Standing on your feet is boring. Yet, while standing on the hands is loads of fun, sometimes students feel pain in their wrists. The good news is, you can save your wrists by activating your hands.
In fact, I feel this is so important for students to know, it’s included in the last lesson of my free foundations course. Click here if you haven’t snagged that yet.
Here’s the deal. In some of the fun and funky poses, our hands lay the foundation. Here are a few examples:
- side planks
- all 4’s (hands & knees)
- arm balances
In all of these poses and exercises, the hands lay our foundation. Do we ever want to build off a weak foundation? No!
Proper hand position is important because it will improve balance and fire muscles properly throughout the arms and into the shoulder girdle. The result is reduced wrist pain and even reduced shoulder problems long term!
Activating your hands is easy, with these 2 steps:
Step 1) Place your hand on the mat with your fingers spread out really wide, similar to the way a child would tell you they are 5 years old. Always place your hand on the mat in that big, “star fish” position, to get the largest surface area possible.
Step 2) Activate the hand, by pressing into the length of each finger. That means the bottom of the middle knuckle and the finger print of each finger should be pressing firmly into the mat. Notice, there is no tenting of the knuckles here! You will instantly feel how much activation you get in the forearm muscles when you do this.
As you progress into a movement, such as a plank or handstand, keep your eyes on the fingers and be sure they don’t start to tent at the knuckles.
In fact, the fingers should be pressed into the mat so firmly, that if your instructor tried to “pluck” one of your fingers off the mat, it wouldn’t budge!
Proper activation of the hands, and in turn, activation of the arm and shoulder muscles will do wonders for supporting your wrist joint when the body weight stacks on top.
Start activating your hands today to have happy wrists for the rest of time!
P.S. You can (and SHOULD) be activating your feet too! If you aren’t sure how to activate your feet, you better head over to my post on how to activate your feet to improve your entire practice.