Bodyweight TV

No More Wrist Pain: A Desk Jockey Special

Written by Ryan Murdock

If you slave away at an office all day, this one’s for you…

We covered lower back and hip movements in an earlier blog and video. Check that out if your job is making you chair shaped. And we looked at the upper back and shoulders in the second installment. You should look that up if you’re developing the dreaded office worker hunch.

Several readers have asked us to address wrist pain and that miserable burning repetitive strain that spreads up the forearms. That’s the topic of today’s video.

Your first task is, as always, to mobilize the affected area. We’ll accomplish this with a series of full range movements to open the wrist in the four cardinal directions. Once you’ve released that short range stiffness, follow it with circles to stimulate blood flow in the surrounding tissues, wash the joints with synovial fluid, and smooth out those snap, crackles and pops. Do this frequently. Finger circles too. You can even recite “this little piggy went to market,…” while you train. It isn’t just a game for feet.

Next, we’ll go to the floor and roll from finger tips to palm heels, moving the hands gradually away from your body to open up those tight forearms. Remember: don’t just slam your palm heels down. Roll your hands open, and exhale as you go. You can even work right up to the full seal walk, but you probably shouldn’t do that one at the office. Save it for home, and use it to terrorize the family pet.

I’ve also demonstrated a few closed-chain circles that you can use to help release tension creeping up both sides of your forearms. You’ll benefit from these whether you’re an accomplished typist or a thumb shuffling Blackberry belle. Just 6 or 8 slow, smooth reps in each direction is enough to make progress. Even better if you can do them a few times during your work day.

Now that we’ve got Mr. Tension on the run, we’ll chase him up into the elbows. We’re again hitting him from both sides, this time with the Hitchhiker and Arm Bar. Tension to extension is the name of the game here. Do these at least once a day, and use them anytime you feel your elbows need decompressing.

Finally, we’ll finish with one last movement to decompress the shoulders, just in case that sneaky tension has decided to loaf around up there. This is different than the Double Handcuff we looked at in an earlier clip. The Arm Screw will wring your shoulders out like an 1800’s washrag. Save it for the end of the day, and use it to bid good riddance to the office as you wind down and shift into home mode. It’s either that or a stiff martini, and we’re not talking about liver overcompensations in this article.

Here’s a short video to coach you through the movements:

Give these a try. Let us know how you do in the comment section below.

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About the author

Ryan Murdock

33 Comments

  • RYAN:

    I missed the two videos to which you referred regarding shoulders and hips. Could you resend them, please.

    Thanks.

    JIMBO

  • Thanks! The first wrist move on the knees and hands flat out with fingers pointing at you, I find that move extremely difficult. Is there another stretch/move that you would do as a precurser to that move? Again thanks so much!

    • Hi Paul,

      If you can’t get your palms to the floor, just go as far as you can. Work it most days and eventually you’ll get your palms to the floor. Most people who find this really difficult also benefit from the arm screw and the work presented in “removing the hunch.” It might be that you need to work some with those to speed things along with your wrists.

    • Thanks Kathryn! (for those who haven’t made the connection, Dr. Kathryn is the author of The Satisfaction Transformation). Great advice.

      I’d like to add that in the beginning, I had almost no range of motion in those closed-chain circles with the fingers pointing in palms down. I could barely rotate my elbows at all in that position. You’ll get there if you work at it a little bit each day.

  • Hi Ryan…. I’ve found the three videos very helpful, but is there a chance you could do one that addresses elbow pain, more specifically, medial tendonitis? Thanks!

    Jim

    • Hi Jim,

      Sure, we can slot that in. Have you had this condition assessed by a health care professional and been cleared for exercise? As always, that’s the first step when it comes to injury, and we’ve gotta say it…

      • Hi Ryan, I had the exact same problem with my left elbow quite a few years ago, and now I have the symptoms in my right elbow. I find your videos to be very straight forward… almost as if we were in the same room and you showing me the exercises. I am currently doing some mobility exercises with bands, but any additional information would be great. Thanks,

        Jim

  • Awesome stuff as always Ryan. Along with all the frustration that comes from an active person who breaks their wrist I’m always looking for ways to challenge it & work it through it’s ROM. Mission accomplished. The arm screw really uncovered some crunchy shoulders. lol!

