Fitness Fix: Help for Weak Wrists

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Loosen up tight wrists with these simple drills.

“When people get wrist pain during weight-bearing exercises, they tend to assume that the problem is weakness,” says chiropractor and athletic-movement expert Eric Cobb, DC. “But the real issue is often mobility or stability.”

Wrist Mobilizer

Wrist-Mobilizer
  • To mobilize your wrists — and improve their suppleness and pain-free range of motion — Cobb recommends a simple wrist-circling drill, done at low intensity (two or three on a 10-point scale) for five to six reps in either direction:
  • Stand in a neutral posture. Keeping your upper arms close to your body and your palms down, bend your elbows until your forearms are parallel to the floor and hold your hands in loose fists.
  • Focusing on moving your wrist — not your hand — slowly circle your wrists counterclockwise, forming a complete circle with your wrist (it may help to imagine that you are loosely gripping a stationary object, like a steering wheel).
  • Do five circles, then do five in the other direction.

Wrist Stabilizer

Wrist-Stabilizer

Next, Cobb recommends a low-intensity drill that will help stabilize the wrists by freeing up the nerves that connect the spinal column to the hands:

  • Stand upright with a tall spine. Keep your arms at your sides with palms facing backward.
  • Spread the fingers of your left hand and extend your wrist so your palm is facing the floor (your fingers will now be pointing forward).
  • Keeping your elbow straight, use your shoulder to rotate your left arm outward (your fingers pointing backward) and lift the arm slightly out to the side.
  • Pull your left shoulder downward and tilt your head directly to the right.
  • From that basic position, gently lift and lower your left shoulder three times.
  • Returning to the starting position, slightly bend then straighten your left elbow three times. Then bend your wrist up and down fully, three times.
  • Repeat the entire drill on your right side.
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Fitness
Injury & Recovery
Eric Cobb