Ladies - progressing, dumbbells hurt my hands. Advice?

  • I remember having this issue yrs. ago when I did BFL. I am progressing to 20 lb. dumbbells for my 6-reps of things like walking lunges, bent over rows. I do have a barbell and am now using that for deadlifts so I can go beyond 40 lbs. But even holding that, my hands are KILLING me. I am a member of a gym but it's much harder for me to get there than to workout in my home gym which I have well equipped, but as I get stronger, I am feeling the need for perhaps a Smith machine bar. (or squat machine/sled?) Does anyone use wrist straps and how would they help? Wouldn't the pressure then just hang off of my wrists?? My home gym consists of: treadmill, stationary recumbent bike, elliptical, rower. Weights: dumbbells ranging from 3 lbs. up to 20 lbs. - weight plates up to 15 lb. each (probably have enough to go up to 60-70 lbs. right now) cheap weight bench with pull down bar, and holders for barbell so I can do chest press. The back part of the bench inclines. For back, I can load that pull down bar heavy...have a lot of room there to grow. I can probably manage a 25 lb. dumbbell for kneeling, bent over row (1 arm). I can do walking lunges with a barbell but safely getting it onto and off of my shoulders is an issue if I am alone. Safety is important as I work out alone usually when kids are in school. I may consider investing in a smith rack for at least legs.

    My issue is holding the heavy dumbbells. The 20's kill my hands. And while my legs can certainly handle the exercises (like walking lunges, etc) my hands hurt. I am a 44 yr old female, small boned, 134 lbs, 5'3". I remember transitioning more to my gym when I did BFL in 2006 but really want to find a way to make it work at home. Any advice? Wrist straps? Thanks!

  • So when you say your hands hurt, do you mean it hurts to grip? Do you use gloves? I found them to be very helpful for my grip. I notice that my hands begin to hurt when I am doing last reps of prone chest press with dumbbells because the weight is heavy! Best of luck!

  • @tpup - I haven't worked up to that weight yet, but I do remember the higher weights hurting my hands last time.  I would like to know what to do also.

    @BobbyA - no - it has nothing to do with skin or gloves.  It's the weight on the hands (joints, bones, tendons, etc.)  Right, tpup?

  • Yes sheshea - I do wear gloves. It's the weight especially pulling down on my hands when I do things like walking lunges, deadlifts. Chest press I am fine, probably because my chest and arms are absorbing the weight...not my hands. There comes a point where I cannot physically hold the weights with my hands (weak hands??) In other words, my legs can lunge with 20 lb. dumbbells by my hands tire out before my legs do and I find myself focusing on my hands vs. the leg muscles... Hope that makes sense.

  • I totally understand.  I want to know what to do about this also.  I have weak/small wrists and hands also.

  • @tpup, I am dealing with the same issue.  I'm using 25lb dumbells for my lunges and squats and my back and arms and hands all hurt when I am doing them.  I feel I could do so much more on my leg workouts but I'm not able to hit  all 10's because my upper body is holding me back.   I'd love to hear if others have any suggestions.  Seeing this as a problem, I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a workout machine for home and I got the leg press option on it, and it also does leg extensions and leg curls.  I can not wait to get it as I feel like I'm losing precious time with my leg workouts.  It comes next tuesday.    Today I did LBWO and to try to compensate, I used higher weights earlier on.  So instead of starting with my first set of 12 with a 12 weight, I used 15 for 12 reps and the next 10 reps, then 20 for 8 and 25 for 6.  Back to 20 for the 12 then 15 for the last 12.  Got me where I needed to be, my legs were jello.  Also for calves, I just do higher reps of the weights I can hold. I'm doing sets of 20 and 25 instead of the normal 12,10,8,6.  Anything to hit the burn.

  • I'm right there with you guys. Initially gloves helped but now I have similar problems where any weight over 20lbs gets excruciating to hold for lunges, step-ups, etc.

    What I've started doing is dumbbell wrist curls. You could possibly work these into your routine, maybe rotate and do m on lower body days, and just do a few short sets real quick instead of the full BFL set. I also bought a couple squeeze balls, I keep one at my desk at work and one at home. I will use it when I'm working or just whenever.

    Those two things seem to be helping. Good luck!

  • You should try adding a weight vest to your workout. It will solve your problem and you can use it for other exercises.

  • Hi tpup!

    I'm a guy and I have smaller hands (not boned, but just not as large). I've noticed using barbells or dumb bells with smaller grips (in diameter) it's easier for my hand to make full contact with the grip. I could be wrong, but I think thicker bars take more effort to grasp and keep a tight grip.

    Hope that helps.


    "We must all make the choice between what is right and what is easy" -Dumbledore