Wrist Range of Motion Exercises for Better Positioning & Less Pain
Written by Kaitlyn Kassis
When it comes to mobility, the two major regions of the body that come to mind first are typically the hips and the shoulders. While hip and shoulder mobility are a crucial part of being a healthy athlete, smaller joints like the wrist are often overlooked, yet equally as important. Sufficient wrist mobility is important for allowing athletes to get into a solid front rack position, support body weight in a push-up or handstand, and hold a barbell comfortably overhead. Without proper range of motion in the wrist, these movements can be incredibly painful, sometimes even impossible, for an athlete to execute.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to show the lower-arm extremity some TLC in order to improve range of motion and overall wrist health.
1) Dynamic Wrist Stretch
While resting on hands and knees, flip your hands around so fingertips are facing toward your body. Gently rock your body weight toward your heels until you feel a stretch through your wrist and forearm. Hold this active position for 10 seconds, and then return to a neutral hands and knees position with your shoulders directly above your wrists. Remain in this rest position for a count of 5, and then repeat the active 10-second hold with your weight shifted back. Repeat this dynamic stretch pattern for a full 1-2 minutes.
2) Forearm Floss
Use a Voodoo Floss band to wrap upward, starting from your wrist all the the way up to your elbow. The Voodoo Floss band should be applied tightly in order to temporarily constrict blood flow to the region, but not so tight that your hand goes completely numb. While the band is wrapped, try the dynamic wrist stretch above in order to maximize the effectiveness of this mobility technique. This is an awesome way to increase blood flow to the area, and loosen up the forearm. Tight forearms are often the source of limited wrist mobility and/or discomfort.
3) Forearm Mashing
While laying on the floor with your arm extended begin with palm facing the floor. Take a barbell and slowly roll downward and upward along the backside of your forearm. The more relaxed you can be, the better. Focus on breathing deeply – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Tensing up will take away from the effectiveness of this mobility technique. When you find an especially tight spot, spend a few extra breaths here and give this region some extra attention. Once you have spent 1-2 minutes on this side of your arm, flip your hand over so your palm is facing the ceiling. Take another 1-2 minutes slowly mashing out the front side of your forearm in the exact same fashion.
4) Base of the Hand Mashing
Place a lacrosse ball (or another firm ball) on a box or bench. Place the base of your hand – right where your wrist meets your hand – on the ball. Using your opposite hand, pull back on your fingers and attempt to get your wrist/hand flexion to as close to a 90 degree angle as possible. We want to create this angle of flexion because this is the position we find ourselves while stacked for an efficient push-up or handstand. While in flexion, with the ball beneath the base of our palm, begin to make small circular movements. You will probably feel small crunchies in the base of your hand while you apply pressure and move the lacrosse ball. The technical term for these “crunchies,” is fascia. Fascia is the soft, fibrous material that connects your muscles to your bones. The idea with this mashing drill is to increase blood flow and help release myofascial tissue. In doing so, we may find some relief and increased range of motion through the wrist joint.
Try these out for improved positioning and less discomfort in your workouts and share any other wrist mobility drills you use to the comments section!
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