Hand wraps are an essential piece of equipment, and while many people see them as an aesthetic choice or something which simply ‘looks cool’ they are incredibly important for beginners as well as experienced boxers.
This is because punching puts an incredible amount of strain on various parts of the hand, including the fingers and their joints and the wrist in particular. The forces that punching involves are significant.
While many people may think hand wraps simply look cool, not everyone understands just how important they are, and some people don’t even know what they’re for or how essential they are.
In this guide, we’re going to look at what hand wraps are, how important they are, how they work, and how to use them correctly to prevent injuries, improve your punching and to help you progress as a boxer.
What Are Hand Wraps?
Hand wraps are a type of support that are used by boxers and other martial artists to protect their wrists and hands from damage when punching.
They are made of various materials, most often cloth but sometimes supported by tape and gauze as well as additional cloth padding segments.
Typically they are wrapped around the hand and wrist several times to both hold the wraps in place securely and to provide adequate protection from the forces that will travel down the hand and wrist during a punch.
They achieve this by keeping the joints aligned correctly and immobilizing them or restricting their movement so they can’t be pushed out of position and damaged by the movements and impacts of throwing a punch.
Wraps also compress the hands and wrists, making them harder and tougher, and more able to dish out damage and sustain it.
There are many brands of hand wrap, from more traditional wraps to quick wraps and there are different approaches to wrapping, using techniques that can change slightly from person to person.
Using hand wraps is a very ritualistic process for most fighters and martial artists, and there is something intensely therapeutic about slowly wrapping up your hands and preparing them to train.
It can be relaxing, calming, and help ground fighters before a session, and can help get you in the right mindset, focusing you on the task at hand.
For professional fights, their coaches will often assist with hand wrapping, particularly for a competitive fight where hand wraps are closely monitored by the athletic commissions for potential foul play and padding of gloves, etc.
Hand wraps aren’t a replacement for boxing gloves either for sparring, training, or fighting, and wraps only help provide support, and do not offer the same protection as the glove from impact damage. This is why wraps are used to complement the boxing glove, as they both offer different forms of protection and must be used together to prevent serious injury.
Do You Need Hand Wraps, And Why?
Yes, you definitely need hand wraps, even if you’re just punching mitts, and especially if you’re using the heavy bag.
Punching puts incredible pressure and strain on your hands, including the various small bones in the hand such as the metacarpal bones and the cartilage, tendons, and ligaments that can take a lot of punishment when throwing a series of punches.
A hand wrap will protect you from injury, supporting the wrist joint and keeping it aligned, securing the thumb and reducing the chance of sprains or fractures from catching it on anything, and ensuring that your hands are compact and hardened ready for training.
What Type Of Wraps Should You Use?
There are a few types of wraps you can use, and it’s mostly a matter of personal preference as to which you pick.
No, this isn’t referring to a microwavable hand wrap. These are wraps that are made of polyester blends that give an elastic feel and the ability to stretch around your hand nicely, while still being durable and comfortable. There are a few benefits to this type of wrap, such as moisture-wicking, being machine washable, and being very durable and long-lasting.
These wraps are best used for training as they are easy to throw on, however they aren’t the preferred choice for sparring, which is where traditional hand wraps are preferred.
These wraps are typically made from cotton blends instead of polyester. They are proven and have been used for decades by boxers at all levels and are very durable while also being inexpensive and easy to find.
The difficulty with these wraps is that they are harder to learn to wrap properly and it can be more difficult to find a fit that suits you. It may take some practice before you’re able to get them wrapped properly. It’s also quite common for fighters to use tape or gauze with these gloves at the knuckles and on the top of the wraps to help add comfort during more demanding sparring sessions and competitive fights.
How To Wrap Hand Wraps
How To Put On Quick Wraps
Quick wraps are very convenient and have become very popular because of this. These wraps are as easy to use as slipping on a pair of gloves, and all you need to do is use the elastic strap to secure them around the wrist so they remain in place during training.
These wraps do look a little different and aren’t as protective but work well enough for light training.
How To Put On Traditional Wraps
This is a much more complex process and can take a lot of practice. Ideally, you should see help from a coach or training partner to ensure you’re learning the correct technique, however, everyone uses a slightly different version and has their own preferences, so you should make sure you use one that is comfortable for you while still using proper technique.
Check out this video for clear instructions on how to wrap your hands effectively as a beginner.
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