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Stephanie Oakes

How You Grip Weights May Trigger Aches

April 16, 2001|Stephanie Oakes

Question: My hands begin to ache after an hour of lifting free weights, is this a common problem?


Beaverton, Ore.

Answer: This is more common than most people think. Researchers at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Patterson, N.J., recently found that it's the way we hold the weights that can cause pain. For example, most likely you're gripping the weights straight on, which can strain the muscles and joints in your wrists, forearms, back and shoulders.

After noticing the phenomenon anecdotally for more than 13 years, researcher Robert Narcession studied seven strength-trainers who lifted this way (weights straight on). All reported wrist and arm pain. But when they tried an alternative grip--holding the weights at an angle, as though grabbing a tennis racquet--they all reported less or no pain.

As far as weightlifting gloves, they might help your grip and provide additional padding for the palm of your hands. But if this pain persists, see your doctor.


Stephanie Oakes is the fitness correspondent for Discovery Health Channel and a health/fitness consultant. To submit a question, e-mail She cannot respond to every query.

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