I get weekly contacts from people who can’t do a lot of things because of wrist and hand pain and weakness in their arms. They have accepted the inflammation, pain, and weakness that is part of daily life now. They have accepted medical prognosis that tells them what they cannot do.
They have accepted the failure of their body to recover and revive.
Causes of hand and wrist weakness and pain
Many times the hand and wrist is used in repetitive motion inducing pain. Hand arthritis through simple aging or injury is also a common cause.
Age is often a factor, though many young men and women give up on anything other than medical information that they have been given. They’ve been told “don’t”, “you’ll never”, “you can’t”, you’ll have to” considering the use of their weak hands and arms. They have believed it.
Medications are a dangerous long term non-solution
For what has become a common ailment, pain in the wrist, many people have come to live on over the counter and prescription medications. These are medicines that will shorten their lives by destroying their internal organs in extended use.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that you can overcome pain and strengthen your arms from your shoulders to your finger tips.
Most of what many people have been told or feel like is not valid. Most people do not have to let life go by while they live with debilitating pain and weakness in their arms, wrists and hands. Most people can overcome their condition with exercise and proper nutrition.
For certain conditions, therapeutic supplements are available that have had their efficacy significantly demonstrated through tightly controlled clinical trials. Others have strong and consistent anecdotal evidence. These can be a critical part of recovery and long term wellness.
In the first part of this video you don’t need to see my face, just the way my arms are working. It shows how to strengthen your hands, wrists and arms with a set of adjustable dumbbells.
Exercises for your arms, like these, enable you to use your upper body strength to offset the weight of heavy objects that put strain on your back.
The more you can lift with your arms, the less you will have to strain with your spine.
If you’re trying to work through an injury or just trying to build up strength and endurance in your arms this is the way to do it with just a set of dumbbells.
The first adjustment to the dumbbells is to prepare for one of my all time favorites as far as strengthening your hands and wrist. You can do it with any amount of weight that you need to accommodate your physical condition.
To illustrate it, I’m doing it with fifteen pounds, but you can do it with much less than that or more if you are training or already have strength to advance.
The first exercise is reverse curls with an adjustable dumbbell.
With the dumbell down at arm’s length, it should be gripped with your palm facing in toward your leg. The back of your hand should be pointing away from you.
1. Keeping your hand in that position, curl the dumbbell up toward your bicep as far as possible. Take it up to the curl and back down to the start position in one smooth medium speed movement.
NOTE: This is not an exercise where you should be bending back or using your body movement for any momentum. The move should be performed 100% by your arm. If you have to bend back to get it curled, reduce the weight.
2. Perform the movement in sets of eight repetitions if you’re just starting out. The number or reps can be increased as you gain endurance in your arms. Also the weight can be adjusted as you gain strength.
3. In general, when you reach a point where you’re doing about 15 reps with each arm easily, you can increase the weight to continue to build strength.
Adding repetitions and weight to any exercise is determined by the strength, size, endurance level and age of the person doing the exercise. It’s not an exact science and you have to pay attention to your body. Only you will know when to increase weight and reps.
Reverse curls have a primary effect on your hand, wrist and forearm, with secondary effect on your bicep.
The second exercise is standard curls with dumbbells.
The exercise that everybody knows and likes ….. particularly guys, is standard curls. It’s the exercise associated with “big arms” but should be understood to be of great value in strengthening your arms for overall muscle balance.
Here’s how to perform a bicep curl whether it’s for general strength, endurance condition, or therapy.
1. Stand straight with your arm down in the same position as the reverse curl. In this case, however, the back of the hand should be against your leg with the palm facing out.
2. Curl the dumbbell up toward the shoulder and back down in one continuous, smooth motion. Watch the weight just like in the other exercise. The weight you use should allow resistant, but smooth movement.
There are other exercises that very effective at strengthening your hands and forearms. These are movements that don’t involve the biceps muscle as much because they don’t require curling.
This allows you to isolate and focus the movement on your wrist and forearms.
The first is done with a special wrist exerciser.
Standing wrist curls with a bar and rope with standard weights
1. Stand with feet shoulder length apart
2. Gripping each side of the bar, hold your arms straight out in front.
3. With the rope tight, begin to curl the rope onto the bar using only your hands and wrists.
4. When the weight platform reaches the top, curl in reverse till the platform has reached the floor. Repeat as necessary.
This is a great isolation exercise for your hands, wrists and forearms.
A lot of specialized items are now available for this exercise. But like many others, this basic tool works best, and allows strengthening of the shoulders while you do your wrist exercises.
Basic dumbbell wrist curls.
1.Sit on a bench, or chair with your feet on the floor.
2. Holding a dumbbell, lay your forarm, palm up, along the length of your leg. Your hand, at the wrist, should hang off of your knee.
3. From this position, using only your wrist, curl the dumbbell up toward your forearm. Lower it down for one complete repetition.
4. This should be done in sets that result in a mild burning feeling in the forearm. As with other exercises, weight and repetitions should be added as you progress in strength.
This exercise is one of the all time great forearm developing exercises. It is used by bodybuilders with heavy weights to build the large forearms they are noted for.
It should be noted that this exercise is more for developing excess strength more than other exercises that make up a well rounded routine. It isolates and works the forearm muscles very deep.
All of these exercises together will give you a comprehensive arm workout. These work all the way from your fingers to your shoulder to effectively work, exercise, build, and in some cases heal your arms, wrists and hands.
Alternate standard and reverse dumbbell curls on different days. This gives you a comprehensive strength workout for your hands, wrists and arms.
If you are a man, keep in mind this is not about competition. It is about regaining strength, mobility and function in your arms and hands.
With all these exercises, one more daily activity should be performed if you have stiffness and inflammation in your hands. This should be done several times daily, doing each finger three of four times.
Finger stretches. Individually take each finger of the opposite hand and bend it backward till it is at full stretch. Then bend it forward to the same limits. Do this with all fingers and thumbs of both hands several times per day.
It will add a big advantage in mobility. Do it even if you have arthritis and it is uncomfortable. Don’t do it until you feel as though you are injuring yourself. It requires intuitively working your fingers to their limit, without doing damage to them. Stretch till you feel the advantage and then stop.
Faithfully perform these exercises for thirty days. Then try activities you haven’t been able to do for a while.
30 days is not a cure time, but enough time to realize some significant functional difference.
Go from there. Progress in exercising for strength. Use natural and proven supplements to reduce or eliminate arm, wrist, hand pain and inflammation.
Then, the final goal is ….. don’t ever stop.