3 Wrist and Forearm Exercises To Increase Bone Strength

Exercise / November 28, 2019

When you think of osteoporotic fractures, which bones do you normally picture breaking? Most would say the hip, spine, or leg. But very few think of the forearm. And I think that’s a mistake.

After all, did you know osteoporotic fractures of the forearm are more common than spine and hip fractures? It’s true. And it turns out, most of those forearm fractures occur in the wrist. So it makes sense to focus more on the forearm and wrist with some effective ways to protect and strengthen them!

That’s why I’d like to share 3 wrist and forearm exercises that increase bone strength in that area. The following exercises not only increase muscle strength and range of motion but if you are someone who suffers from tennis elbow, like my mom, they are also very helpful.


Lateral Wrist Exercise

This exercise targets the wrist extensors and flexors. In doing so, the exercise helps to restore movement in your wrist, while also improving flexibility of the wrist muscles. And that’s good for anyone, not just for those worried about bone loss!

Bonus: if you have tennis elbow, you’ll definitely want to read this.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, occurs when inflammation surrounds the outer side of the elbow. It’s simply caused by repetitive overuse of the wrist extensor muscles. These repetitive motions can cause lesions in muscle tissue. As the name suggests, tennis elbow is commonly caused by strain from playing tennis or other sports, but can also result from everyday work! Approximately 1% โ€“ 3% of the population suffers from tennis elbow.

This lateral wrist exercise is a lateral wrist flexion and extension that is a combination of a light warm-up, stretching, and exercise. It relieves pain from tennis elbow by actually creating a collagenous scar in the affected muscles. The tension from the wrist extensions creates new fibrous tissue to form, which protects the muscles from future damage.

Here’s how to perform the exercise:

  1. Begin standing with your arms out in front of you, palms facing down.
  2. Then bend your wrists forward and backward until you feel a light, pain-free stretch.
  3. Repeat 10 times on each arm.
  4. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Alternatively, you can also do this exercise seated with your forearm supported by a table. Your wrists and fingers should hang over the edge (you can also put a rolled up towel for padding underneath your forearm). Then bend your wrists forward and backward, just like the picture above. Advanced: you can also add a 1- or 2-lb. dumbbell for extra resistance (and benefit to your forearm).

Bone-healthy benefit: You’ll increase your flexibility at all ages. Increased flexibility improves your range of motion and protects your joints. As you may know, deteriorating joints can also impact bone health because the protective cartilage on the end of your bones wears down and the bones can rub together. That rubbing causes searing pain and can lead to osteoarthritis.

As we age, our joints can lose up to 50 percent of their range of motion! So incorporating this (and the other two) exercises will help combat that loss.


Seated Wrist Curl with Dumbbell

This seated wrist curl helps to develop your flexor muscles: Wrist flexors, supinators, pronators, and brachialis.

Start light with this exercise! Do not use heavy weight if you are just beginning or have a wrist injury. Wear a wrist wrap if you need the support.

Here’s how to perform the exercise:

  1. In a seated position on a Bosu ball or chair, place your forearm on your thigh with your palm facing upward.
  2. Using a 1- 5 lb hand weight (the weight should be just enough so you feel fatigued at the end of your set), flex your wrist upward.
  3. Focus on keeping your forearm well placed against your thigh for stability. You can also use your opposite hand and thigh as pictured.
  4. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

While you’re in between sets for your seated wrist curl, you can also add in the seated wrist reverse curls. This will target your extensor muscles. Here’s how to perform the seated wrist reverse curls:

  1. Start in the same seated position with your forearm on your thigh.
  2. But this time, your palm will face downward.
  3. Using your weight, extend your wrist upward fully.
  4. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

*Try not to lift your elbow from the thigh when extending your wrist. Keep your palm down.

Progression: Once these exercises are no longer a challenge, increase the weight by 1 pound and add an extra set too.

Bone-healthy benefit: These seated wrist curls can stimulate bone growth by stressing your bones (in a positive way). Your bones crave weight-bearing exercise, which forces the bones to strengthen, just like muscles strengthen over time when they lift weights.

Here’s how it works. As you may know, osteoblasts are your “bone-building cells”. After they’ve done their bone-building, they “retire” from that phase of their life and turn into osteocytes. Osteocytes lie in your bones and send signals throughout your skeleton, like the bones’ version of a nervous system. These signals direct and balance the activity of current bone-building osteoblasts and bone-resorbing osteoclasts. This way, you keep your bone remodeling system in check, so you maintain a healthy amount of bone!

