View Full Version : Wrist Strain

Elliot Royce
02-26-2007, 08:32 AM
My wrists are very tight and get pretty sore by the end of an O lifting workout. Are there any wrist bands that would help (maybe by warming the joint)? Or is it just a matter of developing better flexibility?

Greg Everett
02-26-2007, 09:29 AM
Tight and sore as in the wrist flexors? Or the joints themselves (e.g. carpals) are hurting?

Warming up the joint well before training is important. Just move those things around in every possible way you can imagine a bunch (that's my scientific approach). Once warm, stretch the flexors thoroughly. During your training, you can keep stretching, moving and shaking out the wrists between sets. If you decide to wear bands, for now stick with loose-ish ones that simply are there to keep the joint warm. Avoid taping or support bands unless absolutely necessary (and even then, see if you can save them for lifting 85-90% and up loads) because that can start sending problems down to the elbows and shoulders.

Elliot Royce
02-26-2007, 09:57 AM
well, everything is sore! But I'm focused more on the wrist joint where it ends up hurting after the workout on the outside of the wrist just below where the hand starts. To be more precise, if my right palm is down, then it hurts on the right side of the arm just before the hand flares out. If I push on that spot, there is a bit of soreness. And rotating the wrist leads to a dull pain (nothing sharp).

I'm wondering whether a neoprene wrist band would just help keep it warm and circulating blood.

Mike ODonnell
02-26-2007, 10:30 AM
more stretching...there is a good pic in starting strength(I think) of pushing a pipe/pole into a squat bar in order to stretch the wrists down...I am not explaining it well....but I think CF once had a pic to of how to stretch the wrists.

has to do with all your cathing in the O lifts....going to get some tendonitis there I am sure after a while.

Elliot Royce
02-26-2007, 10:49 AM
Yep, I do the stretching and it helps but there is still wear and tear. I guess there's no magic solution (put Capsicum on my wrist and I won't feel the pain, huh).

Rick Deckart
02-26-2007, 12:05 PM
Try the following Elliot,

I heard of at least on precussion musicer and a numbers juggler doing the following before and after practice:

Before: use a bucket with water as hot as you can stand. Soak your hands in it as deep as it fits and wiggle your fingers for up to a minute or longer if you can stand it. Now pull each finger gentle at first and more rigourous later. Your fingers will probably start to knack, it's okay. Let your arm hang and slowly start shaking them. Then lift arms arms perpendicular to the ground and angle your elbows 90 degree: think of youself as a young frigate bird and shake your arms, wrist and hands like wings till they are completely loose (sounds crazy but worked for Ricky Jay and me too...). Don't rush to it, extend the arms overhead and repeat in a forward backward motion. Flatter and shake them till they are completely loose and well circulated.
After: use a bucket with ice water and put your hands inside for a minute or two, wait a couple of minutes and repeat. This will likely hurt like hell but it does help.



P.S. I know the shaking part sounds ehm strange but it does work for me. It's my usual warmup before I start some serious juggling or card throwing. The hot water bucket is easy to test, simply do only one hand and see if it makes a difference...

Allen Yeh
02-26-2007, 12:14 PM

Band traction is somethign else to try if you have some elastic bands. I jammed my wrist somehow when I was messing around with cleans last week and it hurt pretty consistently through various things such as burpees/pushups. Yesterday after seeing Steve Shafleys band traction vid for the knee I tried that out and then did my shoulders/wrists/elbows as well. This morning pushups weren't painful anymore. *shrugs* Hope this helps.

Greg Everett
02-26-2007, 12:52 PM
if you're catching/supporting your cleans with your arms instead of your shoulders, it's common to get that pain in the part of the wrist as you describe. get the load off your hands!

Elliot Royce
02-26-2007, 01:24 PM
Actually, I think you're right Greg. It just takes so long for my shoulders/wrists to warm up to allow it. I generally have to keep my pinkies off the bar. Any tips on how to follow your advice?

