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What are the Different Types of Wrist Strengthening Exercises?

By N. Swensson
Updated May 17, 2024
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The wrists can be prone to strain and injury from a variety of activities, including sports and heavy computer use. Many common wrist problems, including carpel tunnel syndrome, can be treated or prevented with strengthening exercises. Wrist strengthening exercises such as wrist curls and using a gripping device can help to increase strength and flexibility in the wrists, hands, and forearms.

As with any exercise, stretches should be done prior to beginning wrist strengthening exercises. This can help to warm up muscles and tendons in the wrists and prevent further strain or injury. These stretches also can be done throughout the work day to relieve wrist or arm pain caused by computer or mouse use.

First, slowly move both hands in a circular motion clockwise, and then counter clockwise. Second, fully extend one arm with the hand pointing down, and push the hand downward with the other arm. Repeat on the other side. Finally, extend the arm again with the palm facing forward. Pull the fingers back using the other hand; repeat on the other side.

One of the wrist strengthening exercises is called a wrist curl. It is used to strengthen the muscles in the forearm and wrist, and a light hand weight could be used to make this exercise more effective. Rest the forearm on a flat surface such as a table, with the wrist and hand hanging over the edge. Using the hand weight, lift upward, bending at the wrist. Reverse wrist curls can be done by turning the forearm over and moving the weight in the opposite direction.

Gripping exercises are another way to help increase wrist and hand strength. These exercises can be done any time throughout the day using a grip ball, which also is called a stress ball. A grip ball is lightweight and portable, so the exercise can be done during work, travel, or while watching TV. To do the exercise, simply squeeze the ball repeatedly for a few minutes in each hand. A grip lever is a similar device that also can be used for this type of activity. A tennis ball also works well for this exercise.

It may be necessary to adjust the number of repetitions to better address the individual problem when doing either of these wrist strengthening exercises. Developing strength in the hands and forearms for heavy lifting and other activities may require more repetitions than trying to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome stemming from computer use. The exercises can be easily modified to fit any routine and need.

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Discussion Comments

By burcinc — On Jun 02, 2014

@ddljohn-- In addition to strengthening exercises, keep in mind that rest and prevention are just as important. Are you using a keyboard wrist rest and mouse rest? Make sure you do. Do not leave space between your wrist and the desk when you are typing, as this is what mostly strains the wrist. And take a break from work every twenty minutes to give your hands and wrists a rest. Just a few minutes every twenty minutes can make a big difference when it comes to wrist pain and fatigue.

By fify — On Jun 02, 2014

@ddljohn-- I highly recommend the stretches and the resistance exercises to you. The gripping exercises may be too much when your wrist is already in pain. You need to do those when you are well rested and pain-free. But the stretches and resistance exercises, you should be able to do at any time without additional discomfort or pain.

You can also do the resistance exercise using a resistance band. It will work much better than just laying your wrist on a table and bending. Step on one end of the resistance band with your foot to keep it in place. Then hold the other end with your hand and bend your hand from the wrist in different directions. Hold that wrist with your other hand for additional support.

This is a great exercise. I was able to strengthen my wrists with this exercise and my wrist pain and inflammation disappeared after my wrists became stronger.

By ddljohn — On Jun 01, 2014

I type all day for work and my wrists, especially my right wrist is really suffering because of it. I have pain in my wrist, hand and fingers. It goes away at night when I'm resting but returns as soon as I start working again the next day.

Thank you for these exercises, I will try them. I hope they will help.

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