Feelin’ aches in your wrists when you exercise? Don’t worry, we got you! We’ve been getting lots of questions about how to modify exercises to ease wrist pain and we’re here to help! Just keep in mind: a variety of things can contribute to joint discomfort, so always make sure you chat with your doc to see if there’s any underlying issue that’s keeping you from a pain-free workout!
If you’re all good and ready to get moving, turn to these simple modifications for exercises that can commonly irritate the wrist joint.
5 Modifications to Keep Your Wrists Happy
The Move: High Plank
The Modification: Elevate your arms on a bench or chair, or drop down to forearms. A high plank, or the top of a push-up, can easily put too much pressure on the wrists, leading to discomfort. If that’s the case for you, check your form, making sure you have your fingers spread wide and weight distributed over your entire hand ~ not just at the back, toward your wrist. If you’re still feeling pain, try putting your hands on a box, chair, bench, or even TRX straps. The incline position should remove the extra pressure and alleviate the aches. Still feeling discomfort? Drop down to your forearms. That’s always a solid option for kicking up the core work, without feeling the pain.
The Move: Down Dog
The Modification: Take it to your forearms. Just like in a plank, you want to check your form in a downward facing dog first. Make sure to spread out your fingers and distribute your weight across your full hand. If you’re still feeling pain, drop down to your forearms just like you would in a plank. Lift your hips up and you should still feel that ah-mazing stretch in the hamstrings and shoulders.
The Move: Push-Up
The Modification: Grab some dumbbells. The next time you do a push-up and feel pain in your wrists, grab a set of weights and hold onto them in your plank position. Grabbing onto the handles will put your wrists in a more neutral position, alleviating some of the ache. Don’t have equipment? Try a push-up with your hands in fists or do push-ups with your hands against a wall or on a chair or your couch. All of these options will take some pressure off the joint so you can do the move pain-free.
The Move: Burpee
The Modification: Use your fists. Also like the plank and push-up, hitting your burpee — whether you’re dropping your chest to the floor or stopping at the top of a plank — can lead to some aches in the wrists. To keep your wrists neutral, create fists with your hands as you drop down. Make sure you press the floor away from you, too, to maintain strong form.
The Move: Front Squat
The Modification: Grab one dumbbell. When you’re holding a barbell at the front of the chest, in a racked position (horizontally with palms facing up), the weight can put lots of pressure on the wrists. To alleviate that, grab a dumbbell (or two) instead. Your options for how to hold the weight: Grasp one dumbbell at your chest, a hand on each side. Or with two weights, one in each hand, hold them perpendicular to your body, palms facing each other. No matter what option you choose, you’ll still gain the benefits of a weighted squat that strengthens your legs and that booty!