Be it carrying groceries, opening jars in your kitchen or typing, wrist strength is needed in your day-to-day life. Even fitness enthusiasts will agree, as you won’t be able to do something as basic as push-ups or picking dumbbells if you don’t have strong wrists. Since weak wrists can affect your life, read on to find out about some of the best wrist strengthening exercises.
Why do we need strong wrists?
You need strong wrists for various purposes. Here are some of the reasons why you should have strong wrists:
1. Weight-bearing exercises
Many exercises, including lifting weights and bodyweight exercises, require strong wrists, says physiotherapist Shazia Shadab. They help to support the load and maintain proper form.
2. Everyday tasks
You don’t give much thought to your wrists while carrying groceries or pushing doors. These tasks actually require wrist strength and stability. If your wrists are weak, you won’t be able to perform these simple tasks.
3. Preventing injuries
Strong wrists contribute to joint stability and can help to prevent injuries. This is especially true during activities that involve repetitive wrist movements.
4. Grip strength
Strong wrists are essential for a powerful grip. It is beneficial in various sports, manual work and activities that involve holding onto objects.
5. Wrist stability
Strong wrists provide better stability, says the expert. This reduces the risk of strains, sprains or other wrist-related injuries.
What can make wrists weak?
Several factors can contribute to weak wrists. Here are some common ones:
1. Lack of exercise
If you neglect exercises that specifically target your wrist strength and flexibility, your wrists may become weaker over time.
2. Poor ergonomics
Prolonged use of poorly designed workstations or repetitive motions in an improper position can strain your wrists. Ultimately, it will lead to wrist weakness.
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to overall muscle weakness. This includes the muscles around your wrists.
Previous injuries such as fractures or sprains can weaken your wrists. Improper healing or rehabilitation can further contribute to weakness.
5. Medical conditions
Conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis can affect your wrists and lead to weakness.
As people grow older, muscle mass tends to decrease, and joints may become less flexible. This may lead to weaker wrists.
7. Overuse or repetitive strain
Performing repetitive motions without proper breaks or using excessive force can strain your wrist muscles. This can then make your wrists weak, says Shadab.
What are the best wrist strengthening exercises?
You can do some wrist strengthening exercises at home.
1. Wrist flexor stretch
• Extend your arm while ensuring your palm is facing down.
• Use your opposite hand to gently press down on your fingers and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.
2. Wrist flexor and extensor strengthening with dumbbells
• Sit or stand with a light dumbbell in hand.
• Rest your forearm on a table or your thigh with your wrist just beyond the edge.
• Lift the dumbbell by flexing your wrist (palm up) and then extend it (palm down). Do two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions for each direction.
3. Wrist circles
• Extend your arms in front of you.
• Rotate your wrists in circular motions, clockwise and then counterclockwise. Perform two to three sets of 10 circles in each direction, suggests the expert.
4. Finger tapping
• Spread your fingers wide.
• Tap each fingertip to your thumb in quick succession. Repeat the movements for one or two minutes.
5. Wrist flexor pronation and supination
• Hold a light dumbbell with your elbow bent at 90 degrees.
• Rotate your forearm, turning your palm up and then down. Do at least two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions in each direction.
6. Wrist push-ups
• Get on your hands and start in a plank position.
• Press into the ground, lifting your palms slightly. Hold for a moment then lower back down. Do about three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
7. Wrist flexor and extensor isometric holds
• Hold your arm in front of you, with your elbow slightly bent.
• Create resistance by pushing against your hand with the opposite hand. Hold it for 10 to 15 seconds and then switch sides.
8. Wrist flexor stretch with wrist flexor eccentric exercise
• Extend your arm in front with your palm facing down.
• Use your opposite hand to press down, as you stretch your wrist flexors.
• Slowly release the stretch, resisting the upward movement with the working hand. Do two or three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Remember to start with a warm-up and gradually increase the intensity as well as duration of these exercises. If you have any existing wrist conditions or concerns, check with your doctor first.