While the fitness stereotypes of decades past involved mostly muscleheaded beach bodies that sought to bench press a ton, or aerobics addicts who stepped and kicked and wooo’d their way to thinness, these days we’re far more grounded about it. The pursuit of fitness helps a person combat stress, mainly by giving them a physical outlet that helps channel their intensity and by helping to bring their systems up to a level that can handle more demanding daily routines. Furthermore, pursuing fitness in such a manner can help a person fight off the effects of comparatively unhealthy eating, which is all too common in an age of almost unavoidable preservatives and high sodium levels.
However, one important thing to never lose sight of is the need to keep one’s self far from injury wherever possible. Keeping active also means exposing ourselves to the possibility of getting hurt, which is a necessary price that is nonetheless avoidable. Whether it’s slips, falls, and the like or along the lines of picking a weight too heavy to properly carry and then going unspotted, simple common sense and awareness is often a good way to avoid unnecessarily getting hurt. Furthermore, strengthening certain body parts and preparing them for the rigors of regular workout demands will also go a long way toward keeping them away from possibly getting needlessly hurt.
For instance, our arms are invaluable parts of our exercise routines – they’re 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 it’s 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 don’t work out at all. As such, it’s a good idea to seek out workouts that can be used to fortify the wrist in order to keep this from happening.
Here are five yoga poses that can help contribute toward building up the wrist, a commonly-overlooked but no less workout-important body part.
1. Downward facing dog
One of the most common yoga poses, this has a number of benefits, including strengthening your wrists. Beginning from the table top position (shoulders over wrists, hips over knees), tuck your toes and lift your hips upward until your body forms an A shape. Keep the fingers spread wide, pressing down through your knuckles to the mat so as to keep your wrists from being the parts to sustain the pressure. Keep the weight in the main and secondary hand pressure points and not in the palm, which can result in carpal tunnel syndrome and other problems.
2. Upward facing dog.
Along with downward facing dog, this is a common yoga pose thanks to benefits like strengthening the spine and arms (wrists included in the latter). Don’t roll your shoulders forward, or this will put strain on the arm (wrists also unfortunately included). Instead, use your scapula and roll the shoulders back and down, thus correctly aligning your arms. If you feel pressure on your wrists, lower your upper body and move your hands away from your main body.
3. High plank pose
Common for most yoga disciplines including vinyasa-style classes, high plank strengthens the hips and abdomen. Make sure your shoulders are above your wrists, with the rest of your body straight and solid like the pose’s namesake. Your back should not be arched. Make sure to distribute your weight through your fingers so your wrist doesn’t take the strain. Note that misaligned wrists for a plank can result in carpal tunnel syndrome. To avoid this strain, lower yourself onto your forearms or use your knees for support as well.
4. Upward plank pose
This strengthens the wrists and arms, and stretches the shoulders and chest. Beginning from the Staff pose, plant your hands firmly down behind the hips, fingers pointing toward the feet. Lift the hips, with legs straight, and push hands and feet into the mat to move your body upward. The latter should be sustained by pushing your shoulder blades upward, which will lift your chest upward. If you feel your wrists taking strain here, you can shift to Upward Tabletop by bending your knees and positioning your feet under them.
5. (Left) Side plank pose
Starting from the plank position, bring your feet together and roll slowly to the outside of the left foot. You should be forming a straight (no dips or bends) diagonal line here from head to toe. Balance your weight on your left arm, supporting yourself by distributing the weight between the pinky and the thumb. If your wrists aren’t ready for this, you can do a forearm plank pose instead.
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