Meanwhile, exercise from weighted wrist curls ensures your osteocytes actively signal new osteoblasts (and muscle cells) to form. And research shows increased forearm muscle strength (from new muscle cells) is highly correlated with better bone density. So your forearm receives a consistent stream of new bone-building “recruits” to remain strong.


Tennis Ball Grip Strength

The Tennis Ball Grip Strength targets your wrist flexors and extensors.

Of course, you will need a tennis ball (you can also use something similar in size like a lacrosse ball or another ball with some “give” like I’m using below).

Here’s how to perform the exercise:

  1. Grasp the tennis ball in one hand while sitting or standing.
  2. Slowly squeeze it as hard as you can, and hold for 2-3 seconds.
  3. Slowly release your squeeze.
  4. Rest for 3 seconds and then repeat 10 times.
  5. Switch hands and repeat steps 1-4 above.
  6. Repeat twice on each hand (for 3 sets in total for each hand).

Progression: Once this exercise is no longer a challenge, add an extra set and increase your squeeze time by 1-2 seconds.

Bone-healthy benefit: As the name suggests, this is a great exercise to increase your grip strength. And handgrip strength is an indicator of potential fracture risk since it’s linked to fragility and increased likelihood to fall. In fact, some studies show those with weaker hand grip strength tend to have lower bone mass in the hip and the spine. Decreased grip strength indicates impaired muscle strength, and therefore diminished physical ability, which causes greater mortality risk in older people. The bottom line is, once your grip strength starts to weaken, it’s generally a sign of worse things to come.

All three of these wrist and forearm exercises should be performed 3x per week, provided they do not cause or increase pain. Check with your physiotherapist prior to beginning this workout regimen to see if these exercises are suitable for you.

As you’ve seen, these exercises are more than just forearm strengtheners. Each supports healthy bone density!


Tend To Your “Forgotten Bones”

When it comes to osteoporosis exercises, you don’t usually see much in terms of wrist or forearm exercises. That’s unfortunate, because grip strength and arm strength are good indicators of overall strength, and they play an important role in flexibility and range of motion.

Obviously, it’s important to strengthen the muscles in your spine and lower body, as they tend to be common bone density loss areas. But your wrists and forearms are critically important tooโ€” especially as you age. Why?

Because the chance of falling increases with age. And guess what we usually use to brace ourselves from the sudden impact? That’s right, your wrists and forearms. Your wrists and forearms absorb that initial impact, placing incredible pressure on those bones.

So, why not prepare them and ensure you’re safe, rather than sorry? And that’s where the three wrist and forearm exercises come in!

To amplify the effects of these exercises- and reduce any pain and inflammation including tennis elbow- you should rest, ice and take proven anti-inflammatories like Triple Power Omega 3 Fish Oil.

Once any visible swelling and pain has gone away, you can add in these helpful exercises.

I hope you’ll try these exercises at home. And please, let me know how they work for you, and how your pain (or even tennis elbow) improves!

Author: Monica Straith, BS

Comments
Linda Grimm
Linda Grimm

I am so glad to see where I can do some exercises while taking AlgaeCal Plus. I was on Prolea for a year and in Sept 2019 my right femur snapped just while standing. I did some research and found Algae Cal Plus so I am trying it rather than another very expensive injection. Have not been on it very long but I just read that you should not take this one medication I am on at the same time as AlgaeCal. I am changing that. I don’t have a problem with the dosage. Just hope and pray it works. I told one of my doctors and he will help me get dexa scan scheduled when appropriate time arrives. I am so glad AlgaeCal Plus is available to help improve Osteoporious

Megan AlgaeCal
Megan AlgaeCal

Hi Linda!

It’s great to hear from you and we’re so glad you found AlgaeCal!! We’ve helped thousands of women and men increase their bone density and we’re confident we’ll do the same for you ๐Ÿ˜Š

If ever you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re here to help you throughout your bone health journey! ๐Ÿ’•

-Megan @ AlgaeCal

Shirley
Shirley

So glad you sent these – I have bone spurs on both wrists and have been wondering what to do to help that (also have osteoporosis). I will definitely add these to my other exercises.

