“Kindal… I have bad wrists. What can I do for pushups and other upper body exercises?”
Wrist pain and soreness is very common.
Lots of women suffer with sore wrists when doing pushups or any exercise that requires the wrist to be bent.
And LOTS of women have old injuries from sports of repetitive tasks like typing that have damaged their wrist.
I am going to help you rehab and make your wrists stronger...
But also give you options so you can still do bent wrist exercises and continue getting stronger... while you continue to make your wrists stronger.
Step 1: Elevate Your Upper Body
Bring the floor higher.
Use a box... the back of a couch... a chair... to elevate your upper body.
This immediately takes weight off your wrists.
It might be the answer you're looking for.
But it's only step one... soon you'll have to start strengthening your wrists.
Step 2: Alternate Exercises
If elevating your body to a box or couch or the kitchen counter is too easy...
This is a slow rep... in this case... when you are going down to the bottom of a pushup.
What you're doing is keeping your muscles under load for longer... and it will get very hard very quick.
So use negative reps if elevating your upper body helps your wrist issue... and if you want a little more intensity.
2. Floor Press
You'll need at least one dumbbell or one kettlebell.
A floor press is when you're lying on your back... and chest pressing weight straight up.
This is the same pushing motion as a pushup... BUT…
You can keep your wrists straight and your wrists don't have to hold as much weight.
Not to mention floor presses can be really good for shoulder and arm stability.
AND... if you grip the handle of your dumbbell or kettlebell hard... you can even start improving your wrist strength.
Grip hard when you do certain exercises.
By gripping hard, you are increasing the endurance strength your forearms and in turn your wrists.
You can do this is so many exercises to get more from each exercise… like squats… pushups if you use paralettes (more soon)… presses… rows… anything where gripping a handle tight makes sense.
3. Shoulder Press
Okay… this isn't a pushup or chest pressing motion... BUT...
It's wonderful for improving shoulder strength. And most women lack shoulder strength.
When you get your shoulder muscles strong first... it will help your pushup considerably.
So this was a little aside.
4. Use Parallettes or Handles
Parallettes are a gymnastics piece of equipment... but they are great for developing upper body and core strength.
And here... they are great for helping with wrist pain.
While not perfect... you can keep your wrists a little straighter.
You can also squeeze the handles when you're doing a pushup... or dips... or crab holds... and by squeezing the handles...
You're improving forearm strength
You're improving grip strength
You're making your wrists stronger
And since you're engaging more muscles… these muscles are helping to support your bodyweight and it’s not all on your wrists.
If you don't have parallettes???
You can use dumbbells. But this can be a little harder because dumbbell grips are usually a little too skinny.
Kettlebells are better, but you have the added balance issue. And you don't want to fall over and risk further injury.
Here's How To Strength Your Wrists
1. Work on Wrist Mobility
Here are three of my favorite wrist stretches.
These can be very intense so DON'T force the stretch at any time. Slowly work through them and your mobility will begin to improve.
In the last stretch... my hands are resting on the top of the hand... not the palm.
This gives a great forearm stretch but it's also very difficult for most women to get into.
2. Trigger Ball Your Forearms
Tight muscles can be a huge cause of wrist pain.
In fact, carpal tunnel syndrome is muscle inflammation in your forearm right about here.
So get a trigger ball and start pinpointing trigger spots.
Work these out over a few weeks you'll find your wrist pain goes down significantly.
And it only takes about 1 minute of rolling and smashing per spot.
3. Improve Your Grip Strength
Grip strength is almost never taught in fitness programs or workouts.
You need some heavier weights to make this work... but you would be surprised to know... a few gallons of water from the grocery store can suffice.
If you do 5 minutes of these carries everyday... or every other day... you'll begin seeing your grip strength improve... and the robustness of your wrists too.
Hold onto one or two HEAVY kettlebells and go for a walk... or you can just stand there. Kettlebells are the ultimate strength equipment BTW!
When your forearms start to burn... grip tighter and hold one for dear life.
Just make sure, you don't drop the weights and injure yourself or the floor.
Notice in the picture... I am using a pinch grip.
My finger tips are not curled under one of the planks ridges. I am just pinching and this is why you need a light weight.
In this picture, I am using a 15 pound plate.
Hanging is great for your grip and forearm strength.
It's also great for shoulder mobility and range of motion.
Grab a pull-up bar and hang for as long as you can... always trying to improve.
Be patient... consistent... and keep working on your wrist mobility with trigger ball sessions and stretching.
Add grip strength training to your workouts. You can do grip training even if you have lighter weights.
Your wrist pain will slowly start going away as you improve mobility and strength.
If it doesn't or it gets worse... go see a doctor because there is probably something more serious going on.