How To Protect Your Wrists When Working Out
When we consider the most common kind of injuries suffered from working out usually due to improper form or lifting too heavy, we often go right to the major joints: shoulders, knees and lower back.
This is natural, after all, since suffering an injury in one of these areas is not only very painful, but can set your weightlifting progress back for weeks or even months while you wait to heal.
While we should always be mindful of preventing these injuries to the big joints, it’s also important to take care of your smaller joints, such as your wrists.
The wrist is often overlooked due to being a small joint, and many people will actually continue lifting even if they’ve injured one (or both!) of their wrists.
In this article, we’re going to explain WHY that is a mistake, and also how to prevent and treat wrist pain and injuries, so that you can focus on getting big.
While one of the smaller joints in the body, the wrists are incredibly important and used it nearly every upper body workout in the gym.
Because of this, the wrists are often one of the most common injuries brought about when lifting, either due to overuse or traumatic injury. Wrist pain and injuries are also often ignored by lifters, because they joint is so small. Many people think they can just “lift through the pain.” DO NOT DO THIS!
If you have an injury, even slight pain in the wrist, it is best to take a couple of days to a week off to let it heal. You should also identify WHAT is causing the pain in your wrist, and take appropriate action.
We know about the temptation to continue working out if the pain is slight, but that can lead to further injury and more time out of the gym.
How To Prevent Wrist Pain
The best way to treat wrist injuries is to never allow them to form in the first place. While this may seem impossible, it’s actually achievable with the right approach. You’re going to want to practice perfect form on all of your lifts, increase your wrist strength and flexibility, and maybe get yourself some gear to help protect your wrists during your big lifts.
Keep Your Form Perfect
Well, as perfect as you can get it. You want to be mindful of your form on all of your lifts, but some lifts are more likely to hurt your wrists than others. For example, you probably don’t need to worry about your wrists on the lat machines, but will want to keep them in mind if you’re trying to hit a PR on the bench press.
Good form for your wrists means keeping them straight out from your arm: you don’t want them flexing too far forward or backward, especially if they’re supporting any weight.
As we’ve said time and time again, it’s important to focus on keeping proper form when the weight is light, so that when it comes time to lift big and heavy it comes as second nature.
Increase Wrist Strength and Flexibility
Another easy way to prevent wrist pain and injuries is to increase your wrist strength and flexibility. While this seems like an obvious point, it’s one that many people overlook.
You can add on a few additional wrist exercises and stretches to the beginning or end of your workout. These can be simple wrist stretches like pulling your fingers back and forward, wrist curls with a light dumb bell, or squeezing a grip strength trainer.
Working these ancillary muscles will give you a stronger grip and therefore stronger wrists.
Use Proper Gear For Wrist Protection
One of the best ways to prevent wrist pain and injuries is to use wrist straps or gloves, especially during your heavy lifts.
While you don’t want to become dependent on using straps or gloves (it’s important to build up the foundational strength to be able to handle lifting without any additional help), there’s certainly nothing wrong with using a little extra help with your big lifts.
Many people use equipment such as gloves or wrist straps for this purpose. Here at Gunsmith Fitness, we’ve combined the most useful features of these pieces of gear into our Power Grips.
Power Grips have been specifically designed to replace gloves, wraps, straps and hooks. They give great grip for pulling exercises, but also provide enough wrist support for your heavier pushing exercises.
What To Do If You’ve Injured Your Wrist
There are two major problems with wrist injuries. The first is that because the wrists are necessary for most of your lifts, and nearly all of your upper body workouts, if you injure your wrist it’s likely to effect your entire routine.
The second problem with wrist injuries is actually an extension of the first: because your wrist is used so often, and especially since the injury can feel slight and like you can ‘work through it’, you’re often tempted to continue working through your routine.
This is the worst thing you can do for an injury, as you’re likely to injure yourself even further. The best thing to do for an injury is to STOP WORKING OUT and give it some time off. It’s usually best to wait until the joint is no longer hurting, and then add a few additional days of rest on top just to be sure.
Again, and we can not stress this enough, the BEST way to treat an injured wrist is to never hurt it in the first place. You can do this by keeping your form on point, using stretches and exercises specifically designed for your wrists, and by using proper equipment to prevent injuries such as our Power Grips.
By keeping this strategies in mind, you should be able to have a long-lived career in the gym without suffering any injuries to your wrists.