Relax into Stretch: wrist stretch Q

kodo kb

Triple-Digit Post Count
Hi all,

I have very poor wrist extension, to the point that I can't perform normal pushups without pain.

I want to fix this, and tried starting with the Relax into Stretch drills for wrist extension/flexion. (I think the drills are misnamed in the book, but I digress.) The original position for the drill on pg 73 labeled wrist flexion is too much for my wrists.

There are two ways to make the drill into something I can do without pain:
  1. I can rotate my hands such that they point forward as in a pushup
  2. I can bring my arms wider (wider than shoulder width at the moment) while still having my fingers pointing back towards me, as shown in the drill figure
My question, which of these modifications make the most sense to use? I have the intermediate goal of performing normal pushups without pain and the long term goal of being able to due barbell front squats without pain.

I am unsure of the cause of my poor wrist extension, but the pain kept on getting worse and worse through my last years of college. My best idea is that I minorly hurt it doing handstand work, kinda veered away from wrist-extension exercises, and my body tenses up due to a learned pain response. I can do pushups on my fists and on parallettes without any problems, but I dislike that I can't do certain movements.

Any help would be appreciated!

P.S. Sorry for the double post, but I thought this sub-forum was a better place for the discussion.
 

natewhite39

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
@kodo kb Are you able to perform crawling exercises forwards, backwards and laterally?

Crawling is a great way to improve wrist mobility over time as you are constantly loading / de loading the joint. You are also performing a contra-lateral movement pattern which will get your mid line firing in the correct sequence.

You said you are unsure how this lack of mobility occurred? In my experience, the distal joints (elbows, wrists, knees, ankles) have less issues when you focus your training on proximal (middle, center, Ab's, hips) stability most of the time.

Most kettlebell training and crawling fits this protocol quite well.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
The original position for the drill on pg 73 labeled wrist flexion is too much for my wrists.
Yours, mine, and many other people's as well - I don't think this is a cause for concern.

For regular pushups, focus on screwing your hands into the ground, right hand clockwise and left hand counterclockwise. This should help and, of course, ease into this.

-S-
 

kodo kb

Triple-Digit Post Count
@kodo kb Are you able to perform crawling exercises forwards, backwards and laterally?

Crawling is a great way to improve wrist mobility over time as you are constantly loading / de loading the joint. You are also performing a contra-lateral movement pattern which will get your mid line firing in the correct sequence.
I can perform crawls. Baby crawls I can do without much threat of a quick twinge of pain; spiderman crawls come with a bit of a higher risk of this. Given that, I will add baby crawls into my warmups and/or days off. Thanks!

Yours, mine, and many other people's as well - I don't think this is a cause for concern.

For regular pushups, focus on screwing your hands into the ground, right hand clockwise and left hand counterclockwise. This should help and, of course, ease into this.
It wasn't much of a concern, it was more of a "how do I do it if I can't do it as shown" question. As for your pushup suggestion, my point is that I cannot do normal pushups, or even kneeling or wall pushups, without pain to my wrists. (I did just try some with your suggestion, and the pain wasn't as acute, but it is still there.) And given the ideas presented in RIS, I think I should be avoiding pain in as much as possible---especially those I want to gain flexibility in.

I guess what I'm most interested in is, is there something important (safety wise) about the supination OR the bringing your hands together that Pavel recommends in RIS for drill 15 ("wrist flexion"), or are they recommended for a different reason? That was really the uncertainty driving my original question. Given my current condition, I am taking Pavel's warning not to overdo that stretch seriously.
 

natewhite39

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
@kodo kb I look forward to hearing about your results.

Note: Backwards crawling will probably be the most comfortable for your wrists as the shoulder complex is at its most packed and stable during this movement.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
I think we're getting confused here (or at least, I am).

If you haven't asked your doctor about your wrist pain in various positions, please start with that.

There are a myriad of possibilities, and to mention just one, it's possible that you sleep with your wrist in a position that's not good for it. I know about this one because I've experienced it, and the "cure" is that I sleep with a wrist brace, only at night, for two or three nights, and then my wrist is fine during the day.

I will track down my copy of RIS in order to be able to respond more specifically to your questions, but ruling out an injury, old or new, would be the place to start.

-S-
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
My wrists (and hands) bark at me from time to time. I find if I invest some time using Chinese Medicine Balls and a rice bucket it helps a lot. That being said please take @Steve Freides advice first and get them checked by a qualified medical professional.
 
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