When you think about training specific body parts, how often do you think, “I really wanna focus on my wrists”?
If you’re like the vast majority of people, probably never.
Which is a problem, because wrists are crucial in all sorts of activities. For instance, if your wrists aren’t in tip top shape, rock climbing is going to be pretty difficult. In martial arts training, your hands and wrists need to be able to take a lot of strain. And in regular life, strong wrists means carrying heavy groceries home from the store without trouble.
Many people forget about the wrists, especially when they’re focused on seemingly bigger things, like building strong shoulders. But most activities that put force through the shoulders will also put force through the wrists.
If you don’t take care of your wrists, you’ll have a much harder time taking care of your shoulders or the rest of your upper body.
Clearly, the wrists are pretty essential, which is why it’s great that one of the best ways to build your wrist strength and mobility is through fun locomotive movements.
In this article, I’ll show you 3 exercises that you can practice to start feeling better right away. Take a few minutes, try them out, and you’ll feel quite an impact on your wrists.
What’s Possible With Strong and Mobile Wrists
No matter what goals you have or what you want to be able to do with your body, healthy wrists will make reaching those goals much easier and safer.
Take a look at how Ryan has used the freedom he has in his body to work on his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills. And notice how much he relies on his wrists to support his weight and help him move with ease.
Even if you have no aspirations to do the types of movements Ryan is doing, I’m sure you’d love to move with that kind of ease in your own chosen activities. Think about how much you rely on your wrists in those activities. I’m guessing it’s quite a lot.
Strong and mobile wrists are essential to that physical freedom, and luckily, it doesn’t take long to get your wrists well conditioned.
In the next section I’ll show you 3 simple exercises that will make a big impact very quickly.
3 Locomotive Drills to Make Your Wrists Strong, Mobile, and Ready for Anything
Unfortunately, the wrists are one of those areas that people tend to neglect unless they’re experiencing specific pain or restriction.
But if you neglect them, you may deal with consequences later on, since the wrists take so much strain in your daily activities.
Instead of neglecting your wrists, you can take advantage of your current pain-free condition to delve deeper into exercises that will injury-proof your wrists and make you better at the things you love to do.
I’m going to show you three locomotive exercises from our Elements program to give you a fun way to work on strengthening your wrists.
Plus, you’ll get a lot of other benefits from these movements, including stronger shoulders and hips, looser hamstrings, and better mobility throughout your spine.
We’ll start with the basic Bear crawl, which looks like this:
- Start in a downward dog position, with your butt pushed up into the air.
- Press your wrists into the ground as you walk forward by sliding your right arm and left leg forward at the same time.
- While still pressing your hands into the ground, move your left arm and right leg forward.
- Keep up this contralateral pattern as you move slowly and with control
With this drill, you have control over how much pressure you’re putting through your wrists, This means you can adjust your pressure as you improve your strength and mobility over time.
You can also use this drill to assess what feels tight or restricted in your body.
Start by setting a timer for one minute and working your way up to doing the Bear continuously for the full minute. At first, you may only be able to do 10 or 20 seconds at a stretch, but over time that will improve.
Next we’ll work on the Monkey, which looks like this:
- Start by dropping into a deep squat position (as deep as you can comfortably go).
- Place your hands on the ground to the front and outside of your leg, so that your right hand is just in front of your left foot and your left hand is about a foot apart from your right hand.
- Press into the ground as you pull your legs over to the left, landing with your right foot just behind your left hand.
- Keep going toward the left for several paces in a row before switching directions.
Focus on pressing into the ground as you work through this movement. Over time, you’ll be able to load your wrists more so that you can pull your body where you want it to go.
Set a timer for one minute, making sure to work on both directions.
Be mindful with each repetition, focusing on how your body is feeling and on gaining more motion in your wrists as you improve.
Finally, let’s work on the Frogger, which is similar to the Monkey but looks like this:
- Similar to the Monkey, you’ll start in a squat position, going as deeply as you can comfortably go.
- Place your hands on the ground about a foot in front of you, with your hands just inside your knees.
- Press into the ground to hop your legs forward to meet your hands.
- Reset your hands so they are in front of you, and keep moving forward in this fashion.
Over time, especially as you focus more and more on loading the wrists, this movement transitions really well into hand balancing work.
Focus on pressing into the ground, and you’ll see that, over time, you can put more pressure through your hands as your strength and mobility improves.
Work your way up to doing the Frogger continuously for one minute.
Injury-Proof Your Wrists
Because the wrists are made up of such small bones and ligaments, by the time you know there’s a problem, it’s often pretty bad. The wrists and hands are often the weak links in the chain, so they may give out before the rest of your body receives the full effects of the activities you love.
By strengthening your wrists, you’ll be able to keep doing the things you love for as long as possible, and not be held back by injuries or restrictions down the line.
Adding just a few minutes a day to perform the locomotive exercises I just showed you can save you from weeks of frustration and poor progress. These exercises will set you up for a lifetime of healthy and happy wrists, and our Elements course puts these exercises into a systematic program you can easily follow.
Plus, you’ll gain a whole lot more than just stronger, more mobile wrists.
You’ll gain complete autonomy in your body and come away from the course knowing your body is now prepared for anything, like our client Eric B. from California experienced:
“I’ve really learned a lot about my own body going through P1 and Elements. I look forward to starting some real hand balance training soon alongside R1, and it’ll be possible thanks to Jarlo’s wrist article. I’ve been doing those exercises along with some bear/monkey/frogger (from Elements) on a daily basis for at least a month and have seen my nagging wrist issues vanish! I can do stuff like push ups and high frogger without pain. Hurray!”
Make Your Wrists and Body Injury-Proof
Elements gives you the tools to practice playful variations on fundamental movements to help your body handle whatever life throws at it.