Athletes’ wrists have a lot of work to do. Especially with barbell work, it puts the wrist in a stressful position. If wrist mobility is lacking, this can be painful and can even lead to injury.
Aside from exercise, regular jobs such as using a computer for extended periods of time can also cause your wrists to tighten, which limits their range of motion. In this blog, we’ll share tried and tested ways to keep your wrists healthy and improve wrist mobility.
Why Wrist Mobility is Important
Before we discuss how to improve wrist mobility, let’s first talk about the wrist joint.
The wrist is a complex joint that can perform different ranges of motion. You can move it from side to side (adduction and abduction) and forward or backward (flexion and extension).
It’s important to keep this joint healthy because it affects your movement and grip strength, which is essential when performing daily tasks such as holding a steering wheel and working out. Poor wrist mobility can also put unnecessary additional stress on the front of your forearm, causing pain or discomfort.
The wrist is perhaps one of the most underappreciated parts of the body, but we use it more than we realize. If you constantly disregard it, you run the risk of developing medical conditions such as arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
5 Simple Exercises for Better Wrist Mobility
The best way to strengthen your wrist and keep it mobile is through exercise. In fact, stretching exercises don’t only ease pain but are also effective preventative measures against injury.
1. Praying Position Stretch
Start in a standing position with your palms together in a praying position and your elbows touching each other. At this point, your hands should be in front of your face and your arms are touching from your fingers to your elbows.
Now, slowly spread your elbows apart while keeping your palms pressed together. Perform this movement while lowering your hands toward your waist and stop when you feel a deep stretch.
Hold for 10 to 30 seconds and then repeat.
2. Extended Arm Exercises
Extend one of your arms in front of you and keep it at shoulder height. Make sure that your palm is facing downwards towards the floor.
Release the tension in your wrist such that the tips of your fingers are pointing downwards. Now with your other hand, grasp your fingers gently and pull them back towards your body. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds.
Another variation of this exercise involves stretching it in the opposite direction. You can do this by simply extending your arm in front of you at shoulder height and keeping your palm facing the ceiling.
Next, use your other hand to gently press your fingers down such that they point towards the floor and then pull them back towards your body. Again, hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds.
Do these two wrist mobility exercises with the other arm and repeat two to three times with each arm.
3. Clenched Fist Stretching Exercise
Another simple yet effective exercise to improve wrist mobility is the clenched fist stretching exercise.
Start by sitting on a comfortable chair and placing your open hands on your thighs while keeping your palms up. Next, close your hands slowly into fists, but make sure not to clench them too tightly.
With your forearms still touching your legs, slowly raise your fists off of your legs and bend them towards your body. You should feel a light stretch at the wrist. Hold this position for 10 seconds before lowering your fists back to rest on your thighs and opening your hands wide.
Repeat this exercise 10 times.
4. Wrist Rotations
This is probably the simplest exercise for wrist mobility that you can do. Simply wrap your fingers together and rotate your wrists in all possible directions.
If you feel a certain position is a bit tender or the movement feels a little limited, hold the position for a few seconds. Repeat this exercise as often as possible throughout the day, especially if your wrists feel a bit tight.
5. Wrist Walks
Rest your palms on a wall, while keeping your arms straight and your fingers pointing up towards the ceiling. Next, walk your hands down the wall, ensuring that your palms remain in contact with the surface.
Go as far down as possible. Once you reach the point where you can no longer walk your hands down any farther, turn your hands around such that your fingers are now pointing towards the floor.
Walk your hands up the wall as far upward as you can and repeat.
It’s important to note that while these exercises are beneficial, they shouldn’t be performed by people with inflammatory conditions or severe joint damage. So, if you do have these types of medical issues, consult with your doctor to ensure that it won’t do more harm than good.
Don’t let poor wrist mobility inhibit your performance and affect your daily life! The exercises shared in this blog don’t require much effort. Set aside a few minutes each day to perform them and you could experience immediate improvement.
Aside from these exercises, you can also make some simple adjustments to your daily lifestyle habits. For example, try keeping your wrists in a neutral position when you’re typing. If you do functional fitness or weightlifting, keep this important joint healthy by investing in quality wrist wraps and straps.
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