Wrist Strengthening Exercises – Flexibility

A component of  good wrist strengthening exercises is wrist flexibility. Any bodyweight workout will undoubtedly have a push up routine as an essential part. And, while push up benefits most of the upper body, they can put a lot of stress on wrists. Check out the previous post on weak wrist exercises.

As I pointed out in the previous post, when doing most supported body weight exercises on an outstretched hand, the wrist actually bears a good percentage of the body’s weight. If the joint is unstable, out of position, or is not as flexible as it could, or should, be, it could slow your upper body workout routine to a crawl.

The wrist is a small but pretty complex joint. The joint itself has a total of 15 bones that work together to form the joint. 5 of them are actually the hand bones, and 2 others are the arm bones. So, that leaves 8 small bones that actually fill the space between the forearm and hand. The wrist is so complex that any injury to the smallest part can actually lead to some serious dysfunction and nagging pain.

As far as muscles go, there are several muscles that cross the wrist on the front and back sides and then a few on the “sides” of the wrist. But, in general they are divided in to two groups.

First there are the flexors that start on the inside of the upper forearm. These run down the inside of the forearm and cross the wrist on the “palmar” side of the hand. They are responsible for curling your fingers and grabbing/holding on to things, like dumbbells.

The other group is call the extensors. These start on the outside of the elbow, travel down the outside of the forearm and cross the back of the wrist. They are responsible for bending the wrist backward in the “talk to the hand” position. They also are the important in things like twisting motions and gripping motions like the handshake and using scissors.

Keeping both groups of muscles limber and flexible are essential in progressing to upper body body weight workout routine. Whether you are doing regular push ups, handstand push ups, planks, mountain climbers, etc, having flexible wrists is essential.

I found this video that walks through the general positions of wrist stretches. Naturally, you will want to modify them to your personal preferences. There is no magic number of stretches that should be done. But, I have encouraged my patients to “get into a routine” (like brushing your teeth) of doing these stretches to optimize your ability to get the most out of your exercise program.

Keeping your wrists flexible and conditioned is extremely important as you progress with a bodyweight workout routine. This video outlines the general positions that are important in a wrist stretching program. However, once you actually get the hang, and feel of stretching your wrists, you can modify these principles in many different ways to fit your location, your position, and the props that you may have at hand to help.

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8 thoughts on “Wrist Strengthening Exercises – Flexibility

  1. Excellent tip I always woory about my wrist cause I can’t figure out how I cna lift heavy weights when my wrists are so small .. I think of it as my weakest link.
    I definitely spend more time on making sure my wrist are in top condition
    Raymond

  2. Around three years ago, I was getting a lot of pain in my right wrist that I thought was carpal tunnel. My friend’s wife is a massage therapist and told me that she can help by showing me some stretches and massaging my hands, wrists, and forearms. I let her try it out and I got immediate relief! The stretches that are on the video that you have above are similar to the ones that she showed me. I stretch my wrists every once in a while and I haven’t had any pain for about three years! I was ready to go to a doctor and see about that carpal tunnel surgery. I’m glad that I didn’t, because stretching my wrists has made the pain totally go away. Very good post!
    -Kelly

  3. @Kelly – Thanks for sharing your personal experience.

    With proper stretching, it’s easy to prevent potential injuries on the front end rather than treating them after they happen.

  4. Great tip and great reminder Brian on how important our wrist can be.

    I must admit that I never really paid attention to my wrists, as I never seen “then” the usefulness of warming them up or stretching them, however I remember a few times when lifting heavy dumbbells of being scared to fracture my wrist.

    But like any part of our body.. It’s all about stretching!

  5. Hey,

    You make a very important point about needing strong wrists as part of other exercises such as push ups. Many folks just neglect their wrist muscles as they are not exactly “posing” muscles, but without strong wrists, it’s likely that the individual will struggle to develop all the other muscle groups.

    There are many tools out there that can be used as a wrist exerciser, such as kettlebell & wrist rollers etc, but it’s all down to the idividual as to what their goals are and how much they need them.

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