Push-ups are commonly seen as a staple in any type of regimented physical training from military training to physical education classes across all schools in America, and for good reason because this popular exercise not only strengthens the core muscles but also utilizes the pectoral muscles, anterior deltoids, and the triceps. So it makes sense that this exercise is is a mainstay for increasing upper-body strength.
But have you noticed that whenever you try to start a push-up routine, your wrists begin to hurt? It's actually not that uncommon for most people to have some type of wrist pain when they first begin doing push-ups. Dr. Joseph McNamara, chiropractor and functional neurologist at McNamara Chiropractic, explains that "the reason push-ups can hurt the wrists is due to the fact that when you put the wrist in extension, it creates the most amount of pressure in the carpal tunnel. This also squeezes the tendons and median nerve against the carpal bones."
We spoke with personal trainer and fitness influencer Mike Donavanik about how to fix wrist pain during push-ups. He explains that "it may really just be that your body needs to get used to a new stimulus." Most people tend to have weak wrists so when you start a new activity that puts pressure on them, there's bound to be some pain . . . at least at the beginning. Mike suggests strengthening the wrists with "grip exercises, pulling exercises, weight lifting (free weights); all these things will functionally strengthen the flexor and extensor muscles in your forearms." He also suggests repositioning the hands so that they are right outside the nipple line.
With a little bit of practice and proper positioning of the wrists, the pain will eventually go away as your wrists (and the rest of your upper body) strengthen. And if your wrist pain won't seem to quit, your best bet is probably to check with a trainer to see if something is off with your form. Better safe than sorry!