The Best Wrist Exercises for Osteoporosis

Box of stretch bands

The wrists are one of the most commonly fractured body regions in people with low bone density, so incorporate wrist exercises to help you build bone and protect the bones of the wrists from osteoporotic fractures.

Disclaimer: If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Well Guide contain information from peer-reviewed research, medical societies and governmental agencies; however, these articles are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

As we continue to discuss the most commonly fractured bones in people with osteoporosis, we have to take a moment to talk about the wrist. The wrist is a complex joint that is made up of eight small bones. It is one of the most commonly fractured body parts in people with osteoporosis due to the size of the bones and the forces they take on when the arm is reflexively extended during a fall. While this reflex protects the head, this can lead to multiple fractures in a person with weakened bones. Maintaining adequate bone density by doing exercises to strengthen the bones of the wrist is necessary to ensure that these bones are strong enough to withstand the forces and stresses placed on them during daily activities.

While your wrists may not get a lot of attention, they are a crucial joint for everyday activities, from cooking and getting dressed to getting up from the floor and even using a computer or cell phone. Keeping the wrist bones strong and free from fractures will help you maintain your strength and independence as you age and will support you in continuing to do what you love.

In this article, we will explore the exercises that will help you maintain strong wrist bones throughout your life and protect you from osteoporotic wrist fractures.

Why do you need wrist exercises?

Wrist strengthening exercises are essential for maintaining strong wrist bones in individuals with osteoporosis. Strengthening the wrists with exercises that target the muscles of the wrists can help increase bone density and prevent fractures. The best exercises for wrist strength should be weight-bearing or use resistance. Incorporating wrist strengthening exercises into a regular exercise routine can be a crucial component in managing and preventing bone loss and lowering one’s risk of fractures.

Lifestyle factors that can impact wrist strength in people with osteoporosis

There are many lifestyle factors that influence your wrist bone density, with diet and exercise being among the most important.

  1. Diet: While you might not think of diet as critical for your wrist health, eating well-balanced meals that are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and other bone-healthy nutrients can help maintain and increase bone density overall. Foods such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fatty fish can provide these important nutrients (BHOF, 2023). Certain foods and beverages should also be avoided in excess, including alcohol and salt.
  2. Exercise: Weight-bearing and resistance training exercises can help build bone density and muscle strength in the wrists. We’ll cover these more in depth below.

Exercises to target your wrist bones

Weight-bearing exercises for osteoporosis of the wrist

As mentioned, weight-bearing exercises are among the most beneficial for improving wrist bone density because they put stress on the bones of the wrist, which in turn stimulates bone growth and strengthens the bones (Kemmler, 2020). When you perform weight-bearing exercises, such as planks or quadruped alternate shoulder flexion, the bones in your wrists are subjected to a certain amount of stress from your body weight and gravity. This good stress signals the body to build more bone tissue in response (Rowe, 2022). 

Resistance exercises for osteoporosis of the wrist

Resistance training can also help build bone in the wrists. Certain exercises, such as wrist curls or bicep curls with weight, use weights or resistance bands to place a good amount of stress on your wrist, as well as the arm bones and muscles. When you perform resistance training exercises, the muscles in your arms and wrists contract and pull on the bones in those areas. 

This stress on the bones sends a signal to the body to produce new bone tissue to help support the increased load. Over time, this process can help increase bone density in the wrists, as well as improve the control and strength of the muscles (Chu, 2018).

Together, weight-bearing exercise and resistance training not only increase bone density in the wrists but also help maintain muscle mass and strength throughout the body. 

It's important to note that a well-rounded exercise routine involves a combination of exercises – weight-bearing, resistance training, and others – to best maintain and improve bone health and overall fitness (Pasqualini, 2019). Additionally, you’ll want to progressive load (gradually increase) the resistance in your workouts to avoid injury and ensure proper bone growth.

Exercises for osteoporosis of the wrist

There are many exercises that can help strengthen the muscles of the wrist. The key is to find the ones that are appropriate for you. The exercises below range in difficulty. You may be able to perform some but not all of them. That’s ok. The Wellen exercise library has many variations of exercise and our personalized exercise program includes exercises selected to meet your needs and abilities. Here is a sampling of wrist strengthening exercises to get you started:

Quadruped alternate shoulder flexion

Quadruped alternate shoulder flexion puts weight through your shoulders down to your wrists while strengthening your lower back, lower abdominal, and shoulder muscles. 

  • Start in a tabletop position, with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips.
  • Engage your core, and move one of your arms up towards the ceiling with your thumb pointed up.
  • Hold for 5 seconds. Then, move your arm back to the original position.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Continue alternating from right to left arm. 
  • Repeat for 2 sets of 5 repetitions.

