Your Cart is Empty

Sore Wrists During Push Ups? Let's Fix That.

November 14, 2013 3 min read

Think back to the last time you saw someone bust out a set of push ups: what did they do when they were finished?

There's a good chance it was something like this:

It's such a common reaction that many yoga and Pilates classes now regularly include the cue to "shake out the wrists" after push ups, chaturanga, or arm balances, as though pain in the wrist joint was a perfectly normal part of these exercises.

It isn't.

And when, perhaps, you complained to a trainer or therapist about your wrist pain, maybe they told you it was a weakness issue. Just strengthen those wrists (whatever that means) and the pain will subside! Well, did it?

[caption id="attachment_31073" align="aligncenter" width="259"]Doubtful. Doubtful.[/caption] That, or they offered you a modification so that you didn't have to worry about it, like bearing weight on your fists instead, or propped up on dumbbells. This will work in the moment, but it's still predicated on the idea that the only thing you can do with aching wrists is try to ignore them. Well, like the vast majority of joint aches you'll ever experience, wrist pain during weight bearing is a simple, mechanical issue that's actually pretty easy to fix.

The Problem

Here's your wrist in palmar flexion:

Photo 30-10-13 12 41 50 pm

This is palmar extension, or dorsiflexion . . . Photo 30-10-13 12 41 55 pm . . . which is, obviously, the position of your wrist while you're doing a push up. What you might not know is that, what looks like a pretty straightforward hinge has a significant component of rotation. In particular, dorsiflexion of the wrist requires (or causes, depending on which direction the force is traveling) internal rotation, or pronation, of the forearm.

Many thanks to the very patient but understandably confused waitress who agreed to take this picture. So, if your forearm isn't rotating enough, your wrist isn't dorsiflexing enough. And if your wrist isn't dorsiflexing enough, bearing weight on it feels awful.

The Solution

The Breakdown

This is a human hand: Photo 1-11-13 3 21 09 pm And these are the radius and scaphoid bones: Photo 1-11-13 3 25 59 pm This is the same human hand from a viewing angle rotated roughly 90 degrees to the right: Photo 1-11-13 3 27 18 pm Now, do you see that pointy bit at the end of the radius that looks kind of like an arrowhead pointing toward the fingers? Well, like any sharp, pokey thing, sticking it in the wrong place hurts. And that's why the scaphoid has a track built right into its contours that is perfectly tailored for the radius. Maybe you can see it there in the grooves etched into the bone. No?
Photo 5-11-13 10 25 30 am
How about now?
What you also might notice is that the point of the radius isn't, at the moment, directly pointing at the notch where it is so clearly intended to fit. Well, what would happen if you rotated that radius to the left a few degrees, you know, like in that video you just watched? aha_momentWith that rotation comes the freedom to dorsiflex the wrist as far as you please. Without it, the radius—with its hooked, sharpened end—is left to grind the surrounding soft tissues into pulp, which is roughly as pleasant as it sounds. What's more, dorsiflexion of the wrist is mechanically similar to dorsiflexion of the ankle, in that it provides the initial leverage which drives upper-body strength. In addition to ridding yourself of that unpleasant stabbing sensation, you'll be tapping into a whole new source of badass. [caption id="attachment_31065" align="alignnone" width="854"]You may remember these from last time. This one's a little harder to decipher, but it's the palm of your hand (with all the fingers removed) illustrating the leverage of the capitate and scaphoid bones over the rotation of the radius. You may remember these from last time. This one's a little harder to decipher, but it's the palm of your hand (with all the fingers removed) illustrating the leverage of the capitate and scaphoid bones over the rotation of the radius.[/caption] And we haven't even talked about tendons or muscles yet! You can be sure, though, that their shape, position and function are all based on this structural relationship.

Side note

Be aware that, as you're experimenting with this, a lot of new, interesting things will happen in the elbow and shoulder. Keep the focus on the wrist for a bit and just try to make things comfortable. Remember: one thing at a time! Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.  

Leave a comment

Also in BodyRock Store Blog

Image of Bodyrock blog article - What Happens To Your Butt When You Sit All Day?
What Happens To Your Butt When You Sit All Day?

July 14, 2019 3 min read 227 Comments

Do you think your booty looks a little flat? This might be why!
Read More
Image of Bodyrock blog article - 12 Ways To Make Your Belly Flatter By The End Of The Day
12 Ways To Make Your Belly Flatter By The End Of The Day

July 08, 2017 4 min read 10 Comments

Read More
Image of Bodyrock blog article - 7 Ways To Stop Binge Eating In It's Tracks
7 Ways To Stop Binge Eating In It's Tracks

June 22, 2017 2 min read

Do you ever find yourself knuckle-deep in a bag of Cheetos?
Read More
Shipping & Delivery

Due to COVID-19, shipping systems the world over are experiencing abnormal delays. There is an enormous demand on postal and delivery services as online shopping has skyrocketed, due to store closures and stay-at-home mandates. This is an unprecedented situation, and we are working around the clock to fulfill your orders as quickly as possible. To be clear, we are filling orders in 4-6 days, and we are shipping immediately after that. Once shipped, our shipping partner, UPS, will get your order out to you as quickly as possible. Thanks for your support and understanding.

Are you in Canada? Specifically, are you outside of a metropolitan centre? We need to alert you to a disruption in shipping due to COVID-19. Our preferred shipping provider, UPS, has informed us that they cannot guarantee express shipping for many locations. We have also seen that packages delivered to Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, etc, are not waylaid, but packages delivered to areas just outside of these cities are being held in transit for days or even weeks. UPS has discontinued their guarantee of 1-4 day delivery, which you can read more about here. Therefore, we can guarantee early fulfillment but not early delivery of our goods from our warehouse to your door at this time.


We want you to start your fitness journey with us as quickly as possible, that’s why we send every package to the USA & Canada via expedited or standard shipping with our partners at UPS. Once your order is received and processed, it typically takes 2-4 days to get to you once it leaves our warehouse. That’s our commitment and we stand by it.

We ship within Canada and the United States via UPS with Standard & Expedited shipping (whichever is faster)

For locations outside of the US and Canada, we ship using FedEx International (EUROPE and Other Nations), which is usually in transit for 7-10 business days, depending on location.

We ship all of our physical products with UPS, from our warehouse location in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Delays caused due to custom withholds are not included in these estimated delivery times.

Returns & Exchanges

BodyRock Equipment

We offer a 30-day return policy, as long as: it is not more than 30 days past the date of delivery; and your item is in its original condition and packaging with the original order number. Refunds will be issued when the equipment is received back to the BodyRock warehouse, minus the original cost of shipping, and the customer is responsible for the costs of return shipping. To request a refund on physical product purchases, please contact us.

Digital Products

We cannot issue refunds on digital goods such as e-books or videos, as these are non-tangible goods that are irrevocable once the order is placed.


All of the BodyRock clothing is made to order and so is final sale. If you have any questions about sizing prior to placing your order, please contact us.