Weekend Challenge: Complete Wrist And Forearm Strengthener
You’re going to love the simplicity of this weekend’s challenge. The Complete Wrist And Forearm Strengthener can be performed anywhere, sitting or standing, and all you need is a supportive surface, such as a table or countertop.
Simplicity does not indicate ineffectiveness, however. This isometric exercise provides effective strengthening for the wrist and forearm, which need to be strong to resist fracture in the event of a fall. After all, when you reach out to stop yourself from falling, your hands, wrists, and forearms hit the ground first!
The fact that your arms are the first to hit in the event of a fall plays a role in the frequency of these types of fractures, which we’re going to explore first…
The medical term for a broken wrist is a “distal radius fracture” or “distal ulna fracture.” It’s a fairly common injury, accounting for 18% of fractures among older adults.1 According to a review of nearly one and a half million emergency rooms across the United States, “hand and forearm fractures account for 1.5 percent of all visits,”2 with radius and ulna fractures accounting for nearly half of those visits.2
Why are these fractures so common? Among young adults, athletics are often cited; for the elderly, it is likely a matter of a greater population combined with increased activity levels. Increased activity, of course, should be a good thing; but to avoid accidents, it’s very important that as we age, we include balance exercises in our workout regimen.
If you’d like to read more about the importance of balance and practical ways you can improve yours, please click on this link: 3 Unexpected Ways To Improve Your Balance.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains this issue as follows;
“The most common cause of a distal radius fracture is a fall onto an outstretched arm. Osteoporosis…can make a relatively minor fall result in a broken wrist. Many distal radius fractures in people older than 60 years of age are caused by a fall from a standing position.”3
It’s obvious that improving your balance is a very important way to avoid wrist and forearm fractures; but it’s just as vital to strengthen the bones in the forearm, and to strengthen the entire area from wrist to elbow. Breaks can occur in various places on the lower arm bones, so the whole forearm needs to be addressed.
For instance, there are various types of forearm fractures that denote their location and severity. Fractures can be extra-articular, meaning they do not include the wrist, or they may extend into the wrist joint itself (intra-articular fracture). One or both of the lower arm bones may break through the skin in an open fracture, or a comminuted fracture may result when an arm bone is broken in more than two places. And there are many variations among these basic fracture types.
Wrist and forearm fractures can be more complicated than you may have realized! That’s why exercises that target the whole forearm are so important.
And please note: if you’ve suffered a fracture in this area of your arm, make sure you consult with your physical therapist or doctor before taking on any new exercise.
- Lay your right forearm on a table, chair arm, or other firm surface, palm facing down. Your wrist should be on the edge of the surface so your hand is unsupported by the table.
- Take your left hand and place it against the back of your right hand.
- Press down gently with your left hand, resisting with your right. You should feel the muscles along the back of your forearm working hard.
- Repeat this move 10 to 12 times, or as many as you’re comfortable with. Switch hands so your left arm is on the table or similar surface, and repeat this exercise using the opposite hands.
- Now go back to your right arm again, laying it on the table as you did before. This time, turn your palm so it’s facing up.
- Place your left hand atop your right, palm to palm, your fingers perpendicular to each other.
- Press down with your left hand and resist with your right, working the muscles in the front of your forearm. Repeat this 10 to 12 times.
- Switch arms and press down with your right hand and resisting with your left, thus working the back and front of your left forearm.
Fracture Avoidance Should Be Your Main Goal
I realize that Savers represent many different fitness levels. That is one of the reasons why the Weekend Challenges are so varied – if you are unable to perform high-impact exercises, for example, you can browse the various challenges and find a low-impact move that works for you.
The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System also takes varied fitness levels into account. If there is a Densercise™ you can’t do, you can simply skip it, or substitute a Challenge that works the same area and fits your abilities.
And all of the Save Institute’s exercises – the challenges as well as the moves in Densercise™ – are tied together with the common goal of fracture avoidance. This allows you to engage in a customized, bone-saving workout routine that helps you go through your day with confidence and energy.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
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Enjoy the weekend!
1 Nellans, Kate W., MD, MPH; Kowalski, Evan, BS; and Chung, Kevin C., MD, MS. “The Epidemiology of Distal Radial Fractures.” Hand Clin. 28. 12. (2012): 113-125. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3345129/
2 Petron, David J., et al. “Distal radius fracture in adults.” Up to Date. July 2017. Web. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/distal-radius-fractures-in-adults
3 “Distal Radius Fractures (Broken Wrist).” OrthoInfo. March 2013. Web. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00412