3 Easy Tips for Healthy Wrists

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Do you regularly exercise your wrists? Do they serve you well? Are they healthy and strong, free from pain? Women are three times more likely to develop painful wrist conditions like carpal tunnel than men.

Grip strength, as measured by a hand dynamometer, is often used as an indication of overall body strength. Now a new study shows that hand strength is also correlated with improvements in cognitive function, so weight training exercises are beneficial to the brain as well as the brawn. If you want to focus on strengthening your hands and wrists, do wrist curls.

Taking care of your wrists contributes to your quality of life in sports performance, everyday activities and business affairs. Strong wrists improve athletic performance, especially in racquet sports and golf. Moreover it is important to maintain strength in your hands and wrists to perform your daily activities with ease, whether they include computer work, housework, or simple tasks such as being able to open a jar or lift a full tea kettle. In business a firm handshake is an important asset in making a first impression. Should you stumble, you will be able to break a fall with less risk of fracturing your wrist.

Strengthen your wrists with two simple exercises:

1.  Wrist curl

  • Wrist curl, palm down Sit up tall on a firm chair with a cushion on your lap. Position one forearm with the palm down, fingers in a loose fist. Rest the wrist of the working hand on top, holding a light weight (1-5#) with the palm down. Keeping your wrists in contact, lift the back of the hand with the weight toward the ceiling. Pause, then return to the start position and, without resting, do 12-15 reps.
  • Wrist curl, palm up Now turn the working arm over and hold the weight with the palm up. Resting the working arm on top of the support arm, curl the hand with the weight toward the ceiling and hold for a second. Return to start and repeat for all reps.

2. Stretch your wrists and forearms: Extend one arm in front of you with the palm up. With the other hand, pull back on the palm so your fingers point down. You’ll feel a stretch all the way up the underside of your arm. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Now turn your arm over so the palm faces down. With your other hand, press on the back of your hand so your fingers point down. You’ll feel the stretch on the topside of your forearm. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

Use proper alignment in exercise. Use good form in lifting weights and holding a tennis racquet or golf club. Your wrist should always be in line with your forearm when holding a dumb bell or stretch band, or using weight machines. Avoid bending your wrist in any direction and if you can’t hold it straight, lighten up on the weight.

For other great tips on proper form and alignment, check out my book Strength Training Exercises for Women . Contact me here if you have questions about how to protect your wrists from everyday stresses and strain.



  • Joan Pagano has specialized in strength training for women since 1988 – training, teaching, and writing books on the subject, including Strength Training Exercises for Women (DK, 2014). When the health benefits of strength training started making headlines in the 1990s, and in particular how weight training could protect the bones and prevent osteoporosis, it was a natural segue for her. At that time, Joan was developing and delivering fitness training guidelines for osteoporosis to national audiences of exercise professionals. Currently Joan is recognized by the industry as a leading authority on exercise program design for osteoporosis. She is certified as an Exercise Physiologist by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and is on the Ambassadors Leadership Council for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Visit Joan at: www.joanpaganofitness.com/

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