i have recently been experiencing a lot of pain in my wrists and numbness in my fingers (middle, pointer, thumb only) while going on longer rides. i have also had similar pain while lifting (bench press, lat pulls, various dumbell exercises) at a lower weight/high reps. reading other posts, i took the suggestion to buy gloves which i never rode with before, but to no avail. someone told me the numbness could point to carpal-tunnel, especially with me using a computer most of the day at work.
are there any exercises to target and strengthen the wrist?
It is definately median nerve involvement which is the nerve that runs in the carpel tunnel. Try to keep your wrists in neutral when riding or on the computer. When extending the wrists, there is less room in the carpel tunnel and can compress the median nerve, therefore causing symptoms in the first three digits. The usually exercises usually include light wrist strengthening and wrist flexor stretches (going backwards) as long as there is no pain, or increase in digit numbness/tingling.
Strengthening: rest forearm on thigh in sitting with wrist over knee, use a 2-3 pound weight
1) flexion (palm down)
2) extension (palm up) if brings on symptoms don't go through full motion
3) ulnar deviation (thumb up)
Try these 3 positions moving hand up and down against gravity. If you have pain on the palmar surface of wrist or numbness do not continue (or try lighter weight or limit range of motion). If everything is ok, you can add weight especially with extension.
Carpal tunnel is sometimes caused by wrist flexor tendon thickening, so it is a good idea to stretch these. Start with elbow bent and palm facing up, then bend your fingers toward floor until stretch is felt in forearm or wrist (again you do not want any hand symptoms). If you cannot stretch without pain or numbness it may be too inflamed; then just go through painfree range of motion until inflammation is decreased and you are able to stretch. You can also try straightening out the elbow to get a further stretch.
Check to see if the saddle on the bike is level if not level it. Also you might have to raise the stem up so your sitting more upright.. or you may have to get a shorter stem because of the over reaching is putting more weight on the bars.. plus a sidebar note. remove the bar tape and add gel padding. they sell kits with the padding and bar tape it works wonders.