No matter what type of boxing you do, it’s of the utmost importance to wear hand wraps to protect and support your hands—but what exactly are hand wraps, and are they really necessary for boxing? What are the best hand wraps, and how are you supposed to wrap your hands properly?
You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers! Keep reading for everything you need to know about boxing hand wraps.
First things first—why should a fighter wrap their hands, anyway?
The primary purpose of hand wraps is to protect a fighter’s most important weapon—their hands!
Your hands are made up of many fragile joints and delicate bones that could easily break from the impact of repeated punches. Hand wraps are there to hold your hand together, providing support for your fingers, knuckles, wrists, and the entire hand itself.
Many people are under the impression that hand wraps are for extra cushion or protection for their knuckles, but this actually isn’t the case. The boxing hand wraps’ main purpose is not to cushion the impact—that’s what the boxing gloves are for.
Your hand wraps are there to secure all your moveable bones and loose joints. The hand wrap fastens all your joints together, so the shock is better distributed across your entire hand. You don’t want your joints to be moving independently and freely when your hand strikes your opponent or the heavy bag. You can suffer a serious fracture if joints are moving in their own direction.
Additionally, if your hands are loose when you throw a punch, it’s very easy for the tiny joints in your hand to collapse over each other and break. And even if you don’t break your hand, you don’t want to risk frustrating hand injuries that can prevent you from doing other things in life like carrying things, typing on a computer, or even holding a pen. Save your hands for life after boxing and wear hand wraps!
Now that you understand why boxing hand wraps are so important let’s dive into some frequently asked questions.
You should be wearing boxing hand wraps whenever you train and, essentially, any time you are using the full force of your punch or training up to this. You should be extra diligent in protecting your hands and your wrists when:
It is also really good practice to wear your hand wraps when training solo, for example, shadow boxing, as it helps you to learn the feel of your hands and what is most comfortable for you. Another benefit is that you can train with enough confidence to hit as hard as you possibly can without having to worry about injuries. This gets you in the habit and makes for a much better boxer.
There are really only two main types of hand wraps; professional hand wraps and training hand wraps.
Professional hand wraps are most commonly seen in fights but can also be seen among many high-level fighters during training. Professional hand wraps usually consist of layers of tape and thin gauze, which is often applied by a trainer or cornerman. What most people refer to when they say ‘hand wraps’ are the ones used for training—which you wrap up yourself.
When it comes to training hand wraps, there are a few different options. Some hand wraps offer a bit of a stretch to them, meaning they fit the hand tighter and often form to the shape of the hand a lot closer. Then some hand wraps are non-stretch, which are usually made with thicker material, fitting slightly differently without the risk of being too tight. Both types of boxing hand wraps will do a great job protecting your hands, so the fit is really down to what you prefer.
As the variety of boxing hand wraps come in a range of lengths, it’s important to know how much you need. A lot of this honestly boils down to trial and error, but as a general rule of thumb, the bigger your hands, the more cloth you’ll need to adequately wrap your hands securely.
In addition to the length of the hand wrap, you should also consider the width. Two inches is standard for a boxing hand wrap width, but you can find some brands offering thicker or thinner widths. It’s all down to personal preference rather than results.
Pro Tip: If you fasten your hand wraps with velcro, wider wraps will provide you with more grip.
There are a ton of different ways to wrap your hands, depending on how tight you want it and whether you are comfortable wrapping between each one of your fingers.
Here is a step-by-step guide to a standard hand wrapping:
Pro Tip: It’s helpful to think of the hand wrap as a figure-eight pattern as you work from your palm to between your fingers. This is otherwise known as a ‘ribbon’ pattern.
After every single class, throw your boxing hand wraps in the washer with your regular clothes using a garment bag. After the wash cycle, throw the same garment bag with your hand wraps right into the dryer. You can wash multiple hand wraps at once in a garment bag. Just be sure to wrap them up after they come out of the dryer, so the next time you unroll them to wrap your hands next, they will be oh-so-fresh!
Pro Tip: Never—under any circumstances—use wet hand wraps during your boxing class—whether they are wet from the wash or wet from yesterday’s power hour. This is a breeding ground for bacteria and more!
To maximize your boxing hand wraps lifespan, always put clean hand wraps on clean hands. Having more than one set of hand wraps will mean you can rotate them and get each set sparkling clean before their next use. This will give you the very best chance to keep them smelling fresh for as long as possible, and in turn, will help protect your boxing gloves.
Typically, you can work at around five to six months per set of boxing hand wraps, but the signs that they are ready for retirement will include a faded color—or white straps turning grey—plus any lingering nasty smells or rips in the material.
The cost of hand wraps will vary depending on a few different factors, but the good news is that they are generally much cheaper than a pair of boxing gloves. You can find a good quality set of hand wraps for as low as $20.
Hand wraps will support your wrists, keep your fingers tight for a perfect punch, as well as help you fill your gloves. They will be crucial to helping you keep up with your punching technique and can provide additional impact protection.
If you’re new to the exciting world of boxing, it’s important to find an amazing gym like LegendsBoxing with experienced trainers available to help you properly wrap your hands. At LegendsBoxing, they teach real USA boxing techniques, so you can be sure that you’ll learn all the tips and tricks to keep your hands well-protected!
Give LegendsBoxing a try today—you’ll be glad you did!