Never used wraps before? Unsure about what to do with them? Follow our tips to help you understand how boxing wraps work.
When should you use hand wraps?
You should use hand wraps every time you train. Wraps are one of the first pieces of kit you should put on before any type of combat training. It’s common practice in combat sports to wear wraps for everything from skipping and running, to circuits and pad work.
Why use wraps whilst boxing?
It’s a common misconception that using hand wraps helps cushion the impact when throwing punches. This is in fact why we use boxing gloves.
Wraps are used to prevent injury to our hands and support our wrists. We have 27 small, fragile bones in each hand, and if you don’t protect them properly, it’s very easy to fracture or break one.
Your knuckles and wrists are particularly susceptible to damage. They’re common areas of injury for professional and amateur boxers. Wraps act as a support, keeping your bone structure compact when pushing your body’s power through your hands and onto your target. They also reinforce your hands when blocking shots from your opponent’s attack, particularly kicks, knees and elbows in disciplines such as Thai Boxing, Kickboxing, and MMA.
How do I you wear hand wraps?
It can take a bit of practice to perfect your hand wrap application. It’s easy to get it wrong initially so make sure you practice putting them on a few times before throwing punches.
You can easily apply your wraps them too tight, restricting blood circulation. However, apply them too loose and you risk injury. Once you think you’ve got it right, do some light training, like skipping or press ups for 15-30 minutes, making sure your wraps stay comfortable and in place.
Here’s a step by step guide on how to apply a standard reusable training wrap:
1. Start by wrapping your weaker hand. Spread your fingers apart with your palm facing the floor.
2. Place the loop at the end of your wrap around your thumb. Going over the back of your wrist first, wrap around your wrist three times. Make sure your wrap it firm but now too tight.
3. Now bring the wrap up to your palm, between your index finger and thumb, and wrap a further three times around your knuckles, passing under and across the top of your palm. Make sure your fingers stay wide apart; this will help the wrap contract when your fist is clenched.
4. Now bring the wrap down under your thumb, across the back of your hand, and through the space between your ring and little fingers. Come back down, through the space between your index and thumb, across your knuckles and back to where you started. During this process, it helps to imagine you are creating a letter X with the wraps on the back of your hand. Now repeat this process between your ring and middle fingers, and your middle and index fingers, starting each wrap from the base of your thumb.
5. From the base of the thumb, wrap across the back of your hand. Turn your palm around so it is facing you and wrap around the bottom of your thumb, keeping your fingers spread. This reinforces your thumb and helps reduce the risk of sprain.
6. Turn your palm back to the floor. Wrap your knuckles a further three times.
7. If you have any excess wrap, you can distribute it evenly between your wrists and your knuckles.
8. Use the velcro at the end of the wrap to keep your wrap in place, ideally on the inside our outside of your wrist.
9. Now repeat the process on your other hand.
Remember – if at any time you feel discomfort or lack of feeling in your hands, your wraps aren’t applied correctly.
Different types of wraps
Cotton Reusable wraps
This is the most common wrap used in combat sports training. They’re cheap and easy to apply on your own.
Bandage and Tape wraps
Used mostly in full-contact contests, they must be applied by a trainer or training partner. Generally, only professional and high-level amateurs will train using bandage and tape wraps.
Elastic / Mexican wraps
Elastic wraps are a more stretchable version of your standard cotton reusable. They can offer more comfort but have a shorter light span. They are also slightly more expensive than the cotton reusable.