Successful Olympic lifts rely on an athlete’s strength, power, and mobility. Nothing can be more frustrating than missing lifts due to issues with wrist mobility.
A lot of strength athletes work jobs that require them to sit at a computer for multiple hours a day. This in return causes the wrists to get tight and limits their range of motion. For strength athletes performing Olympic movements regularly – the wrists should receive equal amounts of attention as larger body parts – such as the hips and lats.
A positive that comes with improving wrist mobility is that you can perform drills at all times of day, even at your desk. Over the last 5-years I’ve worked with countless athletes to improve their wrist mobility, including gymnasts, which I coached for 3-years. To successfully utilize the below wrist regimen make sure you keep these three points in mind.
- Perform each movement for 30-60 seconds
- Try to go through this regimen every two hours if you’re sitting at a desk all day
- If pain is present, then stop the movement
Whether you’re sitting at your desk, going about your day, or warming up for a lift, follow the above points with these movements to improve wrist mobility.
1. Wrist Rolls & Reverse Rolls
This is your wrist warm-up, go through both of these movement slowly. These movements are meant to prep the wrist joint for the stretching stresses you’ll be putting on them.
**Lock your fingers on the palm up rolls to help keep the back of the hands in contact with each other.
2. Wrist Waves & Prayers
After each rep with these movements, work to increase your range of motion a little bit each time. Remember to keep your palms touching during the prayer exercise.
3. Desk Wrist Leans Forward/Back & Side
Ease your body into each lean and make sure to not go past a limit where pain is present. Ideally you want to leave the hand fully flat with the arms straight, and make sure the palm stays in contact with your desk.
4. Desk Palms Up Wrist Lean Forward/Back & Side
Like the above point, ease yourself slowly into each movement. These movements are tougher to perform, so really work to maintain contact with the desk and the full hand. If you can only lean a tiny bit without lifting the hands, that’s okay.
5. Kneeling Floor Wrist Leans Forward/Back & Side
Much like the desk stretch above, the arms should remain straight and the hands fully flat. Gently lean into each direction until you feel a stretch through the wrist and forearm. If your arms are bending, bring your hands closer to your knees.
**You can also perform cat/camels from this position with the wrists in each hold for an added thoracic stretch.
6. Seated Wrist Extensions & Wall Walks
These stretches are great dynamic finishers. The wrist extension on the left works well when held for a 2-3 second count. Try to maintain a straight arm when extending the wrist.
The wall walks are a great tool for hitting multiple angles of wrist extension, which can provide different levels of a stretch.
Don’t let wrist mobility inhibit your lifting performance. This wrist mobility protocol is a great way to increase wrist mobility at work and before your lifts.
A well-prepped wrist can be the difference between missing or hitting a PR, and even great handstands.