Having wrist pain is a common problem that occur in many yogis, acrobats, fitness enthusiasts and more. Especially for those who bear a lot of weight directly on to the hands. For example, in a vinyasa practice, it is crucial to place weight on your hands over and over again. This could lead to irritation, strain or injury. Although the wrist is considered to be a small joint, pain in this area can be extremely bothersome and can last for an extended period of time, if not taken care of.
Our wrists are constantly challenged, whether you are a gym rat spending hours working out, a waitress always running trays full of food or even just sitting at your desk spending hours on the computer, your wrists are at risk for a beating. You don’t have to be a yogi to experience wrist pain. Even a sudden fall onto an outstretched hand stresses the wrist, so it’s best to strengthen these joints to avoid future pain and injury.
A few facts about the wrist is that it is comprised of 8 carpal bones. There is the radius and ulna bones of your forearm, tons of ligaments which are holding the wrist bones together and tendons which connect the forearm muscles to the fingers. The wrist moves in flexion and extension, so you can imagine your palm moving toward or away from the forearm and also abduction and adduction (imagine a waving motion). The wrist, although small and tiny is also a complex joint that involve complex articulations which allow for variable mobility of the hand. Therefore, having proper wrist flexibility and stability is crucial to help prevent an injury.
Here we are going to give you some recommended stretches and exercises to help prevent wrist issues.
1.Wrist Extensor Stretch
Stretch your arm straight with the palm facing upward. With your other hand, pull your hand down bringing the palm further away from you. You should feel a mild stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Make sure you do the stretch on both sides for at least 3 sets each side.
2. Wrist Flexor Stretch
Stretch your arm straight, with the palm facing downward. With your other hand, pull your hand upward, bringing the back of your hand closer to you. Hold for 10 seconds. Make sure you do the stretch on both sides for at least 3 sets each side.
3. Wrist Flexion with dumbbell
Keep your elbow bent at a 90 degree angle with your palm facing up. Hold a small dumbbell in your hand (1-2Kg is plenty) and slowly curl your wrist up while squeezing your forearm muscles. Do one set 15 reps on each hand. If you feel good, you can repeat each set up to 3 times per hand.
4. Wrist Extension with dumbbell
Keep your elbow bent at a 90 degree angle with your palm facing down. Hold a small dumbbell in your hand (1-2Kg is enough) and slowly curl your wrist down while squeezing your forearm muscles. Do one set of 15 reps on each hand. If you are feeling good, you can repeat each set up to 3 times per hand.
Apart from stretching the wrists for higher flexibility and stability, it is also good to be aware of where you should put weight during your yoga practice. This is also another way to actively avoid wrist pain.
Looking at this photo (courtesy of yingyangyogis.com), the main point of contact where we should keep our weight is mostly on our fingers and knuckles. We should always avoid placing weight on the bottom heel of our hand, as this is a sensitive point and can easily hurt our wrists. Press down through the knuckles and finger tips and this should release weight from the center of your palm. Consciously be aware of this as you are in your yoga practice. In whatever posture you may be in- from downward facing dog, to plank to handstand—keeping the weight on the mounds of the fingers (along with proper alignment) should keep your wrists safe from injury.
If you do happen to feel any wrist pain, it is best to consult your doctor on how to proceed with your injury. Take these tips in order to prevent pain but not as a means of healing. We hope you enjoyed these exercises and tips on strengthening your wrists! Have a safe practice yogis! <3