Wrist pain from lifting may not be one of the most common injuries a body builder will experience, it is still an injury that you’ll want to avoid.
For novice body builders, you can easily injure yourself, which can throw you off your training quite a bit. In this article, we are going to talk about why wrist injuries happen, what you can do to prevent it from happening, and a few products that can help reduce the chances of it happening again.
Why Do I Feel Wrist Pain From Lifting?
Your wrists are made up of dozens of small bones connected by ligaments that keep those bones together, and those ligaments provide you with the ability to do a lot of things with your hands. Also, there are a lot of tendons that go past the wrists and these tendons control how your wrist, fingers and thumb move.
So when any of those components get injured, you’re going to feel it. This pain doesn’t even have to be a direct result of lifting weights – you could experience weight pain When the pain is left untreated, it could make ordinary tasks painful... and just forget about lifting.
But, the question remains, why do people experience wrist pain after lifting? There are many reasons why someone would experience wrist pain in general, but as a body builder, there are several factors that come into play. This includes:
How Can I Avoid Wrist Pain While Bodybuilding?
There’s no denying that your wrists are going to experience quite a beating as you work, but you can even experience wrist pain outside of the gym too. There are several simple ways that you can reduce wrist pain.
Stretching And Exercises
Stretching is important before you do any type of work out, and weightlifting is no exception. Here are some stretches you can do to help against wrist pain.
Wrist Flexor Stretch
To do this stretch, you will want to keep your elbow straight while you pull your wrist backward with the opposite hand. While doing this, you will experience a mild to moderate stretching sensation. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds before switching to the other wrist. Do 3 sets.
Wrist Extensor Stretch
To do this stretch, put your arm out in front of you with the palm facing up. Lock your elbow in place and pull the fingertips downward with your other hand. While doing this, you’ll feel a mild to moderate stretching sensation. Hold this pose for 10 to 15 seconds before switching to the other wrist. Do 3 sets.
Tennis Ball Squeeze
Squeeze a tennis ball as hard as you can without making it hurt. Keep this hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Continue doing this 4 or 5 times for each wrist.
Resistance Band Wrist Flexion
With your palm up and elbow at your side as though you were going to do a curl with a dumbbell. Then you will want to wrap a resistance band around your hand and keep your elbow at a 90 degree angle. Slowly curl upward and squeeze your hand so that your forearm muscles tense. Do this 15 times before switching to the other arm. Do 3 sets.
Resistance Band Wrist Extension
Instead of having your palm facing upward like the previous exercise, instead your hand should be palm down. Wrap a resistance band around your hand and keep your elbow at a 90 degree angle at your side.
Slowly curl your wrist upward and engage the muscles in your forearm. You can hold your forearm with the other hand for added stability. Do this 15 times before switching to the other arm. Do 3 sets.
What Else Can I Do To Prevent Wrist Pain from Lifting?
Other than stretching and building strength in your forearm and wrists, you may want to look at how you’re holding the equipment – especially if you are bench pressing.
When bench pressing, lifting with bent wrists is going to cause you to work harder because that force you’re creating when you are trying to lift the bar isn’t going straight up. Proper form for benching is when your arm, elbow, and wrist are all in a straight line when fully extended.
You can correct your form by gripping the bar low in the palm of your hand, close to the wrists (gripping the bar too high is going to cause your wrists to bend). Wrap your thumbs around the bar and gripping the bar fully – make sure your wrists remain straight! You’ll want to squeeze the bar tightly so that the bar doesn’t move in your hands.
Ideally, your wrists and elbows should be aligned with the bar, while your forearms are vertical with the floor. The bar should be resting directly over the forearms.
Grip Width Matters
Another cause of wrist pain bodybuilding people experience is when they grip the bar too far or too close. A wide grip is going to cause your elbows to be at an obtuse angle while your wrists are going to be at an angle that puts a lot of stress on the joints. A too close grip is going to cause the same problems.
When you’re gripping the bar, you will want to make sure your wrists and elbows are in line and your forearms should be vertical.
Suicide Grip Vs Bulldog Grip
As the name would imply, a suicide grip is extremely dangerous because you could drop the barbell on your head or chest, possibly killing you. With that said, there are some hardcore bodybuilders who opt for this grip because it is believed that you can get a better position to push from.
With this grip, the bar sits a little more comfortably in the palm of your hand because you aren’t using your thumb, as it is on the same side as the rest of your fingers.
To do the bulldog grip, you will want to grip the bar with your index fingers and thumb first. Then you will rotate your hand until the thumb is pointing to the floor. When done correctly, the bar should be sitting between the base of your thumb and palm.
The bar should be diagonal in your hand. Then, you will want to wrap the rest of your fingers around the bar and begin squeezing tightly. If the bar moves while lifting, then you aren’t squeezing the bar tight enough. You’ll want to squeeze harder so the bar doesn’t roll up your palm.
Just like the rest of your body, your joints require nutrients to help keep them moving easily. Without an adequate supply of the right nutrients, your body isn’t going to be able to adapt to stress correctly and this can lead to micro-tears in tendons and the joint’s cartilage will begin to deteriorate.
All of this can lead to more wear and tear on the joints, thus causing the wrist pain.
While proper nutrition isn’t going to make you resistant to wrist pain, certain food that contain high amounts of Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids can go a long way to keep your joints healthy and flexible. Examples of food you can incorporate into your diet include:
It may sound like common sense to take a break from the rigid workout routine you may have set for yourself, but you’d be surprised how important rest and recovery is. When you always work hard and you don’t get enough sleep or allow your body to recover, you are putting your body through too much trauma at one time.
Over time, your joints could experience osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, or even a complete tear.
The body needs to be able to recover fully after a rigorous workout so that it can mend those micro-tears, aches and pains. There is some debate on how many days you should train and how many you should rest. Some people are firm believers in a 5-day split while others feel a 3-day split workout routine is more effective.
The choice is ultimately yours, but you have to make a point to allow your body to rest completely on those resting days.
How Can I Treat Wrist Pain?
Should you begin to experience weight lifting wrist pain, you can begin to wear protective gear like wrist wraps or wrist straps. These pieces of equipment can help keep your wrists straight while you’re lifting, which is a common cause of wrist pain.
When you aren’t lifting and relaxing at home, you can apply heat or ice to the wrist to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
If the pain persists, you should stop lifting (if you haven’t stopped yet) and seek medical attention. Your doctor will be able to diagnose the problem and offer treatment solutions that include, but not limited to, putting a splint on the wrist or in worst case scenarios, surgery.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a hardcore body builder or if you are just getting into the sport, a wrist injury is one of those things that can make or break your weightlifting career.
Wrist pain from lifting is something that is preventable as long as you have good form, proper nutrition, and you give your body a chance to rest and recuperate – especially after a particularly grueling workout.
There are also several stretches and exercises you can do on your wrists to make them stronger and more capable of lifting heavy weights. These exercises combined with protective gear like wrist wraps and straps can help reduce the risk of experiencing pain in the wrists during and after a weightlifting session.
It is important to note that when you do begin to feel pain, you don’t want work through it, even though you may be training for a competition. By pushing yourself too much with an injury – even a slight one – you could be putting yourself at risk of more severe injury that could require splints or even surgical treatment.
You’re working hard to get your body in great shape, so don’t compromise all that hard work by not being mindful of any pain or discomfort you may be feeling in the wrist, your fingers, or forearms.