Let's explain why wrist strengthening exercises are mandatory in your workout routine. Remember the countless movies you've seen where you are hanging off the edge of a cliff? Truth is, we will all have moments in our life - whether it be lifting a heavy weight, handling kids, carrying groceries, or hanging off a precipice for dear life - strong, pain-free wrists become absolutely necessary.
Wrist movement involves around 35 muscles that undergo different ranges of motion, including flexion, extension, abduction and adduction. If you feel pain in your wrists when lifting a barbell or dumbbell, try out a few wrist strengthening exercises to improve wrist strength, flexibility, mobility, and functionality.
Remember to perform a basic warm-up routine before diving into these exercises.
Top Wrist Strengthening Exercises For Strong, Pain-Free Wrists
Here's a look at five such exercises:
1) Wrist Curl
This is one of the best wrist strengthening exercises a beginner can add to his routine. You can perform them using a dumbbell, resistance band, or bodily resistance.
- Lie your arm down on any flat surface, with the palm facing upwards.
- Hold a light dumbbell in your hand, and grip it firmly. The palm and wrist should be hanging off the flat surface (e.g., a table, bench or your own leg).
- Raise the dumbbell by flexing the wrist slowly. Use a slow, controlled tempo.
- Return to the starting position with a controlled lowering motion.
- Repeat 10-15 times. Switch sides.
2) Wrist Pronation
You should include pronator exercises in your list of wrist strengthening exercises. That's because the pronators are responsible for forearm rotation. Strengthening this area can also reduce stress on the elbow joint and help treat golfer's elbow.
- Support your forearm on a table or flat surface, with the elbow bent at 90 degrees.
- Take a light dumbbell, and hold it using a neutral grip. Hold the dumbbell vertically while your palm is facing the side.
- Rotate your forearm slowly till the palm faces upwards. Return to the starting position slowly. Repeat for 8-12 reps. Switch sides.
The simplicity of wrist strengthening exercises is that they can be done with random objects you can find anywhere throughout your house.
For such workouts, you can squeeze basically anything - tennis balls, hand strengtheners, or scrunched-up towels. Those suffering from wrist pain can buy orthopedic hand balls from a local store.
- Hold the object of choice in your hand while sitting or standing.
- Wrap your thumbs and fingers around the object firmly.
- Squeeze as hard as possible, making a vice-like grip.
- Work up to 3-5 sets of six-second holds.
- Repeat on both sides.
4) Reverse Wrist Curl
This exercise is ideal for improving wrist flexibility and grip strength while building up the forearm muscles.
- Sit on a bench or a chair while keeping your legs shoulder-width apart. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand.
- Place your right forearm on your right thigh, with the palm facing down. Avoid resting your wrist on your knee.
- Flex your palm upwards such that it faces the direction of your feet.
- Hold the peak contraction for a second, and return to the starting position. Repeat on both sides for 8-15 reps.
5) Wrist Rotation
Add this move to your list of wrist strengthening exercises for increased flexibility and mobility. This exercise can also help increase forearm endurance.
- Start with a light dumbbell in each hand. You can perform them seated or standing.
- Hold the dumbbells in front of your body with an overhand grip so that they’re parallel to the floor.
- Rotate the wrists slowly in a circular motion. Repeat for 10-15 reps, but muscle fatigue can be a better indicator.
Perform the aforementioned wrist strengthening exercises 2-3 times a week for enhanced wrist mobility, flexibility, strength, and pain-relief. These movements can also help increase finger and grip strength, helping you lift heavier weights in the gym.