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Old 08-26-2006, 12:30 PM   #1
statisticool
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Wrist Exercises

In class we practiced a few wrist exercises prior to starting throwing and other techniques. I assume such wrist exercises are standard in an aikido cirriculum.

My question is, are there any other recommended wrist exercises, ones not done in an aikido class, that people practice that they've found useful?


Justin

Last edited by statisticool : 08-26-2006 at 12:30 PM. Reason: corrected the tense

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Old 08-26-2006, 01:21 PM   #2
PhilMyKi
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Too easy to bring it down to the gutter ... ...

I have a power ball gyroscope that I have found invaluable for strengthening my wrists and putting those pesky misplaced little bone pack where they belong.

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Old 08-26-2006, 03:11 PM   #3
dps
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Practicing basic strikes with a bokken will develop strength and flexibility in the wrist. Ask your sensei to show you how.
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Old 08-26-2006, 06:09 PM   #4
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Wrist Exercises

I don't think the wrist warmup exercises really do that much. It's more of a warmup for the basic ways they are likely to be twisted in class. If you really wanted to increase your wrists' ROM in those positions, you'd have to hold the stretches much longer and perform them much more frequently, but I doubt deliberately increasing the ROM is a good idea anyway.

'Strengthening the wrist' is sort of a misnomer, as all the muscles that effect it are in the forearm. There are several different types of grip strength - usually classified into categories like pinch grip, crush grip, rock-climber's grip, and holding grip - which can be trained separately for their specific properties. There are even "grip athletes". Training in these grips works some of the same muscles that flex and extend the wrist, but forward and reverse wrist curls with barbells or dumbbells are the most direct way. Any or all of these exercises would probably strengthen the connective tissues in the wrist over time if done properly in the context of a well-designed routine.

I've never liked any grip or specific wrist exercises as they usually involve pain and perceptible grinding sensations for me. Unless you have problems with weakness or injury in your wrists, I wouldn't bother.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 08-26-2006 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 08-27-2006, 02:18 AM   #5
PhilMyKi
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Quote:
Philip Purcell wrote:
... those pesky misplaced little bones back where they belong.
That is how it should read.

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Old 08-27-2006, 05:46 AM   #6
wayneth
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Re: Wrist Exercises

From personal thinking, I think Bokken and Jo work are probably the best ways to develop your wrist and forearm strength; apart from the receiving of the joint techniques.
I think the preparatory exercises mentioned are more used to get the feeling from them, since I think you can't put the techniques on yourself and make yourself tap; which probably means that you can not develop from them at a faster pace compared to having someone else put them onto you.
Wayne
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Old 08-27-2006, 06:27 AM   #7
kokyu
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Re: Wrist Exercises

You might like to try wrist pushups. In one dojo I visited, they rest their wrists on the tatami, palm up, with fingers pointing at each other. Then they do x pushups using the wrist for support. Then, they rotate the palms outwards, so that the fingers are pointing away from each other. And then they do another x pushups.

Don't know about you, but this was the hardest part of the warm-up for me
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Old 08-27-2006, 11:34 AM   #8
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Nikkyo and Ikkyo pushups are a horrible idea. Putting that kind of stress on your wrists is more likely to destroy them than do anything beneficial. I can't even think of a decent rationale for the exercise. If I were instructed to do those in a class, I would refuse.
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Old 08-27-2006, 10:18 PM   #9
Jess McDonald
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Re: Wrist Exercises

I like push ups, push-ups make you strong. Standard, triangle position, wide grip and the infamous fist push up which I personally suck at cause it hurts so much. But I'm sure if I did it on a regular basis I 'd get better at it (like the kids in that class).
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Old 08-27-2006, 10:50 PM   #10
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Quote:
Jess McDonald wrote:
I like push ups, push-ups make you strong. Standard, triangle position, wide grip and the infamous fist push up which I personally suck at cause it hurts so much. But I'm sure if I did it on a regular basis I 'd get better at it (like the kids in that class).
The pushups in question are not any of the ones you cite. I was talking about pushups in which the weight is supported on the backs of the hands.
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Old 08-30-2006, 06:12 PM   #11
statisticool
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Thanks for the ideas. Just something I was wondering about since the ones done in classes I've been in are only done for a short time (I assume since in just about everything you use the wrists, and maintain tegetana, tasking the wrist).


