This our video tutorial above on how to wrap your hands for Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, Muay Thai or any other contact sport is made by Jack Biltson.
If you’re a new boxer or Mixed Martial artist, you’ve probably seen other guys in the gym wrapping their hands up before they put on their boxing gloves and wondered why. I mean, shouldn’t your gloves give you all the protection you need for sparring and bag work? As a Muay Thai boxer, I can tell you from personal experience that I didn’t particularly care for hand wraps and had to be forced to use them at all. However, once I started, it made a lot more sense.
You see, calling them “hand wraps” is a bit of a misnomer; what they’re really wrapping are your wrists and your thumb. If you’ve ever worked the heavy bag, you know just how much it hurts when you can’t get the force behind your punches perfectly straight and your wrist bends. This kind of thing leads to sprains, tears, and other injuries that keep you out of the gym and in rehab. Even punching correctly can, over time, really mess up any and all of the bones in your hand, permanently limiting your punching power. Taking the macho attitude of ditching hand wraps to toughen your knuckles up (like I did) is a lot like riding a bicycle without a helmet; it looks really cool until you disfigure yourself, then you just look dumb. Trust me, if you’re training consistently, you’ll build up strength in your hand without risking injury, even with hand wraps and gloves.
So, we’ve covered why you need them, now we need to figure out exactly what kind you need. A lot of this is personal preference, because everyone’s bodies are different, but the basic differences are sizes and materials. The sizes are a no-brainer; if you’re a bigger fighter with bigger hands, get bigger hand wraps. As long as you can wrap them tight enough to give you solid support on your wrists and they aren’t so bulky you can’t wear your gloves, you’re good. As for materials, you’ve got two good choices, namely cotton wraps and an elastic blend. Each one has advantages and disadvantages; the cotton doesn’t stretch and washes easily in a washing machine, and the elastic can give you a bit more support. However, both of these are reusable, which is what I’d recommend for anybody who’s going to be working out consistently. You could buy the high-end disposable wraps, but outside of an actual fight, it’s just going to get expensive.
Now, the actual process of wrapping your hands may take a bit of work to learn, but once you learn it, like tying your shoes, you don’t really ever forget. While everyone has their own way of doing things, I’d like to show you mine; if your gym wants you to do something different, then do so.
- First, place your hand palm-down and spread your fingers. Find the thumb loop on the end of your wrap and slide it over your thumb. If you’ve done it right, the material should be laying flat across the back of your wrist.
- Next, wrap the material around your wrist twice. Make sure you wrap it tight enough to give you support, but not so tight you lose circulation in your hand.
- Wrap the material twice around your palm, then wrap it once more around your wrist.
- Roll the material around the back of your hand and around your thumb twice. Roll it around your wrist once more.
- From the inside of your wrist (the side where your thumb is), roll your wrap between your pinky and ring finger. Return to the inside of your wrist and repeat for the spaces between your ring and middle finger, and again for the space between your middle and index finger.
- Tightly wrap the material around your knuckles twice.
- Roll your wrap back down to your wrist and secure it with Velcro.
If it sounds complicated, don’t worry; it really does get easier.
As a general rule, you don’t want to twist your hand wraps at any point; if you need to twist them, then somewhere along the line, they were already twisted. Keep them wide, wrinkle-free, and covering as much of your hands as possible.
Making sure your hands are properly wrapped means that you can spend more time training and less time being injured. Wrap your hands the right way and you can practice punching with all your strength, rather than building bad punching technique because you’re afraid of injuring yourself.