Whether you are experiencing wrist pain or just want stronger wrists in general—perhaps so you can learn some impressive arm-balancing yoga poses—taking care of your wrists is important.
This involves warming up your wrists before doing yoga and doing exercises that can strengthen them over time.
Our wrists are more fragile than we think, consisting of various intricate muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons that need proper care – especially if you’re someone who does a lot of inversion poses and arm-balancing poses!
This guide’s here to help you out, offering everything you need to know about the benefits of strong wrists for yoga, the importance of warming up your wrists, and 5 exercises for stronger wrists.
Why Strengthen Wrists For Yoga?
First of all, why do you need strong wrists for yoga? Is it necessary?
Yoga is not just tree poses, breathing exercises, and mindfulness – as most people tend to think.
In fact, there are many yoga poses (asanas) that seem to defy gravity, requiring exceptional wrist strength—and overall muscle strength—to train for and achieve.
In particular, these are the arm-balancing yoga poses, which almost always involve loading the person’s entire body weight onto their hands.
Yoga aside, however, the benefits of strong wrists spill into everyday life. Strong wrists can assist in a variety of everyday activities, from driving and gardening to casual sports and lifting heavy household objects.
The Benefits Of Strong Wrists For Yoga
So, what are the benefits of having strong wrists for yoga?
If you read the above section, it should go without saying that strong wrists are going to help you when practicing and performing the advanced arm-balancing yoga poses.
But despite that, having strong wrists will also benefit you when you are doing some of the more basic beginner yoga poses.
In addition, strong wrists will even help you to avoid and reduce the risk of wrist injuries, wrist pain, and other general wrist conditions such as arthritis, carpal tunnel, and more.
Which Yoga Poses Require Strong Wrists?
There’s lots of yoga poses that involve using the wrists, and can therefore benefit from having stronger wrists!
These include inversion poses, arm-balancing poses, and even some beginner yoga poses.
Examples of beginner yoga poses that can benefit from strong wrists are cobra pose and upward-facing dog.
Examples of inversion yoga poses that can benefit from strong wrists are downward-facing dog and bridge pose.
As for some examples of advanced arm-balancing poses that can benefit from strong wrists, these include handstand, headstand, crow pose, crane pose, and peacock pose.
So, as shown, there are plenty of wrist-using yoga poses that will make strengthening your wrists more than worth it!
5 Wrist Strengthening Exercises
For beginners, newbies, and most people of all ages and abilities, here are 5 exercises to increase wrist strength, wrist flexibility, and wrist mobility.
High Plank Pose
High plank pose is a popular pose in yoga, also called phalakasana (in Sanskrit). It’s similar to the traditional plank position, except that the arms are extended straight – hence the name!
The pose involves keeping your body in a tight horizontal position with only your toes and palms touching the ground.
As a result, it’s a good exercise for training wrist strength, since it requires loading a good portion of your body weight onto your wrists.
In this case, the wrists are in extension, which can build strength and wrist flexibility.
Push-ups are a common bodyweight exercise.
In fact, it’s very similar to high plank pose, except that there is motion involved: lowering your chest to the ground and pushing back up using your wrists and upper body muscles.
Due to this, it’s harder than a high plank pose, but more beneficial for increasing wrist strength – as well as upper body strength, overall.
What’s great about push ups is that there are variations that can be done to further increase wrist strength, such as knuckle push ups, pike push ups, and pseudo planche push ups.
Wrist Curls (Flexions And Extensions)
When you move your wrist forwards, this is called flexion. When you move your wrist backwards, this is called extension.
And doing wrist extensions and wrist flexions alone is a good way to increase wrist strength.
But, to go further, it’s possible to add weight to the exercise, in which case it is called wrist curls.
With wrist curls, you can use anything from a water bottle to a heavy dumbbell, giving this wrist strengthening exercise more versatility.
Radial Deviations And Ulnar Deviations
As well as from moving forwards and backwards, your wrists can also move side to side. These are called radial deviations and ulnar deviations.
Just like wrist extensions and flexions, these are a great way to increase wrist strength and mobility.
And similar to wrist curls, you can also add weight to the exercise to further increase your wrist strength!
Last but not least: wrist leans. This is perhaps one of the easiest, but most effective, ways to strengthen your wrists.
Wrist leans involve getting into a cat pose and leaning forwards onto your wrists.
Your hands can be spread forwards, backwards, to the side, or in a fist shape, offering countless ways to strengthen different areas of your wrists.
If you consider yourself advanced, you could even remove one hand to increase the weight onto one wrist!
The Importance Of Wrist Warm Ups
What’s just as important as strengthening your wrists is making sure to warm up your wrists before any yoga routine or sequence that involves using your wrists – even if you consider it an easy routine.
Warming up your wrists before yoga—and exercise in general—ensures that all the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of your wrists are stretched, supple, and well circulated, which will reduce the risk of wrist pain and prevent wrist injuries.
Strengthening your wrists for yoga is important for preventing wrist pain and injuries – especially if you are practicing or performing advanced inversion poses or arm-balancing poses!
The good news is that there are many effective exercises (five of which we’ve listed above) that you can use to strengthen your wrists, as well as warm up your wrists, which do not take long to incorporate into your current routine.