Let me start out by saying that I struggle with my shoulder mobility. It’s not terrible, but maintaining a solid front rack position can – at times – be challenging. Often times I have to hold the bar – while coming out of a clean or during front squats – in two or three fingers. And during thruster workouts, I tend to put a lot more strain on my wrists, as I fight to keep five fingers on the bar.
It’s not hard to imagine how important wrist mobility and wrist strength are to CrossFit as a sport, but also to everyday life. Whether you’re struggling with wrist mobility or shoulder mobility, both can push your wrists to uncomfortable position and it needs to be addressed.
Box Life Magazine put together a wonderful post on this and included eight good tips for keeping out wrists healthy.
You can read the full post here, but below I’ve included the 8 tips to improve your wrist mobility.
1. Wrist Rotations. This is very basic. Wrap your fingers together and move your wrists around in every possible direction. Hold any position that feels a little tender/limited for a few seconds. Repeat often throughout the day.
2. Prayers. Stand up and place your hands together in front of you, as if in prayer. Maintaining contact between your hands, lower them. Go as far as you can. The longer you can keep your hands together, the better you’ll stretch the wrists. At the bottom, reverse things so that your fingers point downward and your hands remain together. Come back up.
3. Static Holds. Pull your wrist back into extension and/or flexion and hold for at least 20-30 seconds.
4. Planche push–up position. Get into a plank position (elbows fully extended at the top of the push up). Turn your hands inward so your fingertips are pointing toward your toes. Keeping a rigid torso, shift your body forward so you have an angle from your shoulders to wrists. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds (or as long as you can bear) and repeat. If this is too intense, drop down to your knees and complete.
5. Wrist walks. Place your palms on a wall, with your arms straight and fingers pointing to the ceiling. Keeping contact with the wall, walk your hands down the wall. Go as far down as possible without letting your palms come off the wall. Once you reach the point where you can’t walk your hands down any farther, turn your hands around so your fingers are now pointing to the floor. Walk your wrists back up the wall as far upward as possible. Repeat.
6.Front squat rack position. If you have pain when trying to hold a front rack position, or can’t even get into it in the first place, you need to get your wrists working through the range of motion required for the front squat. Even though it’s your shoulders holding the bar in place rather than your wrists, you still need good wrist mobility to get the bar sitting correctly on top of your shoulders in the first place. Load a bar on a desired rack setting. Set up in a rack position, with your elbows pointing as far forward as possible and weight sitting on your shoulders. Pick up the bar and rotate your elbows forward, then re rack the bar. Repeat this process until you see a change in your rack position.
7. Ring push-ups. A great exercise to work on wrist stability, as well as stability through the elbow, shoulder and core. Adjust the height of the rings appropriate for your fitness level (the lower the rings the more difficult the exercise). Grip the rings, keep your body straight and your legs fully extended behind you. Slowly lower yourself down towards the floor. Pause at the bottom then push yourself back up to the starting position. Do not lock out your elbows to maintain tension throughout the muscles during the exercise. Repeat.
8. Double kettlebell rack walk. Take a kettlebell in each hand. Lift the kettlebells up under your chin so that your palms and your wrists are facing each other. The kettlebells should be resting on your shoulders and upper arms. Begin walking forward and hold the kettlebells at the same position the whole time. Continue for the desired amount of time or distance.