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    heatseeker's Avatar
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    Handstands hurting my wrist

    Hey all--wondering if anyone else has lingering wrist aches after handstands. It's only my left wrist and yesterday it got so bad it hurt to type. It seems to hurt most when I bend my hand downwards, toward my wrist, whereas flexing my wrist doesn't hurt at all.

    I'm wondering if there's something crucial I'm missing in hand placement/alignment when doing the handstand. I try to keep hands shoulder-width. For reference, usually I'll do 5-10 practice freestanding handstands for 1-2 seconds each (working on building up to longer), then pop up on the wall and do a few handstand pushups. I do this little routine a few times a day, and lately my left wrist just kills afterward.

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    Don't persevere if it feels like that. It doesn't sound like a "good pain" at all.

    I'd try strengthening the wrist without the load of your body. You can tie a weight to a rope with the other end attached to the middle of a stick and roll it up and down, or perhaps get a Powerball

    Give it a decent amount of rest. Ligament injuries can be slow to heal.

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    If you have a way you can do them on a small set of (hexagonal, so they don't roll) dumbells when against the wall, you can keep your wrists straight as if you were on parallel bars. i have those little pushup bars that work well too. This will also give you a bit more range of motion on the handstand pushups.
    Give it a try if you like and report back : ) - jv

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    Simple fix. Don't do handstands. There are tons of safer exercises that won't stress your wrists in such a way.

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    might be a tendon issue--a friend of mind really aggravated her wrists
    getting handstand push ups. Being careful and laying off till it feels better
    would be prudent strategy. I only attempt 2-5 every few days to avoid problems.

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    Thanks, guys! Missblue, I think you're right. I'll pull back and do them less frequently. It's tough because they're so fun!

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    perhaps look at doing fore-arm balance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by heatseeker View Post
    Hey all--wondering if anyone else has lingering wrist aches after handstands. It's only my left wrist and yesterday it got so bad it hurt to type. It seems to hurt most when I bend my hand downwards, toward my wrist, whereas flexing my wrist doesn't hurt at all.

    I'm wondering if there's something crucial I'm missing in hand placement/alignment when doing the handstand. I try to keep hands shoulder-width. For reference, usually I'll do 5-10 practice freestanding handstands for 1-2 seconds each (working on building up to longer), then pop up on the wall and do a few handstand pushups. I do this little routine a few times a day, and lately my left wrist just kills afterward.
    I'm assuming you're putting 1 or both feet against a wall. Are you going heels-to-wall or toes-to-wall? I have to guess if you switch from heels-to-wall to toes-to-wall would take a lot of the strain off your wrist. Sounds like you're hyperextending it a bit. Also, I'd experiment with turning your fingers slightly outward, like some of us do with our toes when we squat.

    If that doesn't work, I like the idea of holding something, but I'd look for something more along the lines of a "noodle" pool toy or a rolled-up t-shirt.

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    to the OP, browse Gymnastic Bodies | Worldwide Fitness Community especially their wrist/hand warm up, prehab and rehab "protocols." No offense to all who commented, but best to get this information from people that have been doing it forever, you know?

    I've been practicing handstands for about two years (still no freestanding =/) and at first my wrists used to kill, though NEVER as bad as you describe, it would just be a soreness. Now I never get sore and I've built up enough time. I kick up to handstand everyday and several times a day.

    So, yes you're doing something weird. Especially because it's just one hand and not both (is your right hand even sore?) have you ever had somebody that knows how to, massage your wrists? I was reading about a circus school in the Ukraine that some American (I think) spent time in, training with the other hand balancers. One of the Ukrainians who had been training forever, had wrist pain and once the American massaged his wrists it nearly went away and the entire school lined up for massages. Taking care to warm up and cool down your entire extremities is very important. Fingers, wrists, forearms, shoulders, everything. Proper handstand training is supposed to take you at least 10-15 mins before you ever get inverted.

    Lastly, to some points made earlier (and no offense intended, just sharing what I've learned)

    - agree with laying off for a bit, and looking for some massaging (looks like you do yoga? somebody there should know)

    - Doing handstands on push-up handles should come AFTER one has a comfortable handstand on floor. The floor is the hardest variation, and it translates to p-bars, but the opposite is NOT true. The hand position is completely different, for starters, you can push/pull a lot more in p-bars with your hands so you won't place as much emphasis on keeping a rigid body since you can control the swinging more effectively. Work handstands on floor and learn it well there. Get at least 10-20 seconds freestanding on floor before you move on to p-bars. This isn't to say you can't practice on p-bars some, but do this after your floor training. You don't want to learn bad habits, TRUST ME, been at this SO LONG and have made almost all the mistakes you can make. If you're serious about achieving a HS, get somebody that is good at them to help you. Having somebody give you small pointers is so valuable, it can make all the difference. I've been training alone since the start, using the internet but it just doesn't compare. You don't want to "get" the handstand on p-bars first, the floor is such a different beast, you want to go floor then bars, or handles in this case.

    - HS with stomach facing wall (or toes to wall) will actually put more direct pressure on your wrists. This is good for working on your alignment though, so once you're better you definitely want to do it this way. If you have issues opening your shoulders like I do, this is also going to be beneficial. Back to wall allows for more bending, even if you put your hands as close to the wall as you can. The difference is pretty severe, try doing HSPU both ways and see which is harder...

    Finally, consider jumping rope as a warm up, not just for your body but for your wrists, shoulders, etc. Look up Ido Portal on youtube and after you're through drooling, look up his shoulder mobility protocol and commit it to memory, do it before starting HS training. Oh yeah, this man has been paleo for nearly 20 years, and it shows.

    Much luck in your training.

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    heatseeker's Avatar
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    Awesome tips, iniQuity, thanks. To answer a couple questions: yes, it's just my left wrist, and it really only hurts when I either bend my fingers toward my wrist, or when there's a downward or lateral pull on my wrist. So, pushing against a wall or doing pushups doesn't hurt, but swinging my niece around hurt, carrying a big water cooler jug hurt, and practicing my cleans with the bar yesterday at this gym hurt (but the squats and presses didn't). It also hurts when I twist my wrist. I think I've aggravated some tendon in there (I mean, it's the carpal tunnel, there are lots), and I'm hoping it just needs time to heal.

    When I do handstands against the wall it's heels to wall, because I find the kicking up to equilibrium the part I have the most trouble with, not the strength. My main hurdle so far is gauging how far/hard to kick. I do toes to wall to work on strength, though, because it's MUCH harder for me in that position. I can barely lift a hand off the floor when I'm toes to wall.

    I don't think it's simply supporting my weight in the HS position that's caused the problem, because I do and teach yoga and have my hands in that position all the time with plenty of weight on them (though admittedly not my whole bodyweight). I think the lack of stretching and warmup was probably what caused this little flare-up. I work from home and whenever I need a break during the day I step out to the yard and practice handstands, without any precursor. I'll definitely start warming up beforehand. The jump rope is a great idea.

    Thanks!

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