Before you learn how to punch as a pro boxer does, there’s one thing you need to master first – using hand wraps. This essential gear protects your hands from injuries and gives you additional support to increase your punching power.
In this guide, learn how to wrap hands for boxing before a training session, along with important tips in choosing the hand wrap for your training needs.
What Are Hand Wraps?
Also called “wrist wraps”, these are strips of cloth that you wrap around your hands before putting on your boxing gloves.
Boxing wraps come with a small loop at one end where you insert your thumb to get a nice, tight foundation, and a Velcro at the other end to secure the wrap.
Traditional hand wraps come in 120-inch and 180-inch lengths. These sizes will accommodate both large and small hands alike.
Training wraps are usually reusable and non-elastic. Modern wraps (Mexican-style), which are popular among pro boxers, have some elasticity to them.
Why Should You Wrap Your Hands?
It may feel like an added work but wrapping your hands is the first and most important step before any training session. Below are the major reasons why you should wrap your hands:
Your hands are vulnerable to injury when you’re into boxing. They are made of small joints and bones that might sustain fractures from incorrect twists or hand movements, and due to impact from repeated punches.
Hand wraps greatly lower your risk of injury by providing support for your fingers, knuckles, wrists, and your entire hands.
Our wrists are very fragile. One wrong move and they may never perform the same way again.
Hand wraps are meant to cover vulnerable parts, particularly your wrist, to prevent over-twisting and provide additional support. They also prevent hyperextension which can cause serious damage to your wrists.
Another purpose of using hand wraps is to keep your loose joints in place. Restricting your joints allow the impact to be evenly distributed in and absorbed by your hands.
Common Hand Injuries When Boxing
Whatever sports we’re into, we all rely on our body as a weapon. Thus, we have to take extra measures to avoid injuries.
Even if you’re throwing punches the right way or are properly geared, hand pain is normal especially if you’re a beginner.
Since your hands are absorbing shock, and you’re using your muscles to resist the impact, the muscles, joints, and tendons in your hands will tear but will heal and get stronger over time. Using hand wraps prevents severe hand pain caused by injuries.
When impact occurs at your knuckle and your fist places pressure on it, the tissue surrounding your knuckle may get injured.
This injury occurs on the fifth metacarpal bone of the hand. It results from displacement or a significant angulation of the bone. Boxer’s fracture is a very painful injury and can cause deformity of the hand.
The carpal metacarpal joint space or the junction between the long bones of the hand and the wrist tends to sustain more impact from punching. This injury can limit your range of motion.
When Do You Need to Wrap Your Hands?
Whether you’re training on a punching bag or with a sparring partner, you have to wrap your hands.
If you’re simply doing workouts like cardio or strength training, no need to. But before you wear that gloves, you want to make sure your hands are secure.
Types of Hand Wraps
Before you learn how to wrap hands for boxing, you should know about the different types of hand wraps used by pro and amateur boxers as well as hobbyists today.
Just like boxing gloves, hand wraps come in different forms. Let’s get to know each one of them so you can choose the perfect wrap for your boxing or training needs:
These are your standard hand wraps and the first type of wrap your coach will most likely recommend you. Cloth wraps are inexpensive but they offer so much protection and support for your hands.
These are similar to traditional cloth wraps but are slightly elasticated. The ‘stretch’ allows you to wrap your hands a bit tighter for added support.
Tape and gauze
Only pro boxers (during competition) use this type of hand wrap. If you’re just starting, this isn’t the wrap for you.
These wraps offer a quick alternative to traditional wraps, tape, and gauze but they aren’t recommended because they don’t provide the same level of support and protection.
While these gloves offer general protection, they don’t provide great support, particularly for your wrists and knuckles.
How to Wrap Hands for Boxing: Step by Step
Using hand wraps properly is a skill that you can master through constant practice. Check out these steps on how to wrap hands for boxing:
- Start by unrolling the wrap. Place your thumb through the loop at the end of the wrap, ensuring that the underside of the wrap is against your hand.
- Go around the back of your wrist. Depending on the length of your wrap and the wrist stability you want to achieve, you should be able to wind it around your wrist 3-4 times. Finish the wrap at the inside of your wrist.
- Wrap your hand. Wind it around your thumb and over the top of your hand to the wrist and across your palm to the other side. Do this step three times.
- Wrap your thumb. Wrap your wrist one more time, ending at your thumb. Wind the wrap from the bottom of your thumb toward the top, then back to the bottom. Wrap your wrist once more.
- Wrap each finger. Starting at the inside of your wrist, wind the wrap to each of your fingers, starting from your pinky finger to your pointer finger.
To do this, wind the wrap from the inside of your wrist over the top of your hand and between two fingers.
- Wrap your hand again.
- Wind the wrap around your wrist. Then, starting from the inside of your wrist, wrap it diagonally to the outside of your hand. Continue wrapping across your palm until you’ve almost used up the length of your wrap. Finish by wrapping around your wrist once more.
- Fasten the Velcro to secure the wrap.
Other Important Things to Know
- Not too tight!
Hand wraps should be tight enough to provide stability for your entire hand, including your wrist. But they shouldn’t be too tight to cut off blood circulation. You should be able to achieve the right amount of tension after a few tries.
- No bent wrists, please.
Always, always keep your wrist straight when wrapping your hand. If your wrist is bent when you wrap your hand, it won’t help keep your wrist stable.
- Nice and straight.
Be cautious about folds and creases on your hand wraps. They can be uncomfortable on your hands. Plus, lumps and wrinkles can prevent the wrap from fully protecting your hands and stabilizing your wrists.
How to Choose The Right Boxing Hand Wraps
As you can see, traditional cloth hand wraps are best for boxing unless you’re a competing, professional striker. But not all hand wraps are the same.
Check out these tips when choosing hand wraps for your boxing training:
- Choose cloth hand wraps made of a cotton elastic blend. These are very resistant even if they are constantly used and washed. 100% cotton wraps are great but it can be difficult to get a clean wrap using them. As your boxing skills progress, you’ll find other hand wraps like the Mexican-style wrap more comfortable.
- Choose a longer wrap. Even if your hands are small, it’s better to have a little too much wrap than a little. Anyway, you can always double the wrap around your wrist and knuckles. A double wrap your hand fits in a larger glove too.
- Quality matters. Just like choosing any other professional boxing gear, you should always pay attention to the quality of the product you’re buying. Your hand wraps are tasked to protect your precious hands from injury. Therefore, you should only choose a top-quality wrap.
How to Care for Your Hand Wraps
The life of your hand wraps depends so much on how you care for them.
- Hand-washing is always the best and least invasive way of cleaning your hand wraps. Wash them in warm water with a little amount of laundry soap. Soak them for 2-3 hours. Avoid squeezing your hand wraps too much to prevent damage.
- If at times you need to machine-wash your wraps, use a laundry bag to prevent them from getting twisted together.
- Air-dry your wraps. Do not iron your hand wraps unless you’re pretty sure they are made from 100% cotton.
Nazo Boxing hand wraps are ideal for beginner to advanced levels as they are made of highly durable stretch elastic material. These wraps come in 180-inch lengths so they are suitable for both large and small hands. These wraps are also available in different colors.