Friday, May 8, 2015

How to Fix "Weak" Wrists

People often ask me what to do about “weak” wrists. They usually complain of discomfort or even pain in the wrist area when supporting their body weight on their hands, such as during planks, push-ups, and gardening, and other similar palm-pushing activities. As a result, they shy away from those exercises and lose out on their benefits. While you can wear wrist supports or modify the techniques so that they put less strain on the joint, the best thing to do is to increase wrist flexibility and strengthen the muscles that support it.

While it may seem simple, the wrist joint is actually quite complicated. It consists of the 5 proximal ends of the metacarpal bones in the hand, 8 small bones in the base of the hand, the distal ends of the 2 long bones in the forearm, ligaments, and joints between all of the bones. As you can imagine, without strong support from the ligaments and muscles, it will be really hard to keep them moving appropriately relative to each other. When you have weak supporting muscles, bending the wrist and placing it under weight can easily move the bones out of alignment, making them hit each other and cause pain. Similarly, if your wrist isn’t flexible enough, the bones will be crushed against each other when placed in stressed positions.

Before we go over how to strengthen these important muscles, let’s cover the correct way to push with your wrists extended, such as in a push-up. Contrary to common practice, the hand and wrist should not be relaxed when pushing with your palm. Doing so will allow weight to move your wrist bones out of alignment. It will also concentrate the stress onto fewer joints, increasing the chances of injuring them. Rather, constantly press and flex the entire hand into the ground, distributing the force throughout the palm, bases of the fingers, and the finger tips. This engages your wrist and finger flexor muscles, stabilizing the wrist joint.

Left: Pushing down with only the base of the palm provides less stability and concentrates stress into a smaller area.
Right: Pushing down with all parts of the hand and fingers increase stability and better distributes the stress. Note the pressure from the fingers indenting the carpet.
This technique also improves the stability of your support. Maintaining tension throughout your hand enables you to sense changes and react quickly. This is something I struggled with for a long time when learning the handstand. I used to do them with my hands relaxed, which made it difficult to adjust my balance. In addition, the weight of my body quickly made my wrists hurt. Once I tightened my hand and fingers, improvement quickly followed and the pain went away.

Now that you know how to properly push with your palms, you can start strengthening your wrists. It’s as simple as using the proper pushing technique whenever you do planks, push-ups, sit presses, or any other pushing exercises. There's no need to do separate wrist curls with weights. If your wrists are too weak to support that much body weight right now, try doing easier versions of those exercises. For example, you can do push-ups or planks against the wall. Move your legs back and your hands down the wall until you feel enough pressure on your wrists. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to move your hands further down the wall. Alternatively, you can rest your knees on the ground to reduce weight. As your wrists gain strength, move your knees back to increase the difficulty.

Don’t forget to stretch your wrists regularly throughout the day. Use one hand to bend the other wrist in all different directions, to the point of tension but not pain. With consistent effort, you’ll notice an increased range of motion and wrist stability. Before long, your “weak” wrists will be a thing of the past.


  1. i have been experiencing weird pains on my wrist thanks for sharing this insightful piece i was looking for mitivation to cheap essay papers this will offer the much needed help keep sharing such articles