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Wrist Pain from Push-ups – How To Protect Your Wrists

Pushups and other CrossFit exercises can be a lot of fun, especially for people with an active lifestyle. But guess what, wrist pain when doing push-ups is becoming a relatively common complaint. So if you ever experience wrist pain after pushups, don’t panic as you may simply not be getting your form correctly.

If you’re sure that there aren’t any errors with your positioning or form, but you still experience wrist pain during push-ups, it is wise to act quickly and get your wrist checked out.

8 Reasons why you feel pain during pushups

Suppose you start feeling achy or a bit stiff after your push-up routine, it’s a telltale sign that you’re getting something wrong. This is where your smartphone comes in handy. When next you’re out executing push-ups, take out your camera and record your session. This will help you spot the mistake you have been making and adjust accordingly. That said, here are some reasons why you feel pains in your wrist during push-ups.

Flaring your elbows out

Improper elbow placement and lack of rotator cuff during push-up routines can trigger a lot of pain in the shoulders, especially the muscles around that area.

For fitness buffs who begin to experience shoulder pain, after a session of push-ups; it’s time to take a closer look at your elbows in the mirror. If you always have your elbows flared out, then you are at risk of experiencing pain, and that’s because of the excessive compression of the joints. To get this right, it’s important to keep your elbows closer to your sides. Aim for a 45-degree angle, and you’re good.

Overarching your back

Pain and stiffness in your back is a sign that you haven’t been controlling your hips and core correctly. According to experts, if the front of your hips contacts the ground first before any other part of your body during push-ups, it is a telltale sign that you’re overarching your lower back and this may cause severe pain on the long run.

To correct this error, you’ll want to keep your ribs stacked just over your pelvis. This way, you’re engaging both your lower and upper body. It’s important that you maintain this position throughout the entire movement.

If you notice that you get fatigued too quickly, just take a minute off your reps and explore a modified version.

Keeping your eyes up

Keeping your eyes up during push-ups is a recipe for injury, and we doubt you’ll like that very much. If you always keep your eyes up during push-ups, it is only a matter of time before you start feeling a weird pinch around your neck. And if you try to look at the mirror for too long during push-ups, you’ll be straining your upper trapezius ( a unique family of muscles in the neck)

To be on a safer side, when executing push-ups, try to keep your neck long and adequately extended. It will be cool if you align with your body correctly. To put things simply, when executing push-ups, try to keep your gaze down. If you need to look at the mirror to ensure you’re getting your positioning right, do it for a moment and get back to your routine.

How can you prevent wrist pain during push-ups?

So you recently started experiencing pains in your wrist during push-ups, but you don’t know what to do about it? Well, stay with us as we run you through some tips on how you can prevent wrist injuries from push-ups.

Fixing your form and positioning

It’s not enough to warm up before exercising, especially if you plan to do push-ups. If you’re looking to include a few sessions of pushups to your exercise routines, we will advise you to warm up your wrist and hands, especially if your wrist hurts during push-ups. Here is how to give your wrist and hands a quick warm-up.

  • Start by holding out one hand with your fingers spread out nicely.
  • One finger at a time, rotate your thumb and each digit clockwise a few times. After that, repeat the same exercise but this time counter-clockwise. Now, think of making a circular motion with every digit. Remember to focus very well, so no other finger is moving when you’re doing this.
  • If you’re finding it difficult to make a circular motion with one digit without moving other fingers, it is a sign of weakness in your hand and wrist muscles, and you should try to work on it over time.
  • After completing this exercise routine, your wrist and hands should feel light, loose, warm and more strengthened than they were before.

Evaluate your hand positioning

Wrist pain after push-ups is a telltale sign that something isn’t right. And for most people, the pain could be due to hand positioning. So if you often feel pain during push-ups, it’s time to check your hand positioning and fix what you may be doing wrongly.

The thing is, having your hands placed too wide or a bit far out in front of you can exert a lot of pressure on your wrist. More so, turning your hands either inward or outward also puts your wrist in a compromising and weird angle than can cause an unnecessary sprain. That said, here are some things you can do to get hand positioning spot on.

  • While outstretched in the position, you’ll typically have your hands when executing push-ups, stop for a minute to check your hands. For correct hand positioning, your hands should be facing front, with every part of your hands and fingers firmly planted on the ground.
  • If you have your palm cupped or you tend to lift your fingers in this position, you’ll be exerting more pressure on the heel of your hand. This can trigger severe wrist pain.
  • When your arms are fully extended, you must keep your wrist directly under your shoulders. To make sure you’re getting it correctly, you can ask people to observe your form, just to ensure you’re doing the right thing.

Avoid spreading your elbows out: If you’re just starting out, then there is a high probability that you have at one point during your push-up routine, flared your elbows out to the sides of your body, instead of keeping your elbows close and bending them backwards, just against your body.

