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Wrists sore from all those body weight exercises? Use PAILs and RAILs to strengthen and stretch

Tehrene Firman

Tehrene FirmanApril 4, 2020

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Photo: Stocksy/Ivan Gener

You don’t need a lot to keep up your workout routine from home. Instead of using fancy equipment, you can work up a dripping sweat with nothing more than your own body weight. I mean, just do a handful of burpees and there’s your proof.

The only problem with upping your amount of body weight exercises? It can result in a set of sore wrists. But that’s where PAILs and RAILs come in. If you’re not familiar with the terms, PAILs (progressive angular isometric loading) and RAILs (regressive angular isometric loading) are isometric muscle contractions you can use to expand your range of motion whenever you’re experiencing limitations in your movement or soreness from working out.

“PAILs and RAILs are meant to help strengthen and close the gap between your active and passive ranges of motion.” —Roxie Jones, personal trainer

When you use PAILs and RAILs for your wrists, you can both strengthen and stretch the area, giving you some relief from the soreness and setting up your body for success in the future. “You’re probably experiencing pain in some areas you’re not used to feeling. Your wrists in particular, because you’re probably doing things like burpees, planks, push-ups, and shoulder taps,” said personal trainer Roxie Jones in an Instagram post. “PAILs and RAILs are meant to help strengthen and close the gap between your active and passive ranges of motion.”

To keep your wrists healthy and pain-free, try doing Jones’ PAILs and RAILs routine at home with her instructions below.

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Pushup and burpee challenges got me like 😬😩🤪 ⠀ Try doing some PAILS and RAILS to help your wrist pain!

A post shared by R O X I E ⚡️J O N E S (@_roxie_jones_) on

How to do PAILs and RAILs at home

According to Jones, the range of motion you explore during PAILs and RAILs—which increases every time you do them—helps your body understand that range of motion is safe. “It’s almost like you’re tricking your nervous system into going a little further. Therefore, it will make your joint stronger,” she says. Here’s a quickie routine she recommends doing often.

  1. Position yourself on your knees with your hands in front of you on a mat or towel.
  2. Spread your fingers wide and slowly lean forward to come into as much wrist extension as you can.
  3. Once you reach that point, drive your hands into the floor while tightening your entire body, pressing every finger joint into the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. (If you feel sweaty or out of breath, Jones says that’s normal.)
  4. Keeping the extension, slowly peel your hands away from the floor as you rock back to your starting position.
  5. Lean forward again, back into your wrist extension. Press for 10 more seconds.
  6. Release, pulling your fingers away and rocking back to your starting position while holding your wrist extension.

To strengthen and stretch your wrists further, try this workout:

Here’s why practicing good “wrist posture” is a must when working from home. Then learn this rule to position your wrists the right way in every workout.

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