What You Did

Performing barbell curls with a straight bar began to hurt.

What You Feel

Sharp pain along the pinkie side of your hand and wrist. it hurts when you move your wrist, and there may also be swelling and a feeling of heat, tingling, or numbness.

The Diagnosis

Wrist strain or sprain. a strain is a tear in the muscle fibers from repetitive move- ments or bad form. a sprain is an injury to the ligaments, often the result of a sudden force, like falling.


Avoid straight bars for biceps curls and triceps extensions. if possible, incorporate kettlebell exercises such as swings and cleans to strengthen the wrist and grip.

The Treatment

Switch to the EZ-curl bar, which mimics your hands’ natural position and lessens pressure on the wrists. When you’re ready, perform the following exercises in sequence. Spend a few weeks with each one until you feel ready to move on.

Wrist extensions with a Thera-Band or tube. The resistance should be light. Complete 10 reps, holding the top position (knuckles facing the ceiling) for five seconds. Increase the sets, reps and resistance as tolerated.

Plate pinch. Stand with your arm at your side and hold a 2 1/2-pound plate between your fingers and thumb for 10 seconds. Progress by increasing the time and load and then by holding two plates together, smooth sides out.

Supination/pronations. Hold a light dumbbell, rest your forearm on your knee, and rotate your wrist out so your knuckles face down. Then rotate the opposite way. Do three sets of 10 reps, keeping the wrist neutral.

Barbell wrist curls and extensions. Support your forearms on your knees and perform three sets of 10 reps. Use a slow, even tempo on each rep.