Greg Everett
02-26-2007, 01:51 PM
Well... practice! Aside from that, try some muscle cleans. the slower speed may allow you to concentrate more on getting the elbows around and up quickly, releasing the hands and delivering the bar smoothly to your shoulders.

Zack Stiles
02-26-2007, 06:32 PM
Well... practice! Aside from that, try some muscle cleans. the slower speed may allow you to concentrate more on getting the elbows around and up quickly, releasing the hands and delivering the bar smoothly to your shoulders.

Greg, by muscle cleans do you mean performing the clean without any explosive movement in the hip; bascially keeping the legs/hips in full extension throughout the movement?

Greg Everett
02-26-2007, 07:34 PM
no, you still have good hip extension. i have a video i'll get up tomorrow. it's the same idea as a muscle snatch (http://www.performancemenu.com/resources/exercises/videos/muscleSnatch.mov). essentially you're just doing a clean without ever re-bending the knees to get under the bar. so without that re-bending, with the clean, you have to move your elbows very quickly to get the bar racked.

Zack Stiles
02-26-2007, 09:49 PM
Thanks, I think I got it; but just to be sure: the muscle clean is to the clean as the push press is to the push jerk?

Greg Everett
02-27-2007, 07:53 AM
Thanks, I think I got it; but just to be sure: the muscle clean is to the clean as the push press is to the push jerk?

Well... No. More like what the press is to the push jerk. Here's a video (I did rebend my knees a little like you're not supposed to. Ignore that. I was tired).

Muscle Clean (http://www.performancemenu.com/daily/video/muscleClean.mov)

Zack Stiles
02-27-2007, 09:41 AM
Good stuff; I'll give it a shot

Kevin Anderson
02-27-2007, 12:00 PM
Man, my wrists are always sore because I have to rack the bar with my fingers. If I could just grip the bar, life would be so much easier. I don't know about others, but more wrist flexibility isn't going to improve my grip on the bar, it has more to do with my shoulders and elbows. Any type of clean with a strap and my elbows can't raise and I can't rest the bar on my shoulders. I tried stretching with straps and a lightly weighted bar but eventually I get an inflammed shoulder or my elbows feels like they are going to explode. At the gym, we sometimes do cleans of the blocks with straps which is impossible for me. This is when I wish I would have been racking the bar a young age. I have a 5 kilo bar and my soon to be 4 year old racks it beautifully. If someone has a recipe to cure this affliction, please let me know.

Greg Everett
02-28-2007, 08:18 AM
Man, my wrists are always sore because I have to rack the bar with my fingers. If I could just grip the bar, life would be so much easier. I don't know about others, but more wrist flexibility isn't going to improve my grip on the bar, it has more to do with my shoulders and elbows.

I'm confused--you're trying to keep a grip on the bar in the rack position? If so, don't. You shouldn't. Those who can are few and far between and those who can and do are fewer and farrer betweener. Even in preparation to jerk, the grip is still fairly loose. So no, wrist flexibility may not improve your ability to grip the bar in the rack, but it will improve your ability to rack the bar with loose hands, as it should be done.

Am I not reading your post correctly?

Elliot Royce
02-28-2007, 09:25 AM
Greg is clearly the expert but I would add that when you give your leg push to get it off your rack position the bar will rise without any need to grip it and you can then grip it more firmly as it goes up.

My problem is that to rack it I've developed the habit of having the pinkies off the bar. And I find it psychologically impossible to lift the weight overhead with pinkies off. That means I have to rerack it by heaving it up and down.

Any suggestions on this? Apart from get my pinkies on the bar!

Rick Deckart
02-28-2007, 10:24 AM
When you recover from the clean give the bar a slight tempo, it will lift a couple of cm and you can regrip it. Works for champions and works for me too.



