The Ultimate Guide for Improving Wrist Mobility: 16 Exercises for the Gym, Home, or Office

Swinging from buildings has to be a great wrist workout.

It’s time to learn how to increase your wrist mobility!

After all, what good are strong hands if your wrists maneuver like they’re stuffed with concrete.

Not fun. So instead, read this guide!

We work with folks in our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program to improve their flexibility, so you’ve come to the right place to work on your wrist mobility:

Here’s what we’ll cover in our guide on, “How to Increase Wrist Mobility

Let’s do this thang!

Why Is Wrist Mobility Important?

There are a lot of versions of Spider-Man out there.

Many readers of Nerd Fitness spend their workday on a computer.

When they come home, it’s more of the same.

Hunching over computers all day is not helping our backs.

While somewhat expected in the 21st century, this isn’t exactly ideal for joint mobility, especially when it comes to our hands and wrists.

Studies have discovered an increased risk of carpal tunnel with heavy computer use.[1] Clutching onto a mouse all day might not be the best thing for your wrists.

However, there is some evidence that stretching might help alleviate or mitigate the pain of carpal tunnel.[2]

So outside of setting up your desk and workstation ergonomically, a little bit of TLC to your upper appendages would be a good practice if you sit at a computer all day.

That’s going to bring us to.

12 Wrist Mobility Exercises for Home or the Office

Wrist stretches can help with office work

We’re going to start with some basic wrist stretches.

First up is a warm-up routine from our premium Handstand and Ring Course, brought to you by Head Coach Jim.

Wrist Mobility Practice for Beginners:

Let’s spotlight a few of these movements specifically

Forward and Back Wrist Stretch:

Rocking can help gain wrist strength, critical for doing handstands.

Lifted Palms Wrist Stretch:

Simply lift your palm off the ground for this stretch.

Reverse Palm Stretch:

Reverse your palms like so for this handstand stretch.

Backhand Palm Stretch:

Do this stretch with your backhand facing the ground.

Upside Down Wrist Stretch:

Another stretch for your handstand progression.

The trick with these wrist stretches is to move as many different ways as feels comfortable. Feel free to make the routine above your own!

What if you’re at work?

I know…Lisa thinks you’re weird enough already. Doing workouts on the floor might raise some eyebrows.

While you can do any of the above movements on a desk, here’s a wrist mobility routine Coach Jim shot specifically for an office break:

A post shared by Nerd Fitness (@nerd_fitness) on


The stretches from our Wrist Mobility Office Routine:

  1. Fingers back, palms on desk: You can stretch straight backwards, or rock gently left to right. 10-15 repetitions.
  2. Finger back, palms lifted off desk: You can lift the palms and get a bit more stretch through the fingers and first knuckle. Again, stretch straight backwards, or rock gently left to right. 10-15 repetitions.
  3. Fists together, back of hands on desk: Make two fists, with the thumbs on the outside of your fingers. Bend your elbows and put the knuckles together like two cogs in a machine. Bend your elbows and put the back of your hands fully on the desk. Keep your fists together (this will be tough) and fists tightly closed (this will also be tough) as you bend and flex your elbows. 10-15 repetitions.

If you have additional time, the first two stretches can also be done with your fingers forward!

You can also stretch the thumbs out on the desk. Moving into and out of the stretch shown below. You may be surprised how good this feels if you’ve never done it before. Again, 10-15 repetitions.

Do thumb stretches to improve hand health

A final move is stretching your wrists in the direction of your thumb.

If you think about how your hands are oriented on your keyboard, you’ll see they often bend toward your pinky.

Avoid keyboard wrists by practicing grip strength and wrist mobility!

So let’s stretch them in the opposite way! Make like you’re about to karate chop someone with one hand. With the other hand, grab the chopping hand and pull it sideways in the direction of your thumb.

Going gently into and out of this stretch for 10-15 repetitions. It may not feel as intense as the previous stretches, but it will still help.

The Top 4 Wrist Mobility Exercises for the Gym

These legos prioritize building muscle and strength.

If you train in a gym (or want to buy a membership) you’ll have lots of options for wrist stretches and exercises. 

#1) Plate Curls

One of my favorites for wrist mobility is plate curls:

Keep the plate firm, as an extension of your arm, so you properly challenge your wrist.

Since the plate is extended out, it’s going to put extra stress on your wrist as you leverage it up, creating a great exercise. Make sure you keep the plate firm, like it’s a full extension of your arm. 

Also, don’t accidentally collide the plate with your noggin!

#2) Banded Wrist Stretches

The band should be pulling in the opposite direction of the stretch (fingers face one way, band pulls the other way).

you can do banded wrist stretches to improve wrist mobility

Shoot for 10-15 repetitions.

