T Nation

Painful Wrists/Forearms From Benching


When I release the bar after benching I have fairly strong pain around my wrists and the lower half of my forearms (i.e. towards my hands). This has started fairly recently, although I've been benching for a few years, and it occurs even on warmup sets.

What's likely to be the cause? Should I expect it to improve over time? Would wrist wraps help?


sounds like a form of tendinitis. for me, benching isn't the issue. it's just aggrevated by bench. my arms get torn up from low bar squatting. as a result i rotate front squats and back squats every other week and limit the number of heavy reps that i do to a minimum. i also stay away from any staight bar curls or straight bar extensions.

first thing you need to do is pinpoint the exact cause.

it also maybe as simple as you are allowing the bar to roll back into your hand as you are benching causing your wrists to roll back. the bar should always be right over the forearm bones. this is where wrist wraps are great.


Agree with the above post. If you aren't using a closed grip, this may be allowing what marauder talked about. With a closed grip you are less likely to let the bar roll. If you are using the closed grip, I would suggest you grip the bar harder to keep it from rolling (you should be doing this anyway).



I was experiencing this a couple of months ago (maybe last month). It got to the point I had to stop benching completely for a little bit to let my wrists/forearms heal up.

A couple of things that I did that have helped (I dont have that excruciating pain anymore).
-Fat bar: this forces you to really tighten your grip, which helps stabilize and disperse the pain
-Rice digs: for hand strength
By far the 2 that helped the most
-Casting my wrist/forearm with a wrist wrap (36")
-Leveraging: took some hammers and just rotate my hand in different directions.

I experienced this same pain b/c my bench weight flew up a lot when I finally figured out how to use my shirt. I hope this helps. Trust me, the last 2 DEFINITELY work...


x2 for the above. Wrist wraps are a HUGE help for this. nice neoprene ones. Elbow sleeve may help as well. having a solid bar-over-forearm position will be the greatest help.

Other factors might be:

-weak forearms lead to wrist and elbow tendinitis. get 1 day in your training to ad in about 30mins of grip work.

-check your bar thickness. If you are pressing with a thin olympic lifting bar of other <30mm bar you might want to switch to a thick bar. You will be able to press much greater weights with the thin bar and should do ME work on the thin one, but train other days on the thickest bar you can get a hold of. A mate of mine at the local uni gym couldnt find a thick bar so he brought some rubberized wraps and taped them to the bar for bench day to simulate thick bar pressing. along with dedicated 3x/week grip work it shot his bench past 405 plateau and destroyed the wrist pain.

-Again, hard to find but if you can try and find a football bar or something that allows you to bar press with neutral grip [thumbs up]. I've even got around to heavy floor pressing with the EZ curl bar. but be careful with that as the bitch really wants to wobble and bends like fuck after a certain amount of weight [not much].



do you have small wrists?
how much do you weigh?
what's your bench?


Its likely tendonitis. I am battling tendonotis and was told rest and immobalization may be required, but I didn't like that advice. I started icing my forearms immediately after lifting and several other times a day as well, and this has helped. Also, an anti-inflamtory may help.


Fairly average, I think. A fraction under 7 inches.

Around 100kg, perhaps a bit under.



Thanks for all the replies. It does sound like tendonitis is a likely suspect.

Maraudermeat, the low bar squatting point is interesting: I do try to squat low bar, but find it hard going on heavier sets. Perhaps I'll back off on that for a while and see whether things improve. I don't think that the bar is rolling back when I bench, but I'll pay extra attention to that in tonight's session.

Coolnatedawg, thanks for all the exercise suggestions. I hadn't heard of rice dips before, but they sound fun! I can't get hold of a fat bar at the moment , but perhaps some kind of poor man's version will do the job.

Avocado, thanks for the suggestions. What sort of grip work do you recommend? Crushers, that sort of thing?


couple years ago i was doing a westside routine and my wrists and forearms started getting sharp pains at the end of my bench sets as i let go of the bar. back into heavy lifting the past few months, as soon as similar pains started to show i ordered some 24" wrist wraps. i think 36" would be overkill for me, im 5'9" and usually just over 205lbs. i dont wear them for the warm up sets usually, just put them on for the work sets. snug first work set, tighter 2nd work set, really tight and casted a little onto my palm for the 3rd work set. (been doing 5/3/1 since Feb, so i always have 3 work sets). oh, i guess i should finish by saying i havent had any issues with forearm/wrist pains since using the wraps. i might do some kind of curl once every two months or so, so i cant comment there other than saying i had experienced similar pains in forearms when doing straight bar curls in the past, no advice there though other than not doing them...


bucket loads of extensor training. the reverse motion of grippers. If you can afford all the cute toys from ironmind.com then go for that shit. But for me and a majority of my athletes we use a rice bucket [just like it sounds, a bucket of rice]. basically there are a bunch of things you can do via pushing your hands in and spreading them out in the rice. You can also grab and squeeze the shit out of the rice. The humble bucket of rice is responsible for removing arthritis pain form 2 of my previous athletes who made their own rice bucket to work with after i had to move.

Also. As much fat bar as possible at all times. getting tyler grips or another transferable fat grip accessory will pay the dues for your paws. Use those guys on all accessory work where performance is not quantified for training purposes. Even for bench work i would recomend the fat grippers. You will technically bench less with them BUT then when you head back to the thin bar benching you will see massive gains.

so yeah. rice bucket and fat grips. crushers are fun but not necessarily the best for making pain free elbows/wrists.