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After Years of Struggling, Here's How I Finally Learned to Do Push-Ups

Pain From Push-Ups? Try This

I rave about the benefits of push-ups all the time. This challenging exercise is great for strengthening your upper body, back, and abs. The problem is our wrists weren't designed to bear weight and putting all your weight onto a flattened palm compresses the carpel tunnel nerve. Pain caused by this compression can not only interfere with your push-up practice, but can leave your wrists aching long after you performed your last push-up.

Don't give up on push-ups before trying this: When your hands are on the floor, maintain a space the size of a marble underneath each palm, and firmly press your outstretched fingertips into the floor. This will take the pressure off your wrists and move the weight to your curved fingers, so the only pain you'll feel is the burn in your muscles.


wickedlanie wickedlanie 8 years
Good tip. My yoga teacher told us to do this today if our wrists couldn't handle the downward dog, which my can't! Doing this certainly helped.
Digital-Trainer Digital-Trainer 8 years
TidalWave, The difference in elbow position changes the muscle group that gets exercised. Elbows in works more your triceps and elbows out works more your chest. Having done many push-ups through the military, I recommend lying on the ground and tucking your thumbs into your armpits and tucking your elbows in. This position tends to be easier on shoulders. As far as making it easier on your wrists, I recommend doing them either on your knuckles or I get my clients to hold dumbbells in their hands while doing them. This puts the wrist at a more neutral position and tends to be easier on those suffering from carpal tunnel and wrist pain. Your Digital Trainer, Jeremiah
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I have a push-up question: Are my elbows supposed to go out (parallel to my ears) or stay in (towards my ribs)?
nobodymuch nobodymuch 8 years
Another helpful wrist thing is turning your hands inwards a little so that your fingertips face each other at about 15-45 degree angle. You can do this along with fit's great tip if you still have pain. And you can still do all types of pushups this way including tricep pushups if the angle is only slightly inward
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
OMG my right wrist kills me as well after doing Downward Dog as I did some permanent damage to it years ago. One thing that helps a bit is if it hurts too much, I grip the sides of my mat instead of placing my palms flat on the floor.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
thanks for the tip. My wrists really bother me when I try to do down dogs.
SunnyMutt SunnyMutt 8 years
I used to dislike the pain I felt in my wrist after doing push-ups and would always skip them in the workout DVDs I did. However, I purchased the Perfect Push-Up and after I built myself up with that then I could do regular push ups without pain in my wrists. I don't really understand why the product helped so much but it sure did. I am glad I can incorporate more push-ups into my workouts now. They make such a huge difference in my arms and really get my heart rate going.
girlgreen girlgreen 8 years
i have an injury in my right wrist that makes pushups very painful . thanks for the tip! and kia, that is great to know - i will look into military style pushups as well.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
People keep saying I should try doing push-ups but I've not been able to find a single thing that allows me to do any kind of push up without suffering severe pain in my left wrist. My left wrist was severely injury when I was hit by a car while working. Even after arthroscopic surgery and over a year of rehab I have limited use and limited range in that wrist. It's not putting weight on the wrist that hurts, it's trying to force fused bones and damaged tissue to move in a wider range of motion that kills. I guess there's really isn't anything that I can do short of loading up on painkillers before trying a push-up that will allow my to do this exercise.
dd-sugar dd-sugar 8 years
I used to love push-ups until my second bout of carpal tunnel (first was 10 years previous). I tried a version of the Perfect Push-up and now use them for all kinds of moves, especially pilates and yoga. A stable dumbbell also works but I like the griping action of the push-up accessory. Well worth the price and there are cheap, but good versions out there. Best of all, I can do my push-ups now. Distributing weight on your fingers might work if you're not having pain issues, but it still requires bending the wrist.
mrissinnj mrissinnj 8 years
This is So helpful! I love push-ups but experience a lot of pain in my wraist...definitely going to try this next time.
kia kia 8 years
Hmmm. Interesting tip. My hubby has wrist issues and does the military style on his fists to avoid hurting himself. This is definitely worth a shot.
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