Many people with wrist weakness have a hard time holding poses like downward facing dog or plank. I used to be one of them! Here are some modifications that will also strengthen weak wrists. (For my visual learners, I’ve included an instruction video at the end of this post.)
First, a disclaimer. If you feel pain, stop and get your wrists checked out by a professional. Weakness and pain are different so make sure nothing else is going on that requires serious attention.
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The Cupcake Method
One option to modify and strengthen weak wrists at the same time is “cupcake” hands. This is when you tent your fingers on the mat like you’re picking up a cupcake, and don’t want to mess up the frosting.
The Knuckles Down Method
There are some positions you can hold on your knuckles. Be sure your wrists are aligned so your palms are facing towards one another. Another version of this is to grip hand weights in the same position – with palms facing one another – but make sure your weights are big enough to fit your fingers beneath them without being crushed!
The Forearm Modification
If you have a lot of weakness, come down to your forearms for moves like plank, side plank, etc, but the idea is to gradually build up strength in your wrists so you don’t want to do this every time. Try on your hands first before dropping to your forearms.
The Proper Alignment
Finally, make sure your hands are in correct alignment when you’re in a pose like a downward facing dog. Your pointer fingers should be pointing directly forward, and you want to be pressing your fingers down so firmly into the mat that it would be hard for another person to come along and lift them off the floor. This makes sure you have even pressure and weight on your hands instead of dumping it all on your wrists.
If you’re looking to perfect your alignment, which will help every part of your body, I recommend Iyengar yoga. Iyengar is different from Vinyasa – you don’t “flow” in and out of poses. Instead, you ease into the pose and focus on your breath as you perfect your alignment. This is a wonderful way to achieve the maximum benefits to each pose and can be a wonderful complement to your workout routine.
PS – If you live in the Montclair area, Jaipure offers many Iyengar Yoga classes. They are currently offering virtual classes as well, so even if you don’t live in the area, check them out!