One of the most important, yet often overlooked, aspects of combat fighting is the use of hand wraps. As simple and inexpensive as they may be, they help protect the “money makers”--hands, wrists, and knuckles--in fighting. Simply put, hand wraps are essentially some form of cloth that is wrapped several times around the hands and wrists to help protect and reduce the risk of injuries while fighting or training. When done properly, hand wraps cover the palm, the wrist, the base of the thumb, and the metacarpal joints of the knuckles to properly ensure the joints stay in the correct alignment when throwing punches. In other words, the purpose of hand wraps is “to compress and lend strength to the soft tissues of the hand during the impact of a punch.” (wikipedia.org)
Today, FightCamp Trainers Shanie Smash and Coach PJ, with a helping hand (pun intended) from Flo Master, introduce you to the ways fighters in different combat sports use three (3) different types of hand wraps: traditional hand wraps, tape and gauze, and quick wraps, to get the best protection for their wrists and knuckles. Play around with each of the techniques and methods to see what works best for you.
Traditional Hand Wraps
Traditionally, boxing hand wraps are long (sometimes over 18 ft!) pieces of fabric that are carefully wrapped around a boxer’s hand to protect the knuckles and secure the wrist when packing a punch. Not only do boxing hand wraps add extra padding and security to the entire hand area, but they also mitigate chafing, abrasions, and scarring of the knuckles.
Wrapping on the wrong side. Make sure to start on the correct side of the hand wrap.
Some brands have a label that says, “this side down” to help you to identify which side should be in contact with your skin.
Wrapping too tightly or too loosely. Wrapping the hands too tightly may eventually cut off circulation to the hand, resulting in numbness. Wrapping the hands too loosely could result in the wrap slipping around and not giving you the support you need. Wraps are there to help protect all the different bones and ligaments in our hands to prevent injury and damage!
Pro tip: A good way to check that the wrapping job is not too tight is to keep your fingers spread out while wrapping, and every so often, make a fist to ensure there is room to breathe.
Forgetting to wrap the thumb. Leaving out the thumb can cause it to get stuck in the glove and jammed, or worse yet, broken upon contact.
Not investing in high-quality boxing gear and hand wraps. Don't opt for the cheap ones. The material will not be durable and the fabric will be rough and could end up hurting your hands.
Tape & Gauze
Wrapping hands with tape and gauze is the premier way that professional fighters of all different levels of combat sports protect their hands. They use this method both when competing in fights and during their training. There are a lot of different ways and a lot of different methods in which to achieve the wrap job, however the principles are all relatively the same: you want to protect the wrist and you want to protect the knuckles. There are over 27 tiny bones in the hands and wrist, all of which are fragile. Proper hand wrapping can help prevent injuries. A professional coach will get their fighter as prepared and protected as possible by protecting the “money makers” (hands).
Benefits of Tape and Gauze:
Inexpensive. Using tape and gauze to wrap hands is relatively cheap compared to more permanent boxing equipment such as traditional or quick hand wraps.
Able to be worn in preparation for a fight. Wrapping hands with tape and gauze can be used as a preparation technique for fighters, especially in the week before a fight. It can allow the knuckles to get used to the lighter and more absorbent material.
Faster punches. Since tape and gauze are lighter and more absorbent than traditional wraps or quick wraps, fighters will be able to punch faster.
Using tape and gauze is recommended for fighters looking to compete in the ring in an amateur or professional fight.
Quick wraps are a great and fast alternative to both traditional hand wraps and tape and gauze. Using quick wraps is a convenient way to save time while you try to master the other two methods.
Benefit of Quick Wraps:
Simple to use. If you're in a hurry or just don't want to learn the other methods, quick wraps will be your best friend. You can pop them on and get started with your workout!
Stay Protected When Training
There you have it, three (3) different methods for hand wrapping. There are more ways than just these, but these are the three that we recommend you try. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks, so we encourage you to experiment and see what works best for you and your boxing training.
If you want more tips and reviews of boxing equipment and gear, as well as up-to-date fight content and boxing, kickboxing, and MMA workouts, be sure to join FightCamp and get ready to up your at-home workout routine!