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How to Improve Wrist Mobility [15 Exercises to Do at Work]

Wrist mobility is an essential part of physical fitness and can help improve range of motion as well as reduce the risk of injury. Wrist mobility exercises involve stretching and strengthening muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the wrist joint. This helps keep your wrists flexible and mobile while also increasing their strength.

Improving your wrist mobility can help with everyday activities, such as typing on a computer or lifting objects. It can also improve performance in sports and other recreational activities. Additionally, it may reduce pain and discomfort associated with wrist injuries and arthritis. If you have been experiencing issues with your wrists, this article is for you.

What Causes Poor Wrist Mobility?

Poor wrist mobility can be caused by a variety of factors. Inactivity or not engaging in regular stretching and strengthening exercises of the wrists can lead to decreased wrist flexibility, especially as you age. Repetitive movements such as typing on a computer at work or playing musical instruments can result in tightness and pain in the wrists due to overuse.

It may even lead to conditions such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Injury or arthritis can also cause decreased mobility. In some cases, poor wrist mobility is hereditary.

How Flexible Should Wrists Be?

The amount of flexibility and mobility desired in the wrists will depend on the individual. Flexibility is subjective, so it’s important to find a range of motion that is comfortable for you.

Generally speaking, your wrist should be able to bend about 75 to 90 degrees, which is considered normal wrist flexion. If you can’t flex your wrist and cannot move to these ranges, it may be indicative of a joint injury or arthritis.

How Do You Fix Weak Wrists?

Physical therapy and a combination of stretching, strengthening, and rest can help increase wrist mobility. Regularly doing wrist stretches can also help with flexibility and reduce pain.

Stretches should be done slowly, using only gentle pressure until you feel a slight stretch in the hand muscles around the wrist joint. Meanwhile, strengthening exercises should include both isometric (holding a position for a few seconds) and dynamic (moving through the range of motion) exercises.

Best Hand and Wrist Exercises for Wrist Pain

The best stretches for wrist pain will depend on the specific condition. For general soreness or tightness, static stretches such as wrist extensions and flexion can help keep your wrists healthy. Try the following wrist stretches and make a physical therapy routine out of the ones that work best for you.

Before doing any of the following movements, you should warm up your wrists first to avoid injuries.

To do a warm-up stretch, you can rotate your wrist up, down, and from side to side. Then, stretch your fingers far apart, relax them, then stretch them again. Finally, stretch your thumb by pulling it back gently, holding it, and then releasing it. Repeat each warm-up stretch 4 times. 

Palm and Finger Stretch

Place your palms flat on the floor with your fingers flared wide and spaced out. Lift your palm up to create a stretch all through your fingers. Hold the position for 8 to 10 seconds. Put your palm back down, then switch sides.

Extended Arm Stretch

This is the most basic stretch that you can do. First, stretch your arm out in front of you at shoulder height. Slowly, bend your wrist and point your fingers down until you feel a stretch. Use your other hand to gently pull the raised hand towards your body. Hold the position for 3 to 5 seconds.

Next, stretch in the opposite direction by pointing your fingers toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch. Again, use your other hand to gently pull the raised hand towards your body. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat this three times.

Wrist Rotations

Wrap your fingers together and move your wrists around in every possible direction. Repeat often throughout the day.

Raised Fist Stretch

Start with your arm up beside your head, hand open. Next, make a fist, keeping your thumb outside of it. Slide your fingers toward your wrist until you feel a stretch.

Finger Lifts

Place your hands palm down on a surface. Lift each finger, starting with the thumb, followed by the rest. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Thumb Flexion

Hold your thumb up as if you’re giving the “OK” sign, then move your thumb toward the palm of your hand. Squeeze and repeat. 

Wrist Circles

This wrist stretch is a great exercise as it goes through the entire wrist joint and stretches throughout the forearms. To do this, start with your palms flat on the floor or table with your shoulders lined up above the wrist.

Next, keeping your hands planted, slowly rotate in clockwise circles. Do eight to 10 of the wrist circles clockwise, then reverse and go counterclockwise.

Wrist Walks

Place your hands on a wall with your arms straight and fingers pointing to the ceiling. Keeping contact with the wall, walk your hands down the wall. Go as far as you can without letting the palm of your hands come off the wall.

Once you reach the point where you can’t walk your hand anymore, turn your hands around so that your fingers are now pointing to the floor. Walk back up as far as you can.

Wrist Flexor Stretch

This exercise is great for improving wrist mobility as it opens up the forearm and wrist flexors. To do this, put your palms flat on the floor and then turn your hands in towards your body, shifting position so your fingers face your knees (or facing your chest if you’re doing this stretch on a table).

Next, lean your body backward, feeling the stretch through the flexors of the forearm. Hold for 8 to 10 seconds as you gently come back. Lean forward to come out of the stretch. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps.

Wrist Push-Ups

Start in a tabletop position with your hands clenched into fists. Make sure that your hands are right under your shoulders. Next, let your hands open as you slowly lower yourself down to the ground. As you come back up, close your hands once more. Repeat a couple of times.

If closing your hands is too challenging, you can leave your hands with your palms up as you do the push-ups.

Praying Position Stretch

The prayer position stretch is a quick and easy way to keep up with your wrist health. To do this, stand and place your palms together in a praying position. Have your elbows touch each other. Position your hands in front of your face. Ensure that your arms are touching each other from the tips of your fingers to your elbows.

With your palms pressed together, slowly spread your elbows apart as you lower your hands to waist height. Stop when your hands are in front of your belly button or you feel the stretch. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat.

Afterward, reverse your hands so that your fingers point downward. Make sure that your hands are pressed together. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then come back up to end the stretch.

Hooked Stretch

Hook one elbow under the other and pull both arms towards the center of your torso. Then, wrap one arm around the other arm so that your palms are touching. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds. Switch and repeat on the other side.

Back of the Hand Wrist Extension

Start with your knuckles on the floor with your arms extended straight. Adjust your weight by sitting back or leaning forward. Then, open your palms and gently roll the back of your hands to be flat on the ground. Do 2 sets of 8 to 10 reps.

Clenched Fists

To do this stretch, begin in a seated position and place your open hands on your thighs with your palms up. Close your hands slowly into fists but do not clench them too tightly.

With your forearms touching your legs, raise your fists off of your legs and back towards your body, bending at the wrist. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower your fists and slowly open your fingers wide. Repeat 10 times.

Palm Heel Up Side-to-Side Stretch

Make sure your hands are flat on the floor or a desk with your fingers spread out. Lift the heel of your hands off the ground or surface. Next, push your hands into the ground while focusing on the knuckles, and go side to side.

If the stretch hurts or if you find it too challenging, you can bring your hands closer to your knees. Do this for about 15 seconds.

Final Note

Increasing wrist mobility is key for preventing injuries and improving performance. Flexibility exercises are an important part of any exercise routine, so make sure you include them in yours! The exercises listed above are just a few of the many that can help in improving strength, flexibility, and movement in the wrists. 

Remember to always consult with a physical therapist before beginning any exercise routine. With proper care, you can find relief from your wrist pain or soreness and gain the mobility necessary to perform all of your daily activities. And don’t forget to take breaks if you ever feel any discomfort during any movement.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.