Table tennis is an intense game that requires agility, quick reflexes and body coordination. And the importance of the wrist – which is your main rotation axis – should not be underestimated.
The wrist – while it may appear to solely serve as an additional force, it does play a vital role in ensuring quality rotation, movement and power to shots. To put it simply, it is what enables you to return your opponents shots with lightning speed and precision.
So the next time your coach gets you to focus on wrist training before moving on to more advanced techniques, know that he has his reason for doing so.
Now, what are some of the strengthening exercises you can do to boost your performance? We will get to that in a bit. But since we are talking about the wrist, let’s get those unnatural wrist postures fixed too.
Awkward Wrist Postures & Injuries
Studies have indicated that 50% of racket sports athletes will sustain wrist injuries at one point or another. Among all the racket sports, table tennis athletes are most susceptible to them due to their heavy dependence on the wrist. The last thing any athlete wants is for their injuries to get in the way of their achievements.
So whether you are trying to add more spin on the balls or keep your racket at the correct angle, always keep your wrist in a neutral posture.
Work on relaxing your body and your wrist before anything else. Loosen up your forearm muscle and just let your wrist swing instead of forcing it through the motion.
Got that right? Great! Now let’s dive into strengthening your wrist muscles.
Wrist Strengthening Exercises
1. Wrist Extension
In this exercise, all you need is a light dumbbell, and you are pretty much good to start.
To begin, rest your arm on the table with your wrist extending slightly beyond the edge, palms facing towards the ground. Then, work on lifting the dumbbell, starting from the low position.
Make sure you start slowly and focus on getting control. Kick off with small repetitions (about 10 to 15 times for up to 2 times a day) before building from there.
This exercise may not seem like much at first glance, but it does play a critical part in your overall table tennis training regimen.
2. Wrist Flexion
After performing wrist extensions, you can turn your hand over, so your palm is facing the ceiling.
Then, flex your wrist up so that your palm moves towards the ceiling. You should feel a stretch in your forearm. Squeeze your forearm for a second, and lower the weight back down for the second rep.
3. Wrist Pronation and Supination
Wrist pronation and supination are great training exercises to stretch your wrist and increase its range of motion. For beginners, pronation describes the movement of rotating your forearm into a palm down position, while supination is where you turn your palm up.
Again, start with your forearm resting on the table with your thumb pointing up. Next, place the dumbbell in your hand, and all you need to do is rotate your wrist so that your palm goes up towards the ceiling and down towards the floor. Repeat the motion.
Your Training Will Pay Off
Strength training is a big part of an athlete’s life. When you start working on your strength early, you develop motor skills that will serve as a foundation as you progress through your table tennis journey.
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