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How To Strengthen Wrists For Yoga

How To Protect Your Wrists With Proper Alignment

Strengthen your Wrists, Yoga with Esther Ekhart
  • Identify the four corners of your palmsthe mounds of the thumb, pinky finger, and index finger, and the outer heel of the hand. Whenever your hands are on the floor, notice if any of the four corners bears more weight than the others. As much as possible, spread your weight evenly among the four corners. A common misalignment that leads to wrist pain happens when your weight collapses into the heels of your hands. To counteract this tendency, root down through the knuckles where your fingers attach to your palms.

  • At the same time that the four corners of your hands are pressing down evenly, lift the center of your palm. Imagine your palm is like a suction cupthe edges of the cup stay down while the center of the cup rises.

  • Spread your fingers and thumbs. Press down evenly with all ten finger pads, simultaneously lengthening the fingers forward.

  • When bearing your weight on two hands , place your wrist creases in a straight line side to side, so theyre parallel to the top edge of the mat. Externally rotate your upper arms so your inner elbows turn to face forward.

  • As a general rule, the wrists should be directly under or slightly ahead of the shoulders in weight-bearing poses such as Tabletop Pose, Plank Pose, and Handstand. Placing the wrists behind the shoulders causes the wrists to extend excessively, which strains the joint.

Tips For Practicing Arm Support Yoga Poses

  • Practice Adho Muhka Savasana , Phalankasana , and chaturanga for at least one year to strengthen the wrists, arms, and shoulders so that the body is prepared for bringing more weight onto the hands.
  • Dont rush through arm balances. Learn them step by step and take your time to open and warm the muscles needed to achieve the poses.
  • Want to start with an Arm Support Yoga Pose but dont know what one to start with? Try Bakasana or Vasistasana !
  • Vasistasana
  • Bakasana
  • Arm Balances warm the body and are good preparation for back bends. The arm balances often warm and strengthen the shoulders that are needed for later back bends.
  • Dont be afraid to utilize props to learn how to lift. See this tutorial about Tolasana .

Rest If Or When There Is Pain

Along the lines of practicing ahimsa, again, if your wrists feel achy and strained, sometimes the best medicine is simply rest. You can try a different practice that doesnt spend as much time on the wrists or emphasizes therapeutic healing techniques for them.

What other yoga poses cause pain in your wrists during practice? Feel free to post them below!

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Pressure For Weak Wrists

Getting positioning correct is great, but you also have to get the pressure right so you dont put too much force onto the wrong spot, or youll still be risking pain or injury.;


Your hands and wrists should work together and bear the load fairly evenly. You want to avoid letting your wrist collapse into the mat and bear all the weight.;

Backward Wrist Extension In Tabletop

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In Tabletop, we usually practice with the fingertips pointing to the front of the room. Try this variation to stretch and open up your wrists.;

  • Start on your hands and your knees in a Tabletop position.;
  • Check that your hands are under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips.;
  • Instead of keeping your fingertips pointing to the front of the room, begin to move the fingertips to point to the sides of the room or the back of the room.;
  • If it is too intense to point the fingertips toward your knees or the back of the room, keep them pointing to the left and right sides of the room.
  • Shift your weight forward and backward into your hands to feel the stretch.;
  • Stay here for a few breaths, or practice a few rounds of Cat/Cow.;
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    How To Strengthen Wrists For Yoga

    How to strengthen wrists for yoga you ask? Oh darling, look no further because I can tell you exactly what to do to help your sore wrists. Having soreness in your wrists can be such a bother. It can become so annoying that it stops you from doing yoga all together.

    The biggest reason why we have sore wrists is because we are sinking joints into their sockets which sends our weight and pressure into our wrist joint. Then we feel pain and then we are sad. In other words we are lacking strength and correct technique.


    Let please avoid that pain. I think any pain we can effectively avoid needs to be avoided. Wrist soreness is not necessary to our yoga practice.

    Use Your Fists And Forearms

    One reason your wrists might hurt during yoga is because of the angle at which your wrist joint is bending. Too much wrist extension can strain and inflame the joint. You can modify just about any pose by making fists or coming onto your forearms instead of using your palms. You will still get all the benefits of the pose while keeping your wrists safe and pain-free.

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    Activate Your Rotator Cuffs: Warrior Ii Pose

    Virabhadrasana II

    Use Warrior II;to create stability in your shoulders.


    From Tadasana , step the feet about three to four feet apart. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and bring your other foot parallel with the back of the mat, then turn the left toes in just slightly. Align your right heel with your left arch. Turn your right thigh out and bend the right knee until it is over the right ankle. Press down through the left leg and outer left heel. Raise your arms to shoulder height and reach out through extended fingers, palms up. Draw the shoulder blades toward the midline and down the back. Roll the shoulders back. Flip the palms down. Hold for about a minute before switching sides.

