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Unlock And Strengthen Wrists In 3 Minutes (For Seniors, No Cost)

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in November of 2022. For the original video go to

Brad: All right, we are going to show you the easiest way to unlock your wrists, decrease pain, and strengthen them so you can be more functional with opening those jars of soup, et cetera. Okay, so first of all, to unlock the wrist when your wrists feel like they're kind of locked up and they need to get cracked, or they're tight. This is the routine you're going to start out with. Bob will show the side profile. I'll show you the front. Gentle, gentle fist. Nothing tight. You can leave your fingers loose if you'd like and go up and down like you're waving. Up and down. Do that five to 10 times. You may feel them start to crack a little bit with this.

Brad: And then, circles, you can do it with fists or with open fingers, it doesn't matter. About five rotations one way, five rotations the other way. More if you'd like to, depends on how it's feeling.

Brad: And now this next one, this is an important one but you have to be very careful and do it properly. You should not experience any pain with this. It should feel good.

Bob: And don't pull your hand off.

Brad: Yeah, don't pull your hand off. This is called decompression or a little traction. Okay. This is the wrist that we're going to decompress and unlock. So what works well with this is to do it in a seated position with a pillow and you're going to set that on your lap and you can rest your arm on there so it's completely relaxed. I'm going to take the other hand and grab the hand above the wrist and support it. This arm is going to stay relaxed.

Bob: So you're above the two wrist bones.

Brad: Yep. Above those two bones. The wrist joint where the crease is, is where we're grabbing, above. The left hand is going to pull and get a little traction. Now, if you watch real closely you should see the joint expand. I'm pulling it apart slightly. Okay. If you get any sharp pain with this, you stop. It's not the right thing to do for you. Should feel good.

Bob: Immediately.

Brad: Yep. If it feels good, you can continue. And then once you pull out, you maintain the traction, the pullout pressure. Now watch what I do here. I'm going to rotate just my forearm. The hand maintains the hand position.

Bob: So the forearms do the work.

Brad: Yeah. And that really mobilizes and loosens up that wrist. You know, we have eight bones and three joints in that wrist and a lot more up in the carpals in the hand part.

Bob: This is a great technique.

Brad: Yep. It feels better already, Bob.

Bob: Yeah, it looks better.

Brad: Now we need to show you how to strengthen it after you do this and get it loose. Now we're going to start strengthening it. And I did say in the title there's no cost for this, so you know hopefully you can go into your kitchen, grab a can of soup, 12 ounces, 16 ounces.

Bob: Jar of soup.

Brad: Jar of soup. I'm really getting it good there. A bottle of water works well. If you happen to have a weight, a dumbbell, you can use that. So you're going to take that and you're going to put it over your thigh, or if you're at a table, I'm going to use the bench here and just work wrist flexion, we call it. And up and down like this. And after 10 to 15 repetitions you should start to feel the muscles get tired. If they're not tired, get a bigger can of soup. Get a bigger dumbbell.

Bob: Bigger jar of soup.

Brad: Bigger jar of soup. Okay, then flip your wrist over so your palm is down, and go ahead and do that direction. This direction almost always is weaker than this. You'll find if you can do 15 of the flexion you can probably only do 10 of extension.

Bob: You’ll struggle more.

Brad: Yep.

Bob: Next, start in neutral.

Brad: Neutral, yep. So you have your thumb up, you're going to go sideways. If your thumb was up it's like you're doing a baby hitchhiker. Same thing, 10 to 15 repetitions and that'll do you wonders. Now, if you did have a can of soup what you're going to do then is take it, open it up and eat it. You need some nutrients for the work you've done. Oh, just kidding.

Bob: And no pain by the way.

Brad: Right. No pain with all these. It should feel a little fatigued, but it shouldn't be irritated after you're done and sore. It may be the first time you do this so that means you went too hard. Give it a couple days off and then go back to it.

Bob: And do it less times.

Brad: Now, the next thing you're going to do is hopefully you have a hammer for putting the nails in the wall to hang up the pictures of the grandkids and everything, or taking them down. Anyways, take a hammer and you're going to grab it by the handle and this works different muscles. This is called supination or rotation.

Bob: Supination, pronation.

Brad: So let it go back and forth. But be careful if you grab it toward the end of the handle, if you don't realize that your wrist is weak and it goes too far or you have too big of a hammer, this could twist and hurt your wrist. So I would start out grabbing close to the head of the hammer. If it's too easy, simply raise it up. It'll get harder.

Bob: So what about a sledgehammer?

Brad: Sledgehammer? Yes. When you work up to a sledgehammer you've got Popeye wrists, good strong ones. But again, 5-10. If you want to go to 15 repetitions it's up to you, depending on what you tolerate. Again, no pain, just fatigue is all we want to feel. Now this one, you can go forward and backwards. And that works some other muscles.

Brad: That's not so important. If you need to open up that jar of jam, supination/pronation is going to really help you with that as well as our next exercise. Part of strengthening the wrist that is really critical for the wrist as well as function, like opening that jar of mayonnaise or miracle whip if you like that, is you have to work your grip. This works the finger grip as well as the wrist at the same time. The best way to do it is get yourself a ball that's squishy. Now, Bob's got one that's really soft and squishy.

Bob: Really easy.

Brad: And this one is a little more firm. I would not use anything like, you know, a golf ball's too hard. Tennis balls are typically too hard. You need something softer.

Bob: Our stress balls work well.

Brad: Yeah, you need something squishy. And you simply grab on the ball and you can do this while you're watching TV or just relaxing and squish the ball until you get fatigued. Again, there should be no pain, make sure you get the thumb. Sometimes people only do the fingers but make sure you get the thumb. You can do the thumb by itself. You can actually do the fingers individually. If one of your fingers is real tight like Bob's. What is it?

Bob: Dupuytren's contracture.

Brad: Dupuytren's on one of those fingers so it's too stiff to exercise. You work the other ones and that's one of the beauties of having a nice squishy ball and they're nice to work with. That's good for tactile stimulation.

Bob: I agree.

Brad: Yeah. Bob concurs. It's a therapy thing. So anyway, seriously, a nice soft ball can really do well. You do all those things and this is going to make a significant difference on your strength, the pain in your wrist, and make your wrist and grip worthy.

Bob: You can choke a chicken.

Brad: (Laughs) Choke a chicken, thanks Bob. Okay, thank you very much for watching and work on those wrists on a daily basis. Be careful.

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