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Wrist Love (Part 1 of 3)

Hand engagement and grip strength

How many of us complain about or deal with wrist issues but don’t realize that we can do anything about it?

Many new moms deal with wrist issues, but so do many people.


Do you find picking up the cast iron fry pan with one hand, especially when it is full of food too much for your wrists? Or perhaps holding yourself in plank, or on your hands and knees, starts to hurt your wrists pretty quickly.

When I used to do a lot of yoga, I was always frustrated by wrist pain in downward dog but I never realized that I could improve my experience.

Most of us don’t use or develop strength in our hands, wrists and arms in our day to day life.

No wonder we have troubles.

Sometimes holding the weight of your whole body is TOO MUCH and starting with less weight can let you build strength and support so that you can handle more weight in time.

Would you like to have happier wrists? Try out the exercises below…

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Hand Engagement

When you are supporting weight on your hands, what are they doing? Are they working, or passive?

Is the weight getting held by your whole hand/arm/shoulder and fingers or just resting on your wrists?

If your answer is mostly passive lets see if we can up your game.

First of all, try this without much weight.

Put your hands on the wall at chest height and lean into them, or place them on a table.

Adjust the distance of your feet from the wall or table to give you some weight to work with, but not too much. The idea is to build up strength in your wrists, not blow out them out.

4 Steps to find more Engagement in your Hands, Arms and Shoulders

Step 1: Spread your fingers

Really, spread them as much as you can. What happens in your wrists? Your hands? Your arms? Your shoulders? Hopefully you feel some muscles turn on that weren’t before.

Step 2: Root the palm of your hand

You know the knuckles at the base of your fingers? Push the one at the base of your pointer finger and the pinky finger into the wall/table. Really root them in.

Step 3: Grip the surface with your fingers.

Like you are pushing your fingertips into the floor and trying to drag it towards your palm. You won’t move the surface, but you will have a bunch more muscles come on board.


What happens when you keep all of the above and then attempt to screw your hands either towards or away from each other? Again, you won’t move your hands, they will be stuck to the wall, but you will get more muscle engagement. Which direction feels like it gives you more support?

How do these cues feel?

Perhaps you haven’t used your hands like this before?

Maybe you’re wrists or hands feel warmer or are starting to fatigue.

Play with finding this kind of engagement any time you are supporting weight on your hands. Find a minute here and there to practice.

In the kitchen, when the kettle is coming to boil, or when my child is showing me his latest lego creation are both times, I personally, play with this type of exercise.


Squeeze a Thing while you do Wrist/Arm Mobility Movements

Maybe you have done basic wrist warm ups and mobility, like wrist circles or figure eights, but have you ever done them while squeezing something? It changes things completely. Try these…

Slow controlled circles and figure 8’s with your wrists while you squeeze a ball (change up the size, you'll get different results), or a rod of various sizes (simplest for this is a wine bottle, empty or full depending on what works for your wrists). Be sure to try this at all different heights as well (arms by side, out to the side, overhead, in front of your body, etc.)

How often, how much?

As for how often and how much to do this thing, it really depends on you and your body. Do these moves often, a few times a week, up to a few times a day. Remember you are building strength NOT exhausting or overworking yourself. Work till you feel energy in your wrists and they feel a bit tired, but strong. You want your experience of your wrists enhanced, not trashed or painful. Use your own judgement.

Was this helpful for you? How do your wrists feel now?

Let me know in the comments below.

Know anyone who may benefit from this? Share this post.

Stay Tuned: I've got four more moves coming for you to improve the strength and mobility of your wrists. I'll post two next week and two the week after that.