Our wrists are super important. Virtually everything we do with our hands requires both a stable and mobile wrist. This joint contains at least 10 bones (8 carpal bones plus the ulna and radius) plus tons of ligaments and connective tissues. It serves as the protective passageway through which nerves, muscles, and other tissues pass from our forearms into our arms.
But, most of us will only rarely perform exercises intended to strengthen our wrists and forearm muscles, if ever. In fact, we may only think about our weak wrists when they are giving us trouble!
For people who work out regularly, we may run into wrist pain a little more often. Things like lifting weights, yoga, gymnastics, or any other type of movement where we are carrying something heavy or bearing weight through our arms can put a lot of strain on this area. A problem with your wrist may severely limit your grip strength, dexterity, eye/hand coordination, and even your ability to perform basic work-related tasks like typing and writing (let alone lifting weights, opening doors, and getting dressed in the morning!).
You May Also Like: Relief is Here: Back Pain Relieving Yoga Flow
So, if you have wrist pain, try some of the following exercises to improve the strength of these joints. If you don’t have wrist pain, try them anyway–and keep that pain and dysfunction out of the picture.
3 Exercises to Increase the Strength of Your Wrists
1. Dumbbell wrist extension and flexion.
Hold a light dumbbell in your hand. Place your forearm down on a table or bench so that your hand is hanging off the side. With your palm facing down, extend your wrist up, bringing the back of your hand closer to your forearm. Hold for one second, then return to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps per arm. You can also do this with your arm turned in the opposite direction, so that your palm starts facing up and you flex your wrist bringing the palm of your hand closer to your forearm.
2. Pronation/supination with a dowel or workout bar.
Find a dowel, light workout bar, field hockey stick, or something similar. Stand with your arm extended in front of you at shoulder height while holding the bar or stick straight up so that it’s perpendicular to the floor. Slowly and with control, turn your wrist until your palm is facing down toward the floor–the bar should be now parallel to the floor. Then, slowly turn the wrist in the opposite direction, bring the bar up and all the way over to the other side (as far as you can go). Imagine drawing an arc in the air with the bar. Repeat 3 sets of 10-12 reps per arm.
Important note: your shoulder should stay perfectly still, and your elbow should stay perfectly straight throughout this movement. Only the wrist should be moving. If it’s too tough to do with a long dowel, you can do this with a dumbbell instead.
3. Elbow/elbow, hand/hand (high to low plank).
This one is a great weight-bearing technique to strengthen both wrist and shoulder (not to mention core). Start in a high plank (push-up) position. Keeping your abs tight and back straight, lower down onto your forearms, one arm at a time. Hold for a second, then push back up onto your hands. Repeat 10-20 times, alternating which hand you lead with.
Got another favorite wrist strengthening exercise? Let us know about it by sharing in the comments below!