How To Protect Your Wrists When Exercising
Do your wrists hurt or feel vulnerable when you perform certain exercises like planks or push-ups? Are there yoga poses you feel you can’t do because of your wrists?
This is familiar to me because I am one of those people who is considered hypermobile. This means my joints extend further than they should. You may have heard of the term “double jointed.” I do not know where this term came from, but it is totally inaccurate. When I hear someone use the phrase “double jointed” to describe a person who can tie themselves in knots, it is difficult for me not to correct them. “Hypermobile” or “super flexible” are better terms. Another correct term is “loose joints.” The usual cause for this is loose ligaments which stabilize joints.
All joints can be affected by this condition but today we will concentrate on the wrists because they are more vulnerable due to the large number of little joints in them.
I have four modifications that will help you perform those beloved exercises.
Roll up a towel or the end of your yoga mat. This will increase the angle of your wrists. Play around with the thickness to discover what works best for you. Let’s say you are setting up to do a plank. Place the rolled up towel or the rolled end of your mat under the heel of your hands. Adjust it so that all of your fingers and most of your palm are resting on the floor, and not the towel. This will take the pressure off your wrists. Press into your thumbs and fingers to take some of the weight. If this still bothers you, try the next one
Make a fist. Keep your wrist straight. You are straight from your elbow to the floor. Rest the long bones of your fingers on the floor with your fingers curled toward your palm. Your wrists are not bent in any direction. This works great for some people and it is worth a try. Your forearms will get stronger this way over time. Some people tape their wrists for support but this is not recommended for the long term.
Try a stability ball. I learned this one in physical therapy. This is my favorite. I am using the same size ball that I use for the Eyes-Free Fitness® stability ball workout. I did deflate it a little to fit better for this purpose. Let’s say you are doing a pose that requires you to be on all fours. Place the ball under your stomach. Your upper body weight goes onto the ball not your wrists. The first time I tried this, I was amazed how much-it helped. Your core still gets a great workout with this. I will give you an exercise to do.
Get down on hands and knees. Place the ball underneath your belly. Make sure your spine is straight or in a tabletop position. Keep your core muscles tight. Allow your weight to shift away from your wrists and onto the ball. Now, lift one hand off the ground and stretch it out in front of you. Lift it to shoulder height if you can and breathe and hold. Lower it back and switch sides.
You will feel your core stabilizing your body on the ball.
You can make it more challenging by lifting one arm and the opposite leg out behind you. This will truly challenge your core while still protecting your wrist. Stay conscious of what your body is doing. If you feel too vulnerable doing this by yourself, get a trainer or physical therapist to help you the first time. It is worth getting a little help. Once you understand how this works, you will be able to use the ball in other ways to support your wrists.
Rest on your forearms and elbows not your wrists. This one completely protects your wrists. This works great when doing planks or downward facing dog in yoga.
I hope this encourages you to try some moves that you have avoided before now. Of course, check with your medical team if you are uncertain.
Here is a link to the stability ball on Amazon.
Good health to you,