The 7 Best Wrist Mobility Exercises For Cycling: Here’s How To Prevent Hand-Related Pain

A large number of cyclists experience pain in their hands and wrists while cycling. A 1995 study of cycling overuse injuries found that 31% reported hand/wrist discomfort. But does wrist mobility – or lack thereof – play a role?

Wrist mobility refers to how easily we can move our wrists and depends on both flexibility and strength. Unlike other simpler joints, the wrist moves in three planes: flexion and extension (bending forward and backward), radial and ulnar deviation (side-to-side), and supination and pronation (twisting or rotation).

The normal range of motion of the wrist is 73° of flexion, 71° of extension, 19° of radial deviation (towards the thumb), 33° of ulnar deviation (toward the little finger), 140° of supination (palm facing up) and 60° of pronation (palm down). A common way to end up with poor mobility is from a traumatic injury, such as a fracture – something not uncommon in cycling!

Male cyclist climbing a hill

(Image credit: Future)

Wrist pain caused by cycling usually results from compression and irritation of the nerves around the hand and wrist, the two most common being carpal tunnel (median nerve) syndrome and ulnar nerve palsy. Both can lead to pain, tingling and numbness in the hands, fingers and wrists and, in some severe cases, muscle weakness in the hand and fingers. It is more likely to occur during long rides and long-distance or multi-day events.

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