How to Train Through Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common repetitive strain injury that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the wrists and hands. It occurs when the median nerve, which travels through the carpal tunnel in the wrist, becomes pinched or compressed. It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as repetitive movements, poor posture, and overuse of the wrists.
If you’re a bodybuilder or weightlifter, training through carpal tunnel syndrome can be challenging. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make your workouts more comfortable. In this article, we’ll discuss how to train through carpal tunnel syndrome, including proper technique, modifying exercises, and taking breaks.
Before we get into how to train through carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s important to understand what the condition is and why it happens. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand. If this nerve becomes pinched or compressed, it can cause inflammation and cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in men than women and is typically seen in occupations that require frequent and repetitive movement of the wrists, such as typing or using tools. But bodybuilders and strength athletes can also suffer from CTS, especially if they don’t use proper form and technique when lifting.
Using Proper Technique
The most important step you can take to prevent and reduce the symptoms of CTS is to use proper technique when performing your exercises. When lifting and pressing, make sure you’re pressing the weight directly up and keeping your wrists straight. Avoid bending and flexing your wrists, which can put strain on the median nerve.
Also, be aware of the grip you’re using. Generally, a false or inward grip on a barbell (known as a “mixed grip”) can cause more strain on the wrists, so it’s best to stick with a double overhand grip or a directional grip.
If you’re doing pull-ups or chin-ups, make sure you’re using an underhand grip (also known as a “supinated” grip). Doing so will help to keep the pressure off the median nerve.
Another way to reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is to modify your exercises. Instead of using a barbell, switch to dumbbells or a cable machine. This will allow you to have more control over the movement, which can help to reduce stress on the wrists.
You can also use straps, wraps, or bands to help support the wrists and reduce strain on the median nerve. These are particularly helpful when performing exercises like overhead pressing and barbell rows.
Also, try using machines that target the forearms, such as reverse wrist curls or wrist extensions. These exercises can help to strengthen the forearm muscles and reduce the symptoms of CTS.
Finally, it’s important to give your wrists a break from time to time. Too much repetitive motion can exacerbate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, so it’s important to take regular breaks between sets and exercises. You should also try to avoid any activities that require excessive use of the wrists, such as typing, texting, and gaming, which can cause inflammation and make CTS worse.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a challenge to manage, but with proper technique and modifications, you can continue to train while keeping the symptoms of CTS at bay. Make sure you use proper form, modify your exercises, and give your wrists regular breaks to keep your workouts comfortable.