Question of the Week

Question: If I need to give my wrists a break, what modifications might be available?

Answer (from Kristin G.):
As many of you may know, I have had challenges with one of my wrists for a while now. Over the course of the last few months, I have learned a lot about modifying my exercise routine to ensure I do not cause further damage and still get a fantastic barre workout!
First and foremost, if you are experiencing pain please see your doctor to discuss your workout routine and what you need to do to avoid injury! I saw my doctor as soon as I started experiencing pain in my wrist and was given instruction to rest and stabilize my wrist. That is why I sometimes wear a brace when I teach and take class. Since I began taking modifications in class, I have seen significant improvement.
So what modifications did I try to give my wrists a break? Below are some tips that I have used and will continue to use in the future!
  • Pushups: There are a few different options I tried with pushups. First of all, using a heavy set of weights (one weight in each hand) can help keep wrists more in line with your forearms. This may actually be more challenging since you are creating more distance between you and the mat. Another option is to use the barre for pushups starting in a similar position as the semi-pushup seat position. This has been a great option for me and still allows for taking different challenge options like pulsing one foot.
  • Straight arm plank: One modification here is to stay in the forearm plank position instead of moving up to straight arms. Forearm planks still offer a great challenge and there is always the option to send your hands out in front of you for a deeper challenge. Another option is to use heavy weights under your hands, but I would only do this when you have both hands down and not for side planks. The side plank modification is to stay on your forearm which you will always see me do when on my right side.
  • Tricep dips: Similar to pushups, using heavy weights in your hands is a great modification to keep wrists in line with your forearms. I began using weights for tricep dips and will probably continue to use weights. Not only has it helped my wrists, but it also helps me go even deeper in my tricep dips because I am lifted further off the ground. I have also had clients tell me that using weights has completely changed this part of class for them in a positive way. Give it a try sometime to change your routine a bit! One other option is to keep your seat on the ground with hands pressing into the mat and just focus on pressing your elbows back to flex the tricep muscle.
  • Tabletop: This might be my favorite seat position so I am thrilled that there are so many options available to modify. First, you can use a heavy set of weights under your hands. Another option is to make fists with your hands instead of placing your hands flat on the mat. I tend to shy away from this option because I feel unstable. My favorite modification is to come down to my forearms. I find that it gives my wrists a break allowing me to really focus in on my seat and legs. The beauty of tabletop is that you do get some upper body work along with a killer seat burn, but we never want anyone to lose focus on their seat because of too much upper body distraction.
  • Semi-pushup: If this position causes you any wrist pain, first ensure your wrists are staying in line with your forearms and are not bending. If it is still too much, modify with the standing bent knee position. You can still do the same combos but are standing up instead of leaning in to the barre. The only thing you miss out on is that added upper body bonus work!

Again, these are some tips that have helped me. If you have any questions please talk with your instructor as modifications are always available. Keep in mind that modifications may not make a position easier. A modification may indeed add an extra challenge!

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