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Wrist Pain When Pressing or Curling

A common complaint our physical therapy team gets from our weightlifting clients is pain in the wrist from either pressing (usually barbell bench press) or bicep curls (usually barbell bicep curls). Experiencing wrist pain of this nature may not seem so bad at first, but can progress to become a serious problem, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. In the worst case you may even tear your TFCC (triangular fibrocartilage complex) a cartilage structure in your wrist that is vital for normal wrist mechanics. It supports and cushions the wrist bones, and when damaged can cause chronic pain and dysfunction.


How to FIX the wrist pain and PREVENT further damage? 1) Keep your wrist in neutral when pressing (not flexed or extended). Wrist wraps can help you to with a correct wrist joint position when lifting weights.

2) Adjust your grip width so both forearms are vertical during bicep curl exercises like straight bar curls. 3) Mix things up; Stop using the barbell for bicep curls so much! (swap it out for dumbbells, kettlebells, powerbands, bodyweight exercises; or mix up your sets: hammer curls, reverse curls, etc.) A simple point to remember: if something is hurting when performing bicep curls or bench press sets, then STOP doing it, because you definitely aren’t doing it right!


If this doesn’t fix the wrist or forearm pain then seek the advice of a professional. Our caring and friendly Chatswood or North Sydney Physical therapy team would love to help you out after improper wrist positioning, so reach out to us if you have any questions.

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