So often the biceps and triceps are the focal points of arms development while the elbows, forearms, and wrists are given minimal attention. This is a huge mistake because these structures allow you to perform nearly all upper body exercises safely while maximizing biceps, triceps, deltoid, chest, and back strength. Therefore it’s very important to devote time and energy to strengthen your wrists, forearms and build up bulletproof elbows.
To give you a comprehensive guide to strengthen your wrists, forearms & elbows we divided this article into three steps: preparation, building, and recovery. So let’s waste no more time and start right away with the first step.
3 Easy steps to strengthen your Wrists, Forearms & Elbows!
1. Preparing your wrists and elbows
Preparing your wrists and elbows is very important to stay injury-free, no matter if you are a beginner or already pretty advanced. Some beginners struggle with wrist and elbow problems when it comes to exercises like push-ups, pike stands, and regular pull-ups, while advanced athletes make the same experience when they progress to harder movements.
It can also happen that you’re simply pushing your boundaries too much and too often and as a result you are developing injuries and exercises you are already doing for quite some time.
Typical problems are wrist pain from all kinds of wrist-related exercises and golfers and tennis elbow from pull-ups, chin-ups, or calisthenics-related skills.
To prepare your joints you should do two things:
- Incorporate mobility and flexibility training into your warm-up and cool down. Any kind of wrist preparation exercises are perfect for that because done correctly they also prepare the tendons of your elbow joint.
For example, if you are doing wrist flexions and extensions you are not only preparing your wrist for the upcoming pressure, you are also working the tendons of your forearms because they are connected to the elbow joint.
- Progressive training: This means that you take a single step at a time and don’t start right away with too-hard exercises. The same counts for the training volume, frequency, and how hard you train. If you want to avoid torn muscles, torn ligaments, and inflamed tendons you should consider the necessary time for adaptation.
2. Building grip, forearm, and wrist strength
When it comes to calisthenics passive hangs and their variations are one of the best basic exercises to build grip, strengthen your wrists, forearms & elbows!.
If you’re already able to do pull-ups you can add exercises like rope climbs, tower pull-ups and you can use different grip tools that emphasize your fingers and forearms.
When it comes to supporting exercises handstands on the ground or on parallettes are very good to offer some good forearm and wrist training.
Another option is forearm push-ups on the wall. This exercise mainly works your wrist flexes and also builds up some finger strength.
The last option is the false grip to strengthen your wrists. The false grip is often used in calisthenics to do ring or bar muscle-ups without changing the grip. This kind of grip looks pretty strange on the first view but is no problem for well-prepared wrists, forearms, and elbows. It just feels pretty hard in the beginning because you’re simply not used to it.
However the false grip can still lead to elbow and wrist problems, so we suggest to be very careful and work with easy progressions first.
All of these exercises can be implemented into your regular training. So in most cases, it’s not necessary to do specific forearm sessions.
For example, instead of regular pull-ups implement towel pull-ups from time to time. If you’re working on your false grip choose the right progression and do a couple of sets in each or every second session.
If you have problems with hanging from a bar implement one or two sets of passive hangs at the end of each workout.
3. Recover fast to strengthen your Wrists, Forearms & Elbows!
Okay now we got only one point left and this one is about recovery. If you already made one of the mistakes mentioned before, you need the best way to recover fast.
- The first thing we suggest is again mobility and flexibility work. Of course, it always depends on the injury and the current status. So please make sure that your doctor allows you to start with rehab training in the first place.
- Avoid pain. You should never and I mean never work into deep joint pain. Stop every movement when you feel deep pain and only train with a range of motion and intensity that allows you to do the exercise free of deep pain. By deep pain, we mean any physical sensation or feeling that makes you wince.
- Workaround your injury. So for example, if you are dealing with a wrist injury, but feel no pain when doing push-ups on parallettes then go for it. If you have problems with chin-ups because of your golfer’s elbow try pull-ups and see if it works for you. If your elbow hurts when doing muscle-ups stop it and go back to normal pull-ups and dips while working on your elbow tendons at the same time.
- The last recommendation is massage. For tendon-related problems such as inflammation, we suggest the transverse friction massage. Of course, it’s much better if a physical therapist is doing it for you, but we still show you how you can do it by yourself.
- Find the proper location. Usually the origin or insertion of the specific tendon ligament or muscle.
- Your muscles have to be relaxed.
- The friction massage must be given across the affected fibers.
- The fingers and skin must move as one.
- Friction massage must have a sufficient sweep and be deep enough.
The treatment varies with the severity and the type of injury, so please don’t overdo it in the beginning. We suggest a gentle massage for one to two minutes a day and increase the time and frequency step by step.
Okay guys this was our step-by-step guide to strengthen your Wrists, Forearms & Elbows!. If you like this article share it with your friends and family. Happy exercising!