Unless you are a high-class server at a swanky upscale restaurant, bending your wrist into full extension every evening while carrying sexy martinis on drink trays, the likelihood that your wrist is able to make it through full extension is dismal. We need bomb wrist mobility for a whole slew of CrossFit movements. Similar to my post last week, more wrist mobility can help avoid cramping and tightness from sitting and typing at a computer alllll dayyyyy longggg. This week's post is going to carry us into next week's analysis of the Front Squat position, a beloved CrossFit movement and wrist mobility nightmare. So let's talk wrists and forearms. First, a brief overview of the anatomy and movement patterns of the wrist.
The wrist is a gliding joint and has three planes of motion: Flexion and Extension, Radial and Ulnar Deviation, Pronation and Supination. Sometimes the restriction we feel in our wrists when searching for that oh-so-sweet high-elbow front rack is from wrist flexibility. Other times it is from a bit of impingement (dorsal wrist impingement) in the joint itself, along with other possible scenarios. Below is a great image from a gymnastics website showing what can happen when weight is added to a wrist in extension. You can see that the radius is impinging on the carpal bones. The same thing can happen just inversely with a barbell loaded with 45s — because duh we all picture our bars stacked high with 45s.
So with this in mind, let's look at some ways in which we can A) mobilize the tissues surrounding the joint and B) create space in the joint itself. The first three exercises are designed to increase flexibility and ROM. The last exercise is intended to make the soft tissue and fascia in the forearm more supple-icious! At the end, I describe how to do the first three exercises again but with more focus of creating space within the hopefully gliding joint, aka your wrist.
FINGERS FORWARD ROCKIN'
SIDE TO SIDE SLIDE
ROCK IT BACK
All of these exercises can be done for at least one minute and preferably around two to three, especially the forearm smashing. Some other cool alternatives as I mentioned in the beginning is to add a band to the first three. String up your resistance band to the rig at the very base of it. Put the band right around your wrist and continue through range of motion. This will add extra traction. Example: If doing the first exercise, you would be on all fours facing AWAY from the rig with the band around your wrist while rocking away from the rig.
Another thing, tying in last week's post about mobility on the job, the first three exercises can totally be done ON YOUR DESK. These are great ways to keep your wrists and forearms from cramping up while you type memos, reports, emails, and let's be honest your personal CrossFit memoirs/SugarWOD novels. Sweet, so I think this sets us up nicely for next week's focus on front rack positioning. Let me know how it goes. May the supple wrist be with you this week y'all!