    Thanks!

  • Really helpful exercises. A good extension to the Intu-flow routine on wrists. We’ve been doing something similar in yoga lately and it seems to be freeing up my tight wrists and forearms so I look forward to progressing to these exercises.
    Thanks for the great stuff this site puts out and any tips on avoiding the hip surgery i’m battling against at the mo’ would be greatly appreciated.

  • Ryan that was a great exercise video,I play a lot of tennis and could greatly use the exercise after I play. do you have any more techniques for forearm /elbow tightness? thanks again Don

  • If the pain is carpel tunnel related, check out the benefits of a couple of B-6 tablets every day. It has made wonders in my life for inflamation in many of my older (70+) joints.

  • Great video, Ryan. You’ve provided a valuable resource here – I hope it gets the exposure it deserves. Nice compilation and extension of the material from Intu-Flow, and some of the Core Cadre stuff from several years back . I’m showing this to my wife as soon as possible to help her with her developing RIS issues. Appreciate your taking the time to make this!

    • Anytime James! The palms down closed chain wrist circles came from a period of intense clubbell training. I was frying my grip and had to figure out some way to release forearm tension during the brief rest seconds between sets. That was the most effective movement I came up with. Some of the others were buried in old CST products that haven’t seen the light in a while. Some really great stuff back there.

  • amazing stuff guys and so important as we now all seem to have to do more computer stuff even in the trades field. very important stuff here guys, you rock!

    • Yeah, it’s helpful for more than just desk stuff. I have a friend who’s a tool and die maker. I remember a few years ago his hands were aching all the time, and by the end of the work day he was unable to close them on anything. It was all just overcompensation from his job. I showed him a few of these movements and it went away the first time he did it. I wish I’d known about that a decade or so earlier! I worked for a carpenter once in high school, a summer job. One time we spent a week breaking up a cement patio with a sledge hammer and pry bar. After carrying huge stones all day, I’d wake up the next morning and I’d have to hobble to the washroom, turn the tap with my forearms, and run my hands under cold water before I could get them to open . These simple movements done at the end of each day would have prevented that.

      So yeah, great for more than just desk jockeys.

  • I am impressed with the flow of exercises, the clarity of explaining the moves,and the range of possibilies. They are great exercises and I enjoyed following along with you,thanks, Rosalie

  • Great stuff!

    I have acctually started a small group (3 people including myself) at work who go to one of our small discussion rooms and do some mobility exercises, mainly from here and TACFIT Commando mobility/compensation routines, a couple of times a week. The 2 women who join me think it’s really great. I’ll make sure to include some of these additional exercises in our routine as well.

  • I’ve been in gyms since 1957; still go to Bally’s three times/wk. I’m always looking for new things to do for conditioning. My daughter is a physiotheraist and we compare notes frequently. This was an excellent video, and I’m going to send it to her. Many thanks; like all your videos. T. Smith

  • I’ve had a wrist injury that has been haunting me for 10 years. A combination of years of cycling, working out with weights and lifting heavy suitcases (working at the airport). Also had a few bad falls off my bike. I’ve been to a specialist who ordered an MRI which is taking a year to get in. I just saw the video and I’m so excited to try these exercises. I’ll let you know how it goes!! Thanks, Ryan!

  • Tricked into having carpal tunel release – resulted in more harm than good – nerve scaring. Will the wrist exercises you show help with lessening the agrivation to the nerve?

    Great videos – it clearly shows your heart is into helping others!

    • Paul, it’s best to check with your doctor or physio re: nerve scarring. We’re not medical professionals and can’t offer advice on that sort of thing. I’d say clear this specific exercise with your doc, and if he or she says it’s okay to do it with your condition, give it a try and track your results.

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