Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Captain John: It's All In The Wrist

This week, Captain John explains how to strengthen wrist muscles for injury free small boat cruising...

Guest blog by Captain John
Captain John Jamieson, a regular contributor to the Daily Boater, is author of Seamanship Secrets and publisher of the popular boating education website

Raise the Sail
Photo Courtesy of the United States Coast Guard

Wouldn't it be great to find a set of easy to use exercises that could help prevent injury in small boat cruising and sailing? Few exercise programs mention the importance of maintaining wrist muscles for strength and flexibility.

Step aboard any sailboat, and you engage in gripping, pulling, lifting and twisting this joint. If you slip or trip on deck, your hands and wrists will take the full impact of the fall.

Prevent injury with simple range-of-motion exercises. Build power and flexibility to help prevent injury with these 5 wrist range-of-motion workout tips...

Five wrist exercises for an injury-free sailing season

1. Wrist Muscle Flex Exercise
Sit near the end of a table. Place your wrist over one edge, fingers together, and point toward the floor.

Keep your wrist on the edge of the table. Lift your wrist up toward the ceiling as high as possible without strain. Repeat this wrist exercise 10-15 times; then switch hands.

2. Wrist Strengthening Exercise
Extend your arm straight out from your body. Point your fingers skyward. Take your other hand and grasp the top of the fingers. Gently pull back until you just start to feel resistance. Take care not to strain. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other hand.

3. Wrist Tendon Exercise
Stand directly over a table. Place both hands flat on the surface, fingers pointing away from you. Lean toward the table so that your body moves over both wrists. Stop when you begin to feel resistance at the wrist joint. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat twice.

Assume the same position, but invert the hands so that the fingers point toward you. Place your hands onto the table. This time, lean back, while keeping your hands flat. Stop when you feel resistance in the wrists and forearms. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat twice.

4. Wrist Ball Power Grip
Find a small tennis ball or child's rubber ball. Grip, squeeze and hold the ball for 5 to 10 seconds, then release for five seconds. Repeat this sequence 10 times, then shift to the other hand. Use your grip ball often to build powerful finger, forearm and wrist muscles.

5. Wrist and Forearm Strength Exercises
Hold your hands together at chest height, one on top of the other. Keep your elbows extended out to the side. Press down with the one hand and up with the other. Hold for 20 seconds. Shift hands and repeat. This ramps up wrist strength and builds robust forearms.


Small boat sailing places heavy demands on wrist joints, tendons and muscles. Practice these five wrist exercises every day to stay injury free throughout the sailing season. 


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