Exercise Spotlight: Wrist discomfort during pushups and pushup hold

Try this if you normally do pushups on your knuckles

The pushup (and pushup hold) is an excellent overall exercise for chest, shoulders, upper back, and core strength. For some folks, it’s not uncommon to experience discomfort in the wrists when attempting pushups with proper hand position. This is often due to stiffness in the wrists and fingers and causes exercisers to do pushups on their knuckles in order to keep wrists neutral.   If you do have a wrist injury, arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, etc, be careful with how much weight (if any!) that you put on your wrists when doing pushups. 

Whether performing standard, modified (on knees), or wall pushups (standing by a wall), you can make a slight adjustment for your hands that allows you to work towards placing your hands flat on the floor with less discomfort. Pushup with hands flat on floor There are several stretches that you can perform in order to “loosen up” your wrists over time, but for the purpose of this article, we will focus on this simple modification.

The quick fix

  • Use either a rolled up towel or exercise mat.
  • Place the heels of your hands on the edge of the rolled up towel.
  • If you need to, roll the towel a little more until it feels right.
  • Execute your push up or push up plank hold.

Pushup with hands on rolled matIf you still experience discomfort, then you may need to elevate them more. If you have pain in your wrists even during this modification you may need to avoid pushups until they can be assessed by a physical therapist. It’s not good to work through injury pain!

Try this and let me know how it goes!

As usual, if you have questions, please contact me!