15 Best Wrist Strengthening Exercises To Reduce Pain & Injury

Medically reviewed by Dr. Sudhansu Singh, Physiotherapist
by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Wrist exercises and stretches are great for strengthening the wrists. They are helpful for people who have a wrist injury or fracture, wrist pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome, and for those who want to lift weights at the gym. Here are 15 wrist exercises you can do to reduce pain, improve your range of motion, and strengthen your wrist flexors and extensors.  Scroll down.

15 Wrist Exercises & Stretches

NOTE: Do these exercises post-recovery under the supervision of a trained physical therapist.

1. Wrist Circles

Target – Wrist flexors, extensors, pronators, and supinators.

How To Do Wrist Circles
  1. Sit or stand with your spine erect, shoulders rolled back, and look forward.
  2. Extend your hands forward at the shoulder level, and fold each palm into a fist.
  3. Keeping your elbows stationary, turn your wrists to the left, flex them up, turn to the right, and then flex down. Repeat 10 times.
  4. Reverse the direction and repeat it 10 times.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps in each direction

2. Wrist Curl Exercise With Dumbbells

Target – Wrist flexors, extensors, pronators, supinators, and brachialis.

How To Do Wrist Curl With Dumbbells
  1. Sit on a bench or a chair and keep your legs shoulder-width apart. Grab a dumbbell in each hand, and place your forearms on your thighs such that your palms are facing up. Do not rest your wrists on your knees. This is the starting position.
  2. Keeping your forearms stationary, curl your wrists toward them. Hold this pose for a moment.
  3. Slowly extend your wrists back and down toward the floor.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

Tip: Do not use heavy weights if you are a beginner or have a wrist injury. Wear wrist support if needed.

3. Reverse Wrist Curl Exercise With Dumbbells

Target – Wrist flexors, extensors, pronators, and supinators.

How To Do Reverse Wrist Curl With Dumbbells
  1. Sit on a bench or a chair and keep your legs shoulder-width apart. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand. Place your right forearm on your right thigh, with your palm facing down. Do not rest your wrist on your knee. Place your left palm on your left knee for support. This is the starting position.
  2. Keeping your forearm stationary, slowly flex your palm up and toward your body. Hold this pose for a moment.
  3. Slowly bring the right hand down, pointing toward the floor.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps with each hand

4. Resistance Band Wrist Flexion Exercise

Target – Wrist flexors and extensors.

How To Do Resistance Band Wrist Flexion Exercise
  1. Sit on a chair, wrap a tube resistance band around your right palm, and step on the other end of the band with your right foot. Place your right elbow on your right thigh, with the palm facing up. This is the starting position.
  2. Move your fist down toward the floor. Hold this pose for a second.
  3. Flex your wrist up toward your body.
  4. Do this 10 times.
  5. Wrap the resistance band around your left hand and repeat it.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 10 reps with each hand

5. Resistance Band Wrist Extensor Exercise

Target – Wrist flexors and extensors.

How To Do Resistance Band Wrist Extensor Exercise
  1. Sit on a chair, take a tube resistance band in your right palm, and step on the other end with your right foot. Place your right elbow on your right thigh, with the palm facing down. This is the starting position.
  2. Flex your fist up toward your body. Hold this pose for a second.
  3. Extend your wrist down toward the floor.
  4. Do this 10 times and then take the resistance band in your left hand and repeat.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 10 reps with each hand

6. Wrist Roller Exercise With A Dumbbell

Target – Wrist flexors and extensors.

How To Do Wrist Roller Exercise With A Dumbbell
  1. Hold a dumbbell with both hands. Keep your legs hip-width apart, elbows slightly bent, and palms facing your body.
  2. Flex your left wrist and extend your right wrist. In doing so, you will roll the dumbbell inward. Do this 10 times.
  3. Reverse the direction. Extend your left wrist and flex your right wrist. When you do this, the dumbbell will roll outward. Do this 10 times.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 10 reps in each direction

7. Dumbbell Seated Supination And Pronation

Target – Wrist pronators and supinators.

How To Do Dumbbell Seated Supination And Pronation
  1. Sit on a chair near your dining or study table. Hold a dumbbell with your right hand and place your wrist at the edge of the table, with the palm facing down.
  2. Without moving your elbow, slowly turn your palm up toward the ceiling. Hold this pose for a second.
  3. Slowly turn your palm toward the floor.
  4. Do this 10 times and then do the same with your left hand.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 10 reps with each hand

8. Dumbbell Radial And Ulnar Deviation

Target – Flexor and extensor carpi ulnaris and flexor and extensor carpi radialis.

How To Do Dumbbell Radial and Ulnar Deviation
  1. Sit or stand and hold a dumbbell in your right hand like you would to do hammer curls. Keep your hand extended at the shoulder level, and the left hand on your left thigh.
  2. Without bending your elbow, flex your wrist up toward your body. Hold this pose for a second.
  3. Slowly lower the wrist so that your knuckles point toward the ceiling.
  4. Do this 10 times.
  5. Repeat with your left hand.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 10 reps with each hand

9. Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl Exercise

Target – Wrist flexors and extensors.

