Wrist preparation other than in Gymnastics, Circus training or Calisthenics classes is quite rare in the whole of the fitness industry. Personal trainers and fitness practitioners alike will do a regular general warm-up and go straight to their main session without any thought given to the wrist. But, not until you feel some discomfort in your wrist that even basic bodyweight training like doing a simple plank exercise might not be possible anymore.
Spend a few minutes of your warm-up routine to stretch the flexor, extensor, pronator, and supinator muscles of your forearm and wrist to spare you from future injuries. In simple terms, you need to stretch your wrist at multiple angles. This will prepare the muscles, tendons, and joints of your wrist for more loading in your Calisthenics exercises. Just go down onto all 4s position, and load your wrist gently while moving it in different directions to mobilize this area. Here is the list of exercises that you can do for this routine
- Wrist extension stretch rock - fingers pointing forward
- Wrist extension stretch - elbow rotation
- Wrist extension stretch rock - fingers pointing outside
- Wrist extension stretch rock - fingers pointing to the back
- Wrist extension stretch rock - fingers pointing to the inside
Wrist flexion push-up - fingers pointing backward Wrist flexion stretch rock - fingers pointing backward Wrist flexion stretch - elbow rotation Wrist flexion stretch rock - fingers pointing inside Wrist flexion stretch rock - fingers pointing outside
Wrist extension stretches
Wrist extension stretch rock - fingers pointing forward
- Place your hands flat on the floor with your fingers pointing forward and slightly open. Make sure to keep your elbows straight, then gently rock back and forth while keeping the load on your wrist. The focus of the stretch is when you are leaning forward, as this is where you will feel the most stretch in this movement.
- Gradually load the wrist over time and don't go beyond discomfort. Don't forget that you are just warming up at this point.
Wrist extension stretch - elbow rotation
- With your palms flat on the floor and fingers pointing forward, bring your body forward until you feel the stretch on your wrist and forearm. Stay in this stretch position and slowly rotate your elbows so they will point backward and outwards alternately. Make sure you keep your elbows straight with this movement. Keep the load on your wrist all throughout the movement but make sure you don't push it too hard.
Wrist extension stretch rock - fingers pointing outside
- The same all 4s position, but point your fingers to the outside this time. Rock your body side to side to stretch.
Wrist extension stretch rock - fingers pointing to the back
- Similar to the previous exercises but with the fingers pointing to the back. You will rock back and forth with this stretch and focus more on leaning backward to deepen the stretch.
Wrist extension stretch rock - fingers pointing to the inside
Wrist Flexion stretches
Wrist flexion is the bending of your wrist so your fingers will go closer to your forearm. Though this movement will be seldom used directly in bodyweight exercises, except if you're learning to do the muscle-ups, it is still very important to do these variations. This will stretch the tendons of your wrist, which are perpetually tense when you are typing on the keyboard. Once these tendons are stretched, it will open up more space in your wrist joint to allow the small bones to glide freely, which will prevent impingement. Though you can do these movements in a different starting position, we will do all the variations starting on all 4s.
Wrist flexion push-up - fingers pointing backward
- Place your hands so your fingers are pointing back and your palms are facing up. Make sure that the entire back of your hands, from the wrist to the knuckles, are flat on the floor. Starting with your elbows bent, slowly straighten your elbows fully, making sure that you are still loading the wrist. You will end up doing an awkward push-up movement. This stretch can be quite tight for some people so take it easy doing it. It will get better with time.
Wrist flexion stretch - elbow rotation
- This will normally be a continuation of the previous drill. Lean backward until you feel a good stretch on your wrist and slowly rotate your elbow so it will point to the side and backward alternately. Make sure the back of your wrist is still on the floor to get the maximum stretch.
Wrist flexion stretch rock - fingers pointing backward
- Start in the same position as the exercise above, but this time, you will try to keep your elbows straight. Gently rock back and forth, focusing on leaning backward to stretch more. If straightening your elbows is impossible for you, you may have to do the wrist flexion push-up until you develop more flexibility on your wrist.
Wrist flexion stretch rock - fingers pointing inside
- With your fingers pointing inside, rock side to side to add more stretch to the wrist
Wrist flexion stretch rock - fingers pointing outside
- Place your hands, so your fingers are pointing out and rock side to side to stretch. You can always go deeper with the stretch as you get better.
These stretches are good enough to improve your range, but if you want to add more work onto your wrist or you may feel that you still need more work to loosen it up, then you can add circles on all of the variations above. Just simply add a circular motion with your entire body by first leaning to one side, then to the front, then to the other side, and then to the back. Continue the circular motion around 5 times, then reverse the direction.
Do you need to do all wrist exercise variations?
Not necessarily. You can pick and choose which one really gives you the most challenge as that will be your limiting factor eventually. Work on that specific stretch and slowly progress from there. If you have more time, try to work on all the variations every now and then. This will always be good for your wrist. It will also serve as an assessment for you to check if your wrist is in prime condition on all angles before you start your training session.
How often do you work on your wrist?
Include this routine as your warm-up in very upper body session at least. Once you get familiar with the movements, it will not take you 5 minutes to get it done. If you are planning to learn handstands in the future, you may want to invest more time in wrist conditioning, and you have to do it almost on a daily basis, especially in the first few years of your training.
Stretching the wrist regularly is very important especially when you're most of the time on your mobile phone and keyboard. This hand position can tighten up the tendons in your hands and fingers, which can lead to a few overuse inflammation. Here is a wrist routine video you can do in the office or while working at home.
How many reps do you need to do to warm up your wrist
You can do 5 to 10 reps on each of the movement and hold for 5 to 10 seconds on the last repetition to stretch further. If your exercise session loads your wrist more, you may want to add a few more reps to make sure that you are properly warmed up with your wrist before you start your workout.
Can you work on these exercises if your wrist is already injured?
The short answer is yes, but you just have to be more mindful with your practice, as your injury can get irritated with some of the movement if you push too hard. You should consult a physician or your physiotherapist before going into the training. It would be even better to find a medical practitioner who also practices these exercises as they will give you better advice on how to proceed with the program.