I'm spending most of the day in front of the computer (10+ hours), and as expected, my wrist tendons experience strain during work. Normally, this wouldn't be much of an issue, but after I have started training more aggressively (especially with free weights), I feel slight pain and weakness in the wrists when they are at unnatural position under load.

The frequency of training is not the issue -- usually at most 3 times per week, and I do torso/arms exercises only twice per week.

Now, the questions:

  • Which arm exercises are known to put less strain on the wrists? I'm interested in upper-arm/chest exercises mostly, but advice for other muscle groups is appreciated as well.

  • Is there something else I can do to reduce the problem (training accessories, special exercises, other)?

Currently I'm doing exercise on the weight machines and cables mostly, some free weights and stretching. No push ups whatsoever.

  • Some help with the tags/title would be appreciated. Mar 6, 2011 at 12:51
  • How long have you been doing heavier exercise? It could just be transitory pain that will pass when your wrists & forearms strengthen.
    – jamesnvc
    Mar 6, 2011 at 15:56
  • @jamesnvc: Something like 6-8 weeks, probably. Indeed the pain was reduced a bit since I started, now that you mentioned it, but it's still there. Mar 6, 2011 at 16:22
  • what type of training are you doing? are you doing push ups?
    – KJYe.Name
    Mar 6, 2011 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


I would suggest you may be addressing the issue at the wrong point if this is related to your work. I suggest you have a look at why you are experiencing pain and strain related to your work rather than how you can reduce the pain during workouts.

Intentionally trying to avoid this pain during your workout may still exacerbate the problem.

It is also possible you may be doing the exercises incorrectly, in that case I would check with a trainer or someone experienced that your arms, wrists and grip are correct. I've had someone come up to me before in a gym and say "you're doing that wrong", this advice is priceless. So always check with someone if it doesn't feel right.

I would then attempt to address the issue at the source and find out why you are straining your wrists at work. This is not good. I used to have this problem when I started programming and after about six months I was in screaming pain. I replaced the keyboard I was using with one I bought myself and I found the problem went away after 3 or 4 days. I also learnt to take periodic brakes and how to touch type properly. Touch typing (if done properly) will help immensely with strain if you are trying to go as fast as you can.

I know this doesn't answer your question directly, however I think you are avoiding the underlying problem and could put yourself at risk by avoiding it.

  • Thanks for the advice -- I've been looking in some ways to remove the problem altogether at work (adjustable-height desk, better chair, ergonomic keyboard), but due to the specifics of the workplace, this could take a few months for some of the items. I'm looking for an interim solution in the meantime that will allow me to train with similar intensity and load. Mar 7, 2011 at 6:34
  • 2
    @mindcorrosive - I'd fork out 20 bucks of my own money for a decent keyboard even if my work didn't provide it, it's better than aching wrists. That may make them feel guilty and pay for it.
    – going
    Mar 7, 2011 at 6:58

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