Many people who frequent the gym, whether to lift weights, attend exercise classes or crossfit, find that their wrists and fingers become sore and stiff after exercise. There are many ways of reducing the load, strain or impact through your hands at the gym, to prevent potential injuries.
Our hands are one of our most valuable assets, so it is important to look after them. Here are some tips to reduce the chances of developing hand and wrist pain at the gym.
Practise good form when lifting, pushing and pulling weights.
Try to keep your wrist straight (in alignment with your forearm) during exercises. Having your wrist straight or in slight wrist extension is the most stable position for gripping and this allows your forearm muscles to work optimally.
Strengthen forearm muscles to provide wrist stability.
Targeted strengthening of the muscles around the wrist help to stabilise the wrist bones during gripping and weight bearing. Our hand therapists can advise you on the best exercises to perform to improve wrist stability.
Use lifting straps.
People who lift heavy weights, often experience issues with their grip and ability to hold onto a barbell or dumbbell. If you experience pain with gripping and pulling exercises like pull-ups and deadlifts, lifting straps can be useful to decrease the amount of force needed to grip bars.
There are two main types of lifting straps available; those made with heavy duty strapping material and those with a plastic or metal hook. We recommend the fabric straps which are wrapped around the bar multiple times to connect the lifter's hand to the bar. These straps will unravel by themselves once the lifter releases their grip and present less of a safety concern than straps with a hook which 'connect' the hands to the bar/heavy weight.
Wear padded gloves to support your wrists and hands.
If you experience discomfort with bodyweight exercises like push-ups, burpees, pilates and yoga, padded gloves such as WAGS gloves, may be helpful to provide cushioning to the heel of the hand like a shock absorber. This padding also helps to decrease the wrist angle preventing impingement of soft tissues at the back of your wrist.
Seek treatment early.
There are many possible causes for hand and wrist pain, so if you have pain which is persisting despite implementing these measures it is important to seek timely treatment.
The experienced hand therapists at Bayside Hand Therapy will provide a thorough assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan to get back to your full capacity as soon as possible.