Strengthening Your Arms While Protecting Injured Wrists

Wrist injury is very common when you are involved in any physical activity. A lot of people who practice yoga, especially the Ashtanga practice that includes arm balances, have this experience. Our wrists aren’t designed to hold a lot of weight. Progressions to strengthen the wrists before the actual posture help decrease the chance of hurting them.

This circumstance can slow your progress down and can lead to frustrations. This often happens to beginners who are overwhelmed by the practice and is driven by enthusiasm to learn. Over doing the practice with the wrong approach can cause harm to the body. Bringing your ego onto the mat causes danger.


Keep Going! Injuries shouldn’t slow your progress. You can still do the practice safely and strengthen the body and mind while healing. The most important part is whether or not you have learned from the mistake that caused the injury.

Prevention is better than cure. Keeping your wrists healthy is easier than going through frustrations of wrist rehabilitation. If you feel any pain in your wrists during the practice, take a step back and assess what might be wrong. It could be your alignment, maybe your weight isn’t distributed equally or you haven’t properly warmed up the body. Always be mindful of your movement and the proper approach to prevent any harm in the body.

Strength modification. Modifying the postures means accessing the pose based on your current ability but still experiencing the same benefits. Here are modifications of two of most loved yoga poses that are designed to effectively help develop strength without putting pressure on your wrists.

Downward-Facing Dog

This is one of the most encountered poses during the practice. It serves as a release to relax the muscles that was activated during a yoga posture.

How:

  1. You can ease the pressure on your wrist by simply changing your wrists’ angles or by coming down to your elbows in a Dolphin Pose.
  2. This distributes your weight to your forearms instead of putting the pressure on your hands and wrists.

Baby Crow/ Baby Bakasana

This arm balance is a modification of full crow pose. Baby crow is also a good start for beginners who are still afraid of approaching the full pose but want to develop the strong arms and core, and be familiarized with the mechanics of full crow pose. Balancing your whole weight on your arms puts a lot of strain on the wrists.

How:

  1. Start in a seated squat position, then place your hands on the ground and round your back.
  2. Modify the pose by lowering down to your elbows.
  3. This will distribute the pressure equally to your forearms.
  4. Slowly shift your weight forward and lift your feet off the ground.
  5. Push through your shoulders and send your hips up to activate the core.

These yoga modifications show how you can play around postures to avoid using your wrists while developing the essential strength and healing your injury. Keep in mind that you can come down to you elbows in almost any yoga pose that requires your wrists’ involvement. Always move with awareness and do not allow frustrations to cause over training. Live in the moment, practice with good intentions, wear proper yoga clothes, and accept things as they currently are. Injuries are not meant to be set backs. Be patient and allow the humbling experience to help you learn and grow.

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