Your wrists do a lot of work, particularly in the front rack and overhead positions. If your joints are starting to feel sore or you’re experiencing pain, you’re not alone. Let’s talk about a few exercises you can do to help relieve your wrist pain so that you can get back to work.

Psst! Don’t forget that wearing wrist wraps will help cut down on pain tremendously and also provide much-needed stability.

TWL wrist wraps

5 Simple Exercises to Reduce Wrist Pain

One important note before we start: In order to address pain, you have to have at least a vague understanding of what’s causing it.

Your wrist pain could be the result of a lack of mobility, a lack of strength, or a combination of both. So, we’re going to share wrist exercises that address both. Your best bet is to include all of these (perhaps in varying combinations) throughout your weekly training.

Whether you do these on your rest days or as wrist warm-up exercises before a WOD, they’ll help fight off the discomfort that’s been nagging you. For all of them, focus on the quality of movement rather than the speed or number of reps. Slow and steady wins the race.

Let’s go!

1. The Praying Position

Place your palms together in front of your face, like you’re praying. Then, bring your elbows together too. In other words, your arms should be touching from the tips of your fingers down to your elbows.

Then, start to spread your elbows apart as you lower your hands (still in the prayer position) toward belly button height.

Once you’re there, hold for 10-20 seconds. Repeat for 5 reps. You should feel the stretch both in your wrists and in the bottom of your forearms.

2. Wrist Curls

Grab a very light dumbbell or even a small change plate and hold it in one hand. Perform a curl by flexing at the wrist only. Focus on making the movement slow and controlled. Try 3 sets of 5-10 reps.

Pro tip: You can also rotate your wrist so that your palm is facing down. Then perform a curl by flexing the wrist up. This targets the other side of the forearm.

The focus here is strengthening that specific joint. When the wrist is stronger, it’s better prepared to handle whatever your WOD throws at you. And thus, soreness and pain after training should be reduced.

3. Thumbs Up

Your wrist pain might actually be starting in your fingers, so let’s work on that. Put your hand in a thumbs-up position. Flex the muscles of your hands so that your thumb is standing strong.

Then, use your other hand to gently push forward on the thumb. You want your thumb to resist that force. Hold for 5-10 seconds.

Next, do it in the opposite direction. This time, resist the force as you pull back on your thumb.

4. Forearm Stretch

Everything is connected. Your wrist pain might be the result of tight muscles in your forearms.

Extend one arm out in front of you, palm and fingers facing down. With the other hand, gently pull your fingers toward you. You should feel the stretch on the top of your forearm. Hold for 5-10 seconds.

Then, do the same thing in the opposite direction. With your palm still facing the same direction, point your fingers toward the sky and gently pull them toward you. You should now feel a stretch on the bottom of your forearm.

5. Lacrosse Ball Squeeze

Strengthening the muscles of the fingers, wrists, and forearms can help reduce wrist pain. Hold a lacrosse ball (or tennis ball) in one hand and squeeze it. The goal isn’t really to “crush” it in your hand but rather to fight back against that resistance. Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat 3 times for 3 rounds.

Remember, to reduce wrist pain, you must address (1) strength and (2) wrist mobility. Protecting and stabilizing the joint is also crucial. This is why we strongly suggest a sturdy pair of wrist wraps. These really come in handy for exercises like front squats, cleans, overhead presses, bar muscle-ups, and handstands.

A recovery tool like Armaid is key to quickly removing lactic acid and massaging the soft tissues of your forearms. This means faster recovery times. Whether you’ve spent a lot of time gripping a barbell, you’ve been swinging from the pull-up bar, or countless burpees have your wrists crying, this recovery tool comes in clutch. It’s a gentle but powerful way to soothe those muscles and help them relax after a grueling WOD.

female athlete using armaid to reduce wrist pain
Consistency is mandatory! Use these five exercises on a regular basis and you should be able to keep wrist pain at bay.

Important note: While your wrists might already be hurting, these exercises in and of themselves should not trigger more pain! If they do, stop immediately. You should only ever feel a stretch or slight resistance. But pain is not okay. (And furthermore, it’s not needed in order to make progress.)

If your wrist pain is to the point that nothing you try on your own can help, it’s a good time to speak to a physical therapist or other medical/recovery professional who you trust.

Your wrists experience a lot of wear and tear. Taking care of them will not only help you perform better in the gym but will also help you feel more comfortable the rest of the day. Try these five exercises for wrist pain and let us know how it goes!