Wrapping your hands properly when boxing is essential, especially if you’re hitting hard targets, such as the best Century punching bags. You should do this before even thinking of putting boxing gloves on since the hand wraps prevent your knuckles from absorbing much more impact than they normally would without them.
Boxing wraps can either come with a strap or a hook and loop at the thumb so that you can wrap them effectively. Depending on what model you’ve got, you’ll need to follow the instructions that come in the packaging so that you do it right. For beginners, we recommend straps because they are far easier to tie than those with a hook and loop.
Choosing the right wraps for you
A simple online search will yield results for many different types of boxing wraps, and things can get quite confusing if you’ve never had a pair before or if you’ve simply never taken the time to do your research. But before choosing the right type, you also have to choose the right size. Measure your hands so that you can get a pair that won’t be too tight or too loose.
Cotton wraps are the most common type and they’re good for regular training. These usually come in a variety of sizes for children, men, and women alike.
Mexican wraps are woven with elastic fibers while still keeping a certain similarity to cotton wraps. They mold on your hand more easily but they are generally less durable because the elastic tends to lose its strength over time.
One ultra-convenient type is the gel wrap. Usually coming at a higher price than cotton and Mexican wraps, gel wraps simply slip onto your hand the same way a fingerless glove would. However, they don’t provide nearly as much wrist support as our previous two examples.
Competition wraps are meant for professionals and they can only usually be used once. So if you intend on using them for training, keep in mind that you might need to spend more money. But if you’re a pro, you already knew this, so we don’t need to tell you more.
Key things to consider when wrapping
Let’s say you’ve already chosen a good pair of wraps. You’ll want to get a few basic things down when wrapping them around your hands.
First of all, check the tension of the wrap by placing your thumb through the loop enclosure and pulling softly on the rest of the wrap to get a feel of how comfortable you need it to be. We recommend practicing a few times until you get the entire process right because if you wrap your hands too tight, you’ll cut off blood circulation, which can lead to other problems.
Secondly, the wraps shouldn’t be too loose either because they need to offer proper protection to your knuckles and wrists. When wrapping, try to keep the wraps free of wrinkles. If the material gets wrinkled, you’ll lose some of that precious stability and you’ll have to unwind and start over.
And, most importantly, keep your wrists straight when wrapping. If you bend your wrists during the wrapping process, you won’t offer them any protection, and the wraps themselves will become not only uncomfortable but dangerous to wear during boxing. So, whatever you do, keep your wrists straight. We can’t stress this enough.
Easy steps to wrap your hand for boxing
Stretch out your hand on a table with the fingers as spread apart as possible and try to keep your muscles flexed. Because the wrap is supposed to support your hand during boxing, you need to flex your muscles properly and keep your wrists straight for it to fit correctly on your hand.
Put your thumb through the strap on the end part of the wrap located at the opposite end of the velcro. Most wraps will have a tag that tells you which side is which, and you should look for it to determine this. The underside should press against your hand, and if you get this wrong you won’t be able to fasten it correctly once the process is done.
Now wrap your wrist three or four times depending on the size of your hand and how much stability you need to provide it with. Be careful to keep the wrap flat and overlap it with each turn on the wrist. You don’t want it to slide up or down. Don’t be afraid to try this multiple times until you get the right feel for it.
Next, pull the wrap over the back of your hand, just above the thumb, and wrap it around your palm and back again for about three times. Then stop on the inside of your hand near the thumb.
The next step is to wrap your thumb. Start by wrapping your wrist one more time, then place the wrap over the back of your hand and around the thumb, and finally secure it by doing another wrist-wrapping motion.
On to the more complicated part
Now comes the hard part where you need to wrap your fingers. Start at the inside of your wrist where the wrap last remained, slide it over the back of your hand, and between the pinky and the ring finger.
Then continue on to the palm, take it out near the thumb base, go on the back of the hand again, place it between the ring and middle finger, repeat the process, and finally wrap between the middle and index finger.
Finish at the inside of your wrist and you’re done with this part.
The finishing touches
Now it’s time to wrap your hand once more. Start by wrapping the wrist one more time. Then continue diagonally from the inside of the wrist to the outside of your hand. Then continue by wrapping across the palm and back of your hand just above the wrist. Do this until there’s very little of the wrap left until you start seeing the velcro part.
Finally, the easiest part of the entire process. Secure the wrap at the wrist by tying down the velcro. Now throw a few punches to determine if it feels comfortable. Does it feel too tight or too loose? We’re sorry, but you’ll have to go through the entire process again until you do it right.
It’s a pain, sure, but it’s less painful than damaging your knuckles or breaking your wrist. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t do it right the first time. It’s a complicated and meticulous process that requires a lot of attention, patience, and skill.
What about the other hand?
Simply repeat the same process for your other hand. It might feel weird to tie your dominant hand with your non-dominant hand, but you’ll eventually get used to it. If the process seems too complicated, don’t be afraid to ask a partner or your coach to do it for you. With enough practice, it’ll eventually become second nature and you’ll be able to do it instinctively.
Once you’re done wrapping both hands, throw a few light punches on a heavy bag and pay attention to the part of your hands that hurt or that feel extremely uncomfortable. You’ll most likely need to redo the wrapping and focus more on the part of the process that you got wrong on the first few tries. Remember: patience is a virtue, grasshopper.
Should a beginner use hand wraps?
While you might think that boxing gloves already offer enough support, it’s far from the truth, especially if you’re a beginner. Throwing correct punches is much, much harder than it looks in movies. Get it wrong once, and you might end up with severe injuries, or, if you’re lucky, strain your wrist and be out of the game for a few weeks.
Do hand wraps deal extra damage to your opponent?
No, they don’t. Boxing hand wraps are meant to offer protection to their user, not inflict damage on opponents or inanimate objects. Don’t expect to become Rocky Balboa or Floyd Mayweather overnight simply because you’ve purchased a pair of good hand wraps. Becoming good at boxing takes time. Months, years, or even a decade.
With all of this said and done, we wish you good luck in choosing the right hand wraps for you and here’s hoping that you’ll get the hang of it sooner rather than later!