7 Simple Exercises to Strengthen Your Wrists

A Step-By-Step Program With Simple Wrist Exercises

Exercises that strengthen the wrist make the wrist muscles stronger and improve the flexibility and range of motion of your wrist joints and tendons.

Seven wrist exercises that are often recommended for improving the strength of a weak or injured wrist are:

  • Finger stretch
  • Wrist extension with dumbbell
  • Dumbbell wrist flexion
  • Prayer stretch
  • Steeple stretch
  • Wrist supination with dumbbell
  • Wrist pronation with dumbbell

A physical therapist can teach you how to properly perform these exercises. They can be done at home with a light dumbbell or a weight objected, such a water bottle or can of soup.

This article looks at when you might need wrist strengthening and how to do these seven exercises.

Before starting this or any other exercise program, check in with your healthcare provider to make sure it's safe for you based on your medical history and diagnoses. 

Finger Stretch

This simple motion can help stretch your wrist and fingers. It's good to do this as a warm-up before more strenuous exercises.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your elbow bent and your arm making a right angle.
  2. Make a fist.
  3. Slowly open your hand, spreading and stretching your fingers.
  4. Do several repetitions.
  5. Repeat with the other hand.

You can also use this stretch periodically during repetitive activities, such as typing.

Wrist Extension With Dumbbell

An illustration of a wrist extension with dumbbell and dumbbell wrist flexion

Verywell / Mira Norian

For the wrist extension, you'll need a dumbbell, a chair, and a table or desk.

  1. Sit in the chair with your forearm resting on a table. Hold a 2- or 3-pound dumbbell and hang your wrist and hand over the edge of the table.
  2. With your palm facing down, slowly lift your hand so the back of your hand moves towards the ceiling. Your forearm should remain on the table.
  3. Once your wrist is fully extended, hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your hand down. Repeat this motion 10 to 15 times.
  4. Perform two to three sets.

Need to Start Slowly?

If this exercise is hard for you, try it without the dumbbell for a while. As it becomes easier, try adding the weight back in.

Dumbbell Wrist Flexion

Continue holding the weight and resting your forearm on the table.

  1. Turn your hand over, so your palm is facing the ceiling.
  2. Keep the back of your arm against the table. Then, flex your wrist up so that your palm moves towards the ceiling.
  3. Once your wrist is fully flexed, hold the position for two to three seconds. Then, slowly lower your hand back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the wrist flexion exercise for two to three sets of 10-15 repetitions.

This exercise can also be done without the dumbbell.

Wrist Exercises are Recommended After:

Prayer Stretch

  1. Stand with your elbows bent and your press your palms together, fingertips up, just below your chin (as if you're praying).
  2. Keeping your fingers together, lower them until you feel a stretch along the insides of your arms. Allow your palms to separate but keep your fingers together.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. Do 2 to 4 repetitions.

Steeple Stretch

  1. For this stretch, start in the "prayer" position from above.
  2. Splay your fingers and thumbs as wide as you can comfortably.
  3. Keeping your fingers together, separate your palms and bring them back together.
  4. Do several repetitions a few times per day.

Wrist Supination With Dumbbell

An illustration showing wrist supination with a dumbbell and wrist pronation with a dumbbell

Verywell / Mira Norian

What Is Supination?

Wrist supination is the motion of turning your wrist over, so your palm is face-up. This motion is performed by the biceps muscle in your upper arm and smaller muscles in the forearm.

  1. Sit in a chair with the side of your forearm resting on the table and your wrist and hand hanging over the edge. Your thumb should face the ceiling.
  2. Hold the end of a small (1- to 3-pound) dumbbell in your hand, like you would hold a hammer.
  3. Slowly allow your hand and wrist to rotate over so your palm is face up towards the ceiling.
  4. Hold the end position for a few seconds, then slowly rotate your hand back up, so the dumbbell is straight up once again.

You can combine the supination exercise with the pronation exercise explained in the next step, alternating which way you rotate your wrist.

Wrist Pronation With Dumbbell

Wrist pronation refers to the position of your hand facing down as if you were pouring a pitcher of water.

  1. To strengthen your wrist pronators, sit in a chair with your forearm supported on a table and your wrist and hand over the edge.
  2. Hold one end of a dumbbell with the weight pointing up towards the ceiling.
  3. Slowly rotate your hand, so your wrist and palm are facing down towards the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly turn your hand back to the starting position with the weight pointing up towards the ceiling.
  4. Perform two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

If you're combining this exercise with wrist supination (in the previous step), alternate turning your palm up with turning your palm down.


After a wrist, hand, elbow, or shoulder injury or surgery, you may benefit from physical therapy to improve your arm's strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Wrist-strengthening exercises may be a part of that physical therapy program.

Your physical therapist can help you learn to properly perform these simple exercises. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise regimen.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Brett Sears, PT
Brett Sears, PT, MDT, is a physical therapist with over 20 years of experience in orthopedic and hospital-based therapy.