How Burpees Affect Your Wrists

Burpees are an excellent exercise that uses body-weight resistance to work many major muscles in the body, per Healthline. The exercise takes place in a succession of steps. To carry out a burpee, start in the standing position then crouch to the floor and extend your legs into a push-up position. Next, jump forward to place your feet between your arms and leap to a standing position. You will jump in the air with your arms outstretched over your head before repeating the movement. There are a number of variations on this basic move that can increase or decrease the difficulty, depending on a person's fitness level. If you perform several burpees in a row, you can see for yourself just how challenging and tiring the exercise is.

Insider outlines several benefits of doing burpees every day. Fitness coach Ally McKinney names "high-calorie burn, mobility, body awareness, and cardiovascular endurance" as just a few of these benefits. Burpees improve overall cardiovascular fitness by engaging a range of large muscle groups and increasing the body's oxygen efficiency. 

Burpees burn loads of calories. A 2015 study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research discovered that due to the increased oxygen needs of the body while performing burpees, participants burned more calories to meet the body's higher metabolic demands when compared to other body-resistance exercises. Despite these great benefits, burpees aren't without risks, one of them having to do with your wrists.

Burpees can cause wrist injuries

Due to the stress placed on the wrists while in the push-up position of the move, burpees can lead to wrist pain or injuries, per Men's Health. Strength and conditioning specialist Bill Hartman specifies that the burpee puts strain on the scapholunate ligaments in the wrists, while the American Society for Surgery of the Hand points out that scapholunate ligament strains are a common injury that can cause extreme pain and instability. You'll know that you've strained your wrist if engaging in the burpee exercise causes pain or if you feel pain when bending your wrist backward. You may also notice bruising and swelling on your wrists.

While you should take care when performing burpees to avoid injuring your wrists, there are ways you can modify the exercise if you find that you're experiencing pain. Aaptiv trainer Jennifer Giamo says, "While in the push-up position of this movement, instead of [laying your] hands flat on the floor, make a fist. [This] position keeps the wrists in neutral which decreases the stress on the wrists." You can also switch to performing burpees on a bench "or a waist-high surface," which will place the wrist at a different, potentially more comfortable angle.

Pilates instructor Rachel Lawrence offers another solution for relieving wrist pain and strengthening the wrist, which can make performing burpees pain-free (via FleetStreet). The solution is wrist rolling, which involves circling the wrists both outward and inward, followed by extensions of the fingers and hand.