When you think of working out or starting a fitness journey, you might think of cardio, leg workouts, or arm workouts.

Rarely do people think of their wrists and how to strengthen them.

Weak wrists can cause you to be more suspectable to injuries and other problems.

Strengthening wrists is especially important when it comes to yoga and arm workouts. 

How do you fix weak wrists?

The best approach to fixing a weak wrist is a series of stretches and exercises to improve range of motion and wrist strength.

These can be found below.

Does punching strengthen your wrists?

Yes, punching can make your wrists stronger but only if done properly.

It should be coupled with wrist strengthening exercises and stretches.

If this is done improperly it can cause more damage than good.

What are some exercises I can do to strengthen my wrists? 

The following is a summary of the best wrist strengthening exercises and stretches.

Try some of them each day to begin beginning building strength. 

Exercises without weight

These simple exercises can be done without equipment. 

Ball squeeze

  • Best to use a squeeze ball strengthener but any similar sized ball can work
  • Squeeze the ball as hard as you can, hold the tension for 3-5 seconds
  • Repeat about 10 times

Resistance band

  • Pick an appropriate amount of resistance, usually fairly light
  • Repeat exercises like wrist curls, pronated wrist curls, reverse forearm curls, and supination exercises

Palm to sky palm to the floor

  • Sit or stand with arms out, parallel to the ground
  • Rotate your arms and wrists facing palms up and palms down

Fist exercise

  • Place elbow on a stable surface so forearm and hand is vertical
  • Make a tight fist and then slowly open your fingers
  • When your hand is fully open stretch the fingers out and back as far as they will comfortably go

Pull up top hang

  • Can be performed with a machine, resistance band, or pullup bar
  • Perform a normal pull-up motion but hold for 5-10 seconds at the peak of the contraction

Chin up top hang

  • Can be performed with a machine, resistance band, or pullup bar
  • Perform a normal chin-up motion but hold for 5-10 seconds at peak of the contraction

Rubber band strengthener

  • Take an ordinary rubber band and stretch it around the tops of your fingers and thumb.
  • Slowly open your hand to stretch against the rubber band, and then slowly close your hand. Keep the motion-controlled.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times

Battle ropes

  • Grasp the battle ropes in each hand
  • Hinge at the hip and lean forward
  • Make a drum beating motion alternating your arms up and down

Exercises with weights

These exercises you can use with weights to make your wrists stronger. 

Wrist curls

  • Place forearms on legs, table, or bench, palms facing upward, grasping light dumbbell.
  • Allow hands to hang over the edge and hang down
  • Using the surface for support and keeping arm firmly planted, flex upwards at the wrist raising the weight as high as you can
  • Repeat 10-15 times

Pronated wrist curl

  • Same steps as regular wrist curl
  • Palms face downwards

Wrist supination and pronation with dumbbell

  • Place forearm on a stable flat surface allowing the hand to hang over the edge
  • Grasp a small dumbbell by one end
  • Holding the dumbbell so the free endpoints towards the ceiling, slowly rotate the wrist until the palms face upward and the dumbbell is parallel with the ground. Hold for a few seconds
  • Slowly return to starting position and then repeat in other direction so palms face downwards

Reverse forearm curls

  • Can use either EZ bar or dumbbells
  • Start with elbows at 90 degrees and forearms parallel to the floor, palms facing down
  • Curl the weight towards your shoulders and control the motion back to starting position

Isometric deadlifts

  • Exact same as a regular deadlift
  • But hold at the top of the motion for 3-5 seconds

Farmers carry

  • Grab a pair of moderate to heavy dumbbells or kettlebells
  • Stand straight keeping the core engaged and begin to walk
  • As you walk keep your wrists neutral and prevent the weights from swinging or moving

Wrist stretches

This will help to stretch the ligaments in your wrist and make them stronger. 

Wrist rolls

  • Extend your arms straight out in front of you and make a fist
  • Roll your wrists outward making a circular motion about 5 times
  • Repeat motion rolling the wrists inward this time
  • This is one set. Repeat about 10 times

Prayer stretches

  • Stand with palms together, fingertips facing up, hands at the center of the chest
  • Begin to move your hands down toward your stomach, keep palms together, keep elbows up
  • Stop when you begin to feel a moderate stretch in the forearm, hold for 30 seconds

Prayer stretches with a steeple

  • Same starting position as prayer stretch
  • Spread your fingers and thumbs as wide apart as you can. Then move your palms apart and together again, keeping your fingers and thumbs touching. Repeat a few times during the day.

