WRIST PAIN and discomfort can be a major headache—and sometimes, there’s no clear root cause. Could spending too much time on your laptop or phone be to blame? What about strain from everyday tasks like cooking? Or could your workout be the culprit—maybe you’ve done one too many downward dogs in yoga or pressing too hard into the floor during pushups? (And if you do a lot of push-ups, try these simple drills to stop wrist pain.)
Whatever the case, here you are. And you want relief. That’s where Daniel Giordano, DPT, C.S.C.S. of Bespoke Treatments with the help of personal trainer Vaughn Gray NASM-CPT, comes in to help. Try this quick three-minute series at work or at home, before your workout, or after training “to help improve the movement of your wrist joints,” says Giordano.
For this wrist mobility program, Giordano demoed all the moves in the video kneeling on the floor, but know it’s also fine to do these exercises at a desk or table with your hands on the flat surface instead of the floor.
Benefits of Wrist Mobility Stretches
- You can do them anywhere
- Decreases tension and can relieve pain
- Improves mobility and flexibility in the wrist joint
- Improves range of motion
The 3-Minute Wrist Mobility Plan
1. Wrist Circles
As Giordano explains, these circles are going to get the stretch through the entire wrist joint and also start to stretch through the forearms.
How to do it:
- Start with your palms flat on the floor or table, with your shoulders lined up above the wrist.
- Keeping your palms planted, rotate in clockwise circles, “really feeling every centimeter of the range of motion through the wrist joint, as you go all the way around in that circle,” explains Giordano.
- Do eight to 10 of these wrist circles clockwise.
- Reverse it and go counterclockwise.
FYI: “When you switch the direction, you’ll start to feel those other centimeters of that range, that you missed going one way to help try to open up the mobility of that wrist joint,” notes Giordano.
2. Externally Rotated Wrist Circles
For the second move in this wrist mobility program, you’re going to be doing a move that’s reminiscent of the wrist circles above with a slight modification.
How to do it:
- On the floor on all fours or with your hands on a desk or table, rotate your hands while spreading out the fingers, and then start by doing clockwise circles.
- Do about eight to ten on each side.
- Switch directions and go counterclockwise.
“Now that he’s rotated his hands out, he’s gonna feel a little more stretch with the forearm flexors or wrist flexors. Every time he comes through that range, he’s going to feel it open up a little more,” says Giordano. “So you might feel a little more stretch in your forearms per se, but that’s going to help decrease some tension off of that wrist joint.”
Giordano stresses to do this move slowly, feeling every centimeter of your range of motion throughout the entire circle shape you’re making with your wrists.
3. Wrist Flexor Stretch
This third stretch we’re going to do to enhance wrist mobility is an oldie but a goodie. It’s also different from the first two wrist mobility moves in the series.
How to do it:
- Put your palms flat on the floor, then turn your hands in towards your body, shifting position so your fingers face your knees (or if you’re at a desk or table, facing your chest).
- Lean the body backward, feeling the stretch through the flexors of the forearm.” Key to this: Do not stretch into pain. “Feel the stretch slightly; rock out of it,” advises Giordano.
- Aim for eight- to 10-second holds as you gently come back; then go forward to come out of the stretch and repeat for eight to 10 reps.
“It’s really opening up those forearm and wrist flexors, decreasing tension on the forearms, improving the mobility of your wrist joints,” says Giordano of this stellar stretch.
4. Wrist Extensor Stretch
This wrist extension stretch is another must for supporting your wrist health. If you’re doing this move on all fours with your fists on the ground, make sure your weight is more towards your heels because you “really just want to work on stretching the wrist extensors,” says Giordano.
How to do it:
- Place the top of one hand on the floor, then flatten it hand out so your wrist is flexed, creating the stretch through the backside of that wrist extensor and forearm extensor.
- Hold for 10 seconds, then come back up by shifting your weight forward and then switch sides.
- Do eight to 10 reps.
“So when he’s coming down that stretch comes all the way through those extensors working the opposite side, what we just did on the last stretch.”
5. Palm and Finger Stretch
We’ve made it to the last exercise in this series.
How to do it:
- Place your palms flat on the floor with your fingers flared wide and spaced out.
- Lift your palm up to create the stretch all through your fingers
- Hold that position for about 10 seconds
- Put your palm back down, then switch sides and do it on the other wrist.
- Aim for eight to 10 reps.
“So when you’re doing these, really stress lifting that palm up so you can feel the stretch all through the fingers here because as we know a lot of the times after lifting or typing for a long day you feel that tension in the hand,” says Giordano. “We need to decrease that tension in the hands. So there’s less pressure on that wrist joint.”
“Those five wrist mobility movements are a great way to improve the movement and mobility of your wrist,” he concludes. Best of all, you can sneak this exercise in with just a few spare minutes at home, at work, or before or after your workout.
Perri is a New York City-born-and-based writer; she holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Columbia University and is also a culinary school graduate of the plant-based Natural Gourmet Institute, which is now the Natural Gourmet Center at Institute Of Culinary Education. Her work has appeared in the New York Post, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, Oprah Daily, Insider.com, Architectural Digest, Southern Living, and more. She’s probably seen Dave Matthews Band in your hometown, and she’ll never turn down a bloody mary. Learn more at VeganWhenSober.com.
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