Key Takeaways
  • Wrist pain during compression is often due to wrist weakness and deconditioning, or technique issues like improper placement of the hand during bench press
  • Exercises like gradual wrist loading, as well as technique modifications can be very effective for wrist pain
  • It is advised to seek the help of a professional if you consistently struggle with wrist pain during or after compressive exercises like bench press or push ups

If you’re in the gym, bench pressing is almost a non-negotiable. However, we also understand that pesky wrist pain might be putting a damper on your benching game. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the ins and outs of wrist pain during bench press, its causes, and how you can conquer it with the help of physiotherapy and osteopathy. Let’s bench!


Understanding Wrist Pain

Wrist pain during bench press (and other common wrist compressive exercises like push ups) is a common complaint among active gym-goers. It usually manifests as discomfort or soreness in the dorsal part of the wrists (the top of your wrist/hand) while performing the exercise, hindering your progress and potentially leading to frustration.

    What Causes It?

    1. Improper Hand Placement: Placing your hands too far inward or outward on the barbell can strain your wrists during the lift.

    1. Weak or unconditioned wrists: Insufficient wrist conditioning or grip strength can put excess pressure on your wrists when handling heavy weights.

    1. Poor Wrist Mobility: Limited wrist mobility can lead to awkward angles during bench press.

    Pressing Pain Solutions:


    Time to talk about solutions! 

    1. Optimal Hand Placement: Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the barbell, aligning your wrists directly under your forearms. Maintain a firm, neutral grip on the bar to distribute the weight evenly across your wrists.

    2. Wrist conditioning exercises: Incorporate wrist strengthening exercises like quadruped rocking or bear crawls into your routine. Grip-strengthening exercises like farmer’s carries and wrist curls can also be useful in conditioning your wrists to compressive forces.

    3. Wrist Mobility Exercises: Include wrist stretches and mobility exercises in your warm-up routine to enhance flexibility and reduce strain.

    4. Wrist Wraps: As you work on improving your technique, and increasing your wrist strength and mobility, consider temporarily using wrist wraps during heavy bench press sessions to provide extra support.

    How Can Physiotherapy & Osteopathy Help?


    1. Proper Assessment: Physiotherapists and osteopaths will assess your wrist’s range of motion, as well as your bench pressing technique to identify any limitations or areas that need attention.

    2. Manual Therapy: Physiotherapists and osteopaths can employ hands-on techniques to alleviate wrist pain, in addition to improving mobility.

    3. Personalised Exercise Modifications: They’ll tailor your bench press technique and recommend exercises that don’t exacerbate your wrist pain.

    4. Injury Prevention Strategies: Learn valuable strategies to prevent future wrist injuries during bench press and other exercises.

    Realistic Timelines for Recovery

    The timeline for overcoming wrist pain during bench press depends on the underlying cause and your adherence to the treatment plan. With consistent modifications to your technique and following the advice of your physiotherapist or osteopath, you may experience relief within a few weeks. However, full recovery may take longer for some with more complex contributing factors. 

    Wrist pain doesn’t have to be a roadblock in your bench pressing journey! By addressing your hand positioning & wrist strength, and seeking professional guidance from physiotherapy or osteopathy, you can meet your benching goals with confidence and without the nagging discomfort.

    Remember, taking care of your wrists is vital to ensuring a strong and sustainable lifting practice. So, keep pushing forward, and let us help you push through those bench press barriers, pain-free!


    *Note: This blog post is for informative purposes only. For personalised advice and treatment, please consult a qualified physiotherapist or osteopath.*

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