Wrist pain - weight lifting

Hi all,

Hoping this is a common form issue you lot can diagnose:

I’ve been lifting since October (5x5 from empty bar), my last two sessions I noticed left wrist pain after finishing a set. First after overhead press (a deloaded set incidentally), then yesterday after a bench set.

Fairly sharp pain, left side of the left wrist and hand, but no pain during the actual reps, or during the following set.


5 X 5 means you start with a squat, that is where you need to look at.

Riding a bike and sitting behind a computer is a hunched over position, the squat opens your chest, so it could be 2 things:

  1. Overhand grip on the squat is missing, meaning you get to much strain on your wrist;
    (got this myself that impacted my bench press)
  2. Not enough flexibility in the chest.

Source = Starting Strength (Rips book)

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Left side as in thumb or pinky finger side?

Pretty sure the squat isn’t the issue…unless it’s slipping down your back and you’re holding it up with your arms.

My first assumption would be that you are letting your wrist break during the overhead press and bench. You should be keeping your wrist “stacked” during the pushing movements and not letting your hand bend backward.

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I had a similar “ache” after strenuous lifts for ages, stemmed from an injury during sparring. 5x5 can be an intense workout, perhaps along with slightly off wrist placement the big weight is causing a bit too much strain on your wrist

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I think @mwglow15 is correct here, but I remember that I did have trouble with my wrists when I first started squatting. I ended up using a thumbless grip (for squats only). Here’s a video about thumbless squats from Alan Thrall. I haven’t watched this particular video, but Thrall is very well respected in the weight-lifting community.

Exactly, that is what wrote as well. Thumbless grip and enough flexibility in your chest. Cycling makes the flexibility none existing so more focus needs to be to stretch that part out (doing shoulder dislocations will help also).

Alan Thrall is a SSC coach (Starting Strength Coach). The guys from Barbell Medicine are good also.

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Wrist pain during heavy squats is common, but it’s usually during the lift and goes away once the weight is gone. I don’t think it’s the squat. I’d maybe try a set of wrist wraps because they’re only like $10, and see if that helps you at all. I second the recommendation of keeping your wrists straight, and not having your hand flaring backwards on overhead press or bench or squat

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I have that issue. Have to use a strap and a light weight thumb spica wrap, because it isn’t just the wrist but also the base of the thumb is starting to get arthritis. Both areas can flare on the bike as well.

Thanks all, I’ve been listening and thinking about all the advice and just got back from a lunch session.

I must admit I was dubious to this advice, but you were totally right. I was the guy in the middle below, too narrow and moved it to the correct form. It also made me think about my shoulder blades. Definitely felt better.

Consequently I looked at the width on my OH press. I was so bad as the guy on the left, but I made it narrower and it felt a lot easier to lift. I’m now like the guy on the right:

I don’t think it is breaking, but I can’t see the side view angle when I’m lifting. There is some angle, in order to take the weight but it’s pretty solid through the lift I believe.

Any hoo, I had no problem with OH press today and no pain at all :+1:

Plus I hit a deadlift 1x5 100kg afterwards. :+1::+1:

Cheers guys.

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