There are a number of reasons you may be feeling wrist pain when lifting. One of the most common things I have been seeing lately in my own patients is a lack of flexibility. Movements such as the front squat or clean require a large amount of wrist range of motion, specifically extension. If you are lacking adequate flexibility in the wrist, the most likely result will be compensations in your lifting technique. Add the weight of a barbell on top of it, and it’s a surefire way to experience discomfort!
Luckily for you, it’s not all that difficult to increase wrist flexibility. But as always, you must be consistent to see results!!
There are loads of different ways you can work on wrist mobility. For the purposes of this post, i'm keeping it basic! I know that for most of you, time is of the essence, so I'm sharing with you 5 simple stretches that can be done ANYWHERE and ANYTIME (yes that includes from your desk while on a conference call). If you are struggling with getting into the right positioning or have any sort of forearm/wrist pain, give these a try!
1. Wrist Extension with Straight Elbow: Hold your elbow straight, and gently press your wrist back with the opposite hand. Hold 3 x 20 seconds on each side.
Variations: Press the palm of your hand against the wall instead. From a kneeling position place your palm on the floor with fingers facing towards your knees, gently rock back until you feel a stretch.
2. Wrist Extension with Bent Elbow: The muscles in your forearms have different attachment points. In order to stretch them all, you need to repeat the same stretch as above with a bent elbow.
Repeat 3 x 20 seconds.
3. Wrist Flexion with Straight Elbow: Hold your elbow straight and gently press your wrist down with the opposite hand. Hold 3 x 20 seconds on each side.
Variations: Press the back of your hand on a wall instead. From a kneeling position, place the back on your hand on the floor with fingers facing towards knees, gently rock back until you feel a stretch. Be mindful not to put too much weight through the wrists during this exercise.
4. Wrist Flexion with Bent Elbow: Repeat the same stretch as above, but with a bent elbow this time. Repeat 3 x 20 seconds.
And for one more fun alternative to try right before grabbing the barbell…
Lat Stretch to improve your Front Rack: Begin kneeling with elbows propped up on a bench and holding a PVC pipe. Bring your chest towards the floor until you feel stretch in your lats, then bend elbows to bring PVC pipe behind your head. Repeat 10x, holding each rep for 5-10 seconds.
If you are experiencing wrist and elbow pain when lifting and want to figure out how you can best address it, click here to schedule a PT evaluation or movement assessment with me!
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