Weight and Resistance Training - My hands hurt after lifting

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03-06-2011, 02:49 PM
I'm a pretty new lifter. In fact, I'm probably giving myself more credit than is due even calling myself a lifter. :) In the past I've used 3 and 5 lb. dumbbells at home, but have now joined a gym and am working with 12 lb. dumbbells for deadlifts and squats, and 10 lb. dumbbells for biceps and rows.

I've noticed that, when I use these heavier dumbbells, my hands seem to cramp up a little bit during rests, and the outside part of my palm (under the pinky) aches when I'm finished. It's not the skin, it's the actual muscle.

I'm assuming poor grip strength is to blame, but is there something in my form I can change to avoid this? Or do I deal with it, and know it gets better with time?

Thanks for your help!

03-06-2011, 03:49 PM
Hi! I just started hand weights again; I have never gone beyond 10 LBS but I think you will need to work on your hand and wrist muscles. At one time on shapefit.com there were hand exercises to do with smaller weights (like 1-3 LBS). They are not hard or long, mainly designed to increase flexibility.
Did you jump up weight sizes-as in from a 5 or 6 to the 12s? Also, in my case, I do have some genetic arthritis in my hands. Also, yes, we have to watch how we hold those weights or we can "sprain" the muscles. And if you do the wrist exercises you'll feel better!
Also online a warm soak or a paraffin soak (there's an appliance for this) was mentioned, also stay away from salty foods as they cause swelling.
Hope that you feel better soon!

03-08-2011, 12:59 PM
You could get weight lifting gloves. I see a lot of people with those, and I know my boot camp teacher said they help.

03-08-2011, 01:03 PM
Mine have gotten better as I have moved up in weights. I notice that as I work with one particular weight and move up reps 6, 8, 10, 12, when I'm then ready to up the pounds, my hands hurt again. They get used to it until I increase. I'm up to 25 pounds for most upper body things now and my wrists are NOT bothering me because I've been using 25 pounds for about a month. But if I increase to 30, and I may not, they'll probably hurt again. I kind of think 25 is enough! :yikes:

03-08-2011, 01:15 PM
I really find that using barbells for squats and anything else you can really helps out, plus I can use higher weights with barbells and get in a better work out. Using the cable machines for rows and lat pull downs also helps

Yesterday, I was using dumbells (15 lbers in each hand) and my wrist and arm hurts so bad. I do think it is a grip issue, like you said, and I do try to work hard on holding it in my hand as close as I can, but my hands are so small, and the dumbells are pretty big, so it's a challenge. It's frustrating, because I know I could lift heavier weights if I could get this pain under control!

I finally did break down & get some lifting gloves, because the pain from callouses and tearing my hands up was preventing me from finishing my sets as I lift heavier weights. That helps tremendously, but not with the wrist pain. I do not think it affects my grip negatively like some people say. I'll be watching this for more advice! :)

It's totally worth it, I have started getting comments on gorgeous arm muscles lol

03-08-2011, 01:37 PM
Along these lines, does anyone have nerve pain with the pec dec machine? Pulling that one in I get a shooting nerve pain through my wrist. I've tried positioning it differently, but it doesn't do any good.

03-08-2011, 01:42 PM
Thanks for the advice!

I never thought about the fact that my hands are small! And I have small hands, even for a woman.

I'm intimidated by the barbell. I have no idea how to rack weights or anything. And, since I'm still using such low weights, it feels slightly silly (to me) to be using the barbell. I know I need to eventually get over this feeling, though.

Eliana - You lift 25s! I want to be YOU one day!

katy trail
03-08-2011, 01:51 PM
you could also try different types of free weights. sometimes the texture is different, making it more uncomfortable than say the colorful weights targeted at women. and if your hands are bothering you, but you're not done, try resistance bands. you can really get a great workout.

03-08-2011, 01:53 PM
Eliana - You lift 25s! I want to be YOU one day!

:^: I've built up to it. ;) And honestly 25 pounds is ALOT! The weights jump in five pound increments and I hate that. 20's got to be too easy, but let me tell you, I've been struggling with those 25 pounders for a month. That's why I'm really not aiming for 30. :dizzy: Plus, I noticed a big guy doing Pec flyes with 30 pound weights the other day and I thought if a big guy is using 30 pounds I'm good with 25. No more.

I second the barbell notion. Yeah, it's intimidating at first, but try it with no weight the first time. I know our bars weigh 45 pounds all by themselves anyway. :rolleyes: Most of the women pretty much stick with an empty bar.

03-08-2011, 02:06 PM
The only times my hand hurts are when I'm lifting a heavy barbell (200+). I don't use gloves though because I think I get a better grip when I'm using my hands.

03-11-2011, 04:55 PM
Have you considered using wrist weights along with dumbells? These are really nice to help get smaller increments between dumbell options, but it seems like it would also help if your grip is holding you back. Obviously, weight that is strapped to your wrist won't work your grip, but will still load you down for squats and other lifts.

03-14-2011, 01:43 PM
the prob with using gloves-- while they do help with the caluses, they are bad for improvig grip strength because they actually increase the circumfrencce of your grip meanig you have to grip with even MOR of your fingers....... i reommend farmers carrys dor improving grip strength.. as you get stronger your grip will as well... if you are worried about calluses, tape works really well

03-15-2011, 09:24 AM
You could get weight lifting gloves. I see a lot of people with those, and I know my boot camp teacher said they help.

That is exactly what I was going to suggest. Get a pair of weight lifting gloves.

03-29-2011, 09:22 AM
I looked into a product called platemates. You can find them online or probably in a good fitness store. They come in maybe 5/8 pound and 1.25 lb sizes thus giving you somehere between 1 1/4 and 2.5 lbs per pair (I'm starting to sound like a math teacher). They attach to the dumbell by magnets. Trouble was my gyms dumbells are the type with the ruberized coating so I was unable to make use of them but maybe it would be helpful for you. As you said 5 lbs is a big jump at one time if you're going from 20-25. This isn't rocket science but I try going with the heavier weight for 1-2 sets of 6 reps and then if I need to I go to the lighter weight for 2 or 3 sets more.