Justin

A secret of internal strength?:
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:26 AM   #12
Keith Gotschall
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Hi all,
I've been wondering about this very thing. I have to admit to having rather weak wrists. I rock climb and have decent forearm strength, can do finger tip pull ups, but my wrists are my achilles heel. (if you pardon the confusion of body parts) I have asked other aikidoka about it, but they all warn against wrist exercises saying that you don't want to lose flexability.
Would doing curls, both forward and back, help with this? All the while trying to keep them loose with the warm up exercises.
As for the back of the wrist push ups.... I can't really do them! Yet my wife, who trained in Kung Fu for ages, can still snap off a set at will. She seems to be resting the end of the forearm bones on the floor rather than the back of the hand.
My troubles seem to stem from kote gaeshi applied in a snatchy way against the joint. Still hurts. Any ideas on training to combat this particular problem?
thanks, KG
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Old 08-31-2006, 03:27 AM   #13
deepsoup
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Quote:
Keith Gotschall wrote:
As for the back of the wrist push ups.... I can't really do them!
Don't. I'm pretty sure they'll be counterproductive.

Quote:
My troubles seem to stem from kote gaeshi applied in a snatchy way against the joint. Still hurts. Any ideas on training to combat this particular problem?
Ouch, I know that feeling. I'm afraid the only suggestion I can make there is quicker ukemi. Recovery is very slow. It might be worth wearing a bit of tubigrip (tubular bandage) on that wrist when you train - not because it'll help the wrist, but because it'll remind you and your partner to take it a bit easier on that side.

I'm sure someone will be along in a minute with some sensible suggestions for strengthening excercises, but in the meanwhile, here's a silly one:

A piece of wood (softwood - like pine), a couple of woodscrews (2 inch no10 pozidrive would be ideal) and a good quality screwdriver with a nice comfortable handle. Screw goes in, screw comes out - both hands, repeat until tired then rest until recovered (longer than you'd think, prolly at least 36hrs).

Last edited by deepsoup : 08-31-2006 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 08-31-2006, 04:15 AM   #14
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Keith,

Your kote gashi problem probably doesn't have to do with your wrist but your ukemi. You probably need to be more pre-emptive about it, and may not even have a good concept of how to protect your wrist in the technique.

The best general strategy I know is to dive in toward your wrist and get it as near to the side of your head as possible. Do a biceps curl. Now raise your upper arm until your wrist is touching your ear. This is your safe position. It is also your safe position for shihonage ukemi. When you are in this position, it is easy to keep your arm and head together and any further cranking on your wrist or arm will tend more easily to move your whole body as one instead of your wrist away from your body. You probably won't actually get to that position in kotegashi ukemi, but that's what you're aiming for. If someone is really cranking it on you like lightning, you should start diving as soon as they decide to start applying it.

Sometimes people crank kotegashi sideways and the only way to save your wrist is to jump over and do a breakfall. I think it's unnecessarily brutal, and I will ask a partner to tone that down. It seems like less of an Aikido technique designed to take balance and more of a Jujutsu type thing designed to break a joint. I find that the ukemi described above mostly eliminates the need for jumping breakfalls though, as you never let your wrist get far enough away from your torso to require it.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 08-31-2006 at 04:18 AM.
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Old 08-31-2006, 10:46 AM   #15
Adman
 
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
I don't think the wrist warmup exercises really do that much. It's more of a warmup for the basic ways they are likely to be twisted in class.
If the wrist exercises are only apprached as a warm-up, then that's all they'll be. If they are approached with the idea of the whole body working together to do such a "simple" thing, then you will feel a lot of power with each repitition. Wrist stretches, for me, can be re-vitalizing and relaxing.
Quote:
... dive in toward your wrist get it as near to the side of your head as possible.
Kevin, please don't misunderstand my post as singling you out. I agree with your points about getting your whole body as close to the action as possible. However, I prefer to enter in so that my kote'd wrist is in the center of my chest. Almost as if my arm is in a very tight sling.