#3) Wrist Curls/Reverse Wrist Curls

Hold your arm down with your other hand and let your wrist do all the lifting.

Left: Wrist Curls, Right: Reverse Wrist Curls

do wrist curls and reverse curls for mobility

#4) Barbell Levering

We’re getting into crazy town with this one. An unbelievable wrist exercise that is not for the beginner. Grab the bar with one hand, off-center, and lift it to parallel.

Do barbell levering to improve grip strength and mobility

I would recommend using a 15 lb/5 kg bar, or one of those lighter “bodypump” bars for this. The leverage is crazy! This can also be done at a faster pace with a PVC pipe.

 

If you find yourself lost like a sheep when you enter your gym, we can help!

I have two resources to help you become a gym warrior:

  1. 6 Beginner Gym Workouts: this guide will walk you through your first day at the gym, all the way to how to train with barbells. If you want to train in a gym, but don’t know how, start here!
  2. 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program: if you want a more customized approach for your exact situation (kids, an old injury, you turn into a werewolf once a month), then check out NF Coaching. We’ll build you an exact plan of attack on how to master the gym.

Yoga for Wrist Mobility (Full Video Tutorial)

We are about to explore Yoda's advice "there is no try."

If you’re interested in experimenting with yoga, we have a full video routine you can try.

Here’s the Nerd Fitness Wrist Mobility Session

The exercises covered:

  1. Table Top – Wrist Stretches
  2. Seated Wrist Rolls & Waves
  3. Wrist Push-ups
  4. Wrist Curls

You don’t have to head to a yoga studio to get bendy. If you have a yoga mat (or even just a towel for your knees) you can do this video at home in between gaming sessions.

New to yoga? We have a premium course, Nerd Fitness Yoga, that will take you from noob to full on yogi in no time! 

Best of all? You can do the entire course from your living room!

Hacks to Improve Wrist Mobility (Experiment With Wider Grips)

I guess technically this is a wide-grip

If you strength train with barbells, a simple trick you can try is to take a wider grip.

Instead of doing your bench press with a narrow or “close grip”:

This variation is a "close grip bench press"

Go wider:

Engage your entire body while performing the bench press.

The wider you go, the more you’ll engage your wrist, which means more strength.

You could do the same when working out your “pull” muscles, with you guessed it, pull-ups!

Maintaining a wide grip is a great advanced pull-up.

Experiment a little to add variety! Just don’t go so crazy that you sacrifice proper form and hurt yourself.

If you want someone to check your form on any of these movements, we can do just that!

Our spiffy mobile app lets you send a video of your training directly to your coach, who will provide feedback so you can perfect your technique.

They’ll also build a workout program that’s custom to your situation, which can improve your flexibility!

Improving Wrist Mobility (Next Steps)

Yes, many different Spide-People today

If you want to increase your wrist mobility, commit to practicing every single day.

It doesn’t have to be much though! Even doing one of these exercises, just a few minutes a day, will go a long way to increasing your flexibility.

You’ll notice your wrists loosen up, as well as continue to grow stronger.

If you want a specific skill to shoot for, try to perform a handstand!

Rebel Leader Steve showing you how to kick up to a handstand.

Handstands require a lot of strength and support from your wrists, so beginning a regular practice will help level up your wrist mobility. 

It’s a great place to go from here.

The Tick is stoked you are putting on weight, muscle or fat, it means our strategy is working.

Still here? Wondering what you should do now? 

I’ve got some ideas, but I’m only sharing because you’ve been a good sport this whole time.

Here are 3 options on how to continue with Nerd Fitness:

Option #1) If you want step-by-step guidance on how to lose weight, eat better, and get stronger, check out our killer 1-on-1 coaching program:

Your NF Coach can help you lose weight and get healthy!

Option #2) Good at following instructions? Check out our self-paced online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy.

The Academy has 20+ workouts for both bodyweight or weight training, a benchmark test to determine your starting workout, HD demonstrations of every movement, boss battles, meal plans, a questing system, and a supportive community.

 

Option #3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.

Sign-up below and receive our free guide Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll help you to grow strong (including your wrists)!

Alright, enough from me. Your turn:

Do you have a regular wrist mobility practice?

Any tips or tricks to share?

Are you currently levelling up to do handstands?

Share with us in the comments!

For the Rebellion,

-Steve

PS: Want to improve your flexibility? Then make sure you read:

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GIF source: wide-grip pull-up

Photo source: Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider-Man, LEGO Office, Hardcore stormies, LEGO Yoda, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman

 

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