Blaire AlgaeCal
Blaire AlgaeCal

We’re sure happy to hear that you’re going to give these a try, Shirley! Let us know how it goes ๐Ÿ’œ

– Blaire @ AlgaeCal

Josephine Robinson
Josephine Robinson

I have been taking algaecal plus and Strontium Boost which has increased my bone density a little over the past year, and my doctor wants me to also take Alendronato once a week. What do you think? Is it compatible? Thanks for everything!

Megan AlgaeCal
Megan AlgaeCal

Hi Josephine, glad you reached out!

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on your bone density increase! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ After the age of 40, we tend to lose 1% of bone density each year – so turning this around and actually increasing your bone density is wonderful news! ๐ŸŽ‰

With regards to bone medications…while some take AlgaeCal alongside bone drugs, AlgaeCal is clinically supported to increase bone density completely safely & naturally on its own – without the need for prescription medications! In fact, using the supplements on their own will provide the most benefit.

You see, bone remodeling has two parts: clearing away old bone (the work of osteoclast cells) and replacing it with new bone (the work of osteoblast cells).

Bone drugs work by completely shutting down osteoclast activity, which results in a build-up of old, brittle bone. This is why a DEXA scan can show improvements in terms of density, while the bone is actually more prone to fracture!

The goal of the natural approach, on the other hand, is to get your bone remodeling process back to normal. Strontium Boost has a unique dual effect on bone remodeling: it SLOWS DOWN osteoclasts (still allowing for a healthy rate of bone clearance) and also stimulates osteoblasts! This promotes an increase in bone density AND bone strength. AlgaeCal Plus then provides you with all the necessary building blocks for new bone growth!

Hope this information helps and if you need any clarification or would like to chat about this, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-820-0184 ๐Ÿ’•

-Megan @ AlgaeCal

Carla Janzen
Carla Janzen

Thanks for the exercises. I really need them! I can use a weight in my right hand but because of arthritis in my left wrist I canโ€™t hold a weight, too painful.

Blaire AlgaeCal
Blaire AlgaeCal

It’s great that you’re going to try out these exercises, Carla! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

We’re sorry to hear about the pain you’re experiencing in your left wrist. We recommend targeting arthritic inflammation through exercise, sleep, an anti-inflammatory diet, and our very own natural anti-inflammatory: Triple Power Fish Oil! Triple Powerโ€™s formulation provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients, shown to help manage the pain and stiffness associated with arthritic conditions. You can learn more about arthritis and 5 natural remedies you can count on here

Hope that helps! โค๏ธ

– Blaire @ AlgaeCal

Mr. Marko Turner
Mr. Marko Turner

These are almost Too Obvious yet highly efficient sets of exercises – thanks. I need to constantly remind myself that simple can be better, and not to over complicate.

What do you recommend for Achilles tendonitis and strengthening lower leg limbs as well?

Megan AlgaeCal
Megan AlgaeCal

Hi Marko, glad you’re enjoying the exercises!

And yes – a lot of the times, simple is indeed better ๐Ÿ™‚ While we don’t have exercises specifically tailored to Achilles tendonitis, some of these foot strengthening exercises may be helpful for you. We also have some exercises here that can help strengthen your lower limbs.

Hope this helps and keep up the great work exercising!

-Megan @ AlgaeCal

Manya Ameri
Manya Ameri

I have carpal tunnel so what exercise can I safely do without aggravating this painful condition?

Jenna AlgaeCal
Jenna AlgaeCal

Hi Manya,

It’s best to check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any wrist and forearm exercises to determine what’s right for you. Some other exercise options to consider can be found at this YouTube link.

– Jenna @ AlgaeCal

Denise
Denise

For the wrist exercises should this be done everyday? Thank you for the videos….

Sarah Cummings
Sarah Cummings

Thank you for also providing the videos! Really appreciate this article! ๐Ÿ‘

Jenna AlgaeCal
Jenna AlgaeCal

So glad you enjoyed it, Sarah ๐Ÿ™‚

– Jenna @ AlgaeCal

Ann
Ann

Also, do the lateral wrist exercise holding weights to add strength in addition to flexibility and range of motion.

Monica
Monica

Yes, great point Ann!

– Monica @ AlgaeCal

M V Haynes
M V Haynes

Thank you! These are great for increasing strength.

Patricia
Patricia

Thanks of these… do them Daily?

You mention tennis elbow- are there exercises like this for shoulders ? and legs?

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