How To Strengthen Wrists for Yoga (Top 5 Exercises)

One of the most common complaints during yoga practice is sore wrists.

In many yoga poses, we put a large amount of pressure on the wrists, and when they aren’t quite strong enough, this can cause issues down the line.

Thankfully, by strengthening your wrists with a few exercises and even some yoga practices, you can reduce wrist pain and improve your physical health.

So, let’s learn how to strengthen wrists for yoga with 5 simple exercises. Plus, how to reduce wrist pain with a few tips to properly support your body in different poses.

The Top 5 Wrist Strengthening Exercises to Prevent Injuries in Yoga

1. Wrist Rotations

This gentle wrist stretch is one of the most common ways to relieve tension from your wrists and strengthen them at the same time. Simply make gentle rotations with your wrists, moving in both directions. Try to move slowly and stay engaged to work on more strengthening. You might also do this exercise with your hands in fists to build more strength in your fingers.

2. Wrist Curl-Ups

To do this stretch, you will need a free weight, preferably 5lbs or less, to avoid putting excess strain on your wrists. Then get into a comfortable seated position and rest your hands on your knees with one free weight in each hand with your palms facing upwards. Gently curl the weight towards your face, keeping the back of your hand on your leg, and engage the muscles in your wrists and forearms. Move slowly through this exercise for ten rounds and then rest for a moment before repeating 2 or 3 sets more. Then practice this same exercise with your palms facing down towards your knees.

3. Stress Ball Squeezes

Stress balls aren’t only for reducing stress and tension but also a fantastic way to strengthen your wrists! But like any other thing, it is essential not to overdo it. Try this exercise for a maximum of 5 minutes every day to strengthen your wrists over time. If you don’t have a stress ball, you can also do this with a tennis ball or any other medium-sized ball. Try to hold the grip for a few seconds before slowly releasing it to get the maximum benefit.

4. Wrist Walking

Wrist walking is an excellent way to improve your wrist health. Some people enjoy this exercise on the floor in a plank pose, but if your wrists are more sensitive, it is better to do this against a wall to build strength over time. To begin, place your palms against the wall with your arms straight, then walk your wrists up and down the wall as far as feels comfortable. You can also try this with your fingers pointing down.

5. Clench and Release

clench and release

Clenching and releasing your hands between a fist and outstretched fingers is a simple way to improve wrist health over time. Try to hold each position for a few seconds to build more strength. You can also add an additional stretch by pointing your fingers upwards when you expand your hands to stretch out the base of your wrists.

Yoga for Wrist Health

In addition to the above exercises, yoga practice itself is also an excellent way to improve your wrist health when done correctly.

One of the most popular yoga practices for wrist health is the pavanmuktasana series, also known as the wind-releasing or joint-freeing series. This series of exercises focuses on stretching and strengthening all of the joints in your body one by one.

Another excellent yoga stretch for your wrists is the commonly practiced Anjali mudra or prayer hands position.

Anjali Mudra
Anjali Mudra

One fun way to add some additional stretch to this pose is by reversing the point of your fingers down towards your toes and then slowly returning your hands to an upright position while remaining in Anjali mudra.

Although the vinyasa sequence between poses can be taxing for many people’s wrists, it can also strengthen if practiced correctly and with more awareness. The vinyasa flow practice builds a lot of strength in your wrists over time, but if your wrists aren’t placed correctly, this is when an injury is possible.

So, if you struggle with wrist pain during a yoga class, try getting personalized guidance from your yoga teacher or yoga therapist to support you in this practice and find your correct alignment. Remember, it is also completely ok to skip some poses if you feel uncomfortable!

How to Stop Your Wrists from Hurting When You Do Yoga

In addition to the many exercises and stretches that you can do to strengthen and release your wrists, there are also some simple ways to support your body in your yoga practice to prevent wrist pain.

1. Alignment

One of the most important ways to protect your wrists during yoga is to focus on improving your alignment. The alignment of your body in each yoga pose can directly impact the strain on your wrists. So, get support from your yoga teacher if you struggle to find the proper alignment in any yoga pose.

2. Use Props

Using props is also an important way to support your wrists during your yoga practice. If you notice that the angle of your wrists might be the main issue, try placing a small, folded towel, the edge of a blanket, or a custom foam ramp underneath your wrists to reduce the angle of your wrists on your yoga mat. This simple adjustment can do wonders for wrist health by reducing the pressure on your wrists.

3. Focus on Engagement

Additionally, many people with greater flexibility tend to hang in their joints rather than focus on strengthening and engaging in a yoga pose. This is especially common in faster-paced yoga classes, where people tend to throw their bodies into a yoga pose without first focusing on strengthening or aligning correctly into the pose.

To improve your strength and engagement in a yoga pose, try to move more slowly in and out of any yoga pose and engage all of the muscles in your body while distributing your weight more evenly.

4. Warm Up Your Joints

Perhaps the most crucial way to protect your wrists during yoga practice is with a proper warm-up. Many yoga poses were not meant to be practiced without extensive preparation. Although it may seem tempting to get into those fancy arm balancing poses, these positions can be harmful to anyone if you don’t first warm up and prepare your body over time.

Can Yoga Damage Your Wrists?

People often like to think of yoga as a panacea for all of life’s possible ailments, but the truth is that yoga can also cause injuries sometimes if it isn’t done with good alignment and care. Many people report wrist issues after prolonged yoga practice.

Particularly if you are a regular vinyasa yoga practitioner, the many chaturanga can be extremely taxing on your wrists.

But the good news is that with the correct alignment, strengthening exercises, and support for your wrists, you can move through your practice with greater ease and little to no wrist pain!

Why Do Your Wrists Hurt from Yoga?

There are two main reasons why your wrists might hurt during your yoga practice:

  1. The angle of your wrists
  2. The load placed on your wrists in specific poses

When your wrists are at a 90-degree angle, the load placed on this joint is much higher than if the angle is slightly decreased by placing a pad under your wrists. Additionally, in some yoga poses, people tend to put all their weight into their arms rather than distribute the load more evenly across their entire body.

Your wrists might also be hurting from other reasons besides your yoga practice. If you spend a lot of time working at a computer or doing manual labor, your wrists may be overly taxed from this repetitive motion, and an intense yoga practice might be where you feel it for the first time.

Your wrists are one of the most important joints in your body, and with proper alignment, strengthening exercises, warm-up, and support, you can protect your wrists in your yoga practice and improve your overall health.

So, give some of these tips and tricks a try in your yoga practice and see for yourself how your wrist health can improve in no time!

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