Best Exercises for Wrist Pain: Strengthen Wrist for Yoga

Dean PohlmanBlogs, Workouts, Lifestyle & Wellness2 Comments

Do you have wrist pain from doing yoga? Looking for a way to strengthen your wrist to prevent wrist pain? The best exercises for wrist pain & strengthening your wrists are actually NON-yoga exercises. I’ll share with you my 5 best exercises for wrist pain below, but first…

Why Do Your Wrist Hurt from Yoga?

The main reason you develop wrist pain from doing yoga is because yoga is very repetitive for your wrist. The most common position for your wrist in yoga is extension (fingers reaching backward), meaning that you’re constantly bearing weight down in that wrist position in your downdogs, planks, and any other grounded pose – resulting in dorsal wrist pain.

Without properly strengthening your wrists for this position and also working the antagonist positions for your wrists, you’ll most likely develop an imbalance or weakness which causes wrist pain.

To fix this you have to do NON-yoga exercises to develop the strength and mobility of your wrists.

How Does The Wrist Work?

The wrist is a pretty complicated joint with a very large range of motion. To achieve this range of motion, there are ten bones connect to your wrist joint.

You have 8 bones coming from the hand (carpals) and two bones coming from the forearm – the radius on the thumb side & the ulna on the pinky side.

These structures along with ligaments aren’t very good at quickly adapting to strenuous repetitive exercise. That’s why wrist injuries such as sprains and bone stress fractures are so common among yogis, especially those that quickly jump into handstand practices.

However, that doesn’t mean that the wrist can’t be trained to be strong and resilient. It just requires consistent and slow strength training.

My 5 Best Exercises for Wrist Pain

Use these wrist exercises to complement your yoga routines, achieve balanced strength and mobility in your wrists, and prevent injury in your wrists.

You don’t have to wait until your wrist pain goes away to do these. The sooner you can start doing these – as long as you don’t experience pain while doing them – the sooner your wrist pain symptoms will start to go away.

If you’d rather read about the exercises here they are.

Wrist Curls

Technique:

  1. Assume either a seated or kneeling position with your forearms resting on a flat surface.
  2. Hang your wrist off the flat surface with your palm facing upward.
  3. Grab a dumbbell or similar weight with your palm facing upward.
  4. Let the weight rest on your fingers.
  5. Exhale and curl the weight upward as far as possible.
  6. Focus on isolating the wrist and forearm.
  7. Inhale and slowly let the weight go back to its starting position.
  8. Repeat

Sets: 3×15

Note: This exercise can be done with both wrists at the same time, but for beginners, it’s recommended you start with only one to focus on isolation.

Reverse Wrist Curls

Technique:

  1. Assume either a seated or kneeling position with your forearms resting on a flat surface.
  2. Hang your wrist off the flat surface with your palm facing downward.
  3. Grab a dumbbell or similar weight with your palm facing downward.
  4. Firmly grasp the weight.
  5. Exhale and curl the weight upward as far as possible.
  6. Focus on isolating the wrist and forearm.
  7. Inhale and slowly let the weight go back to its starting position.
  8. Repeat

Sets: 3×15

Note: This exercise can be done with both wrists at the same time, but for beginners, it’s recommended you start with only one to focus on isolation.


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Radial Deviation Curls

Technique:

  1. Assume either a seated or kneeling position with your forearms resting on a flat surface.
  2. Hang your wrist off the flat surface and rotate your forearm like you’re holding a hammer. (Think thumbs-up position without actually pointing your thumb)
  3. Grab a dumbbell or similar weight in this hammer holding position.
  4. Firmly grasp the weight.
  5. Exhale and curl the weight upward as far as possible.
  6. Focus on isolating the wrist and forearm.
  7. Inhale and slowly let the weight go back to its starting position.
  8. Repeat

Sets: 3×15

Note: This exercise can be done with both wrists at the same time, but for beginners, it’s recommended you start with only one to focus on isolation.

Ulnar Deviation Curls

Technique:

  1. Assume either a seated or kneeling position with your forearms resting on a flat surface.
  2. Hang BOTH your wrist off the flat surface with your palms facing downwards. (Think I’m riding a bicycle)
  3. Firmly grasp a resistance band in both hands.
  4. There should already be some tension in the band.
  5. Exhale and extend your wrist outwards towards your pinkies.
  6. Focus on isolating the wrist and forearm.
  7. Inhale and slowly let your hands go back to their resting positions.
  8. Repeat

Sets: 3×15

Working Your Grip Strength

Exercises for Wrist Pain - Pullups

Working on your grip strength is something that yogis don’t often do, but it’s extremely beneficial to your wrist health. There are a few very simple exercises that I personally do including:

  1. Farmer’s Carry – Grab a pair of dumbbells that are comfortable for you and walk back and forth. Remember to keep your core tight and your back straight to avoid injuring your back.
  2. Hanging from A Pull-Up Bar – Find a pull-up bar and firmly grasp it while slowly letting yourself hang from it. If you want some added engagement for your shoulders, go into an active hang – bringing your shoulder blades down and together (your shoulders should get farther from your ears).

Note: Aim for a 30-second hold or hang and slowly work your way up to longer hold times.

Final Thoughts

Fixing wrist pain from yoga or in general doesn’t have to be strenuous. Doing these few exercises 3x a week for 10-15 minutes is all you need to have strong pain-free wrists.

If you’re trying to master poses like crow or handstands, these exercises are essential in maintaining your wrist health, so remember to keep doing them.

I hope this blog helped you out!

See you on the next workout,

Dean.

Additional Resources

About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.

Dean Pohlman is an E-RYT 200 certified yoga instructor and the founder of Man Flow Yoga. Dean is widely considered to be an authority on Yoga for Men. He has worked with physical therapists to create yoga programs for back health and spinal recovery. His workouts and programs have been used by professional and collegiate athletes, athletic trainers, and personal trainers; and have been recommended by physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals.

Dean is a successfully published author through DK Publishing (Yoga Fitness for Men), selling 35,000 copies worldwide in English, French, and German; in addition to being a co-producer of the Body by Yoga DVD Series, which has sold over 40,000 copies on Amazon since its release in 2016.

Man Flow Yoga has been featured in Muscle & Fitness Magazine, Mens’ Health, The Chicago Sun, New York Magazine, and many more major news media outlets.

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2 Comments on “Best Exercises for Wrist Pain: Strengthen Wrist for Yoga”

  1. Wow! Thanks for posting these exercises for free. You’re doing God’s work. – Gustavo Woltmann

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