Greg Everett
02-28-2007, 11:48 AM
What Peter said. You can do it all in one motion when rising from the clean, or you can rise and fudge around a bit to get the hands in. My pinkies come off when i clean sometimes, and under a super heavy clean, i've had trouble getting them under after standing. Just takes patience. But if you start getting dizzy, don't push it.

here's a video of readjustment immediately out of the clean:

Kevin Anderson
02-28-2007, 11:52 AM
Let me clarify. I'm not talking about keeping a firm grip on the bar but more than just the fingertips. I used to have the problem with the pinkies coming off but now I can reset before the jerk and get them under the bar. With the fingers taking so much of the strain I end up with inflamed wrists. I shouldn't say that it hasn't improved because in the beginning I would have my hands "go to sleep" at night for several months. I also had to have a cyst removed from one wrist but this was back in the crossfit days. My coach gets enough hand under the bar that he jerks with his thumb behind the bar, but he is one of those few most likely.

Greg Everett
02-28-2007, 11:56 AM
In that case, I would say that improving wrist flexibility should help--there shouldn't be strain of that degree in that position. It should be comfortable even.

As far as getting your hands deeper, the lengths of your arm segments does play a part in what positions you can actually get into. You may just have some suck to deal with.

Can you post a photo maybe?

Elliot Royce
02-28-2007, 12:04 PM
I'm probably belaboring the point but since I suffer from the same thing, Kevin, maybe it will be helpful.

You don't actually need more than your fingertips to have the bar in a racked position. The bar sinks into your delts and isn't going to go anywhere. Even when you jerk it, you just need the first half of your fingers on it since you can grip it as it rises into full extension. You're not using your hands to lift it off your shoulders.

I don't know whether this will hold you back with really heavy weights but it works well enough for me to practice even if I am very stiff.

Greg Everett
02-28-2007, 01:55 PM
the finger tip jerk works and few high level lifters out there do it. but it is tougher since you have to shift the hands while the bar is moving up. i think kevin was concerned mainly with his pinkies being off the bar, in which case jerking won't work.

Kevin Anderson
02-28-2007, 01:55 PM
I used to have scrapes on the top of my pinky knuckle from jerking a sharp usaeka bar without having my pinky under it. I've jerked 140 kilos off the racks but I can miss a 100 power jerk because I can't get enough under the bar and it loses momentum before my palm catches it. My lines just aren't very good on this movement.

That said, I'm not complaining, my total was 240 at the last meet and I'm 34 years old with only a couple years experience. I just know that yall are real scientific on this board and may have some suggestions or techniques regarding stretching. I would like to have less wrist pain from lifting but maybe I'm just being a puss.

Yuen Sohn
03-01-2007, 06:31 AM
I asked a master lifter I train with about improving shoulder flexibility...I pasted his e-mail response below. Not sure if you're doing these already, but hope this helps.

As far as shoulder flexibility for racking cleans goes there are many stretches that are effective. Your shoulder routine should include:

1. Dislocates with a broom stick.
2. Rack stretches. Lock a bar into the power rack and have someone apply a steady, GENTLE upward stretch on your elbows. Lenny Bacino can help you with this if you are there on Wednesday. Keep the pressure on for 20 seconds, relax for 10 seconds then repeat a few times.
3. Practice power cleans with a light weight 20, 30 or 40 kilos. Do lots of reps and concentrate on whipping the elbows and keeping the shoulder girdle relaxed. Do the reps from the floor and try to do 6-10 reps a minute for 3 minutes or more. You can rest in the start position for a few seconds between reps. These should make you sweat but not tire you out.
4. If you can rack a power clean properly but can't rack a squat clean very well then your flexibility challenge is probably in the back -- maybe the rhomboids or the lower spinal erectors.
5. And of course, don't neglect the triceps. They need to be stretched too. Pull your flat hand (palm up) back and down on top of your deltoids. Hold the position for 20 seconds, relax for 10, repeat.

See you at the gym!


Kevin Anderson
03-01-2007, 07:51 AM
great stuff, thanks!