Movement Fix Monday | Week 11 | Wrist Extension Fix
Having appropriate wrist extension mobility with control of that range of motion is extremely important for a lot of the movements we do in the gym, ranging from front squatting to push ups to handstands.
Let's Get Objective
I like testing things and being able to retest things using an objective measure. Wrist extension can be easily measured relative to the length of your hand and your arm.
As shown in the video, if you place a measuring tape next to a plyobox, you can measure your wrist extension by keeping your hand flat and seeing how far your finger tips can get from the box while you are still able to get your shoulder to touch the box. See the video for details.
Ideally both sides will be the same. If your right wrist and left wrist are going to play nicely together (and they need to if you are using them symmetrically, aka on the same barbell or on the ground in a symmetrical stance) they need to have similar range of motion, otherwise you are going to load them differently and compensate somewhere.
The distance you want to be able to have your hand from the box and still touch your shoulder to the box will differ from person to person, but having several inches is probably something to aim for AND having your left and right be very similar in range.
Improving the Range
To improve your wrist extension mobility, set up a band low on a rack and wrap it around your wrist. Place your hand on a box so that the band is anchored lower than your hand. By setting the band lower than your hand, you will get a larger long axis distraction force (pulling apart) through the wrist, which will help create space in the joint to improve wrist extension. Take your non-banded hand and place it on top of the banded hand. Put all the weight through the non-banded hand. Think about taking your banded side up and over the band in to extension, rather than pushing hard into the box (and compressing the joint, thereby disregarding all the distraction you were intending to create). Do this for 10 reps each side that needs it. See the video for clear instructions.
Lock in the Range
Improving range of motion through a mobility exercise is great, but it can be quite transient (you lose it quickly). After we do a mobility drill, it's important to use the new range of motion in a functional way so your brain makes sense of it and remembers how to access it. What is the point of increasing range of motion if you aren't actually going to use it in the movement you wanted it for in the first place anyways? If you mobilize and then go do nothing with it, you are going to be doing mobility drills for a loooong time with little to no improvement.
One easy way to use your newly acquired (or re-acquired) wrist extension range of motion is going into a push up plank position and rocking forward and back through the wrists as far as you can, with control. Focus on using the muscles of your hands and forearms to create and control this range. This helps your brain understand the meaning of the mobility you just gained. Don't skip this step.
Thanks for reading!
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