Tip: Strong Grip, Mobile Wrists

Fix your wrist and hand mobility issues to make front squats, push-ups, and Olympic lifts easier.

It's All in the Wrist

Your wrists and hands take a beating every day (get your head out of the gutter) and are often overlooked. Then you go to do a push-up or a front squat and you can't do it because your wrists "just don't bend that way."

Nearly every experienced lifter has wrist issues. And you can't just focus on "stretching" to improve your wrists. You need a two-pronged approach: mobility/flexibility and strength.

These drills come from alignment yoga, which focuses on properly aligning the body for maximum strength and mobility. This combo of the warm-up and proper alignment will help heal the wrist pain that's holding you back.

Flexibility and Mobility Routine

  1. Come on to your hands and knees. Sit back onto your heels.
  2. Roll your wrists counterclockwise ten times. Repeat going clockwise. Make sure to only move your wrists.
  3. Come back to your hands and knees. Flip you fingers back to face your knees, thumbs face out. Bend your elbows slightly. You might not be able to point your fingers straight back. Do the best you can. You can also bring your weight forward more to decrease the pressure on your wrists. Relax your forearms and breathe. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Flip your fingers forward. Make fists with both your hands. Press your fists together, thumbs facing you (think of fist bumping yourself). Place the back of your wrists on the floor, fingers face up, thumbs pointing away from you. Relax your elbows to the floor.
  5. Keeping your knuckles pressed together, slowly lift your elbows off the ground and rotate them forward. Lower your elbows back down to the floor. Repeat five times.

Hand and Wrist Strength Routine

Any time you're in a plank-like position (including push-ups) align your hands like this:

  1. Bring your hands to the width of an imaginary yoga mat. Rotate your hands so your left index finger is between 11 and 12 o-clock, and your right index finger is between 12 and 1 o'clock.
  2. Lift and spread your fingers... a lot. Now grip the ground until your knuckles turn white.
  3. Imagine a sixth finger growing between your thumb and index finger. Push down through the sixth finger. Press into the pinky side of your hand.
  4. If you still feel pressure, try this: isometrically rotate your hands clockwise or counterclockwise as if you were screwing a jar lid on and off. Play with both directions and see which one feels better.
  5. Isometrically pull your biceps toward each other.

Now, this isn't necessarily a magic bullet, but I've yet to meet someone who this hasn't helped. It takes practice, patience, and consistency to see big changes, but you should notice some improvement quickly.

Model: Calvin Kujath

Tessa Gurley is the owner of Enliven Wellness, and a nerd about all things health and fitness. Tessa is currently working on her Master's in integrative medicine, and strives to empower her clients and readers so they can live their most vital lives. Follow Tessa Gurley on Facebook