When it comes to making progress in the gym and pushing your limits, the last thing you want is a wrist or hand sprain holding you back.
In this article, we’ll share 5 essential tips to prevent these injuries, explain the differences between a sprain and a strain, and- as we do around here -we’ll connect you with a cool brand that can give you the right tools to avoid that kind of setback.
Let’s get it on!
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The difference between a wrist or hand sprain and a strain
In short, the main difference is that a strain affects the tendons that serve as a connection between bones, whereas a sprain puts under stress the tendons and ligaments that connect a muscle with another muscle.
How do they feel? A strain occurs when the muscles or tendons in your wrist get overworked, stretched, or strained due to repetitive motions or excessive force. In the case of a wrist strain, if you’re engaging in intense exercises involving repetitive wrist movements or applying pressure to your wrists, you suddenly feel discomfort, soreness, or even a dull ache in that area…That’s a wrist strain.
On the other hand, a sprain occurs when you twist or wrench your wrist in an awkward position during an exercise or a fall. Ligaments and tendons get stretched or torn; you can even hear or feel a “pop” when it happens.
With that said, here are 5 ways you can prevent this from happening to you:
5 Essential Tips for Avoiding a Wrist or a Hand Sprain
Master Proper Form for Maximum Strength and Safety
You know that proper form is the cornerstone of your training. Not only does it optimize your strength gains, but it also plays a vital role in injury prevention. Pay special attention to your hand and wrist positioning during exercises. Whether it’s gripping a barbell, dumbbell, or using machines, ensure your wrists are aligned with your forearms and maintain a neutral position. Avoid excessive bending or hyperextension, as this can put undue strain on your delicate wrist joints.
Prioritize Wrist and Forearm Strengthening Exercises:
Strong wrists and forearms are your foundation for heavy lifting and explosive movements. Incorporate specific exercises that target these areas into your training routine. Wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, farmer’s walks, and wrist roller exercises are excellent choices. By strengthening the muscles and tendons in your hands and wrists, you’ll build stability and resilience, reducing the risk of sprains even when pushing your limits.
Warm-Up and Stretch
Don’t underestimate the power of a solid warm-up and stretching routine. Before diving into your intense workout, allocate time for dynamic wrist and finger stretches, wrist rotations, and hand mobility exercises. This helps increase blood flow, warms up the muscles and tendons, and enhances your range of motion. By priming your hands and wrists, you’ll be better prepared to handle the heavy loads and challenging exercises ahead.
Some athletes include complete flexibility-enhancing routines after training. Not only it’s a great way of relieving tension in your tired muscles and a game-changer in the long run, as it can help your body find new ranges of motion where to build strength.
Leverage Protective Gear for Heavy Lifts (a game-changer)
Heavy lifts are where the true rush comes from. We love them too. However, providing your hands and wrists with added support and protection is essential.
Top-quality gym gear can provide extra stability, cushioning, and compression, reducing the strain on your wrists during intense lifting sessions. These are two of our favorites pieces of equipment for preventing wrist and hand sprains:
Wrist wraps are designed to stabilize your lifts by compressing the wrist joint. The wrist is under a lot of pressure when performing a heavy pushing exercise such as a bench press. Wrist wraps help align the wrist and forearms, reducing the risk of injury.
A great alternative is LiftLyfe’s wrist wraps. Made with neoprene and nylon for a wicking and durable design, these are specially made to offer wrist support during heavy pushing exercises. LYFTLYFE decided to include a heavy-duty metal clasp that wraps around the wrist to provide extra firmness without sacrificing comfort.
When it comes to protection against hand sprains and strains, we’re talking about safety during pulling exercises, where the hand muscles and tendons are most stressed.
LYFTLYFE also sells some cool pro-lifting hooks with industrial-grade hook/loop straps. Besides providing wrist support, the hooks help distribute the pressure on your hands and fingers without sacrificing grip strength.
Listen to Your Body: Rest and Recover
Even though commitment and persistence are awesome traits, it’s super important to tune in to your body’s signals and prioritize rest and recovery. Overtraining can lead to fatigue, compromised form, and increased risk of injuries, including hand and wrist sprains.
Schedule regular rest days to allow your hands and wrists to recover. Additionally, incorporate foam rolling, stretching, and massage techniques to promote blood circulation, reduce muscle tension, and enhance overall hand and wrist health.
Be safe and get those gains
And that’s a wrap! By implementing these five essential tips, you’ll safeguard your hands and wrists from sprains and other debilitating injuries without jeopardizing your progress. With this knowledge, go forth, unleash your potential, and confidently conquer the gym.
What is a sprain?
A sprain is an injury to the ligaments in the wrist, commonly caused by sudden movements, falls, or excessive force.
How do sprains occur?
Sprains occur when the joint is subjected to sudden twisting or bending motions, often during sports, workouts, or accidents.
Common symptoms of a sprain?
Common sprain symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness, difficulty gripping or moving, and tenderness near the compromised joint.
What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?
A sprain involves ligament injury, whereas a strain refers to overuse or overstretching of the muscles or tendons.
How long does it take for a sprain to heal?
The healing time for a sprain varies depending on the severity of the injury, but it typically ranges from a few weeks to several months.
What are the recommended treatments for sprains?
Recommended treatments for sprains include rest, ice, compression, elevation, immobilization with a splint or brace, pain management, and physical therapy exercises to restore strength and flexibility. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment options tailored to your condition.
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