Arm Balances and Wrist Pain

Wrist Pain

Understanding The Problem

Do you find yourself not pushing as hard during planks, pikes and other arm balances due to wrist pain? Do you find that you are unable to progress to more challenging poses because you sense that your wrists are weak? 

If you’re experiencing wrist pain during your Pilates classes, don’t despair – there are ways to alleviate the pain and make arm balances feel more comfortable.

“It is easy to feel wrist strain if we don’t give them the same amount of attention the rest of our body gets. The good news is that wrist strengthening is relatively simple — the hardest part is remembering to do it.”

Suji Kim

Understanding Your Wrists

The wrists are a complex joint made up of many small muscles, ligaments, and bones. Unlike the ankles and feet, which are designed to withstand the weight of the entire body, the wrists are not. When performing arm balances, the weight of the body is often concentrated on the wrists, leading to fatigue, strain (and sometimes pain) in these tiny muscles. 

Typically wrist pain occurs due to three reasons:

  • Improper technique
  • Inflexible wrists
  • Weak muscles that support and control movement through the wrist.

Wrist pain is a common problem in many arm balance exercises and sometimes just a few adjustments can take the load off and make it feel so much better!

or isolated because of your PGP. For most women, early diagnosis and treatment should stop symptoms from getting worse, relieve your pain and help you continue with your normal everyday activities.

Effective Techniques to Relieve Wrist Pain


Easy | Swansqueeze your shoulder blades together. Don’t let your shoulders move forward as this puts more load on your wrists.

Advanced | Side Plank 

Side plank pose is a powerful exercise for strengthening your wrists, but only if you execute it with perfect form on both sides. The key is to ensure that your shoulders are aligned over your wrists, and your fingers are pointing forward. Avoid locking out your elbows, and instead, maintain a slight bend to safeguard your joint.

To avoid placing excessive weight on your wrists, press down through your hands and lift your shoulder blades. This action will help you maintain proper alignment and prevent your body weight from collapsing into your wrists. With consistent practice and attention to form, side plank can become a powerful tool for strengthening your wrists and improving your overall fitness.

Advance Mat Pilates Teacher Training Excercise By Zurina Bryant


If the weight is in the wrong place, your wrists will bear the brunt of the load. Make sure your shoulders are stacked over your wrists, and distribute your weight evenly through your palms.


Using props such as blocks or straps can help to alleviate wrist pain during arm balances. For example, placing a block under your hands can help to reduce the angle of your wrists and distribute the weight more evenly.

Suji Kim Breathe


If your wrists are feeling strained or fatigued, take a break. Resting and allowing your wrists to recover can prevent injury and help you to progress in your practice over time.

It’s important to remember that the ligaments between all of the wrist bones are small and easily strained. If you’re experiencing wrist pain during arm balances, it’s crucial to listen to your body and take steps to alleviate the pain. With a few adjustments and some patience, you can improve your wrist strength and enjoy arm balances without discomfort.

Breathe Pilates is a clinical Pilates studio, MERRITHEW™ Licensed Training Center and is recognised in Singapore and throughout the region for its quality teaching and Pilates courses.

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