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How To Prevent Wrist Pain From Your Weight Training

November 6th, 2007 · 19 Comments ·


Few months ago, I have felt a pain at my right wrist while I was doing bench press. When it happened the first time, the pain went away within a day. I tightened the wrist strap attached with my glove thinking that the problem would be solved. Sadly, the pain came back a week after, but again, things were back to normal the next day.

The third time, the pain was still there even after 3 days. Something was not right. I felt the pain whenever I twisted in circular using my right wrist, even without holding anything in my hand.

It was quite frustrating. I had to stop training with free weights and opt for machines.


Spoke to a seasoned gym goer and he told me that my wrist was hurt because of the wrong technique holding the bar or dumbbell when lifting weight.

To illustrate his points, using bench press as the example:

  1. We should put the bar over the palm and not at the fingers. (Using marker pen as straight bar for illustration purpose in the below photos.)


  2. Hold the bar tight enough so that it will not move in your hands. Squeeze it hard. Make sure the thumb presses against other fingers hard enough.



  3. Not to roll your wrist backward when you do bench press. Once the wrist is rolled backward, the weight will hurt it. The wrist has to be aligned with the forearm.



  4. Glove with wrist straps may make thing worse. Relying too much on the strap may have made my wrist weaker in long term.

I hope the right wrist pain is not caused by my Counter Strike games. Damn.

Thanks to my buddy for showing his hand in the above photos. So, the next time you do bench press, pull up, or other weight lifting exercise, especially with free weight, make sure you do it correctly to protect your wrists from injury.



Category: Weight Training

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19 responses so far ↓
  • sylvesteR // Nov 6, 2007 at 2:34 AM

    Don’t know why but I experienced it and I saw a lot people bending their wrist as well, maybe the weight’s too heavy or something, but it feels better bending your wrist though you know it’s wrong, I think. Humans go for the easier way, don’t they? Well, of course some believed in the hard way for it shall benefit more.

  • Angie Tan // Nov 6, 2007 at 10:35 AM

    I’m still new to free weights training and I still need my trainer to spot for me just in case my grip isn’t right.

    Thanks for the tips. I used to play tennis and I know the importance of getting the right grip or else you’ll get either tennis elbow or a very bad wrist pain.

    Take care! Hope your wrist gets better! ;-)

  • Mun // Nov 6, 2007 at 10:48 AM

    Hi sylvesteR – Most people may have twisted their wrists without knowing it, especially during the last few reps in the workout. In this case, if we hold the bar tight enough, we will not have to “cheat”.

    Hi Angie – Thanks. My right wrist has not fully recovered yet, but I have started hitting the iron again since last week after training with machines for couple of weeks. It is totally a new experience by holding the bar correctly and I love it!

  • Elvina // Nov 6, 2007 at 1:03 PM

    Hi Mun,

    Hope you are doing ok. Thanks for the tips. Now I’ll be more careful when doin this exercise as I realised I tend to roll my wrist backward at times. Will perfect my technique in my next body pump class… Cheers!

  • trey // Nov 6, 2007 at 2:18 PM

    i have experienced (still am, actually) wrist pain starting from a couple months ago. Its not due to poor form on benches etc, but i had an incident which requires me to dump a massive weight from the overhead position (from the top of a Clean & Jerk). since i dont have access to olympic style/rubber plates.. i was hesitant of dumping the massive steel plates directly to the floor, so i absorbed most of the impact/momentum of releasing the weight on my wrists, i had a sprained left wrist because of that.

    training had been slow for the next few weeks after that, BUT i realized something good that’s coming out of the whole scenario. since the wrist is hurt.. I had to pay more and more attention of my grip placement and correct techniques on lifts like the Bench Press, Shoulder Press, etc… i noticed that with correct form, the wrist doesnt even hurt even on max lifts.

  • One Big Health Nut // Nov 6, 2007 at 6:00 PM

    Correct grip is important and many people have hurt themselves by doing it wrongly (including me) before. Sometimes we even get the right grip at the first time but as we become more tired (or we are in the last rep), unconsciously our grip slipped and we ‘cheat’. the most common form of ‘cheat’ that I’ve done is the one illustrated in the third point.

  • Jarret // Nov 7, 2007 at 4:24 AM

    Hi Mun,

    I like your fitness blog! Your article describes exactly the same thing that happened to me recently as well as the reason why. As my strength bench pressing started to increase, I started to notice the same type of pain that you described. It usually lasted about a day, then simply went away. However, the most recent time that it happened–about six weeks ago, the pain just got worse. I haven’t been able to lift weights at all since then. When my sprained wrist finally heals, I will try the new technique that you suggest.


