Hand strength and the ability to operate the hands are vital. Flexible wrist mobilizations that can easily perform different movements independent of each other, our ability to grasp and handle objects would be severely impaired. Without the portable wrist, our manual dexterity doesn’t really exist. Our arms become those pincers we use to pick up trash.
You need adequate wrist mobilizations, regardless of whether or not you do desk work (carpal tunnel syndrome), retrieve barbells from the floor (rack position), throw projectiles, cuddle babies, work on cars, cook, drink coffee out of mugs, wave goodbye, play Ultimate Frisbee, or play hoops (with good follow-through). If you plan on giving exceptional high fives or becoming a dominant arm wrestler or being passionate about the world, you need mobile, strong, sturdy wrists.
Seriously, however, proper hand functionality is crucial for everyday life and exercise.
And the wrist is a common weak link. Who is actually training the wrist? There isn’t a “wrist day” at the gym. Today, you will learn proper ways to rebuild wrist mobilizations and strengthen strength.
1. Wrist Rolls for Wrist Mobilizations
Wrist rolls are easy. Lace your fingers together, using lots of push-pull opposing strength, and put your wrists through every possible range of motion. Just perform all ranges of rotation and flexion and extension and adduction and abduction. Roll them through all ranges of motion.
If you sit in front of a computer all day, I would suggest doing a few sets of these before and after work.
2. Prayer Stretches
Prayer exercises are static stretches that increase in intensity. Place your hands in prayer position in front of your face: palms and fingers flat against each other, fingers pointing up the sky (or sun, or heavens).
Then, while maintaining your hands together and fingers still pointing up, bring your hands down to your navel. Continue descending until you can’t maintain your palms touching anymore, then hold it there for about 3-5 seconds. Repeat, trying to go lower each time. Twelve reps.
3. Palm Lifts to help Wrist Mobilizations
Squat down on your hands and knees with your arms extended straight out in front of you. Lift your forearms off the floor while keeping your elbows in place. Your wrist mobilizations should be stacked directly over your hand. Try to always keep your arm perpendicular to the ground. Pause for 2 to 3 seconds and then very slowly lower your hand to the floor. Two to three sets of eight to 10 repetitions.
4. Rear Facing Palms Up Wrist Stretch
Crawl on your hands and knees, back of your hands flat on the floor with palms facing up, fingers pointing toward you. This places your wrist in flexion, and by shifting your weight backward by sitting back on your legs, you can go deeper into wrist flexion. Do this task slowly and meticulously. Two to three sets of eight to 12 reps. Avoid pain, but mild discomfort is okay.
5. Rear Facing Palms Down Wrist Stretch
Kneel on all fours with your hands underneath your shoulders. Press your palms back to make your wrist extend, then shift your weight back onto your ankles to extend your wrist further. Watch out, move slowly, and be careful. Perform 2-3 sets totaling 8-12 repetitions.
6. Weighted Wrist Extension/Flexion
Dependent upon the intensity of our workout, heavy wrist extensions and flexions strengthen our primary movements by performing more tasks with our wrists. By training these movements with weights, we can further improve our strength and mobility.
In the case of flexions:
- For both exercises, use a light dumbbell. This exercise is not for heavy weights. You are performing small, yet important, exercise patterns. Three sets of 12 to 15 reps, each wrist.
7. Weighted Pronation/Supination
The wrist can not only extend and flex, but also pronate and supinate. These are rotational movements at the wrist, such as using one’s fingers to grip a screwdriver, turning on a doorknob, or throwing a item. They’re important to get strong because they allow you to have “farmer strength” that people lack today.
Rotational compression is being performed, beginning with wrist motion in counterclockwise rotation-external rotation. Hands to feet. Pronation rotates your wrist counterclockwise. Palms down together. The best way to train both movements is to do them while holding a heavy mace, club, or sledgehammer in your hands. It’s easy.
- Don’t go too light. If the object is too heavy, you can extend your grip toward the head to lower the lever. As you improve and grow stronger, you may slide your grip further down to increase the length of the lever.
Every arm of every person performs 3 repetitions of 6 motions each.
8. Weighted Radial/Ulnar Deviation
Radial and ulnar deviation refers to a twisting of the wrist joint from side to side. Flipping and extending along the edges of the wrist joint, such as when unscrewing or screwing on a pickle jar lid.
Keep the same utensil you used for the supination/pronation workout at your side. Keep your arm straight and perpendicular to the ground.
To perform radial deviation, point the head of the mace ahead. Bend your wrist at the elbow, as if you were raising the flag of a sports team skyward. For ulnar deviation, the head of the mace is behind you. Move the head by holding it by the opposite side of your elbow. Again, you can adjust your grip to change the length or angle of the lever and alter the resistance.
Two teams of six volunteers (three per side) per arm.
9. Static Hold for Wrist Mobilizations
The wrist is also a stabilizer. A wrist that can hold its position against gravity and the exterior is a resilient wrist. If you want to lift something heavy, hold a wrist lock, or strike an opponent, you should have a strong wrist.
The best way to improve wrist mobilizations is to grip the same object for the two static holds. Keep the mace/sledgehammer/club out in front of you with your forearm bent at 90 degrees, and that is all you will do. Just hold that position.
That’s it! You don’t have to do these exercises all the time. They are assistance exercises, not primary ones. But they are good for when you have a few minutes to exercise, are consistent, and soon you will notice your strength and wrist mobilizations have improved and that your overall performance in other areas has as well.