Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Be Nice, Your Wrists Work Hard

Hey Kelly,
I injured my wrist at the bottom of a squat clean, and wonder if that's something common enough to warrant a blog post...I know a lot of people who've had trouble with the same kind of thing. What's the best bet for building up (or regaining) wrist strength/flexibility, etc.? My wrists are definitely the weak link for me in several exercises.

Thanks again,


It's true. The receiving position of full clean can be brutal on your wrists, not to mention front squats and the worst of all, thrusters. It's not uncommon that athletes end up with some sort of wrist tweak from one of these movements from time to time.
There are a few things that you can do to PREVENT significant wrist hurtage.

1) Warm up your wrists! These poor boys are the linkage between your 400lb front squat and your hips. Be cool and show them some serious love before you start red-lining. Think of your wrists as conduits for some very high tension wires. Most of the time for wrist neutral activities, you can count on your wrists not needing much care and feeding, but as soon as you even start thinking about some high speed wrist extension some alarms should start sounding.

-Be sure your core temperature is up. If you have a sweat going, chances are you're wrists are warm enough too. Cold tendons, confined tendon boxes (wrists), and at high speed is uncool. Very un-dude.

-Start your wrists slowly (not dynamically) into the position of emphasis. You'll probably notice that just getting into a front squat rack position is a little tough on your wrists. So don't go jamming them into a challenging position with an additional speed insult. Doode, be cool.

-Give your wrists some slack. Make sure your thoracic spine is mobile enough that you don't have challenge your wrist positioning unnecessarily. (see below)

-Be sure to release any hook grip you may employing. That hook grip wonder is really expensive when you use it at the receiving position.

-Make sure your other soft tissues support a more wrist neutral position. So, stretch arm flexion limiting structures like your triceps and lats.

-Move your grip a little wider out. Too many people use too narrow a grip. This narrow grip reduces your shoulder positioning options and makes for a tougher wrist position. Widen your grip and let your elbows come out to at least a 45 degree angle from your body if you are tall or if you are a little wrist compromised.

-Try wrapping your wrists (check for an old post about homemade wraps) or using a more serious wrist wrap from www.prowriststraps.com.

-Do you work on strengthening your grip? It's obvious, but under-untilized. At the end of every work out work on your grip. Ask your coach how or google "grip strength" and "milo".

-In light movements that don't require a perfect rack like the thruster, drop your elbows down a little, just be sure not to drive them into your legs when you are at full compression at the bottom of your squat. Elbow-knee contact will break your wrist so if you are going to be risky, don't be that guy.

-Practice receiving the bar at the shoulder rack position while changing the
position the bar rests in your hands. You may have to fingertip it, but either
way, one centimeter in your palm either way can have a significant effect on your
wrist position. Cleaning is a high skill activity, there are som small details to which you will have to start paying attention.

-If your wrists are manky, clean just the bar at least 30 times before you even dream of putting weight on that thing.

-I know a bunch of people that use a more dangerous open grip in situations like the press and thrusters to unload the wrist. This is more dangerous, but it works. Heck there is recent video of bench pressing beast Dave Tate using the open bench press grip. (And he's no ass-sponge)

Do you have a wrist tweak? Don't talk to me until you've started icing that thing at least a couple of times a day. And, if you do have wrist issues, choose your extreme wrist extensions wisely. Handstands and push-ups might be need to be done in a neutral position on dumbells or paralleletts. Your wrists might only tolerate so much silly bull-shite in one day. If you are having a continued problem,
go see a good physio.

Above all. Be nice. You will miss your wrists when they are gone.



Anonymous said...

good to have the blog up and running again.
My wrists could definitely use some TLC

John Hill Gardner III said...

does jumping rope count as a wrist warmup?

Justin CFES said...

Kelly, I have been emailing you about the MMM seminar and I am not sure if you are getting them due to spam block or something. Hit me up justin@crossfiteastsac.com. We are interested in hosting one of your seminars if we can. Our members could greatly benefit from your knowledge.

Adrian said...

A biggie to consider:

The FS is really only hard on your wrist if you have a shitty rack position. Personally, I think the most important bit was:

"Make sure your other soft tissues support a more wrist neutral position"

If your thoracic extension and external arm rotation sucks, good luck with a nice rack position.


Unknown said...

good point boz who doesn't love a good rack???

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