Wrist strength and grip

November 6, 2017

Wrist strength and grip issues can cause problems for polers.This can present as pain which often manifests in the wrist or forearm.

The wrist is a complex joint that bridges the hand to the forearm. It has multiple bones and joints. The bones comprising the wrist include the distal ends of the radius and ulna, 8 carpal bones, and the proximal portions of the 5 metacarpal bones (see the image below). All of these bones participate in complex movements that allow variable mobility of the hand. Relative to the forearm, the hand is capable of 3 degrees of movement:  flexing (bending the palm down towards the wrist) and extending (raising the back of the hand) , pronating (rotating the forearm into a palm down position) and supinating (rotating the forearm into a palm up position), and deviating ulnarly (bending the wrist to the little finger) or radially (bending the wrist to the thumb). All of the movements of the wrist are performed by the muscles of the forearm. In order to maintain mobility without sacrificing stability, the wrist joint also has a complex structure of ligaments.



 Grip strength is often thought of as only involving the hand but there are actually many other things to consider. Research has shown that it is not only the musculature of the hands and forearms that influences grip strength but it is also strongly related to your shoulder strength and stability. So working on upper body strength and conditioning will benefit your grip too.


Listed below are some simple exercises which will help to improve grip strength and prevent/improve pain, which I have used myself and with my students.


Hand Grippers

These types of hand grippers are relatively cheap and are an effective way to work on your grip strength. Open and close for maximum repetitions and also try holding closed for as long as you can for a set. I keep one of these in my car and do it every time I stop at traffic lights!







Pull ups

Pull ups are brilliant for building up grip & upper body strength and  for working towards being able to support your body weight with hand and forearm strength. Start with 3-5 sets of your maximum. 


Wind the bobbin up!

For this one you can use a spare pole extension or pipe/broom handle. Hold in an overhand grip and wind the pole up as if you're trying to wind up a piece of string. Then do it the other way like you are unwinding the string. Repeat X 5.












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