How To Do Barbell Reverse Wrist Curl Exercise
  1. Sit on a bench and hold a barbell in your hands. Your palms must be facing up, shoulders rolled back, and legs shoulder-width apart. Place your forearms on your thighs. This is the starting position.
  2. Without rolling the barbell, extend your wrists down, toward the floor. Hold this pose for a second.
  3. Flex your wrist up, toward your body.
  4. Do this 10 times to complete a set.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

10. Wrist Exercise With Tennis Ball

Target – Wrist flexors and extensors.

How To Do Wrist Exercise With Tennis Ball
  1. Hold a tennis ball with your right hand and place your right forearm on a table.
  2. Squeeze the tennis ball and count to 5.
  3. Release.
  4. Do this 10 times and repeat with your left hand.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

11. Wrist Strengthening Stretches

Target – Wrist flexors and extensors.

How To Do Wrist Strengthening Stretches
  1. Kneel down and sit on your heels. Extend both your hands in front of you and ensure that they are shoulder-width apart. Flex your palms so that your fingertips point toward the floor.
  2. Keeping your wrists flexed, place the back of your palms on the floor. Apply gentle pressure and hold this pose for 30 seconds. You can fist your palms and release them while holding this pose.
  3. Release the hold after 30 seconds. Extend your wrists and turn your palms down.
  4. Place your palms on the floor and hold this pose for 30 seconds.
  5. Release and shake your hands.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 30-second hold for each hand

12. Wrist Strengthening Plate Pinch Exercise

Target – Wrist flexors and extensors.

How To Do Wrist Strengthening Plate Pinch Exercise
  1. Sit on a bench. Keep your legs shoulder-width apart. Place your forearms on your thighs.
  2. Hold a weight plate with your index finger, middle finger, and thumb in each hand.
  3. Pinch the weight plate with the finger for 10 seconds and then release it.
  4. Repeat.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 3 reps

13. Wrist Grip Strengthening Exercise

Target – Wrist flexors and extensors.

How To Do Wrist Grip Strengthening Exercise
  1. For this, you need a handgrip tool (as shown in the image).
  2. Hold the tool and squeeze it.
  3. Release and squeeze it again.
  4. Do the same with the other hand.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 10 reps

14. Wrist Exercise With Putty

Target – Pronators, supinators, wrist flexors and extensors.

How To Do Wrist Exercise With Putty
  1. Hold a ball of putty in your left palm.
  2. Pinch the putty with your right index finger and thumb and press it away. Release the pinch, turn the putty a little, and pinch it again until its edges are pinched. Do this with the other hand as well.
  3. Take a ball of putty and roll it using a rolling pin.
  4. Place your palms on the table or the surface on which the putty is placed. Place your thumbs on the putty.
  5. Press the putty in the middle with both thumbs and move them outward.
Sets And Reps

1 set of 2 exercises

15. Foam Rolling For Wrists

Target – Wrist and forearm muscles.

How To Do Foam Rolling For Wrists
  1. Use a tennis or cricket ball to do this exercise/massage.
  2. Place your wrist on top of the ball, with the palm facing down.
  3. Apply a little pressure and roll your wrist and forearm in a circular motion. This will help massage the muscles and aid the rapid recovery of muscle injury.
  4. Do the same with the other hand.
Sets And Reps

2 sets of 10 circular motions with each hand

A good understanding of the muscles in your wrists and forearms can help you do these exercises better. Check them out below.

Wrist And Forearm Muscles Involved In Various Movements

  • Wrist Flexors – When you flex your wrist or when your palm is moved toward your forearm.
  • Wrist Extensors – When your palm moves away from the forearm.
  • Supinators – When you flip your palms up.
  • Pronators – When you flip your palms down.

Here’s a list of injuries you can prevent by strengthening your wrists:

  • Wrist Tendonitis – Inflammation of the tendons around the wrist joint. Wrist stretching works wonders for wrist tendonitis.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the wrist area. Light gripping and lifting exercises may help.
  • Boxer’s Fracture – Fracture of the bones that form the knuckles. These bones are attached to all the five fingers and the wrist. Wrist extension, flexion, side-to-side movement, grip strengthening, and stretching may help in post-fracture recovery.
  • Colles’ Fracture – Fracture of the radius bone of the forearm near the wrist. Post recovery, exercise therapy like supination and pronation of the wrist and grip exercise may work.
  • Smith’s Fracture – Fracture of the distal radius. It is just the opposite of Colles’ Post recovery, flexion, extension, and grip exercises that may help to achieve functional movements of the hand.
  • Tennis Elbow (Lateral epicondylitis) – An irritation of the tissue connecting the forearm muscle to the elbow. Ball squeezing and wrist stretching and strengthening exercises can help relieve this condition.
  • Golfer’s elbow (Medial epicondylitis) – Pain in the inner elbow or inflammation at the medial epicondyle. Ball squeezing, finger extension, and wrist extension exercises may help in recovery.

Conclusion 

Consult a licensed doctor before doing these exercises. Do these 15 exercises regularly to build or regain wrist strength and reduce pain. Take care!

Recommended Articles

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.

Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. This prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.
scorecardresearch