Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. Have you been trying to do planks, but your wrist just will not tolerate being in this position. You're stuck on your elbows doing them, but you really want to progress to get where you can do them on your hands. This video is for you. I'm gonna start by talking a little bit about the anatomy on why you possibly have a problem with your wrist. Then I'm gonna give you a couple stretches that you can try to do at home to alleviate that. Then finally, we will end with the surefire way to make sure that you don't have any problems doing any activity that requires you to wait bare on your hands, because oftentimes it's not just planks that are giving people problems.
It's other activities too.
So first the anatomy of our wrist. I know we always think of your wrist as the end of your arm, but really our wrist is the start of your hand and it's a whole lot of little bones. It's a lot of things that need to be stretched, but in our everyday life, we spend most of our time with our wrist straight, or even slightly down. When in all of our functional activities, we're always gripping. We're making our wrist strong with it straight. Even a lot of people actually get used to gripping and then curling their wrist. They very rarely get used to extending upward. That imbalance actually creates stiffness.
It becomes difficult to even stretch into your wrists bending up position to allow you to just passively, without any weight get into this position. Then when you add all of your body weight during something like a plank or pushing yourself out of a pool, or any of the other reasons why you might push yourself this way. That's why that hurts your wrist.
So my quick tricks for stretching, is simply standing in a “prayer” pose and I would push my wrist down. The goal is to get your palms either where your forearms are parallel or even slightly below. Trick is to not let your shoulders come up into your neck. You get those shoulders locked down and back, start up pretty high, with your hands to your face. You can keep flat fingers because you don't want your hands to create a diamond shape. Because when you're planking, that's not how you're gonna do it. You want your palms flat for balance.
You want to start up here and then just slowly press the heel of your hands together and bring them down to your stomach or where you feel it stretching, trying to keep your fingers in contact with each other, you don't wanna let them bend. Once you get down to where it's a good stretch, you just hold it 30 seconds to a minute. Now, if you also need it, you can stretch your wrist bending down. This way I would just push here.
So now the other thing that you can do is position changes. So when you're doing your plank, you can try to keep your wrist straight into a fist. That way when you push yourself up, your wrists are just straight. You're resting on your knuckles or you can use a weight. You can just grab the weight and it doesn't even matter how you position it, some people prefer to use it horizontally, others vertically. Honestly, depending on the gym you're at, you might have one of those “perfect pushup” where they kind of rotate and you grip onto them also.
But really what you're trying to do is just ultimately get out of this hyperextended position because for a lot of people, it's just the stretch that's causing the problem. So if you can just keep your wrist in a less stretch position, then that helps.
Now ultimately for the plank. It does not matter whether or not your wrist is bent or straight, but for your wrist health, if you can't get into that position and hold it, then that says that there's an imbalance in either your strength, your range of motion. That's gonna be adding extra wear and tear onto your wrist joint, or joints depending on how you want to look at this. This can lead to other things in the future.
It can lead to grip strength problems. It can lead to carpal tunnel issues.
If you're just noticing the annoyance with the plank and you can get into a habit of stretching and habit of taking care of your wrist, you may be warding off some problems in the future.
Let's say that you've been dealing with this for a while and you do occasionally get carpal tunnel symptoms, or you do have a real hard time anytime you have to press your weight into the palm of your hand. You're tired of digging through the internet and trying to figure this out on your own.
This is exactly what I help people do. I help take all the guesswork out. I help create specific plans, especially designed for each individual person. I don't use anything. That's like a stock, “Like every person that comes in with this problem gets these exercises and it takes exactly this amount of time.” No!
Everything I do is created and it's very specialized to the person I'm speaking to and exactly what their goal is and what they're trying to achieve. I definitely love to enlighten people on anatomy and I wanna keep people healthy. Being able to do these things they love as long as possible, being able to plank, being able to go swimming and push yourself out of the pool, being able to push your own weight. Whether you're talking about pushups, bench press, anything where you have to really push and your wrist might be in this extended position.
All these things are wonderful activities and you should not be giving them up just over a little bit of wrist pain. If you are in that boat and you're tired of messing around with this and trying to figure out which wrist stretches are going to help and how you strengthen these things on your own, give me a call.
I will actually leave in the show notes below. I will leave a way to set up a phone consultation. So you not even an in person, we will talk just to make sure that I'm the right fit for you. The form that we have you fill out is so that we don't call you when it's not convenient for you. Why should somebody just randomly call you? We'll set up a timeframe in a day that works best for you so that we can make sure that we get you the best information.
When you have time to even think about it, if you'd prefer, I will also leave my email because I know that in this day and age, sometimes it's just easier not to have to pick up the phone and deal with that. So I will also leave an email down at the bottom.
I hope that this information is very helpful and that you can get back to planking today. Have a good day!
Looking for more information? check out the blog Dr. Molly as posted below!
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WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald