Why Do My Palms Hurt While Doing Push Ups? 11 Tips To Fix Issue
Doing push ups can be a great way to strengthen your arms and chest muscles, giving you the benefits of resistance training without needing any additional workout equipment. Bodyweight exercises such as push ups, don’t require any equipment, so they can be done virtually anywhere. Plus, no matter what your fitness level may be, these exercises can provide a rewarding and efficient workout!
However, it can be frustrating to encounter pain in the palm of your hand while doing the exercise. So why does this happen, and is there anything you can do about it?
In this blog post, we’ll delve into what causes your palms to hurt while doing push ups – and discuss some potential solutions that may help make your workouts more comfortable. Read on for all the details!
Why Do My Palms Hurt While Doing Push Ups?
The most common cause of palm pain while doing push ups is a lack of wrist flexibility. When your wrists are not sufficiently flexible, it can be hard to keep them in the correct position during the exercise – leading to tension and discomfort in the palms. Additionally, form mistakes such as leaning too far forward or placing your arms too low can also put strain on your wrists, leading to discomfort. It is also important to note that the surface area of your palms may play a role in how much pressure they’re exposed to. If you are using a rough surface such as concrete, it can place more stress on the skin and cause pain. To reduce this risk, consider using a softer surface, like a yoga mat. In some cases, palm pain during push ups may be due to an underlying issue with your wrists or forearms, such as nerve compression which can cause pins and needles sensations or carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive strain. Maybe push ups are new to you, which means, your body needs to get used to them, or you may have neglected to do any kind of warming up beforehand, which can lead to strain and pain. Finally, the way you are gripping the floor while doing push ups can also cause your palms to hurt. Instead of pressing into the floor with the palm of your hand, try pushing with your knuckles and fingers – this will spread out the pressure more evenly across your hand. If you are experiencing intense or persistent pain in the palms while doing push ups, it’s best to consult with a doctor or physical therapist and get an accurate diagnosis.
Let’s now look more in-depth at the reasons why you might feel push ups more in the palm of your hand…
1. Lack of wrist flexibility
This is the most common cause of palm pain while doing push ups. When your wrists are not flexible enough, they can’t be kept in the correct position during the exercise – leading to tension and discomfort in your palms. This is because the flexor digitorum profundus and flexor carpi radialis muscles, which are located in the wrists, help to stabilize your hands when doing push ups. If these muscles aren’t flexible enough, it can cause strain on the palms as you do the exercise.
If you lack the ability to have your wrists at a 90º angle while in the push up position, then it’s likely that you need to work on your wrist flexibility. A simple way to help improve your wrist flexibility is to do wrist circles – hold your arms out in front of you and rotate your wrists around in circles, both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Do this for 1 minute each day and gradually increase the time as you get better at it. You can also put your hands in a prayer position in front of your chest, and then gradually raise your elbows as high as you can while keeping your wrists flexed.
If you are doing a lot of push ups in one session, this can cause your palms to be more prone to pain. When you do a large number in succession, the strain can start to build up – especially if you don’t take adequate rest breaks between sets. You see lots of workouts online that promote “100 push ups a day”, which can be great for increasing strength and endurance, but if these are too much for your current fitness level, then it can cause strain in your wrists and your palms to become sore.
To minimize the risk of palm pain while doing push ups, make sure you keep track of how many you do in one session and take frequent rests. It’s also important to remember that if you are feeling any pain in your palms, it may be time to back off and reduce the number you’re doing.
3. Form mistakes
Incorrect form can also cause discomfort in the palms while doing push ups. Push up form needs to be correct in order for the exercise to be effective and for you to avoid injury. Two of the biggest mistakes people make when doing them are leaning too far forward and placing their arms too low.
When your body is leaning too far forward, this can cause extra pressure to be placed on your palms as they bear more of your weight and you are in effect “top heavy”. To fix this, focus on keeping a straight line from your head to your toes.
Also, when your arms are placed too low during the exercise, this can increase the chances of hyperextending your wrists, which can lead to lengthy periods out due to injury. To prevent either of these issues from happening, make sure your arms are placed beneath your shoulders with your elbows directly over your wrists – this will help to minimise pressure on the palms as you do push ups.
4. Is it a wrist or forearm issue?
Sometimes, the pain you feel in the palms when doing push ups can be caused by an issue with your wrist or forearm. The pain you are feeling in your palms is more than likely coming from either of these. This is because the muscles in your wrists and forearms are responsible for stabilizing your hands, so if they’re weak or tight, you may experience discomfort in the palms when doing push ups.
