View Full Version : Wrist excercises... not just stretching

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08-26-2005, 05:02 PM

Since starting aikido I've been doing lots of wrist and arm excercises each day to increase my limited flexibility and general mobility. However, my wrists are starting to hurt when pressure is applied in normal day to day activities (such as pushing my wheelchair... something that I do a lot of!).

I have hypermobile wrists almost to the point of double-jointedness, so I need to know... will this discomfort pass? Am I overdoing the stretches, or can I strengthen my wrists with other excercises in order to take the increased strain over time?

I'm not getting the same reaction in my elbows and shoulders, but those are more restricted and not able to be stretched quite so extremely, plus my general pushing motion is wrist- and body-based so they aren't currently taking the same sort of strain.

Any insights from people further into their training would be appreciated!



Hanna B
08-26-2005, 07:27 PM
If you have hypermobile wrists, these are vulnerable. They need strenght, not more flexibility. The "stretching" part of aiki taiso is IMO often misunderstood; there is no need to try and get increased flexiblity in the joints. Ask your teacher (preferebly the main teacher of the dojo) what his/her opinon is on these exercises. S/He might give you a slightly different take on them. If not, go very very light when you do them.

I don't think you should take lightly on this problem. I got some problems with my wrist my first term because of careless training, and it took me years until my wrists were completely well. Of course I never took any longer rest from training... which was, in retrospect, stupid. This kind of injuries - yes, I do belives you have gotten yourself a small injury - usually takes rest to heal... and since you need to push your wheelchair daily, this kind of rest might be difficult to get. At least you can give them a rest from aikido. Aikido is often harsch on wrists. Your arms and wrists are like the legs and ancles for the rest of us, we need to use them every day for transportation and there is no way around it. I suggest you ask a physiotherapist to check your wrists, and stay away from training until you get to that physiotherapist or 'til the pain when you push your wheelchair is gone . Get yourself some kind of semi-chronic injury is just so unnecessary. Sorry to be so negative, but I think I have the reason to.

Hopefully, you'll be back in training after some rest. Ask your physiotherapist for exercises to strenghten the muscles that support your wrists. In the long run aikido will get you those muscles - but that isn't much help at the moment.

Tim Ruijs
08-29-2005, 06:00 AM
;) While it is good to exercise at home, be careful not to overdo it.
If this is the case, rest rest rest :sorry:

Hypermobility can be tricky in Aikido. Typically your body will signal the limit of a joint a fraction too late causing great pain and possibly damage tendon(s). My wife suffers from the same 'problem' :( When exercising (especially as nage) she has to remember to preload her muscles and anticipate the movements. If not, she'll hurt herself pretty easy.
After a while this response becomes second nature. At the same time you'd benefit from exercises to make your wrists stronger.

When you take the regular wrist exercises (from the warmup) but remember to slightly preload the wrist (by stretching your fingers at little) you'll strengthen them. Do not overdo this either!
Think of it as resisting the pin a little :)

This you could do for a period of time to help you find your limitations and improve your sensitivity.

If at all unsure, check with your doctor.

Aikido should benefit your body, not damage it ;)

08-29-2005, 03:32 PM
Your wrists will gain flexibility as u gain experience in aikido. Stretching them outside of class is really over doing it. I used to make this same mistake. Strengthening on the other hand can never really hurt as long as ur wrist isnt hurt in the first place. Of course i'm not an expert by any means so its probably best to check with someone who is.

08-31-2005, 08:18 AM
Just a quick update...!

I've let up on the wrist stretches outside classes and have instead focused on unresisted but slightly tensed movement within (and just up to) my current limits and natural tension. Almost immediately upon making this change the ache in my wrists has completely gone, so I'm at least reassured that I hadn't injured anything!

I'm only hypermobile in certain directions (in compensation for upper body restrictions). I also tried "pre-loading" when receiving kote-gaeshi last night, but don't think I've got my head around what you meant by that... didn't get injured, though, and it didn't hurt.

Thanks for the input, guys'n'gals! :)


Tim Ruijs
08-31-2005, 09:22 AM
Well, that's good news isn't it :)

About the preloading...it's a bit hard to explain by text only, but I'll give it a shot.
Take gote gaeshi for example when you do this to yourself. E.g. right hand controls the left hand and then stretch. If you do this exercise (very) slowly you can 'resist' the right hand with your left by pushing it (left hand) back. :confused:
Now, the trick is to resist precisely soo much that your right hand still moves the left into the pin, but less easy. It's about balancing the force of your left and right hand.
Talk to your sempai about it, changes are he/she'll know what I (you) mean.

Once you understand, you'll find it useful for many pins in Aikido.
But do not overdo this...do not use this to resist your partners movement when training :D

08-31-2005, 01:21 PM
Cheers, I think I've got the gist of it... I just tried it and found that I have to do it at a fairly small degree of turn on the wrist as anything beyond a certain point produces a similar effect to what I expect would happen in training :D

I should take a picture of my wrist... the amount of inward stretch I can get terrifies most people when they first see my wrists move; I can literally fold my palm down flat against my forearm!

09-01-2005, 07:25 PM
I should take a picture of my wrist... the amount of inward stretch I can get terrifies most people when they first see my wrists move; I can literally fold my palm down flat against my forearm!

Ok, you really have to protect those wrists. Wrists that flexible are prone to getting severely damaged in locks. As others have suggested, strengthen the wrists, don't stretch them.

Hanna B
09-01-2005, 08:52 PM
You should learn to clap early also. No need to take the pin to the point where it really hurts, not with wrists like yours.

09-02-2005, 10:23 AM
Hi Ben!

If you are able to old your writs to the extent that your palm can touch your forearm (that does sound freaking looking)

Does Nikyo work on you still?

I have a guy in my Dojo who seems to be either invisible, or just strong agains Nikyo, he does not have anything as dramatic as the wrists that you describe, but he taps out of certain variations of Nikyo almost like out of indulging Nage. ( So nage doesn't get the idea that the pin was done incorrectly.

Strange wrist people, i've seen folks like you before! And its fascinating.


09-02-2005, 10:24 AM
"invincible" that is, not invisiable. I still see the guy! heh,heh!


09-02-2005, 12:09 PM
Haha, yeah nikkyo still works, but I can usually twist out of it if Nage forgets to hold my hand in place (a neat trick if they think it's over and suddenly I'm back in Seiza!).

At the moment when I'm uke the technique doesn't go all the way through because of limited lower body mobility (either when kneeling or seated in my wheelchair), but this mobility is slowly improving so tapping out isn't a problem yet.

09-24-2005, 06:00 AM
Hello all!

Ben, after reading your innitial post, I remembered reading a text on double-jointedness and similar problems in Aikido training @ aikidofaq.com. Here's a link: http://www.aikidofaq.com/health/injuries1.html

Hope it helps.

Best wishes to all!