thanks,
Adam
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Old 08-31-2006, 11:13 AM   #16
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Quote:
Adam Bauder wrote:
However, I prefer to enter in so that my kote'd wrist is in the center of my chest. Almost as if my arm is in a very tight sling.

thanks,
Adam
I'll play with it some next time I get the chance. I have a feeling that most of the time it doesn't make too much difference whether you aim for your chest or neck/head area, as you never get there. However, your way is more likely to require jumping over into a hard fall, as you are still standing more upright and facing head-first in the direction of further twist. The way I described, by the time you get to your safe position you are already pretty much on the ground, so there is no further need for cranking or jumping.

I don't think either way is wrong, as opposed to standing there while your wrist gets separated from your body, which is more dangerous and painful. My aesthetic preference has tended towards quieter ukemi with less jumping over time.
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:52 PM   #17
kokyu
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Quote:
Keith Gotschall wrote:
As for the back of the wrist push ups.... I can't really do them! Yet my wife, who trained in Kung Fu for ages, can still snap off a set at will. She seems to be resting the end of the forearm bones on the floor rather than the back of the hand.
Actually, I'm quite curious about the wrist push ups. According to the Aikido FAQ, it's easier to do the ikkyo pushups with the wrists closer together and the nikkyo pushups with the wrists further apart.

I'm wondering if there is a doctor out there who could give some medical advice regarding these type of pushups... especially as they seem to be practiced by non-aikido students as well...
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:51 AM   #18
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Wrist Exercises

I think you're putting too much blind faith in the authority of people with medical degrees. Most doctors wouldn't know any more about this than the average exerciser. Only a tiny portion of MD's are well-versed in orthopedics and sports medicine, an even smaller subset of these will have ever thought seriously about the prevention side of things and the evaluation of athletic training practices.

On the other hand, I don't see how you need much expertise to see that this type of pushup is both hazardous and pointless. To start with, most people feel sharp, intense pain when trying them - even when attempting to load the wrist and get into position. That should be most of what you need to know right there.

If you have any awareness of the structure and properties of the carpal area you can see that this type of pushup forces an extreme stretch in the wrist extensors, and more importantly, all the ligaments and connective tissue that hold the lower arm bones and carpals together and all the tiny little carpals in place in between. This doesn't even get into all the nerves that are trapped and being pinched on the inside of the wrist at this angle. Perhaps you haven't had any experience with anatomical specimens before. When you handle a human wrist joint exposed and unprotected by the muscles and pain reflexes, it's easy to see that it wouldn't be much harder to pry the joint capsule apart than it is to break the capsule of a turkey leg.

The hand is your body's most delicate tool. With it you can potentially perform motor skills as fine as those involved in drawing on an egg or making jewelry. You need them to enjoy such things in life as eating, typing, sex, personal hygiene, making art... why would you want to risk trying to pry them apart with half your bodyweight?

On the other side of the risk/benefit equation, what is the purported benefit of the exercise? It isn't going to strengthen any of the muscles involved in doing a pushup in any way that is signifcantly different from regular pushups, or more similarly to a way you might use them... when do you need to push something away from your torso with the back of your hand with great force? In fact, this variation is much worse for strengthening purposes because wrist pain is likely to make you stop the set before muscle fatigue does.

The only possible benefits I can imagine for the exercise are desensitizing you to pain from excessive wrist flexion and increasing wrist ROM. In my book, however, neither of these is really a benefit. The pain reaction is there to protect the wrist from exactly what this exercise does to it: hyperextension which may result in ligament and/or nerve damage, and loosen the bone-on-bone connections which may jeopardize the stability of the joint.

Furthermore, I can't think of any reason to increase wrist ROM for Aikido purposes. What you need in ukemi is not more wrist rotation and flexion but the ability to react to forces that threaten the joint and move your body so that they do not take the joint out of its safe movement range.

