5 Tips on How to Avoid Hand and Wrist Injuries in the Gym

With gyms finally able to re-open, many people across the UK are eager to return and do more exercises, after being held back due to the current global pandemic we are in. 

However, as great as it is exercising, it’s equally important that we don’t over do it – especially after not doing any over the past few months of lockdown. There’s a high chance of injuring yourself if you rush back into working out, so, here are five quick tips to help you avoid hand and wrist injuries in the gym. 

Warm up correctly

Before you begin a workout, ‘warming up’ is crucial to how your session is going to go. Warm up the right way and you can really push your limits when exercising, warm up incorrectly or not at all and you may be in for an injury.

It may seem like a simple thing to do, however, people do neglect this part of the process when they are in a rush to get in and out of the gym as quickly as possible.Here are a few warm up sequences to try before performing any hand or wrist exercises:

    • Wrist circles: Circle both wrists both clockwise and anti clockwise for 5 minutes.
    • Wrist stretching (underside): Pull back your fingers to stretch your wrist , hold for 3 seconds then slowly release.
    • Wrist stretching (top): Pull back your fingers very gently into the underside of your forearm until you can start to feel a pull from your wrist.

After you’ve completed these stretches, your hands and wrists will be prepared for whatever exercise you decide to do and you’ll feel much better after you’ve completed your session. Be sure to do this regularly and you’ll build the strength back up in your hand and wrist quicker than you may think, however, remember to stay cautious. 

 

 

Positioning and form

We rely on our hands and wrists for pretty much everything, every day, so it’s important that when you get back into the gym, you take the time to remember the correct grips and form when handling weights or performing exercises.. If you’re slightly out of position you could easily injure yourself, for example, if you are in a plank, push up or tricep dips position you are relying heavily on both your hand and wrist. 

If you feel like you will fatigue, immediately stop the exercise. Too much strain and pressure will naturally cause your body to collapse and in extreme cases, all of your body weight could drop onto your hand and wrist, leading to a sprain or fracture. Furthermore, the pressure these positions assert onto the joints and tendons can really hurt if you don’t maintain the correct form, especially as your body isn’t used to doing this sort of exercise since lockdown began.

Man lifting weight

As mentioned above, it is crucial to make sure you’re stretching before performing these exercises as well as varying it up. This will decrease the chances of you injuring yourself.

Using equipment such as a pull up bar will keep your wrist in a neutral position and you could elevate your hands to get in a better position to suit your needs.

 

Technique

Great form is half the battle, but you also need to bear your technique in mind too. There’s every chance you may be a little rusty upon returning to the gym, so take things slowly, and work your way back into using your favourite equipment. Everything has to be perfect, get the technique wrong and not only are you incorrectly performing the exercise,  but you’re also increasing the chance of injuring yourself.

Weighted exercises can cause the same issues and strains as if you were doing a simple push up. This is because the force you’re exerting on the specific body part won’t be used to that constant pressure, leading to a potential injury. 

When incorrectly using weights you are applying stress to areas that are not equipped to deal with it. The idea is to spread the target the right areas, i.e. the core muscles that you wish to workout, rather than your joints.  So, being careful when you begin to do a weight workout. Get the technique and position right and you’ll be much better off.

Woman doing a push up

When you use heavy equipment such as a dumbbell it’s important to not go beyond your body’s limits. If you do, there is a chance of injuring yourself, as the wrist will go out of a neutral position and then that’s where the problems begin to occur. 

Potentially this can cause more damage than a bodyweight exercise, so making sure you keep your hands and wrist in a neutral position before you workout is very important.

 

Support

If you’ve only just recovered from an injury and you’re heading back to the gym, it would be wise to purchase additional support so that you wont pick up a recurring injury and give yourself more problems. Athletic tape will support you when doing an exercise as it will ease the pressure and take some weight off of your wrists.

If you typically use free weights, consider using an assisted weight machine to help you ease back into the workouts. These machines will help you with your form and they will often take some of the strain on your behalf, leaving you to target muscles rather than overwork the wrist joint.

Know your limits

As with anything in life, it’s important to always know your limits with whatever you do. Testing your limits is part of any successful exercise routine, so be sure to  see what you can and can’t do, but don’t over do it as if you try to do more than your body can physically handle this will lead to injuries.

As soon as you know your limits, it’s time to set your goals. Set yourself targets that you can work towards and make sure you put a specific routine in place that you can stick too. Once this is all achieved you’ll be able to achieve your goals, it may be easier said than done, but, surround yourself with the right people and they will give you all the support you need.

Two women exercising

 

Hopefully these five tips will help you before you in your return to the gym. If you think we missed anything, or perhaps you’re struggling with a hand or wrist problem as a result of your exercise routine, then feel free to get in touch.