If your downward dog or plank pose comes with a side of aching or creaking in your wrists, you’re not alone. Wrist pain is a common ailment that can stem from all sorts of causes: typing on your computer, past injury, excess weight-bearing exercise, and more. If you are experiencing wrist irritation during a yoga or fitness class, be sure to let your teacher know, as they can help you with modifications to take the pressure off of your wrists.
You can also do a series of wrist stretches to warm up and strengthen your wrists and forearms to help prevent more pain. Here are a few of my favorite wrist- strengthening exercises and stretches that you can do from home:
1. Wrist rolls
Just like with other muscles in your body, if you warm up your wrists and forearms, it can help reduce the risk of strain and pain.
How to: From a seated position, place your arms straight out in front of you, at a 90-degree angle with your torso, parallel to the floor. Make gentle fists. Roll your wrists outward five times and roll your wrists inward five times. Repeat up to five times.
2. Upward bound-fingers pose
This yoga pose can stretch your forearms, wrists, and fingers.
How to: Interlace your fingers, and extend your arms out in front of you. Flip your bind so that the tops of your fingers are facing you. Inhale and lift your arms to the ceiling, keeping your shoulders soft. Breathe and hold for 60 seconds.
3. Fists stretch
This exercise can help strengthen your wrists, fingers, and forearm muscles.
How to: Place your arms straight out in front of you, make fists in both hands, squeeze it for 10 seconds, and release. Repeat this motion 10 to 20 times.
4. Wrist stretch series
This is a wonderful series of stretches that will bend your wrists every which way, helping to stretch all of the muscles in and connected to your wrists.
How to: Starting on your knees, place your hands on the floor in front of you, under your shoulders, with your fingertips facing your knees; breathe, and hold for 30 seconds. Now flip your hands so the tops of your hands are on the floor, with fingertips facing forward. Breathe, and hold for 30 seconds. Now flip your hands so that the tops of your hands are on the floor and your fingertips are facing you; breathe, and hold for 30 seconds.
5. Prayer position
This pose is usually used for balance and transition in yoga, but it can also provide a lovely wrist stretch.
How to: Bring your hands to prayer position at heart center. Lower your hands until you feel a slight stretch in your wrists. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
6. Wall stretch
This pose is a luscious stretch for your wrists, lower arms, and shoulders.
How to: Place one hand flat against a wall with your arm directly to the side. Start to move your body back, toward your arm, keeping your hand flat. Hold for 60 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
7. Gorilla pose
This is one of yoga’s best wrist-stretching poses.
How to: Start in a forward bend. Bend your knees as much as you need to slip your hands underneath your feet. Slide them under until your whole hand is under your feet, and your toes touch your wrists. Hold here for 60 seconds.
These wrist-strengthening exercises and stretches are great for most people, but if you experience persistent pain or swelling, it might be a better idea to see an orthopedist or physical therapist for a diagnosis and exercises specific to your condition.
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