But not anymore, here is how to fix all that hassle:

  • For amateurs, flaring their elbows out has made it easier to execute their favourite push up routines, but guess what, continuing to rely on this technique will do a lot of damage to your wrist long term, and we are sure you wouldn’t want that. If you keep flaring out your elbows, you can cause severe damage not just to your wrist but also to your elbows and shoulders as well.
  • When executing push-ups, you must keep your elbows bent backwards and close against your sides. If you can have your elbows around 45-degree, that would be great.
  • If you’re not very sure or convinced about your elbow positioning, you can execute a few push-ups and have someone watch your elbows. The person watching you, most times, has a better perspective than you.
  • Ensure you’re practising the right technique. And you can do this by pushing off using the wall in a standing position. This will give you a better understanding of what it feels like having your elbows bent correctly.

Put your core to use

Push-ups are not only designed for upper body exercises; they go way beyond this. So if you have been executing push-ups using only your upper body strength and leaving out your core, we are sorry to burst your bubble, but you’ve been doing it wrongly.

By leaving out your core, you’ll be putting more pressure on your wrist. At the end of the day, this can lead to excruciating wrist pain. Here are some tips to get this correctly, right from the get-go

  • When executing push-ups, you’re leaving out your core if one part of your body moves later than another. For instance, if your lower body raises just after your upper body does or if your hips are sagging.
  • If you notice an arc on your lower back or you see that your back is swaying, you may need additional exercises to boost strength in your core, before you continue with your push-up routines. Doing this will ensure that you’re doing things correctly and not exerting unnecessary pressure on your wrist.
  • If you’re serious about protecting your wrist during push-ups, then you should start taking planking very seriously. So instead of doing push-ups, we suggest you do more of planking, especially when you’re just starting out. This way, you will build your core strength without fretting. You can start with half planks, which involves coming down to your forearms rather than your hands. Plus, this takes away pressure from your wrist.

Top solutions for wrist pain during push-ups

Wrist pain during push-ups can make your routine bumpy while preventing you from achieving your fitness goals. But don’t let all that pain get to you as we have some excellent solutions that have proven helpful to people with wrist pain.

If you love push-ups, but the pain in your wrist is beginning to force you to abandon the exercise you love the most, then you’re welcome to read these top solutions for wrist pain during push-ups:

Take some time to rest: Without mincing words, wrist pain can put you on the sidelines and prevent you from engaging in the things you love the most. But you don’t have to let the pain you’re feeling control your life. By taking some time off to rest, you’re putting your wrist in a fantastic position to rest and heal quickly.

Don’t jump on the “no pain, no gain mantra.” The minute you notice any pain in your wrist, take some time off to rest, and you’ll be fine.

Wear wrist protectors: If you want to keep pain at bay during push-ups, it’s essential to wear wrist protectors. With a good wrist protector, your wrist will enjoy additional support.

Thankfully, there are tons of good wrist protectors on the market, so you’ll find one that works for you.

Always stretch: Stretching out before executing your favourite push-up routines will help prevent injuries during push-ups. And guess what, you don’t have to take things overboard- a simple stretching of your fingers and hands should suffice. Also, you can start lightly and take things up a notch as you progress.

See a doctor: If you have tried everything we have listed out above but still feeling pains in your wrist, it’s time to visit your doctor. Your doctor will make an in-depth diagnosis to figure out what could be causing the wrist pain you’re feeling.

Best three wrist protectors for push-ups

Ripped toned wrist wraps:

This wrist protector is perfect for push-up enthusiasts who want to take their routines to the next level. Fitted with adjustable straps and thumb brace, this superb wrist brace will protect your wrist while ensuring you perform at your best.

Pros

  • Adjustable straps
  • Thumb loop for extra protection
  • Lightweight and breathable

Cons

  • Sizing can be a bit confusing.

Hustle athletics wrist wraps

Designed for avid push-up lovers, this incredible wrist support is all you need to up your game. Besides ensuring that you get the best out of your workout routine, this wrist protector for push-up will keep your wrist protected all-day long.

Pros

  • Delivers a solid grip
  • Features adjustable thumb loops
  • Lightweight and breathable

Cons

  • No warranty

WOD Nation Wrist Wraps

Earning its place as one of the best wrist wraps for push-ups, this incredible support brace is designed with you in mind. Besides protecting your wrist during your exercise routines, this wrist wrap provides a solid grip that lets you execute your push-ups excellently. We love that it comes with extra thumb loops for added support.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Reinforced thumb loops for extra support

Cons

  • Some customers complained that it is too tight.

Frequently asked questions

Why do I feel pain during push-ups?

There are lots of reasons why you may be feeling pains in your wrist during push-ups. Pains in your wrist may be caused by poor positioning or existing injuries in your wrist.

Can I treat wrist pain from push-up?

Wrist pain from push up can be treated by taking some time off to rest. Other times, you can use wrist protectors for added protection from wrist injuries.

When should I see a doctor?

Once you notice that something is wrong with your wrist, take some time off to see your doctor for prompt diagnosis.

Conclusion

Although wrist pain from push-ups is quite normal, if the pain becomes unbearable, it’s time to do something about it; don’t wait until things get out of hand before you see your doctor. A quick diagnosis and treatment will speed up healing while ensuring that you don’t spend too much time on the sideline.