You’re always on your hands during yoga, so don’t wait until you feel pain to protect and strengthen your wrists.
Wrists are often overlooked because you don’t really build muscle in that area. But with constant pressure applied to them during yoga, their health will take a toll.
Recovering from a wrist injury is an arduous process – especially if you only practise yoga. Most poses require you to place some bodyweight on your wrists, making it hard to keep up with your usual class. You won’t be able to exercise much to speed up the recovery, so it’s better to take care of your wrists before they get hurt.
There aren’t that many wrist exercises because it’s such a specific area, but these ones are highly effective. People with wrist pain or those who are recovering from a wrist injury also do such strengthening exercises on top of basic wrist stretches.
Dumbbell wrist curls
Seemingly easy because it is done with very light weights, this exercise might not look tiring at all. After a few repetitions, however, you might think different. It works the inner wrist muscle which is not often activated.
Hold a 1kg or 2kg dumbbell in your right hand. Use a surface to support your arm to keep it parallel to the ground, palms facing up. Relax your wrist, then slowly curl your wrist up towards your body. Release and repeat 20 times. Repeat on left side.
(Also read: 7 Reasons You Need A Pair Of Dumbbells At Home)
Plank on fingertips
Compared to a normal plank, this variation will use more finger, wrist and forearm strength. It’s a tough one but it works wonders in strengthening the pivotal wrist joint.
Start on your hands and knees. Move your knees back until you are in an assisted plank position. Lift your palms off the ground and support your body with your fingertips. You can move up to a full high plank with your legs straight if you are comfortable. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
This is another exercise that looks more like a fun dance move. It’s great because it can be done anywhere and doesn’t feel like a workout. Even so, it improves the flexibility and strength of your fingers and wrists.
Open your arms out wide. Bend your index finger downwards and place your thumb over the knuckle. Press down for a second and release. Continue with your middle, ring, and pinky finger. Repeat 20 times.
Other precautions you should take
In addition to strengthening, it is as important to stretch and warm up before your yoga class. Stretching your wrist in a series of exercises will help to prevent sudden pulls and encourage a wider range of movement.
Warming up by doing lighter bodyweight moves will get your body and wrists familiar with the movements so there will be no jerks and cramps.
Whenever you are on your hands, keep in mind to contract your core and lift your upper body using your shoulders to reduce the strain on your wrists. Use your fingers to pull the floor closer to you, and distribute the weight evenly on your palms.
Anytime you feel pain, stop to rest and stretch so you do not overexert the sensitive area. Use thicker yoga mats for more cushioning. Also consider getting small mats just for your palms, as well as wrist wraps for support.
(Also read: How to Avoid Getting These Common Sports Injuries)