You’ve upped your squat weight. It’s always exciting to see progress. But your legs aren’t the problem - at least not this time. It’s all in the wrists. They feel achy and sore. You can barely get 2 sets in. It’s frustrating - we know.
Chin ups, dips, burpees, push-ups, any kind of press, and most exercises involving the bar - these all place stress on the wrists. And unfortunately, most of these exercises are major components in Crossfit and weightlifting workouts.
Luckily, sore wrists are an easy fix. As long as you don’t have severe pain and haven’t caused a serious injury, a few simple tips can get you back to your regular regime.
The most common type of wrist pain is from repetitive wrist extension - where you bend the hand backward. You do this during a clean press, push-ups, tricep and chest dips, and more. Anytime the palm is planted with a bend in the wrist, your wrist is in extension. And that’s a lot of the time. Essentially, it becomes a repetitive overuse issue. Exercise after exercise your wrist is put in extension. It irritates the tendons and muscles involved in this movement.
Yet, there are various ways you can alleviate this problem. Check out our top tips and tricks below!
PREVENTING WRIST ACHES & PAINS
- Warm-Up Your Wrists
Yes, it sound silly. But it helps. Try performing 10-12 wrist circles and incorporating grip strengthening into your warm-up to increase blood flow to these muscles. You can even perform wrist circles regularly throughout your workout. In between each set, move your wrists. Stretch them out (scroll down for stretching exercise descriptions).
- Try Wrist Wraps
Wrist wraps can help support your wrists. However, try to avoid using these as a crutch every single time. Use them every few workouts or as necessary. You don’t want to become reliant on them - This could potentially create weaker wrists and eventually, lead to a more serious injury, such as a muscle strain or tear. In addition, certain taping techniques and methods work just as well as wraps. Take your pick.
- Check Your Form
You could be putting more stress on your wrists than you need to. Are you performing your clean press movements properly? Are you holding the bar the correct way during your squats? Check yourself. Sometimes, the cause is your elbow position.
For example, when performing a squat with the bar behind your shoulders, you want to ensure that your elbows and wrists are in line. If your elbows are too far forward, you risk unnecessary wrist strain. And if it’s difficult for you to check in a mirror, have a buddy spot you.
- Switch Up Your Grip
Avoid performing back-to-back exercises with the same grip. Instead, switch it up. Perform an overhand grip exercise, then an underhand grip exercise, and then a hammer grip exercise. Throw in a few wrist stretches and this should help keep your wrist pain at bay. It prevents repetitive movements, causing overuse injuries.
- Rest, If Your Need It.
There’s no shame in taking a rest day or 2. Wait to return to your exercises until your wrist discomfort has subsided. If it persists, it is worth getting checked out. Let the experts recommend a proper treatment course for your wrist pain.
- Perform Stretches
Extend your arm straight in front of you. Use your opposite hand to pull your hand back, with your palm facing away from you. Hold here for at least 30 seconds. Do the same, but pulling the hand down, bringing your palm to face you. Again, hold for 30 seconds. Perform these stretches in between your exercises and on a regular basis - especially if you’re finding your wrist pain does not seem to subside. If they cause pain, ease off or stop, and book an appointment with your doctor. You may have a tendon, muscle, or ligament injury.
- Strengthen Your Wrists!
Practice grip strengthening exercises. Use a small weight to practice wrist extension and flexion movements. Sometimes, it is just a matter of weak muscles. Build up the proper strength to combat the problem.
WRIST SORENESS VERSUS A WRIST INJURY
If you experience severe pain and your wrist pain becomes a persistent problem (meaning it lasts for a few days or weeks), book an appointment with your doctor or physical therapist. Another thing to note: If your wrist pain is associated with any numbness or tingling, you should also get it looked at. These symptoms are a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Further, try icing your aching wrist after your workout. Apply an ice pack for up to 15 minutes at a time, with a wet cloth in between the ice and your skin. Wait at least 45 minutes in between applications.
Take care of your wrists! Although the wrists are much smaller joints, a wrist injury can cause serious setbacks. Listen to your body. Don’t let wrist pain or injury get in the way of your fitness and your health.