12 Quick and Easy Exercises to Strengthen Your Wrists, Increase Your Range of Motion, and Lower the Risk of a Strain or Break, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or Overuse Injury
Many people who are savvy to joint mobility training focus on the hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine, while neglecting some of the smaller joints such as the wrists. I think this is a mistake because even your wrists can become a big problem if you don’t take care of them.
And in this day-and-age, when we’re so deconditioned from our sedentary and digital lifestyles – not to mention all the wear and tear our body’s accumulate from disuse (e.g. sitting around too much), misuse (e.g. excessive typing & texting), and abuse (e.g. repetitive exercise) – our wrists are in pretty bad shape. In fact, most folks who don’t train their joints, have weak, brittle, injury-prone, and just plain cranky wrists that eventually require some tender loving care.
Fortunately, a handful of exercises and a little TLC can go a long way to keep your wrists strong, mobile, and pain-free.
Don’t wait until something bad happens. Your joints need training just like your heart and your muscles do.
So, here are some exercises to help restore your wrist mobility and strengthen their basic ranges of motion. A minute or two a day can go a long way toward keeping your wrists healthy and strong.
12 Wrist Strengthening Exercises For Mobility & Strength
Beginner Wrist Exercises
Flexion/Extension (i.e. basic ranges) – Flex and extend your wrist up and down, making sure to lead with the wrist instead of the fist
Lateral Deviation (i.e. basic ranges) – Reach your wrists to the inside and outside as if using a socket wrench
Wrist Circles (low) – With hands at waist level, and keeping your fist’s and elbow’s movement to a minimum, roll your wrists around in a smooth circle
Wrist Circles (high) – With hands held loosely overhead, and keeping your fist’s and elbow’s movement to a minimum, roll your wrists around in a smooth circle
Figure Eights (aka infinities) – With a loose fist, move your wrist in a figure eight pattern (e.g. up, down, left, right, and diagonally)
Clasped-Hands Circles – Interlacing your ten fingers, roll your wrists around in circles
Intermediate Wrist Exercises
Finger Pulls / Wrist Extension – With one hand, pull down on the fingers of the opposite hand (i.e. held in a “waiters” position) to extend the wrist as you also extend the elbow to lockout
Palm Rolls / Seal Pose – Roll your hands down on the floor, from the tips of your fingers all the way to your palms until your hands are flat on the floor
Backhand Wrist Rocks (i.e. on back of hands) – In a kneeling position, with fingers splayed and pointing back toward your knees, backs of hands flat on the ground, and elbows locked, rock back slightly and gently
Lateral Wrist Rocks (i.e. on Fists) – With fists on the floor, palms facing each other, roll back and forth on your knuckles from your pinky fingers to your thumbs and index fingers
Advanced Wrist Exercises
Wrist Flexion with Rotation (i.e. on palms) – With palm(s) flat on the floor, rotate your wrist both clockwise and counterclockwise. Click here for detailed instructions.
Wrist Extension with Rotation (i.e. on back of hands) – With palm(s) flat on the floor, roll the hand(s) over the pinky until the back of your hand is flat on the floor. Then pivot your hand internally as far as you can before rolling over the thumb. Reverse the direction to perform the opposite movement.
Keys to Success
- Do not force any range of motion
- Don’t train through strain or pain
- Use smooth and controlled movements that go right to your edge, and no further
- Practice these exercises often
- Master the basics before moving on to the more sophisticated exercises
- Be patient – it usually takes several weeks to several months to restore the full range of motion at the wrists
If you take care of your wrists, they’ll take care of you. And if you have cranky wrists, these exercises can go a long way toward helping them get healthier, stronger, and more mobile.
Of course, having healthy wrists is important. But so are the rest of your joints. That’s why I recommend plugging these exercises into a more comprehensive joint strengthening routine that covers ALL of the major joint complexes. This kind of training does you a world of good.
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Health-First Fitness Coach
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