Wrist walking

  • Stand near a wall, with your arms straight, your palms against the wall, and your fingers pointed up.
  • Keeping your palms against the wall, walk your wrists down the wall as far as you can.
  • Then turn your hands around so that your fingers are pointed down. With your palms against the wall, walk your wrists back up as far as you can

Upward bound finger pose

  • Extend your arms straight in front of you, interlace your fingers and face your palms away from your body
  • Hold for about 60 seconds

Wall stretch

  • Place a hand against a wall with your arms parallel to the floor
  • Begin to twist your body towards the wall, keeping your hand flat on the surface
  • Hold for 60 seconds

Gorilla pose

  • Requires fairly good hamstring flexibility
  • Bend forward keeping your legs straight
  • Slide your hand under your feet so your palms are touching the bottom of your feet
  • Hold for 60 seconds

Rear-facing wrist stretch

  • Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position
  • Gradually rotate your hands one at a time so your fingertips are pointing towards your knees and your palms are flat on the ground
  • Gradually begin to lean backward until you feel a moderate stretch in your wrists and forearms
  • Hold for 30 seconds

Why are my wrists so weak and sore?

Wrist pain can be caused by various factors including sprains, fractures, injury, repetitive strain, arthritis, or carpal tunnel.

For those that do not have any injuries or conditions that may be causing wrist pain, it is likely a result of repetitive strain.

Quick progressions and heavy lifting can also cause this.

The primary muscle group being worked on maybe strengthening and progressing faster than wrist strength and the heavier lifting can begin to cause strains and pains.

If this is the case, you should incorporate wrist stretches and exercises into your routine.

Have there been any studies on wrist training and muscle strength? 

Yes, there have been many studies done on wrist strengthening development

A study titled Effect of 12 Weeks of Wrist and Forearm Training on High School Baseball Players from 2004 examined the effect of 12 weeks of wrist and forearm training on male high school baseball players (mean age = 15.3 ± 1.1 years). 

Participants (N = 43) were tested for 10 repetition maximum (RM) wrist barbell flexion, wrist barbell extension, dominant (D) and non-dominant (ND) hand-forearm supination, D and ND forearm pronation, D and ND wrist radial deviation, D and ND wrist ulnar deviation, D and ND grip strength, and a 3RM parallel squat (PS) and bench press (BP). 

Group 1 (n = 23) and group 2 (n = 20) were randomly assigned by a stratified sampling technique, performed the same resistance exercises while training 3 days a week for 12 weeks according to a stepwise periodized model. 

Group 2 also performed wrist and forearm exercises 3 days a week for 12 weeks to determine if additional wrist and forearm training provided further wrist and forearm strength improvements.  

There were some significant results to keep in mind: 

  • Both groups significantly increased wrist and forearm strength (kg ± SD) except 10RM D and ND forearm supination for group 1 (p < 0.05). 
  • Group 2 showed statistically greater improvements (p < 0.05) in all wrist and forearm strength variables than did group 1 except for D and ND grip strength. 
  • Predicted 1RM (kg ± SD) PS and BP increased significantly (p < 0.05) after weeks 4, 8, and 12 for both groups. 

A case study titled Wrist Resistance Training Improves Motor Control and Strength from 2018 was conducted to investigate the effects of a 6-week direction-specific resistance training program on isometric torque control and isokinetic torque strength of the wrist joint.

Nineteen subjects were randomly assigned to either the wrist training group (n = 9) or the control group (n = 10).

The training group performed wrist exercises in 6 directions (flexion, extension, pronation, supination, radial deviation, and ulnar deviation), whereas the control group did not. 

The main results were the following: 

  • The training group showed significant decreases in isometric torque control error in all 6 directions after 2 weeks of resistance training, whereas the control group did not show a significant increase or decrease. 
  • After 4 weeks of training, the training group showed significant increases in maximum strength in all 6 directions as assessed by 1RM strength and isokinetic strength tests, whereas the control group did not show any statistically significant changes. 
  • This study shows that motor control significantly improves within the first 2 weeks of resistance training, whereas wrist strength significantly improves within the first 4 weeks of resistance training. 
  • Based on the findings of this study, coaches and trainers should consider wrist resistance training to improve athletes’ muscular strength and control of the wrist muscles. 

A case study titled Effect of submaximal isometric wrist extension training on grip strength from 2010 was done to investigate whether increasing forearm extensor activation with isometric wrist extension training affects gripping force. 

Thirteen healthy subjects participated in this study. Training consisted of 30 repetitions equal to 70% MVC of isometric wrist extension for 8 weeks (5/week) on the right side. 

The main noteworthy results:

  • After training, maximal wrist extension force increased significantly
  • Gripping force on the trained side also increased significantly
  • The training changed wrist angle at peak of MVCgrip. EMG activation of forearm extensors increased and that of flexors decreased during gripping
  • These results suggest that wrist extension training leads to an increase in gripping force and changes the balance of EMG activation between forearm flexors and extensors during gripping

Final Thoughts 

Even though the wrists are often overlooked, they are important for your overall muscle training and development.

Strong wrists will help you with a variety of strength training exercises and give you the skills you need to be better in yoga class. 

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