To help strengthen and stretch these muscles, do wrist-focused exercises such as wrist curls, reverse wrist curls and forearm planks. You can also add some kettlebell work and farmers’ walks to increase your grip and forearm strength.
It’s also important to get an accurate diagnosis from a doctor or physical therapist so that you can get the right treatment for your specific issue.
5. Grip the floor
Getting into a good hand position when doing push ups is essential for making sure your palms remain comfortable during the exercise. Instead of pushing through your palms, focus on pressing through your knuckles and gripping the floor with your fingertips. This will help spread the load and prevent excess strain on your wrists. If your hands are effectively limp and not engaged when pressing your weight, then this can lead to uncomfortable pressure in your palms.
If you are still finding that your palms are hurting, try using training equipment such as push up handles or wedges to reduce the amount of pressure on your wrists and hands. If you have any dumbbells laying around that don’t have round edges (we don’t want to roll away), then feel free to use these as well as they can be quite beneficial as they double up as push up handles.
Related: Why Do I Get Forearm Pain When Doing Dips?
If you have previously suffered an injury to your hand through repetitive strain or a nerve compression injury, this can cause recurring pain in your palms whilst doing push ups. It’s important to seek medical advice if you are experiencing any pain in your hands or wrists as this may be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome or another condition.
If you have suffered from an injury through a laceration, scar tissue can build up in the area and this can also cause discomfort, so it’s important to address any injuries or previous issues with your hands before doing them.
If you have suffered wrist or forearm injuries in the past, your palms and wrists will likely be more sensitive to pain during push ups. Therefore, it’s important for you to consult with a doctor before resuming this exercise to ensure proper healing and avoid any further harm.
7. Surface area
This might sound like an odd one, but the surface area of your hands can also have an impact on how comfortable they feel during push ups. If you are using a hard surface such as concrete or metal, this can be tough on your hands, as well as the possibility that you could lean on debris or sharp edges, which can dig into the skin.
Choose an even, soft surface and make sure you wear gloves or use a mat if needed. This will help reduce the friction between your hands and the floor and therefore increase your comfort levels during the exercise.
If you have a large enough space and access to some grass outside, then this can be another great option as it offers the same amount of cushioning but also gets you some fresh air in the process…win, win.
8. Repetitive strain and nerve compression
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common repetitive strain injury caused by repetitive movements of the wrist. This happens when a nerve gets compressed due to the movement of the surrounding muscles and tendons or by direct pressure on the nerve itself.
The most commonly affected nerves are those in the wrist, specifically the median nerve which is responsible for supplying sensation to the palm side of the thumb, index and middle fingers and can cause a pins and needles sensation.
This can also cause numbness and pain in the wrist, hands and fingers. If you feel any unusual sensations while doing push ups it’s important to stop immediately and seek medical advice from a doctor or physical therapist.
If nerve compression is identified as the cause of your discomfort, then treatment may include rest, ice, heat therapy, massage and stretching exercises to help relieve any pressure on the compressed nerves.
9. Variations and equipment
No matter how you look at it, push ups are a tough exercise on the wrists, it’s important to consider different options when it comes to push ups if the standard version doesn’t suit your range of motion etc. If you have limited wrist flexibility, then this can be the perfect time to try out knuckle push ups and see if they work better for you.
Knuckle push ups involve pushing from the knuckles instead of the palms and can often be more comfortable on the wrists as it reduces the amount of pressure placed on them. However, make sure your wrists are strong enough to hold your weight because if you don’t keep your wrists neutral and they bend, it can cause serious injury.
Push up handles or wedges, which increase the surface area of your hands and reduce wrist stress, are also great tools to have in your training arsenal if you experience wrist pain. They provide a stable base for your hands, which can help reduce the strain on your wrists and increase comfort.
10. No warm up
It’s also important to warm up your muscles before attempting any exercise as it can help reduce the risk of injury, particularly if it’s a new exercise for you or you have been inactive for some time. Warming up can be done through dynamic stretching, foam rolling or simply increasing your heart rate to get the blood flowing through your muscles with some light cardio.
This will also help you to become more aware of how your body is feeling, which is a great way to check in with yourself and be mindful of any discomfort or tightness before attempting push ups.
Attempting any exercise cold increases the possibility of your muscles being tight and doesn’t allow them to go through their full range of motion, which can lead to further injury and pain, so make sure you take the time to do some warm-up drills before each session.
Related: Should I Train Chest If My Triceps Are Sore?
