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Wrist Pain? Here’s why and what to do about it…

“Coach how come I have wrists pain? Is this normal? What Can I do?”

One of the more common complaints I hear when people are in their first few months of Crossfit is that their wrists hurt.   This will first surface in the front squat, and will get even worse in movements such as thrusters or any other overhead barbell movements.  There are several factors that could be triggering your wrist pain.  Less experienced lifters may lack mobility, or could be doing the movement incorrectly.  Experienced lifters may be experience some pressure in the wrists because they will simply be lifting a lot more weight.

If your wrists feel like junk, here is a quick checklist to take yourself through:

1) Make Sure Your Wrist Isn’t Messed Up

About 6 years ago I fractured my scaphoid (a really tiny bone in my wrist) and tore up a bunch of soft tissue. It took x-rays to determine that it was fractured.  So if you have recently embarrassed yourself by doing a low speed flip over mountain-bike handlebars, and your wrists hurt like hell, go get them checked out.  So the point is…if your wrist pain is beyond discomfort, go get checked out by a medical professional.

2) Do the Movement Correctly

In a front squat, make sure that the barbell sits right on the shelf you have formed with your shoulders with your elbows up.  Loosen up your grip and allow your fingertips to guide the barbell onto your shoulders.  You should not feel much pressure on your wrists in this position, especially in the top of your squat.  You may feel like the barbell is choking  you a bit.

As we get to the bottom of the squat it is crucial that you keep your elbows up.  If we allow our elbows to drop our chest will follow.  The bar will roll off of that shelf right onto….you guessed it, your wrists.

As we go overhead with our push press, push/split jerk and thrusters it is important that we do not drive the bar overhead until our hips reach full extension.  As the hips reach full extension the bar will drive off of that shelf you have created on your shoulders.  So once again, if you dip your chest forward the bar will slide off of that shelf and gum up those wrists.

If your mobility won’t allow you to do this movement correctly…..

3) Work on Your Mobility
Chances are that your wrist pain can be prevented or greatly reduced by working on rotation in your shoulder, and flexibility in your triceps and lats.  Check out this great video from CrossfitSC

Throw this into your warm-up routine.  It will gradually become easier to do these movements correctly, with less discomfort in your wrists.

4) Get Some Wrist Wraps

If your wrists hurt, go down to a local fitness store and get some wrist wraps.  They will only set you back about $15 or $20, and they do make a huge difference.  My preference is to wear them when I am working in a 3 rep range or heavier and when I am doing heavy thrusters.

Try not to wear them all the time, because you may find that you will start to depend on the support.

If you would like some professional help with your wrist pain please visit Coquitlam Wellness Centre, Sport Therapy. They offer a FREE 10 minute consultation with their in-house Doctors.

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