Incline plank

Incline planks strengthen your core while putting weight through your wrists. Incline planks are gentler on your wrists than a plank on the floor and are a great option for people with wrist pain.

  • Start by placing your hands on a stable, elevated surface such as a countertop, table or bench
  • Step your feet back as far as feels comfortable, keeping your weight through your hands and feet
  • Hold for up to 30 seconds while keeping your core engaged and spine lengthened
  • Then step back to a standing position

Modified push-up on knees

Modified push-ups strengthen your shoulders, chest, arms, and core while putting pressure and weight on your wrist bones. 

  • Start in a push-up position on your knees with your hands shoulder-width apart
  • With your lower abdominal muscles engaged, bend your elbows to lower yourself to the ground
  • Keep your body in a straight line without arching your back
  • Push back up to the starting position
  • Repeat for 2 sets of 5 repetitions.

Bicep curls with band

Bicep curls with a resistance band helps stabilize and strengthen your wrists by strengthening your biceps. Even though it targets the biceps, your wrists are involved because they help control the resistance. This exercise helps you lift and carry objects during everyday activities. 

  • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart, with a resistance band under both feet. 
  • Keeping your elbows fixed at your sides, hold the ends of the band with each hand and slowly bend your hands up towards your shoulders.
  • Slowly and in control, lower your arms back to the starting position. 
  • Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions

Seated wrist flexion with weight

While the exercises above strengthen your wrists through weight-bearing, the seated wrist flexion with weight exercise and the ones below work your wrists against a form of resistance (weights or resistance bands) instead. Wrist flexion with weight strengthens the muscles of your wrist and forearm by working those areas against a weight. 

  • Start sitting or standing for this exercise with your working arm resting on a surface so that your shoulder and forearm make a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold a light weight in one hand with your palm facing up.
  • Slowly allow your wrist to drop, lowering the weight towards the floor.
  • Hold for a second at the bottom of the movement, then slowly lift the weight back up to the starting position by contracting your forearm muscles.
  • Repeat this movement for 10 repetitions, then switch to the other arm.
  • Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions for each arm.

Seated wrist extension with weight

This wrist extension exercise strengthens the muscles in your wrist and forearm, allowing for increased strength and stability. 

  • Begin either sitting or standing for this exercise, with your working arm resting on a tabletop or countertop so that your shoulder and forearm create a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold a light weight in one hand with your palm facing down.
  • Keeping your forearm stationary, slowly move your hand upward and lift the weight toward the ceiling.
  • Hold for a second at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position by relaxing your forearm muscles.
  • Repeat this movement for 10 repetitions, then switch to the other arm.
  • Complete 2 sets of 10 repetitions for each arm.

Other tips for maintaining wrist health

While balance and posture training may not seem all that related to wrist health, they can actually have an important role in maintaining healthy wrist bones. 

When you trip or stumble, you may instinctively put out your hands to break your fall. As the first part of your body to hit the ground, your wrists have to support your entire weight suddenly and unexpectedly. If your wrist bones are weak (or even at normal bone density), this can result in fractures. By improving your balance with balance exercises, you can reduce your risk of falls and help protect your wrists from injuries such as fractures and sprains.

In conclusion, taking care of your wrist bones is crucial for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Strong and healthy wrist bones allow you to perform daily activities with ease, from using your computer to reading this article to cooking a bone-healthy meal. So, let's not forget about your wrists and give them the attention they deserve.

join us

Get started

Join us and experience our exercise program designed by physical therapists specifically for women with osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Already have an account? Log in here
Check mark
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
We will contact you shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Explore related exercises

Quadruped Alternate Shoulder Flexion

View exercise

Modified Push-Ups on Knees

View exercise

Seated Wrist Flexion with Weight

View exercise

Seated Wrist Extension with Weight

View exercise

Bicep Curls with Band

View exercise


  1. Nutrition. Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation. n.d. Accessed March 3, 2023. 
  2. Kemmler W, Shojaa M, Kohl M, von Stengel S. Effects of Different Types of Exercise on Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Calcif Tissue Int. 2020;107(5):409-439. doi:10.1007/s00223-020-00744-w
  3. Rowe P, Koller A, Sharma S. Physiology, Bone Remodeling. StatPearls Publishing. 2022. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; January 27, 2022. 
  4. Chu E, Kim YS, Hill G, Kim YH, Kim CK, Shim JK. Wrist Resistance Training Improves Motor Control and Strength. J Strength Cond Res. 2018;32(4):962-969. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002019.
  5. Pasqualini L, Ministrini S, Lombardini R, et al. Effects of a 3-month weight-bearing and resistance exercise training on circulating osteogenic cells and bone formation markers in postmenopausal women with low bone mass. Osteoporos Int. 2019;30(4):797-806. doi:10.1007/s00198-019-04908-9

Explore related articles