I routinely see clients who have wrist-pain from exercises like the plank and press-ups. Often, it is not for lack of strength in the wrist, but rather from lack of awareness in the hand. Without a strong connection to the hand, the body will overuse the wrist joint for support. This causes stress in the joint and subsequent pain.
When the hand is supporting the body, make sure to keep active pressure in the ball of the hand as well as the thumb pad. I use active pressure to describe an effort to push down. Below is a diagram which highlights the areas of the hand which typically need more attention to sustain active pressure. By keeping a firm, sustained press in these areas of the hand, you will trigger the muscles of your arms and back to start working. This effort will help keep the body feeling light on the wrist and elbow.
NOTE In order for the pressure in the hand to most effectively communicate with the back muscles, elbows can not be hyperextended. Make sure the elbows are not locked.
TRY THIS! In a plank, press evenly through the hand. Next lock and unlock your elbows. When the elbows are locked, you will feel the work in the chest and the wrist. when the elbows are unlocked, you will still feel the work in the chest but you will also feel work distributed to the upper arms and the back. This extra muscle activation will lift pressure up out of the wrist.
Below is an ADVANCED series. Please try after your body is very warmed up.
If you find the series below impossible, know that in most cases, with a little hard work and TLC (from yours truly), this series is very achievable. Please come join one of my public Pilates classes at Frog Temple Pilates in Chicago or reach out to schedule a private lesson. Click on MENU for links to both options.