Wrist stretches: how to release tension from typing and training

Posted by for Strong Women

These stretches and squeezes will release tension from tight wrists after long days of typing or heavy gym sessions. 

It’s well known that our desk jobs can lead to shoulder pains and backaches due to poor set ups and lazy posture. But, as well as the big muscles taking a hit, our modern lives are also causing strain in smaller parts of our bodies – particularly our hardworking wrists

“If you have a job that requires a lot of typing, particularly right now as we’re more desk bound due to lockdown, it puts huge amounts of strain through our hands and wrists,” says Emma Obayuvana, fitness trainer and member of the Strong Women Collective. “And, when we take breaks, we’re usually glued to our phones, gripping with our hands and swiping our thumbs.” 

Not only were our wrists not designed to be guiding our fingers over the keyboard for a majority of the day, leaving them overworked and overused, they also take on a lot of load during our training. “If you’re gripping heavy dumbbells, doing exercises like deadlifts and snatches or pushing a lot of weight through the hands, like in press-ups, your wrists are constantly under tension.” Yet we don’t ever think to warm them up or cool them down as we do with our hamstrings or shoulders. 

The knock-on effect of this can range from a general build-up of tension to reduced mobility and even tendinitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. “We should be doing preparatory work before our training, as well as stretches during the day at our computer to loosen wrists,” says Emma. 

The best wrist and hand stretches

To start, Emma has shared her favourite dynamic moves to do pre-workout or whenever you have time for a quick stretch during your work day. 

  1. Come down to your hands and knees. Rotate your hands outwards so that the finger tips face your knees and the elbows are facing out, and from there slowly lean your hips back towards the feet. Do this in very slow, dynamic movements, leaning in and out of it so as to not dump weight or pressure through the wrists. 
  2. Then, flip your hands so that the palm is facing the sky and the fingers are turned in to each other. Again, rock back and forth to feel the stretch in the wrist. 
  3. Sitting up, clasp your hands together with the wrists touching and twist them in a circle motions. 
  4. Squeezing a soft stress ball for up to 10 seconds and then releasing, and repeating up to eight times, can get build strength and mobility in the wrist, too. If you don’t have a ball, try making a fist with you hand but rather than tucking the fingers in, leave them straight as though they are reaching towards the wrist and squeeze in that position. 
Picking up dumbbells
Gripping dumbbells during tough workouts can also lead to wrist pain

Then, Emma recommends doing some static stretches to release tension at the end of a long day or workout. 

  1. Take one hand in front of you, forearm facing up, and use the other hand to pull the fingers down to point towards the floor. You’ll feel the stretch through the inside wrist and all up the forearm. 
  2. Bring your hands together in a prayer position, but with the palms facing outwards. Flex the wrists to increase the stretch, or start to tilt the fingers towards your chest. 
  3. Doing a behind the back prayer will also target the wrists. Bring the palms together, fingers pointing up and try to make sure that the heels of the hands stay touching. 

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Images: Getty

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