11. New to you
As mentioned above, if push ups are new to you or you have had a lengthy spell away from the fitness world, then it is wise to take things easy at first and build up gradually. Don’t put yourself in a position where you push too hard and risk injury, start off by doing them off a worktop or table as the weight you are pressing won’t be as much due to the angle at which you are positioned and gradually increase the intensity as your muscles become more accustomed to the exercise.
While doing this, spend time improving the mobility of your joints, particularly the wrist joint, in order to reduce the risk of further injury and make sure you are using the correct form.
By following this method and taking it slow, you can enjoy a safe experience while doing push ups and reap all their wonderful benefits without needing to worry about any discomfort or pain your palms may be feeling.
Is it normal for hands to hurt after push ups?
Yes, it is normal for your hands to feel sore or tender after doing push-ups. This is because the muscles in your arms and shoulders are being worked during the exercise. Additionally, friction between your hands and the ground can lead to minor discomfort in some cases. To reduce pain, you may want to switch up your grip position or wear gloves to provide more cushioning. Additionally, make sure you are properly warming up before doing exercises and stretching afterwards to help alleviate soreness.
Finally, if your pain persists or worsens, seek medical advice from a professional healthcare provider. They can evaluate the severity of your symptoms and recommend treatment options accordingly.
Is it better to do push ups on your knuckles or palms?
This is an important question to consider before you start doing push-ups. The answer depends on the type of push-up, how much weight you lift, and your overall fitness level. For example, if you are a beginner and are just starting out with push-ups, it may be better to use your palms rather than knuckles as they will provide more cushioning and stability.
However, if you are an experienced exerciser or are looking to increase the intensity of your push-ups, then knuckle push-ups may be a better option as they will help you work the muscles in your chest and arms harder than regular palm push-ups. Knuckle push-ups also require you to use more balance and control, as the knuckles may be less stable than your palms.
Ultimately, it is best to experiment with both types of push-ups and see which one works best for you. If you find that using your knuckles is too difficult or uncomfortable at first, then stick with palm push-ups until you build up the necessary strength and stability. As you continue to exercise, you can gradually work your way up to knuckle push-ups for added intensity.
How do I train my hands to do a push up?
Push ups can be an effective full-body workout if done properly, and having strong hands is essential for a successful push up. To strengthen your hands for push ups, start by doing wall or counter push-ups as an easier alternative to regular push-ups. You can also do grip exercises such as towel squeezes, hand presses, and farmer’s walks to strengthen your hands. Incorporate resistance bands and hand weights into your workouts to further increase the difficulty of your exercises, and don’t forget to stretch your muscles before and after exercising.
Finally, practice regular push ups with the correct form until you are able to do more reps and can feel a difference in strength in your hands. With enough practice and dedication to your workouts, you can train your hands to do a powerful push up.
Why can’t beginners do push ups?
Beginners may not be able to do push ups for a variety of reasons. Lack of strength, mobility and stability can all inhibit a beginner’s ability to complete a full push up. Furthermore, improper technique can contribute to difficulty in performing the exercise. If you are new to exercising or have been inactive for some time, it is important to build up your strength, stability and mobility before attempting push ups.
Additionally, it is important to learn proper technique to ensure that you are able to perform the exercise correctly and not injure yourself in the process. With practice, proper technique and the right guidance, a beginner should be able to successfully complete push ups.
Why are push ups harder for females?
This is because many women lack upper body strength which is necessary to do a proper push-up. Women typically have less muscle mass than men, and they may not be as accustomed to performing exercises that require upper body strength. Additionally, hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can affect how fatigued muscles feel, making them more prone to fatigue during physical activity.
Consequently, women may find push-ups more difficult than their male counterparts. However, with proper training and technique, most women can improve their upper body strength and make progress towards mastering the push-up. Additionally, there are plenty of alternative exercises that can help strengthen the core and upper body that are easier for female athletes to perform.
Push ups are an effective way to work the muscles in your chest, arms, and core. While push ups can be difficult for beginners to master, with enough practice and dedication anyone can learn how to do a proper push up without any discomfort in their palms.
If you experience pain in your palms the likely cause is a combination of incorrect form, reduced range of motion and weak muscles. To reduce the amount of pressure on your wrists, try using push up handles and take some extra time to warm up before attempting a set.
If you find yourself struggling then take a step back and go through the basics, build up your strength and mobility before attempting more volume at once. Doing so will ensure you get the most out of every session without worrying about any unnecessary pain or discomfort in your palms.
Do the palms of your hand hurt when doing push ups and have these tips helped? Let me know in the comments below.