Sore wrists can do a lot more than just weaken your tennis serve -- they can affect your ability to do everyday activities like drive and type. When you have sore, weak wrists, you might feel the telltale symptoms of aching and pain through the base of the thumb up to your elbows. Combat the problem by grabbing some weights and adding some wrist exercises to your workout routine. It's a few extra reps, but it could make a big difference in how you feel outside of the gym.
Basic Wrist Curl
The basic wrist curl can be done wither over a preacher curl bench or on a regular flat weight bench. Using a dumbbell in either hand, hold the backs of your elbows over the preacher curl bench or rest left elbow on the inside of your left knee. Start with your wrists in a neutral position and then curl your wrist upward, bringing your curled fingers closer to the inside of your wrist. Move with slow and controlled movements -- never jerk your wrists -- and return to your start position. If you're using a curl bench, you can do both wrists at the same time, but if you're doing one wrist at a time, try 12 to 15 reps and then switch sides.
Curling your wrists upward obviously isn't the only way your wrists can go, so make sure that both sides are taken care of. Assuming the same start position as the basic curl, this time drop your wrists down to complete one rep. Keep your grip loose and concentrate on ensuring the movement comes from your wrists and not your hands. Try 12 to 15 reps to complete a set for each side.
Supination and Pronation
This exercise can only be done with dumbbells, so nix the barbell for now. Supination and pronation helps you strengthen your wrists with a full range of motion. Start with your left elbow resting on the inside of your left thigh, with a dumbbell in hand and your palm facing upward. Count to three as you twist the dumbbell all the way to the right until your palm faces down. Then, bring the dumbbell back to start and twist to the left as far as you find it comfortable. Repeat 12 to 15 times and repeat on the right side.
Your wrists contain a very small muscle group known as the flexor carpi ulnaris and the flexor carpi rad ialis. Because these muscle groups are so small, you don't need heavy weights to train them. Instead, start with something relatively small, like a 2- or 3-pound weight to help train and strengthen your wrists. If you suffer from a condition such as tendinitis or carpal tunnel syndrome, check with your doctor before you add strengthening exercises to your routine, as some can aggravate overuse injuries and pain. In fact, a doctor or physical therapist might be able to give you some tips as to how to strengthen your wrists to help keep up your tennis and typing skills.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.