Push ups are a staple exercise for building chest strength and toning muscles. But what about your wrists? Can push ups actually help improve the strength of this often-neglected joint? The feeling of stress on the wrist joint during a pushup causes many to believe they are getting a good wrist workout when busting out a set of pushups. The truth is, push ups do put a significant amount of pressure on the wrists. But with proper form and a few modifications, push ups can be a great way to build wrist strength.
In this post, we’ll dive into the details, explore the importance of warming up, and discover variations and exercises that will help you build stronger wrists. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting your fitness journey, this guide will give you the tools you need to safely and effectively strengthen your wrists through push ups.
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Understanding the Mechanics of Push Ups and Wrist Strength
When it comes to push ups, it’s important to understand the role of the wrist joint.
The wrist is made up of eight small bones that work together to allow for movement in multiple directions. During a push up, the wrist joint is put under a lot of stress as it supports the weight of the body.
To properly perform a push up, the wrist should be in a neutral position, meaning it’s neither bent too far forward or backward.
This allows the wrist to handle the force generated during the exercise and reduces the risk of injury. However, if the wrist is in an incorrect position, it can lead to pain, weakness, and even injury.
It’s also worth noting that some individuals naturally have weaker wrist joints, which can make push ups a challenge.
As a naturally skinny, fine-boned individual, my own wrist joints are very weak and prone to buckling when performing actions such as punching.
However, with proper form and targeted strengthening exercises, the wrist can become stronger and better equipped to handle the demands of push ups.
The Importance of Warming Up for Wrist Health During Push Ups
Warming up before any exercise is crucial for avoiding injury and ensuring optimal performance. This is especially true when it comes to push ups and wrist health.
Warming up prepares the wrist joint for the demands of the exercise and helps to prevent pain and injury.
A simple warm up routine before push ups could include wrist rotations, wrist flexions and extensions, and light cardio to get the blood flowing.
This can help to increase the range of motion in the wrist and reduce stiffness, allowing for better form during push ups.
I find that a good wrist warm-up also helps to counter the impact of spending all day at a keyboard in my job.
It’s also important to warm up slowly and gradually, rather than jumping right into intense exercises. This allows the wrist to adjust to the demands of the exercise and reduces the risk of injury.
In addition to a proper warm up, it’s also important to cool down after push ups by stretching and massaging the wrist joint. This can help to reduce inflammation and stiffness, and prevent injury in the long run.
Variations of the Push Up that Target Wrist Strength
If you are tired of wrist pain holding you back from getting the most out of your push ups? Look no further!
With these variations, you’ll be able to target wrist strength and say goodbye to wrist pain for good. I have used these (particularly number three) to improve my own wrist strength.
- Diamond Push Ups: This variation targets the wrist by placing the hands in a diamond shape, close to the chest. The narrow hand placement requires the wrist to work harder, making it a great exercise for building wrist strength.
- Wide Grip Push Ups: This variation involves placing the hands wider than shoulder-width apart. The wider hand placement places more emphasis on the wrist, making it a great exercise for wrist strengthening.
- Fist Push Ups: Doing push ups with your fists instead of your palms is a great way to increase wrist strength. The smaller surface area of the fist requires the wrist to work harder, making it a great variation for building wrist strength.
- Towel Push Ups: This variation involves placing a crumpled towel under each hand, with the towel acting as an unsteady surface for the hands. The instability created by the towel forces the wrist to work harder, making it a great exercise for wrist strengthening.
These variations are not only great for building wrist strength, but also for adding some variety to your push up routine.
Incorporating these variations into your workouts will help to keep you motivated and challenge your body in new ways.
Incorporating Wrist Strengthening Exercises into Your Chest Workout
Building wrist strength doesn’t have to be a separate workout from your chest exercises. In fact, incorporating wrist strengthening exercises into your chest workout is an efficient way to target both areas at once. Here’s how:
- Wrist Flexions and Extensions: After each set of push ups, perform 10 wrist flexions and extensions on each hand. To perform wrist flexions, start with the hand facing down and the wrist bent towards the forearm. Straighten the wrist, and then bend it back towards the forearm. To perform wrist extensions, start with the hand facing up and the wrist bent towards the forearm. Straighten the wrist, and then bend it back towards the forearm.
- Dumbbell Wrist Curls: After each set of push ups, superset them with 10 wrist curls on each hand using a light dumbbell. To perform wrist curls, sit on a bench with the forearms resting on your thighs and the dumbbell in hand. Slowly lift the dumbbell up, keeping the elbow stationary, and then lower it back down.
- Dumbbell Wrist Extensions: After each set of push ups, perform 10 wrist extensions on each hand using a light dumbbell. To perform wrist extensions, sit on a bench with the forearms resting on your thighs and the dumbbell in hand. Slowly lift the dumbbell up, keeping the elbow stationary, and then lower it back down.
Incorporating these wrist strengthening exercises into your chest workout will help to build wrist strength and prevent injury.
By supersetting exercises 2 and 3 after each set of pushups (or even the pushup variations described in the previous section), you’re going to build incredible wrist strength without even noticing your wrist strengthening efforts.
By approaching your wrist strength training in this way, you negate the need to incorporate a separate and specific wrist training session.
It really is a win win!!
Proven Techniques for Boosting Wrist Strength During Push Ups
In the last section, we mentioned the fist push up. Let’s take a look at why it’s a favoured exercise for martial artists and those looking to develop strong, stable wrists.
The fist push up is performed by making a fist with your hand and placing the knuckles on the ground instead of the palm.
This variation places a greater emphasis on wrist stability and strength, as the wrist is forced to support more weight.
Anatomically, the wrist joint is made up of eight small bones called carpal bones, which connect the forearm bones (radius and ulna) to the bones in the hand (metacarpals).
The wrist joint allows for movement in several different directions, including flexion and extension, and wrist stability is maintained by the ligaments and tendons surrounding the joint.
In a standard push up, the palms are flat on the ground providing a stable base, meaning that the wrist joint isn’t required to provide balance during the movement.
However, in the fist push up, the wrist is unsupported, which requires the wrist muscles and ligaments to work harder to maintain stability. This added stress on the wrist results in greater wrist strength over time.
In addition to the wrist muscles and ligaments, the fist push up also works the wrist flexors and extensors, which run from the forearm to the hand.
These muscles play a critical role in wrist stability and strength, and can be easily targeted with the fist push up variation
Wrist Strength WINS! Wrapping up our Push Up Journey
We’ve journeyed through the world of push ups and wrist strength, and have come out on the other side with some incredible knowledge.
As we wrap up our exploration of push-ups and strengthening our wrists, let’s not stop there.
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Whether you’re a seasoned push up pro or just starting out, these tips and tricks will help you achieve the wrists of a superhero – all by leveraging the humble push up.
So, what are you waiting for? Get down and give me 10 fist push-ups!
Oh… and between sets, perhaps you could leave a comment and let me know how you’re getting on?