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The question

I've recently started playing squash. Are there exercises I can do to strengthen my wrists, forearms and elbows? I feel weak in those areas, and don't want to injure myself.

The answer

Incorporate wrist flexion and extension exercises into your workouts.

Wrist flexion: Holding a weight in one hand, palm up, sit on the floor with your forearm resting on a bench. Flex your wrist so the palm of your hand comes toward your forearm. Keep the rest of your upper body still.

Wrist extension: Start in the same position, palm down. Bring your knuckles towards the ceiling.

Do 10 to 15 reps.

Also, modify one or two exercises you do already so that they challenge your grip strength.

For example, if your gym has barbells that come in different grip widths, try using the barbells with larger diameters to do strength exercises like bench-press biceps curls.

Or use something with a large diameter to do the flexion and extension exercises listed above. For example, try a soup can.

Another way to challenge your grip would be to use a "pinch grip" when doing lunges or squats. Hold a five-to-10-pound weight plate in each hand by "pinching" your fingers around the top of the plate. Keep your fingers as straight as possible and sandwich the plate in between your thumb and fingers.

Finally, a note of caution: Make sure you progress slowly. Progressively building the frequency and duration of your squash workouts will allow your connective tissue to adapt to the sport and help prevent injury.

Trainer's tip: Squash requires your body to move as a whole, in multiple planes of motion. Make sure your workout routine reflects the full-body requirements of the sport.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at She will answer select questions, which could appear in the Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.