The Complete YH Wrist Warm-Up
Mobility, Flexibility, Arms
This yoga warm up sequence moves through every position of the wrist joint, while peppering in compression and weight bearing to effectively prepare the wrists for any practice.
Wrist CARs in Malasana
Come into a squat on your mat. Grab your right wrist with your left hand to prevent any movement in the forearm (isolate all movement in the wrist). Make a tight fist with the right hand (or to increase difficultly keep the right fingers extended straight). To begin movement, extend the wrist so the knuckles point downwards. Next, bend the wrist to the right. Then, flex the wrist towards the body. Lastly, bend the wrist to the left. Repeat this circle 5-10 times then switch sides. Remain engaged and active in the wrists and forearms throughout the entire movement.
Wrist Extensor Compressions
Lift the hips and reach the wrists behind the knees. Sit the hips back down to create compression in the wrists. From here, begin to open and close the hands. Start slow, and then pick up speed. Aim to open as wide as possible on each movement. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Release the wrists and come to Tabletop position. Ground down through both hands and feel the connection in each hand between the entire palm and the floor. Straighten into the arms and slowly begin to rotate the upper body around the hands. Move clockwise for 5-10 rotations, then counterclockwise for 5-10 rotations.
Upper Body Rotation
Wrist Flexor Stretch (learning forward)
Return to a neutral table top. Engage the core and begin to lean the chest forward over the wrists so that your weight pushes down through the palms at a 45-degree angle. Hold this forward position for 1 or 2 sets of 10 seconds.
Wrist Flexor Stretch (leaning backward)
Turn the hands around so that the fingers point towards the knees. Slowly begin to sit the hips back to stretch the wrist flexors in the opposite direction. If comfortable, feel free to lift the heels of the hands off the mat to bring a deeper stretch into the hands and fingers. Hold this backward position for 1 or 2 sets of 10 seconds each.
Wrist Extensor Stretch
Place the back of the right hand on the ground. Bring the chest down close to the ground and then make a first with the right hand. Place the left hand firmly on top of the right fist and slowly lift the chest up as you straighten the right arm. Externally rotate the right arm so the bicep faces forward. You should feel a deep opening on top of the right forearm. Hold for 10-15 seconds then reverse the motion to exit the position. Repeat on the other side.
Make fists with both hands and place knuckles on the mat so that the palms are facing inwards, towards one another. Begin to sit the hips back as you shift onto the outer side of each fist. Press down with the arms to increase resistance. The wrist motion you should be experiencing is the bending of the fist inwards towards your body. Either hold this static position or alternative between this and the following exercise.
Return to the top of the fist with the palms facing inwards. Begin to shift the upper body forward so that the chest comes over the wrists. Shift onto the front of the fists so that the circle made by the index and thump is planted on the ground. Make sure the arms are externally rotate and that the biceps are facing the front of the mat. Lean weight into the hands until you feel a comfortable stretch. Either hold this static position or alternative between this and the previous exercise.
Wrist Push Ups
Plant the palms flat on the mat in your Tabletop position. Press down into the mat with the fingers for a moment to feel a strong connection with the ground. Slowly, begin to press into the knuckles so that the heel of the hand lifts off the ground. Once it’s reached its maximum height, slowly lower back down. To make the exercises more difficult, shift the chest forward over the hands. To make it easier, shift the hips slightly back. Repeat for 1 or 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
To end the warm up, lift the hips all the way up into Downward Facing Dog. Feel the strength and comfort of the grip now that you’ve warmed up fully. Gently shift the weight around in the hands, then come to stillness with the index knuckles rooting down firmly into the mat. Arms externally rotate so the biceps are by the ears and hips lift up towards the ceiling. Broaden the back and lengthen the spine. As a final movement for the wrists, feel free to shift back and forth from high plank to Downward Facing Dog, before continuing your practice.