How to Do a Wrist Flexor Stretch: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a wrist flexor stretch to ease stiffness and strain, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Oct 13, 2023
woman-standing-flexing-her-hands

How to Do a Wrist Flexor Stretch: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a wrist flexor stretch to ease stiffness and strain, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Oct 13, 2023
woman-standing-flexing-her-hands

How to Do a Wrist Flexor Stretch: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a wrist flexor stretch to ease stiffness and strain, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Oct 13, 2023
woman-standing-flexing-her-hands

How to Do a Wrist Flexor Stretch: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a wrist flexor stretch to ease stiffness and strain, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Oct 13, 2023
woman-standing-flexing-her-hands
Table of Contents

Ankles get a lot of attention. So do knees and hips. But your wrists also work hard for you each and every day, and might need a little TLC. That’s where this wrist flexor stretch comes in. It’s a gentle way to help relieve tension, tightness, and pain that you may feel when you flex your hand up toward you. This is often caused by repetitive motion like constantly tapping on your phone or computer keyboard, or if you do wrist-heavy activities like golf or pickleball. 

Here, learn more about the benefits of the wrist flexor stretch, how to do it and ways to modify the exercise to make it easier or more challenging.

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 Wrist Flexor Stretch?

The wrist flexor stretch is a simple move that you can do any time — sitting at your desk, at a stop light, or while you’re bingeing Netflix —  to ease discomfort in your wrist, forearm, and even your elbow. It involves flexing your wrist and applying a little extra pressure to deepen the stretch.

What Muscles Does a Wrist Flexor Stretch Work? 

  • Flexor digitorum. This forearm muscle helps you move and flex your fingers.

  • Flexor carpi radialis. This forearm muscle allows you to bend and flex your hand.

  • Flexor carpi ulnaris. The most powerful wrist flexor, this forearm muscle also bends and flexes your hand at the wrist.

  • Biceps brachii. Thismuscle on the front of your arm  runs from your elbow to your shoulder. It primarily enables your elbow to bend and extend. 

Benefits of the Wrist Flexor Stretch

In addition to stretching the muscles in your wrist, forearm, and upper arm that may be tight and achy, the wrist flexor stretch improves flexibility, mobility, and range of motion. While you may feel the discomfort in your wrist, it often is related to — or can cause — tightness in your forearm or upper arm, not just the muscles surrounding your wrist. The wrist flexor stretch might also help ease tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, which can happen if wrist strain isn’t addressed — and, over time, crosses over from being an annoyance to an injury.

What Are the Health Benefits of Wrist Exercises?

The wrist flexor stretch targets several muscles in your arm. By limbering up these areas, you’ll experience: 

  • Less soreness and pain. The wrist flexor stretch helps loosen up tight muscles to relieve pain and stiffness. A study published in the Journal of Hand Therapy found that doing exercises including the wrist flexor stretch significantly improved symptoms among people with carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Better mobility and range of motion. Wrist stretches can improve the range of motion in your wrist and fingers. Sure, this is a plus for folks who enjoy activities like racquet sports or gardening, but it also benefits your daily life  — say, when you need to lift grocery bags into your car, or fold clothes.  

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

  • Fewer injuries. Wrist stretches could prevent other issues from developing, such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Wrist Flexor Stretch: 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.

Wrist Flexor Stretch

Wrist Flexor Stretch

Wrist Flexor Stretch

Wrist Flexor Stretch

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To do a wrist flexor stretch: 

  • Stand and raise one arm in front of you, keeping your elbow straight, and palm facing the floor. 

  • Use your other hand to gently pull the palm of your extended hand toward you as far as is comfortable, so your fingers are pointed toward the ceiling. 

  • Allow your fingers to bend and and relax as you do this stretch.

  • Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. 

  • Relax the pressure and return to the starting position.  

  • Repeat with the opposite arm.

  • Do 2 to 6 reps per side.

  • As you do each rep, you might feel a stretch in your wrist, hand, and forearm.

Everybody — and every wrist — is different. So you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs.

Wrist Flexor Stretch Modifications

Wrist Flexor Stretch Modifications

Wrist Flexor Stretch Modifications

Wrist Flexor Stretch Modifications

To make the wrist flexor stretch easier:  

  • Ease back on some of the pressure you apply.

  • Bend your elbow as you hold the stretch. This should make the stretch feel less challenging.

To make the wrist flexor stretch harder: 

  • Add a little more pressure.

  • Keep your fingers straight as you hold the stretch, which will increase the stretch. 

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. Abdominal Muscles: Anatomy and Function. (2021). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from  https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21755-abdominal-muscles

  2. Bordoni, B., & Matthew V. Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Quadratus Lumborum. (2018). NIH.gov. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535407/.

  3. Papalia, Giuseppe Francesco, et al. The Effects of Physical Exercise on Balance and Prevention of Falls in Older People: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. (2020).  Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol. 9, no. 8, p. 2595. doi:10.3390/jcm9082595.