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I am doing a Starting Strength-like powerlifting routine and want to continue to improve my strength in the big lifts in the long run.

Two months ago, I had a wrist injury from which I apparently did not recover completely. I still have mild pain on some of the lifts, and heavy pain in the rack position of a clean.

To remedy this, I want to avoid any more damage to my wrist until it is fully healed. Thus, I realize I have to stop all powerlifting aside from deadlifts for some time. What are the best substitute exercises I can do that limit my strength loss within the big lifts while allowing for wrist recovery?


Nature of injury:

I acquired the injury doing low bar squats at a familiar weight back in April. If I recall correctly, the orthopedist I went to classified it as a non-serious sprain. It sharply hurts when applying force to the wrist with a lever, such as when pushing with the palm of the hand. It does not hurt at all at rest or when there is a pushing or pulling force on the wrist that is parallel to my forearm, i.e. if there is no leverage involved.

Accessible Equipment:

I am in a commercial gym, so I have the standard stuff available, but nothing too fancy:

  • Barbells
  • Weight plates
  • Squat / power racks
  • Dumbbells
  • EZ curl bars
  • Pull-up bars
  • Smith machines
  • Other machines

Not available:

  • Strongman equipment
  • Plyo boxes
  • Spider bars
share|improve this question
Where are you training, what equipment do you have access to? A spider bar, for example, should allow you to squat, but most people don't have access to one... – LarissaGodzilla Jul 14 '14 at 15:56
What's the nature of the injury? Is it a repetitive stress injury (tendinitis, carpal tunnel, etc), or an impact injury (sprain, break, bruising)? What movements cause pain, and what's the nature of the pain (dull and steady, sharp and intermitant) etc. – Berin Loritsch Jul 14 '14 at 16:13
Did you see a hand therapist already? It sounds like extending your wrist is causing the pain. Sometimes a simple maneuver can restore the joint position of the little bones of the wrist. – BackInShapeBuddy Jul 15 '14 at 0:12
@BackInShapeBuddy I didn't even know there was such a profession. Looking into it now, thanks! – Florian von Stosch Jul 15 '14 at 11:17
@Florian, they are usually a physical therapist or occupational therapist with specialized training. A good one should be able to help. Good luck. – BackInShapeBuddy Jul 15 '14 at 18:48

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