    Check Your Alignment And Be Honest

    Strengthening Your Wrists With Yoga : Yoga Poses & Tips

    A general rule of thumb, though by no means true for every single situation, is that shoulders are aligned over the wrists in weight-bearing poses to minimize hyperextension. Aim to be firm and light in these poses.

    This means you are stable in the pose, but not so heavy that if feels like youre smashing the heels of your hands into the floor.

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    What Causes Wrist Pain In Yoga

    Wrist discomfort and pain occur for many reasons. Your yoga practice could be the problem, but it could also be the solution. In yoga, we do many Downward Facing Dog, Plank Pose, Chaturanga Dandasana, and other wrist weight-bearing poses. However, yoga wrist pain and wrist injury are more likely an impact on our lifestyle outside the mat.


    Our hands perform many tasks every day. These tasks are mostly repetitivefrom typing on our computer keyboards to tapping our smartphones to gripping our cars steering wheels. These repetitive motions lead to weak wrists that could lead to pain and injury.;

    Underlying causes such as carpal tunnel syndrome could also be the reason why you are having wrist pain. It is a compression in the median nerve. It occurs when the pressure on your median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel to your hands. carpal tunnel syndrome causes weakness in the hand, tingling, numbness, and sometimes pain.

    Some underlying causes of wrist pain and discomfort are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

    If you feel any kind of discomfort in your wrists, you have to know how to strengthen your wrists for yoga and other weight-bearing activities. We also need wrist strength for carrying our grocery bags, writing and typing, and other activities we do in our daily lives.;

    Wrist Pain During Yoga How To Fix Your Wrist Pain

    For anyone who has tried to do a yoga class and has found their wrists to be their weakest point, this blog is for you!


    I will teach you how to work your way into more weight-bearing on your hands and wrists in a comfortable way.

    I used to struggle with a full yoga class because there was just SO MUCH weight-bearing through your hands and wrists, and my wrists were not used to that. So when I made a goal last year to train myself to be able to do a handstand, my biggest concern was not my core strength, or my shoulder strength, or my sense of balance when upside down my biggest challenge was going to be Will my wrists still be in one piece if I start this training?

    1 year later, and a somewhat impressive 3 second freestanding handstand later, and my wrists are stronger than ever and havent been a concern of mine in months.;

    To start, what is weight-bearing on your hands?

    Weight-bearing is supporting the weight of your body through your limbs. Classically our legs are our weight bearing limbs when we stand or walk around. Weight-bearing through hands for most people will involve partial weight bearing through feet and hands, unless youre getting into handstands or other inversion positions where JUST your hands are on the floor. Most people will weight-bear through their palms spread, and palms pressing into the ground. Spread your fingers out for the biggest base of support, to improve your balance.;

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    Listen To Your Body And Take It Slow:

    One of the most significant reasons for wrist injuries & strain is over-enthusiasm. Most wrist injuries in yoga classes occur when beginning students want to do all the asanas and exercises perfectly, and from the very first time. However, you should listen to your body and remember that the wrists need time to adapt and adjust to the new challenges.

    Placement For Weak Wrists

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    Without nerding out on you too much, your wrists are home to quite a few bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and other connective tissues. Thats a lot to try to squeeze into that small space! And if you arent careful in how youre positioning your hands, that can turn into a huge amount of force and pressure placed onto one of the smaller joints of the body. Naturally, this can result in pinched nerves, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and plenty of other painful injuries.;

    So, when youre asking your hands and wrists to support any amount of your bodyweight, pay attention to how youre placing them so they can support that load safely and effectively.;

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    Prayer Stretch With Steeple

  • Stand with your elbows bent and palms together in the same hands-together position as stretch No. 3.
  • Spread your fingers and thumbs as wide apart as you can. Then move your palms apart and together again, keeping your fingers and thumbs touching. Repeat a few times during the day.
  • Find variations on this stretch and additional stretches here.


    This exercise is simple, but it works the smaller hand muscles. Its also one you can do sitting at a desk or anywhere else.

  • Take an ordinary rubber band, and stretch it around the tops of your fingers and thumb.
  • Slowly open your hand to stretch against the rubber band, and then slowly close your hand. Keep the motion controlled.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times.
  • Yoga For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Are you at a computer or desk all day? If so, you have likely heard about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You have 9 flexor tendons in each hand that connect through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel houses the median nerve, the main nerve connecting the hand to the wrist to the forearm. Overuse can cause the flexor tendons to swell and the pressure on the median nerve can cause pain, tingling, and numbness.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome usually brings about tenderness or inflammation in your wrists, hands, or forearms. Luckily, yoga is one of the recommended activities to do as it can help to ease your symptoms. As long as youve been cleared by your doctor, you absolutely can still practice yoga. Be mindful about incorporating few wrist-friendly modifications in your practice.;

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    Take Pressure Off The Wrists

    Avoid 90° Angles When the wrists arent as flexible, a 90° angle can be rather difficult or painful. In a pose, such as tabletop or cobra pose, it can be helpful to walk the hands forward to reduce the angle on the the wrist . This will reduce pressure and weight on the wrist.; In similar poses, you can keep the wrist straight by doing them on your fists, rather than a flat palm.