  • chickens // Mar 19, 2008 at 6:47 PM


    I just read from somewhere that people uses those white cellophane tape n stick straight on the hand. When you turn your hand to wrong positions, the tape will wrinkle…… seems to be a good indicator.

  • Russl // Sep 1, 2008 at 7:55 AM

    Hi mate
    cheers for this, my wrist kills after coming off the bench, but i found that bending your wrist your actually ‘cheating’ i had to knock the weight down a few kilos whilst not bending my wrist.

  • bata // Oct 19, 2008 at 8:10 AM

    if i already screwed up BOTH of my wrist what to do? LOL
    seriously no idea.
    my left wrist screwed up juz the same like you, when doing bench presses
    im holding the bar like pic no4.
    already had the injury for about a year i think, and also same as you i juz bought the wrist strap glove, but the pain did not go away until worst thing happened my hands started to feel numb.
    former bodybuilder told me i maybe my nerve is pinched.
    last week i screwed up my right wrist doing heavy chest press. lol


  • Julian Meteor // Nov 27, 2008 at 6:48 PM

    This is VERY useful. I do NOT weight train, but I have ADAPTED your ideas to MY favourite past-time…

  • i hate my life because of my wrist pain // Feb 11, 2009 at 11:08 PM

    hello to every one hope you all are doing fine. well i love going to gym i have been training for about a year. i was very skinny before joining the gym but i trained hard and had a good body with in a year. until i got this wrist pain. i thought its normal to have this kind of pain but belive it or not its still there its been 8 months now i have gone to various doctors i have done xrays every thing is normal i cant train with this pain my body has been distroyed in 7 months. this is very serious pain belive me i want to cry i dont know what to do

  • Arun Haridas // Jul 11, 2009 at 2:17 PM

    I have been working out for the past 5 years.I too got the same sort of wrist pain in my left hand.I started using wrist bands after consulting a doctor, which gave me a considerable relief. But i still frequently feel pain even while resting. Is there a permanent solution for this?

  • Ben H // Aug 24, 2009 at 5:32 PM

    Have been going the gym for about 7 months now and have worked up to pretty heavy shoulder presses and bench presses. Had this annoying left wrist pain for the last 2 months but usually goes away 1 minutes after completing the exercise, this pain is lasting a few days now so I am worried. Found out that I have been folding my wrists back and holding the dumbells for shoulder presses on the wrong angle with huge weight loads pushing on the wrist which isn’t too good. I will take a few weeks off the normal routine and try lowering the weight when I resume to practice the correct form. Not worth risking long term damage when it can be avoided by doing exercises correctly.

  • Adrien Of The Forest // Mar 2, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    Yea, I think its just a case of lifting weights that are too heavy too soon. Your muscles can take it and repair, but your little cruchy bits cant, so you have to be careful. I reckon theyd heal over time tho.

    Ive had no pro training or anything tho so dont take my word completely, I just follow nature!

    My dad did pull his elbow playing badminton actually and he got a steroid injection from the doctor and he said that fixed it.

  • Stuart // Mar 7, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    That’s really helpful. I’ve had the same problem (I think) for a few weeks doing incline bench, bench and the close grip bench for triceps. I will definitely watch form regarding the wrist from now on. That is probably what I’m doing.

  • Nitin // Nov 28, 2010 at 11:42 AM

    Thanks for showing really good technique.

  • Chris // Dec 29, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Hey everyone, read all of your comments but think I should let you guys in on something. Id had wrist pain for the last few months after bench and never really paid much attention. My wrist swelled up a week ago and couldnt even move it. Got xrays done and was told that I have severe arthritis in my left wrist. I do admit ive been in a physical labour job for the last 12 years and lifted weights. BUT IM 28 YEARS OLD AN HAVE SEVERE ARTHRITIS. Listen to your body. If it hurts even if you are using correct grip STOPDOING IT dont let it get to this point!

  • George // Dec 9, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Hi, i would like to find out whats the exact kinda pain u guys feel.
    isit the electric tingling sensation kind of pain?
    or just normal muscle pain?
    or i-knock-my-hand-on-something kind of pain?

    i have been feelin electric sensation. which would mean the nerves are involved. anyone of u out there felt tt before?
    what can i do to alleviate this pain?

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