wrist flexion extension

Simple Solutions for Poor Wrist Mobility
Written by Michele Vieux

Wrist & Forearm MAYhem is finally here! This month’s National Fitness Holiday focuses on an often neglected but frequently painful place – the wrists. If your wrists have less than their desired range of motion (ROM), then you probably don’t enjoy gymnastics day and I bet you struggle in the front rack. Both, of which, are sad because it means that you aren’t hitting positions that make you strong and efficient.

Many times in gymnastics and weightlifting, large amounts of weight and pressure are being put on the wrists. People with mobility issues feel great pain and discomfort while in these positions. This is the number one indicator that you have wrist mobility issues. However, if you aren’t sure if this is your problem or you want to see just how far off you are, you can do a quick check of your mobility by putting your wrist through active ROM (moving it without assisting it with your other hand) in each direction it moves – flexion/extension; radial/ulnar deviation; and pronation/supination. Compare your results to the photo above or the chart below.

Flexion: 60-80 degrees

Extension: 60-75 degrees

Radial Deviation: 20-25 degrees

Ulnar Deviation: 30-39 degrees

Pronation: 76-84 degrees

Supination: 80 degrees

If you test out okay, read no further; but if you have pain and/or your ROM isn’t within the ideal ranges, then check out these mobility drills for the wrist. All of these can be done with Voodoo floss for better and more immediate results. Check out my article, The Wonderful World of Voodoo Floss, which includes tips on how to use it. Be sure to test (before) and retest (after) to note improvements.

1. Wrist Rotations. This may seem super basic but remember that the wrist moves in all directions so we want to help it through it’s end range in each of them. Wrap your fingers together and move your wrists around in circles and bend them back and forth, up and down and to each side. If you’re using Voodoo Floss, massage around the joint as well.

2. Hold & Twist. Place your palm against a wall with your fingertips pointing toward the floor. Set your shoulder down and back. Twist your body away from your hand as far around as you can go. You will feel this in both the wrist and forearm and maybe even in the pec, if you are super tight.

3. Planche Push-Up. Get into a plank position on your hands with your elbows fully extended. Turn your hands around so your fingertips are pointing toward your toes. Lower yourself into the bottom of a push-up. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. This can also be done from the knees if it is too intense.

4. Forearm Smash. Sometimes your flexors and extensors are tight and even though we stretch them with moves like the Hold & Twist or the Planche Push-Up, they still need a little more love to loosen. Use a barbell, your shin or a friend’s foot to mash out your forearms. Make sure to roll/mass up and down but also do some cross fiberization by sliding your mashing tool from side to side over the muscle too.

Remember, you won’t fix everything in one day, so be patient and keep at it a little bit every day until you’re where you should be.

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Nemesia N Ramolete
Nemesia N Ramolete
May 10, 2015 7:43 pm

This is a great article! Thank you for posting this. I broke my wrist in February and I am finally able to do some pressing movements (bench & shoulder press). I still have not been able to do any olympic lifting movements as it is still uncomfortable and a little painful in some positions. I will definitely continue to work on my mobility. I also get grastin done on it weekly. A little painful but helps break up all the scar tissue in my hand and forearms.

Michele Vieux
May 12, 2015 11:00 am

Bummer about your wrist! They can take months to a year to completely heal so be patient with it but it sounds like you are on the right track! My post on modifications for wrist injuries should be up next week so stay tuned and please share any that you’ve come up with. Happy training!