T Nation

Help My Wrists Are So Weak


#1

Hello everyone, my wrists are tiny and weak. I have been incorporating more dumbbell exercises in my routine and while my muscles can stand more weight my 6.25 inch wrists are weak. What can I do to strengthen them? I mean specific exercises that will help.

thank you


#2

Well google is great. I have lost a lot of strength in my wrists due to a change in careers so my wrists have become weak. Anyway I just googled “strengthen weak wrists” and saw some great exercises. Just FYI for anyone who can relate.


#3

Carries,Wrist curls,Reverse wrist curls,Wrist rollers,rice digs all help


#4

Anything that strengthens your forearms will help your wrists.


#5

it really depends on what you mean by weak wrists…

there’s no muscle tissue right around your actual wrist joint. Strengthening joints themselves is not really a thing that can be done. You can strengthen your forearms, but that has limited application. I also have very small, generally weak wrists. I’ve had wrist problems my whole life. wrist wraps have been an extremely useful tool for me. I use them to bench press anything over about 200 lbs, and I use them for all of my overhead pressing. They just add support, so you’re less likely to injure them.

But since you asked about specific exercises, I am going to recommend heavy carries and holds to strengthen forearms. Holding a heavy weight for time is immensely useful in building forearm strength. Hangs from a bar can do the same. Farmers carries and frame carries are awesome. I did one arm hangs for awhile, trying to do 20 seconds at a time, and they were incredibly taxing, but effective. I wouldn’t expect you to be able to do those, but maybe you could do something comparable with both arms.

One thing I will say about forearm/grip work, is that it should be limited. It’s going to make almost every other lift in the gym more difficult, if your grip is constantly fried. I train grip once a week at most. My forearms, while very very strong, were also constantly in pain for awhile because I did so many things (heavy deadlifts, rows and carries), without ever using straps. Just figure out what works for you and how much you can tolerate. Don’t be afraid to use straps sometimes.


#6

You mean your forearms are weak, and you need to work on your grip. T-Nation has some articles on building grip, but in short wrist curls, farmer’s carries, deadlift with a hold…


#7

I meant to address this in my first post. My wrists are 6.5", and I’m a 5’11 male. I’m pretty sure your wrists aren’t smaller than average. So I probably agree with what dungeondweller mentioned, you probably lack forearm strength, not wrist strength. Maybe this is just a semantics thing. But when I talk about weak wrists, I’m really talking about wrist instability and the inability for the joint to be able to handle heavier loads unassisted.


#8

I bought wrist wraps right after posting this. Should get them today. I will be adding the exercises you suggested. I appreciate all this info, now I can really focus on gains.


#9

To add on to that, I’m 5’9" and I’ve a 6.25 inch wrist so if anything, you might even have bigger than average wrists.


#10

My wrists are actually 6 inches. I was using aluminum utility measuring tape. I just measured again with actual tailoring tape and my wrists are 6 inches but I get the gist of it, it doesn’t matter.


#11

No great solutions here, but I can relate. I have tweaked a wrist a few times just racking a DB wrong, and they can take forever to heal.

I don’t know if it will help, but I’ve been doing more stretching of my hands and wrists so I have mobility for Oly lifting.


#12

Straps, chalk, mixed grip or hook grip can help, but you will still reach a point where you need more grip strength.

Look at that famous photo of Franco Columbu or other strong guys deadlifting all that weight and not using straps. That’s what reminds me to work on grip strength (and also trying to learn hook grip).
https://i1.wp.com/muscleandbrawn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/franco-columbu-deadlift.jpg


#13

one of those grip enthusiasts, eh? lol

I don’t know if this is true for everybody. Really depends on your goals. If you’re a competitive powerlifter, there’s a decent chance you’ll need, at some point, to do some dedicated grip work outside of just practicing the deadlift. But it’s not necessarily true. I deadlifted over 600 without straps when I still had an interest in powerlifting, and never did any dedicated grip work. I’ve held up to 700. Most humans will never have any need or want to lift more than that. BUT now that my focus is on strongman, I could potentially see myself needing to do grip work eventually. Heavy farmers carries are even more taxing on the grip than deadlifts were, even at a lighter weight, because you’re moving and the weights bounce around in your hands, often times the handles are thicker than a standard barbell, sometimes they’re slick, etc. So because my goals have shifted, my efforts may as well.

Just kind of a mini rant. lolz


#14

Yeah, any significant grip work I do (mostly farmers walks and suitcase carries/holds) will have a fairly profound taxation on my body. In fact, I often gauge my relative grip strength each day as a general measurement of my CNS. Just seeing how it feels picking up a plate before putting it on the bar for my first exercise of the day usually gives me a fair idea of how hard I can go for that workout. I recall reading something about grip strength having a strong correlation to your system’s recovery.

Wrist Stats: 7.25in


#15

Because of this i mainly do timed grip hangs as my only dedicated grip work, with heavy deadlifts and squats try to avoid loading the spine when not necessary.