing the depth. Focus on quality, controlled movement. You should feel the greatest stretch on the inside of your forearm and load on the top of your wrist. The stronger and more mobile your wrists are, the greater depth you will be able to achieve. You can also try lifting your palms and coming onto your fingertips to change the focus.

Repetitions

10 repetitions through your available range of motion.

4. Wrist Rotations

Why?

Builds strength, stability and mobility throughout the full range of motion of the wrist.

Directions

Start in a comfortable seated position, kneeling or our personal favourite, a deep squat. Take hold of the opposite wrist (around the soft tissue below the wrist bones and hand) using your thumb and forefinger, and apply a light pressure. Make a fist with your opposite hand and, starting slowly and small, rotate your wrist through its full range of motion. The light pressure on the wrist will gently massage the soft tissue and stimulate the flow of synovial fluid.

Repetitions

10 x rotations clockwise, 10 x rotations anti-clockwise, through your available range of motion. Repeat on the opposite wrist.

5. Wrist Extensor Strengthening

Why?

Develops your ability to open your hand with strength and improves stabilisation in arm balances. Highly recommended for forearm and elbow tendonitis.

Directions

Start in a comfortable seated position, kneeling or our personal favourite, a deep squat. Bring your arms out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Lift your hands so your palms are facing away from you and your fingertips are pointing upwards. Keeping your palms in the same position, spread your fingers out and wide, then make a fist. Open and close like this at a steady pace ensuring you perform the action with strength and purpose. After a few seconds you should feel a muscular burning sensation in your forearms as lactic acid builds up.

Repetitions

Continuous repetitions at a steady pace for 30-60 seconds.

6. Wrist Flexor Strengthening

Why?

Develops your grip strength and improves stabilisation in arm balances. Highly recommended for forearm and elbow tendonitis.

Directions

Start in a comfortable seated position, kneeling or our personal favourite, a deep squat. Bring your arms out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Drop your hands so your palms are facing toward you and your fingertips are pointing downward. Keeping your palms in the same position, spread your fingers out and wide, then make a fist. Open and close like this at a steady pace ensuring you perform the action with strength and purpose. After a few seconds you should feel a muscular burning sensation in the underside of your forearms as lactic acid builds up.

Repetitions

Continuous repetitions at a steady pace for 30-60 seconds.

7. Radial & Ulnar Flexion

Why?

Builds strength, stability and mobility when the wrist moves side to side.

Directions

Start in a comfortable seated position, kneeling or our personal favourite, a deep squat. Bring both arms straight out in front of you and make fists with both hands. Keeping your arms in stationary position, move your fists left and right as if you are trying to point your knuckles to each side. Repeat at a steady pace ensuring you perform the action with strength and purpose. After a few seconds you should feel a muscular burning sensation in your wrist and forearms.

Repetitions

Continuous repetitions at a steady pace for 30-60 seconds.

Bonus: Shake

Why?

A great way to finish this wrist routine is to shake it all out, increase blood flow and explore that increased range of motion.

Directions

Do it however you want and however feels good!

Repetitions

Shake it all out for 10 seconds.

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That's all folks. Keep your wrists happy and the rest will follow. Let us know how you get on at @SoWeFlow / #SoWeFlow

Wrist Health Routine PDF Download

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