Wrist Strength For Olympic Weightlifting
If you’re having trouble stabilizing your hands and wrists overhead, are dependent on wrist wraps or tape as a beginner or intermediate lifter, or are having wrist and hand discomfort lifting, here are some suggestions for improving your wrist strength.
First, and most importantly, make sure your overhead position is actually sound—a lot of wrist pain and instability is actually just from improper position rather than inadequate strength.
Use heavy isometric exercises like jerk supports, snatch-grip overhead supports and overhead carries to reinforce and strengthen that correct hand and wrist position. 1-2 of these weekly is usually adequate using holds of 5-10 seconds per set. You can also hold all snatches and jerks overhead for a few seconds before dropping.
Wrist curls will help build strength to prevent hyperextension, and wrist extensions should be done in equal volume for balance and overall stability. These can be done with a barbell using the thighs to support the forearms at about a 45-degree angle. You can extend and curl the fingers in your wrist curls as well for some added grip strength work.
Using a roller for wrist flexion and extension is a good way to increase the adjustability of resistance, and also typically allows a more complete range of motion, especially for extension.
Include radial and ulnar deviation using either small plates or a sledgehammer. Keep these relatively slow to make sure you have tension through the entire range of motion rather than relying on momentum from the strongest range.
Do rotations using the sledgehammer with the forearm horizontal, also with a controlled tempo.
Finally, include rice or sand bucket wrist circles in both directions.
Each of these exercises can be added 2-3 days/week for 3-4 sets.