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Wrist Flexibility

Wrist pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist cysts are some of the most common injuries affecting
yogis and humans in general. The wrists are a complex joint full of bone, ligaments, connective tissue,
muscles and nerves. They werent specifically designed to take the entire weight of our bodies for
extended periods of time. However, if properly trained, they will adapt enough to pull off some pretty
impressive hand balances. But, they have to be trained.

Performing a free-standing handstand looks awesome, but it puts a lot of strain on the wrist. Your
wrist will be at a 90 degree angle to your arm, and if you felt the pain when testing out your wrist
mobility by placing your palm flat on a wall as shown above, holding your full bodyweight on your
wrists will hurt even more!

If you cant extend your wrist to at least 90 degrees on its own, then a handstand will cause you a lot
of injury. Before you start, work on the primary wrist motions, build strength in these areas to build
yourself up to the handstand.

Being able to perform a free-standing handstand takes time, patience, a lot of discipline and of course
strong wrist mobility and stability. This is one of the harder exercises to master but when you have
youll feel like you can do anything! Not to mention it looks super cool.

Lack of wrist flexibility may hinder your progression. You need to train the wrist and the fingers

Below are easy-to-do range-of-motion hand mobility exercises:

Hold each position for 510 seconds. Do 10 repetitions of each exercise at a time.
Repeat three times a day.

These exercises should be done before and after any hand balancing or Animal Flow practice, or
regular resistance training. They can also be useful to provide some relief between sets in the middle
of your practice. I even recommend it if youre spending extended periods of time typing on a
computer. Even just dedicating five minutes as part of your warm up and another five minutes as part
of your cool down can make a world of difference. Remember, the goal is to train to last, and youll be
missing out on serious training time if youre taking time off for injuries. If you can, I recommend
getting into the habit of doing them throughout the day!

1. Wrist extension and flexion

Place your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding with your hand
hanging off the edge of the table, palm down.
Move the hand upward until you feel a gentle stretch.
Return to the starting position.
Repeat the same motions with the elbow bent at your side, palm facing up.

2. Wrist supination/pronation
Stand or sit with your arm at your side with the elbow bent to 90 degrees, palm
facing down.
Rotate your forearm, so that your palm faces up and then down.

3. Wrist ulnar/radial deviation

Support your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding or on your
knee, thumb upward.
Move the wrist up and down through its full range of motion.

4. Thumb flexion/extension
Begin with your thumb positioned outward.
Move the thumb across the palm and back to the starting position.

5. Hand/finger tendon glide

Start with the fingers extended straight out.
Make a hook fist; return to a straight hand.
Make a full fist; return to a straight hand.
Make a straight fist; return to a straight hand.

6. Wrist Rotations/Rolls
Simply intertwine your fingers and rotate your wrists around in every
direction possible.Repeat as often as you feel comfortable with throughout
the day. This exercise will help to increase your natural wrist movement

07. Wrist Reverse Roll

This is a warm-up before stretching.
08. Wrist Waves

09. Prayers
While standing, place your hands in front of you as though you are
praying. While keeping contact between your two hands, lower them
as far down as you can the longer you can keep your hands
together the better youll be stretching your wrists. Once you get
down as far as you can go, reverse your hands so your fingers are
pointing downs, and complete the exercise in reverse.

10. Wrist Walks

Place your palms on a wall as high up as you can reach, and then walk your hands down the wall. Go
as far down as possible, while keeping your palms on the wall, and once you cant reach any further
turn your hands around, with your fingers pointing to the floor, and walk the palms up the other way.
Repeat this for as many times as you feel comfortable. A good exercise, but it only focuses on the
extension and flexion movements rather than the radial and ulnar.

11. Static Holds

Pull your wrists back into the extension and flexion positions and hold each for 20-30 seconds. You
should feel the pressure on your wrists, and this will ease over time as they become more flexible.

12. Finger Locked Lateral Wrist Stretch

13. Floor wrist stretch

Start on your hands and knees, with fingers pointed forward.
Lock your elbows out straight, round your back and lean forward to stretch your wrists. Dont hold the
position - instead rock back and forth going to the edge of the uncomfortable stretch.
Switch your hands so that your fingers are fac- ing your knees, and repeat as above.
Flip your hands over so that the back of your hands is on the floor and your fingers are pointing towards
your knees. Again, rock back and forth to the point of a good stretch. Dont force it, youll improve much
faster by being patient!
Wrist Injuries:
If youve got an injury on your wrists DONT be stubborn and continue pushing them harder with your
routine. Youll be using them everyday so you dont want to do any serious damage to yourself and us
gymnasts arent completely invincible (yet)! Make sure you see a healthcare professional first before
you take any further steps, and seek their advice on what you can and cant do.
Try the Wrist Rotations to start as these dont apply too much pressure and you can effectively test
every area of your wrist. If you feel you can handle more then go for one of the more strenuous
exercises, but DONT attempt anything like a planche push-up that requires holding your whole body
weight on your wrists, youll only cause yourself more damage!

DO seek proper medical advice first

DO continue to work on your wrist mobility in the pain-free areas
DO continue to exercise the injured area, but only with exercises you can manage
DONT stop wrist exercises completely
DONT push yourself further or ignore the pain or warning signs of injury
DONT attempt the highly pressured exercises like a planche push up
DONT GIVE UP! Once youre ready, being to tackle the exercise that caused you injury

Cambered Hand Technique

The cambered hand technique is an important, but subtle skill to learn when pursuing your first
When using the Cambered Hand Technique, your fingers create a C shape, rather than resting flat.
When using the cambered hand technique, the palms of the hand are on the ground, as are the tips of
the fingers. This gives two points of contact that give incredible control in the handstand.

The easiest way to get into a cambered hand position is to place your hand flat on the floor, then curl
your fingers up into the proper position. Lean your weight into your hands slowly and get a feel for
the hand position, and how it differs from the flat-handed position you were likely using beforehand.

Spread your fingers:

Fingertips and palm rim are on the floor, make a little gap in between.