Subject: Wrist braces
What kind of wrist support or braces are the best for tumbling and vaulting? My daughter has been having pain in her wrists every time she tumbles and vaults and it is slowing down her progress. Thanks.
First, let me say that I do not recommend wrist braces or any other artificial supports, unless prescribed by a doctor. The only real long-term solution to your daughter’s progress is to increase her wrist flexibility and wrist strength. Her wrist problems, likely, come from either weak wrists or insufficient flexibility in her wrists.
Need 90 Degree Wrist Flexibility
In order to tumble and vault successfully, without pain, gymnasts need to have wrist flexibility of at least 90 degrees. You can easily check wrist flexibility by having her flex her wrist and seeing what the angle is. The less flexibility, the more likely that flexibility is the real culprit, not necessarily a lack of strength. Of course, it could be both. If your daughter does not have flexible wrists, she may not have built sufficient strength in them as well.
Could Be a Wrist Strength Problem
If she has 90 degree flexibility (or close) in her wrists, the problem is then more likely a lack of wrist strength. There are wrist strength exercises that she can do with dumbbells that will help build her wrist strength. Wrist flexion and extension exercises, with dumbbells, are the ones she will be wanting to do. Depending on your daughter’s age, you or her coach may want to carefully spot her anytime she is using weights.
The Handstand Solution – Handstands and More Handstands
It is likely that your daughter has problems holding handstands, as well, if she has a wrist pain problem from either lack of wrist flexibility or wrist strength. A program of sets of increasingly longer and longer handstands against a wall can progressively build her wrist and handstand strength. Be extremely careful not to over do the handstands, do too many and cause her so much pain, that she vaults and tumbles even less successfully than she is doing now. Holding handstands will also help with her wrist flexibility, so doing extra handstands is a good thing to do to solve either problem or both.
Flexibility and Strength Building Will Take Time
Increasing flexibility is a slow process. Building strength is somewhat faster, but will take a significant time. How long will depend on exactly how strong or weak her wrists are. In the meantime, wrist braces can allow her to work out for as long as she needs to on tumbling and vault, without pain. Keep in mind that this should be considered a temporary solution. Building wrist strength and flexibility should be the goal and the long term solution.
Ezy Pro Braces are the Best
As to the best wrist braces, my choice for the best is not the least expensive, but are definitely the best, in my opinion. Ezy Pro Braces are the best and most complete solution to wrist problems.
They have a unique, removable wedge-shaped palm pad, which compensates for a lack of wrist flexibility. Basically, it fills in the gap in the 90 degree angle resulting from a lack of wrist flexibility and also provides wrist support. Ezy Pro Braces cost only a few dollars more than the better known Tiger Paws, but are far superior wrist braces. I have personally used them and can attest that they really work well.
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