If you really want to increase your wrist ROM or desensitize it to pain a little, do wrist bends as a separate exercise. I don't think there is any reason to even do this to this much lesser extreme. The traditional wrist exercises before class we've discussed are not done with anywhere near the intensity and duration for this purpose, and may serve as a useful warmup. Beyond that, why?

Regarding the pushup element, if you want to build upper body strength and shoulder stability, do pushups with a grip that is comfortable for your wrist, so that upper body strength is the limiting factor, not hand or wrist pain. In fact, I think it is better to do them on handles or small dumbbells so that the wrist can be kept in a stronger, more neutral position during this exercise.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:46 AM   #19
kokyu
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Kevin, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:59 AM   #20
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
However, your way is more likely to require jumping over into a hard fall, as you are still standing more upright and facing head-first in the direction of further twist. The way I described, by the time you get to your safe position you are already pretty much on the ground, so there is no further need for cranking or jumping.
I think what we're both talking about here is the optimum ukemi for our training environment. With the kotegaeshi (kote-oroshi) we practice, you will not see many "hard falls" with "jumping". You will more than likely see the most basic form practiced that results in a back-fall, as I think you're describing. However, what I'm describing puts me in good position to keep attacking. I'm not actually turned so that my only option is to be thrown into a forward roll or hard-fall. I can just as easily take the back-fall (and quietly if the opportunity is there).

thanks,
Adam
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:23 AM   #21
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Thumbs down Re: Wrist Exercises

In class, we occasionally do wrist-strengthening exercises involving the Jo (holding it at one end at shoulder level and tipping it forward and back over a 90 degree arc as well as doing the same from side to side over a 180 degree arc like a windshield wiper).

Outside of class, I do both regular and reverse wrist curls as well as side-to-side twists (similar to the second Jo exercise mentioned above) with a 5-10lb dumbell or weight plate (weight being dependent upon the state of my oft-injured wrists at the time) as part of an overall strength and conditioning routine.

All the best to you in this and with the rest of your training!

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 09-02-2006, 04:28 AM   #22
wayneth
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Re: Wrist Exercises

We also do the same exercises with the Jo, to what Jamie mentioned. They really do work, and couldn't stress how good they are to develop the wrist and forearm. The good thing about them I find is that they don't develop your arms to be strong, and doesn't really interfere with your Aikido on that level.
Wayne
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:06 AM   #23
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Thumbs up Re: Wrist Exercises

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote: View Post
In class we practiced a few wrist exercises prior to starting throwing and other techniques. I assume such wrist exercises are standard in an aikido cirriculum.

My question is, are there any other recommended wrist exercises, ones not done in an aikido class, that people practice that they've found useful?

Justin
there are many different types of wrist exercises that can be used to strengthen your wrists. one very popular type of exercise is kettlebell drills, there are lots that you can do that will build extreme wrist and forearm strength.

this type of training is also highly popular amongst bjj and mma students as grip strength is vital for the sport. another one of my favorite tools is the gripstik, it's like a small bar with handles on it that you rotate in opposite directions to help increase wrist flexibility and enormous strength. especially as you can increase the resistance as you get stronger.

if you need more indepth info on wrist exercises, just check out my wrist exercises blog.. good luck
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:08 PM   #24
softocean
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Here are a few of the wrist stretches I do, maybe some will be useful to you.

I also noticed that some instructors like to isolate each finger in the second stretch from the left. I find that the center top stretch really helps to push the area that the normal sankyo stretch doesn't quite reach (kindof like a nikkyo stretch, but with the wrist flipped the other way).

-Jerry
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Old 05-31-2009, 02:38 PM   #25
Suru
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Re: Wrist Exercises

Something I should have known at the time, but learned the hard way when this girl at my gym went out for a smoothie with me. She was mildly curious about Aikido, so I told her we do stuff like this. I took her wrist gently and slowly performed kotegaeshi, waiting for her to just barely start to feel it and react. She yelped a loud "Ow! Why'd you do that?" I felt horrible. Then I consciously realized that there's not much pain gradient with kotegaeshi - that it's almost an off-on switch.

Drew
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