Amy B. sent this email me a few days ago:
“I have been doing some research on this topic and can’t find a straight answer. I notice a lot of people taping their wrists for movements such as the overhead squat, snatch, jerk, clean and front squat. They are doing this even at pretty low weights.
Are people taping their wrists due to..
- Lack of flexibility
- Lack of wrist strength
- Poor form
Or is there an inherent weakness in the wrists or frequent injury that could and should be supported in some way? Should these people focus on flexibility and strength?
Should people not over tape? Are they reducing their ability to build wrist strength?
Just a random question – thought you could find the answer.
So to start, people are taping there wrists due to all the above. All chronic injuries (those not caused by a single, freak incident) are due to 1) lack of range of motion, 2) lack of strength in their range of motion, 3) lack of proper technique, caused by the first two, or poor motor control.
Take the Front Squat for example. If you have wrist pain, you most likely are missing a ton of shoulder mobility and can’t get into an ideal front rack position. The wrist issue will clear itself up once you can get into a good rack position.
With the Overhead Squat, the wrist pain is more so a manifestation of a lack of wrist strength. Moving your hands in closer or keeping the weight low until your wrists adapt will help fix this problem.
Now what about taping the wrists? Should you tape if you are experiencing wrist pain? Yes and no.
The more work you can get in without taping, and focusing on good technique the quicker your will adapt. Tape when you are going for a PR, or in a met-con situation where it’s impossible to focus on good technique the entire time. However, you need to spend time addressing the technique and weakness deficiencies causing the wrist pain. If it’s the front rack position, spend time working on mobility to address that. If it’s the overhead squat, spend time at lighter weights holding the barbell overhead. If it’s the Jerk, it’s probably your set-up position. So make sure your technique is good in that position.
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