All of us have had a wrist injury at least once. The wrist is a collection of carpal bones present in the human body between the arm and forearm. Gym-goers would tend to tell you that it is one of the weakest joints in our body and is seriously injury-prone. However it is excessively and sometimes unnecessarily used. How does this happen, and how can we take reasonable precautions against this?
Before we go into workouts, it Is important to understand the physiological structure of the wrist. The wrist is comprised of a lot of things – muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and so on. As a result, it is extremely delicate and tightly wound. Any incorrect movement imposed on it can lead to unwanted consequences.
Let us look at some common exercises that involve flexing the wrist – pushups, biceps curl, squats with weighted bars etc. All these are supposed to focus on non-related muscles, and yet involve strain on the wrists. This is more likely to happen when we load weights that our muscles cannot support. In that case, we have a natural tendency to use our wrists to support the weight, thus leading to the possibility of injury.
A common way to avoid such injuries is the use of a wristband to add support to the wrists. This wristband, whilst helpful, is just a way to reduce the impact of an injury. It doesn’t eliminate the likelihood of the injury happening. The only solution is to lift weights carefully and apply only the muscles that can bear the weight. When doing a biceps curl, for example, if you are lifting a 25kg dumbbell and you feel your biceps completely stretched, don’t exceed the 25kg till your biceps have gotten used to the weight in a natural manner.
Beyond these precautions, you can always train your wrists to be more durable. There are exercises such as lever lift and forearm curls to curl your wrists whilst keeping your arms straight. In these exercises, only the wrist muscle is stretching and contracting whilst lifting the weight. You may use a barbell or dumbbell for these exercises. In lever lifts, you generally use a barbell with a weight on only one end.
To summarize, there are three things to always take note of when you do strength training – always wear a wrist band, ensure you feel the right muscles stretching when working out, and finally spend atleast a day of the week doing wrist curls to strengthen your wrists.