How to Do a Resisted Wrist Extension: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a resisted wrist extension to improve lower arm strength and mobility, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Nov 7, 2023
woman-stretching-with-band

How to Do a Resisted Wrist Extension: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a resisted wrist extension to improve lower arm strength and mobility, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Nov 7, 2023
woman-stretching-with-band

How to Do a Resisted Wrist Extension: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a resisted wrist extension to improve lower arm strength and mobility, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Nov 7, 2023
woman-stretching-with-band

How to Do a Resisted Wrist Extension: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a resisted wrist extension to improve lower arm strength and mobility, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Nov 7, 2023
woman-stretching-with-band
Table of Contents

It’s pretty amazing what a small joint like your wrist is capable of. It allows you to type all day, play tennis, lug grocery bags, and putter happily in the garden. But as mighty as your wrists are, they’re not immune to aches, pains, and issues like arthritis. That’s where moves like the resisted wrist extension come in. Strengthening your wrists is a simple and effective way to reduce pain, increase mobility, and boost your quality of life by allowing you to do the hobbies and activities you love. 

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is the Resisted Wrist Extension?

This strength exercise involves flexing your wrist upward against the tension of a resistance band to work the muscles in your forearm.

What Muscles Does the Resisted Wrist Extension Work? 

  • Extensor carpi radialis longus is a muscle in your forearm that helps you extend your wrist, bend your elbow, and make a fist. 

  • Extensor carpi radialis brevis. This muscle runs from your forearm to your hand and works with other muscles to extend and abduct your wrist and grip objects.

  • Extensor carpi ulnaris is a muscle spanning from the back of your forearm to the little finger of your hand. It also works to extend and adduct the wrist, and is key for activities that require a strong, firm grip. 

Benefits of a Resisted Wrist Extension

The resisted wrist extension targets several muscles in your forearm. By working them, you’ll experience: 

  • Less soreness and pain. A study published in the Journal of Wrist Surgery found that an exercise program that included wrist-strengthening moves had long-term benefits (after a six-year follow-up) for people with  wrist pain. Participants reported an average reduction in pain from an eight on a scale of 0 to 10 to a four (0 being no pain and 10 the absolute worst). And nearly 20% had no further wrist pain. 

  • Better mobility and range of motion. Exercises like the resisted wrist extension have been shown to improve mobility — especially among those who already have limited range of motion. 

  • Improved grip strength. Research published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found that doing wrist exercises using resistance bands had a significant impact on grip strength among older participants.

  • Increased blood flow. Any kind of exercise can improve blood flow in the body, but working specific areas that are bothering you — like your wrists — helps direct blood flow and oxygen where they’re needed most to speed healing.

  • Fewer injuries. Wrist exercises could prevent issues such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome from developing or worsening. 

Resisted Wrist Extension: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Resisted Wrist Extension

Resisted Wrist Extension

Resisted Wrist Extension

Resisted Wrist Extension

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To do a resisted wrist extension:

  • Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place the end of a resistance band securely under the bottom of your right foot.  

  • Wrap the other end of the band around your right hand and rest your forearm on your thigh, palm facing the floor. (If you don’t have a band, you could try holding a light weight, water bottle, or soup can for resistance, instead.)

  • Keeping your forearm on your thigh, slowly lift your hand up toward the ceiling, extending your wrist. 

  • Hold at the top of the exercise, and focus on engaging the muscles in your forearm.

  • Relax back to the starting position, and repeat.

  • Switch sides and repeat the exercise.  

  • As you do each rep, you may feel your wrist, forearm, and elbow muscles working. 

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs. 

Resisted Wrist Extension Modifications

Resisted Wrist Extension Modifications

Resisted Wrist Extension Modifications

Resisted Wrist Extension Modifications

To make a resisted wrist extension easier:  

  • Start with more slack in the band to lessen the resistance.

  • Choose a band with less resistance.

To make a resisted wrist extension harder: 

  • Shorten the band to add more tension.

  • Choose a band with more resistance. 

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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References

  1. Mulders, M. A. M., et al. (2018). Long-Term Functional Results of a Wrist Exercise Program for Patients with Palmar Midcarpal Instability. Journal of Wrist Surgery, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 211–218. doi:10.1055/s-0037-1612594. Accessed 18 Nov. 2020

  2. Nor, R., et al. (2021). Effectiveness of a 3-Month Antifalling Program in the Mobility, Balance Confidence, and Muscle Performance of Older Adults. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 247–255. doi:10.12965/jer.2142412.206

  3. Overuse Syndrome. (2020). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4706-overuse-syndrome-of-the-hands-and-arms