Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physical Fitness Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for physical fitness professionals, athletes, trainers, and those providing health-related needs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

While my wrists are fine in general, some of the more strenuous exercises I (try to) do are painful sometimes; for example, one-armed pushups. I used to have more problems, even when doing pull ups (at the bottom of the movement) and for all kinds of pushups.

To avoid this I started doing pushups on my knuckles and also did some simple wrist exercises (basically, holding my fist tight and moving the wrist around in various ways). In general, this helped, but I've obviously still got problems and I'd like to "fix" this permanently. I understand that wrists are mostly tendons and not muscle and I'll time to improve, which is why I want to start early.

share|improve this question
    
Just to add, my grip strength is quite ok, it's the wrist themselves that are the problem. –  VPeric Jul 9 '11 at 20:46
    
Perhaps the problem is flexibility rather than strength? –  michael Jul 10 '11 at 2:07
    
@michael I don't know, I feel my flexibility is fine (better than my peers at least), but it could be. Is there a way I could test my wrist flexibility? –  VPeric Jul 10 '11 at 9:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Begin by stabilizing your wrists in a neutral position with isometrics for the wrist flexors, extensors, medial and lateral deviators, pronators and supinators ( ie. resist the wrist moving 1) up, 2) down, 3) to the thumb side, 4) to the little finger side, and resist rotating the forearm by turning the palm 5) down and 6) up, without losing the neutral position of the wrist). Then do the same six exercises but allow movement through a comfortable range using a resistance band and/or dumbell. See this article for photos. You can use these exercises to warm up before trying bodyweight exercises.

As you mentioned, you need to take care with the tendons and small joints of the wrist. Here is a wrist stretching video that will help with your flexibility.

These exercises will make your wrist more stable in neutral, stronger throughout your range and more flexible which hopefully will help to eliminate your pain.

share|improve this answer
    
I've been doing the first four exercises in that link already (albeit without a resistance band). I guess the problem might be flexibility after all (or I should get a resistance band and load my wrist some more). –  VPeric Jul 10 '11 at 12:06
1  
So it sounds like you have been doing range of motion so far, but not strengthening. I would start with the isometrics in neutral to stabilize before trying to strengthen thru the range of motion with the band or a weight. Your flexibility may be the limiting factor in your push-ups, ie. not having enough wrist extension. However, lacking range does not seem that it would be the cause of pain with pull ups. Before you try to do full weight bearing with regular or one-armed push ups, try partial weight bearing with wall push ups to see how much weight your wrists tolerate. Hope that helps. –  BackInShapeBuddy Jul 10 '11 at 13:12

I think one of the most effective exercises is the wrist roller - you can make it for about $5 using a broom handle or round piece of wood, some thick string/rope and a weight plate. Here's a few items from Ross Training about making your own: http://rosstraining.com/blog/index.php?s=wrist+roller&sbutt=Go

share|improve this answer
    
This looks useful, unfortunately I don't have access to a lot of weights usually - do you think this is still good with eg. 1-2 kgs only (a bottle filled with water)? –  VPeric Jul 11 '11 at 12:54
1  
A gallon container of water, rocks, etc. would work, it doesn't take much weight for you to feel it. –  Meade Rubenstein Jul 11 '11 at 13:49
    
@Meade, Thanks for providing the link to the wrist roller. I couldn't find one so I didn't incluled it in my answer. You are right that it works really well. –  BackInShapeBuddy Jul 12 '11 at 7:35

Deadlifts have as one of their benefits the strengthening of your grip and wrists. It also strengthens your back, your core, and your leg muscles (quads, hams, glutes).

If you don't want to do deadlifts, then you might want to look into fingertip pushups (all five fingers). Essentially, the wrist gets stronger as the muscles around it get stronger which includes your forearms as well as the muscles in the hand. Fingertip pushups strengthen both.

Along with your wrist strengthening exercises, you will want to stretch your wrists as well. Here are some options for that:

share|improve this answer
    
Unfortunately, I don't have regular access to a gym and so anything that requires a lot of equipment is not a real option (I'm otherwise aware of the benefits of deadlifts, squats and other compound movements). Still, +1 for the stretching links! –  VPeric Jul 11 '11 at 12:52
1  
Don't forget the fingertip pushups. No equipment needed there. –  Berin Loritsch Jul 11 '11 at 12:58
    
Yup, I know. I'm somewhat afraid of my fingers but I'll try to work on it too. –  VPeric Jul 11 '11 at 12:59
2  
If your fingertips can't handle your weight yet, start doing the pushups at your knee instead of your foot. Keep adding reps until you can do a set of 12, and then switch to your foot. The goal is 3 sets of 12. –  Berin Loritsch Jul 11 '11 at 13:09

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.