How To Strengthen Wrists To Avoid Pain During Planks

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Planks and push-ups can be one of the most effective ways to work your full body (oh hi core! Nice to meet you) but there is no denying that wrist pain can impede your goals.

However, wrist pain and lack of wrist strength does not mean you can never do a plank again. Modifying your workouts while exercising your wrists can help improve strength while lessening pain.

As a reminder: I am not a doctor so check with your doctor if you are experiencing any type of pain or to make sure these exercises are right for you. If any of the below give you pain, please listen to your body.


Modifications For Planks

  • Planks or Push-ups on your knees
  • Incline planks or Push-ups
    • Reduce pressure by moving your plank and push-ups to a box, bench, or TRX band
  • Use dumbbells
  • Flex your fingers and grip the surface when you are completing the plank or push-up
    • make sure you are engaging muscles on your palm side
  • Make a fist and use your knuckles to hold the plank

Strengthening Exercises 

Wrist Circles

  • Sit or Stand with spine straight and shoulders down
  • Extend your hands in front of you and make a fist
  • Turn your wrist to the left and flex them up
  • Turn your wrist to the right and flex them down

Wrist Stretch

  • Kneeling and keeping your wrists flexed, place your wrists on the floor.
  • Apply gentle pressure and hold for 30 seconds
  • Turn your hands in the opposite direction

Trigger Point or Foam Roller Stretch

Foam Roller
One of my favorite foam roller sets.

Triger Point Ball
I keep one of these at my desk at work and at home
  • Take a Trigger Point Ball or Foam Roller and place your wrist on top of the ball with palm facing down
  • Apply light pressure
  • Roll your wrists/forearms in a circular motion




Wrist Curls with Dumbbells


  • Hold the dumbbell, palm facing up (start light! 1-2 pounds)
  • Keep your arm straight (don’t hyper-extend your elbow) in front of you and do not bend your elbow
  • Curl the weight in toward your wrist w/ out bending your elbow
    • hold for a maximum of 30 seconds
  • Keep your arm straight (don’t hyper-extend your elbow) and turn your palm facing down
  • Curl the weight upwards (as if you were revving a motorcycle)
    • hold for a maximum of 30 seconds

This Wrist Strengthening Exerciser is a very low cost alternative to lightweight dumbbells

Trigger Point Ball Squeeze

  • Hold the trigger point ball in the center of your palm
  • Squeeze the ball as hard you can (without feeling pain) for 5-10 seconds
    • Repeat up to 3x
    • Repeat with other hand

Hand Strengthening with TheraPutty

  • Use this putty for several minutes a day to strengthen your hands (which will, in turn, strengthen your wrists). Theraputty.jpg
    • Squeeze
    • Grip
    • Extend


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