    Try Forearms;;Poses that are hard on the wrists, such as plank pose or downward facing dog, can be done on the forearms as a way to avoid the wrists. For example, instead of a regular plank, try a forearm plank until getting more comfortable on the hands.

    Take a Knee In plank pose, dropping to your knees will help to take a significant amount of weight away from the hands and into the legs. This will take pressure off the hands and wrists.

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    If your wrists are too sensitive but you would like to do some weight-bearing activities, you can use a dumbbell to grip onto and weight-bear through the dumbbell. This can be particularly helpful as a modification if youre trying to do pushups but cant manage full weight-bearing through the palms. Weight bearing through the back of your hands is NOT recommended .

    I have wrist/hand pain already on an everyday basis with work/my sport. Should I start practicing weight bearing on my hands?

    Because there can be many different causes of wrist pain/or other symptoms, I recommend seeking out a physiotherapist to help you assess and treat your particular condition, and help get you to the point where you can start practicing more hand weight-bearing on your own.;

    How do I know where to start?

    In order to know if youre ready to start weight-bearing through your hands on the floor, we can do a few tests that get progressively more challenging. Move your way from Step #1 to #5 to see what your starting point is!

  • Can you put your palms together over your chest with your fingers pointing away from you without pain?
  • This tests your wrist flexibility this should make a 90 degree angle with both of your wrists and test your wrist flexibility with a minimal amount of pressure. If you can do this, move to step number 2!

  • Can you place your palms flat against a wall at shoulder height comfortably?
  • Can you do a plank from knees position with your palms directly beneath your shoulders?
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    Prefer To Watch How To Strengthen Weak Wrists

    As a society, we dont do much to keep our wrists strong. In fact, all the time spent at the computer , plus time spent doing repetitive movements at work adds up to a lot of wrist WEAKENING activity.

    Youre probably pretty good at fine motor control activities whether you do crafts, write, or use technology. All those activities require the little muscles of your hands to coordinate beautifully. Unfortunately, none of the activities we do on a daily basis require the big muscles of our forearms and hands to work very hard. And its the bigger muscles that cross the forearm and hands that are responsible for keeping your wrist joints strong.

    This makes working out a pain in the wrist. If you spend most of your time doing fine-motor skills, then try to hit the gym for a fun workout or relaxing yoga session, you might find that your wrists simply cant keep up with your workout. And thats got to be one of the most frustrating things, especially when consistently working out is already tough.

    Lets Make Our Arms Strong Again

    For instance, our arms are invaluable parts of our exercise routines theyre involved in pushups, pull-ups, weight training, and even jogging as part of the regular motions. Even yoga poses and various stretches not directed toward the arms will typically require us to support our bodies using the arms, whether bent or stretched. As such, failing to adequately strengthen parts of the arm can impact these exercises quite negatively. Weak hands and fingers could result in an inability to properly sustain the gripping these tasks commonly require. Weak wrists and forearms, on the other hand, can result in difficulty properly sustaining weight being carried whether its that of dumbbells or our own. Indeed, failing to ensure our hands, wrists and arms are properly prepared can result in a much less successful, and possibly much more dangerous, workout routine on the whole.

    Even when it comes to day-to-day use, this seemingly small joint is surprisingly integral. Most people go most of the whole day with their wrists at least in mild extension, whether for driving, writing, or typing. As with other joints, the wrist is thus susceptible to overuse injuries, even if you dont work out at all. As such, its a good idea to seek out workouts that can be used to fortify the wrist in order to keep this from happening.

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    Protecting And Strengthening Your Wrists In Your Yoga Practice

    Movement and physical activity are always good for the mind and body. If your wrists are painful, weak, in recovery, or blissfully pain-free, the only way to strengthen them is to continue using them. If your wrists are inflamed and painful, minimize using them for weight-bearing exercises.;

    See a physical therapist if you must. Once you get a thumbs up on bearing weight on your wrists from your PT, you will need to work around your problem by modifying yoga poses and other movements.

    Props are your friends when it comes to yoga. To avoid bearing weight on your wrists too much, you can use some wrist wraps with padding in the wrists heels. If you still feel discomfort, you can modify poses or the yoga flow.

    If youre going to a yoga class in a studio. In that case, you will most likely practice Sun Salutations which require you to do Downward Facing Dog, Plank Pose, Chaturanga Dandanasa, and Cobra or Upward Facing Dog. You can swap these poses with other yoga poses.

    • You can swap Downward Facing Dog with doing Dolphin Pose.;
    • You can do a Forearm Plank instead of a regular Plank Pose.;
    • For Cobra or Upward Facing Dog, you can do the Sphinx Pose or the Baby Cobra.;

    Props are also your friends when it comes to practicing yoga with wrist discomfort.;

    You can also do Chaturanga Dandasana on the wall. Here are the steps to do this:

  • Stand in front of the wall, about 2-feet distance.
  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the wall.
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