The pre-training hand-wrapping is a cherished ritual amongst boxers. You walk through the door, slap hands, and greet your teammates. You drop your bag and reach for your hand wraps. Your thumb slides through the loop, and your brain immediately starts preparing your body for what’s to come. You might be chatting with somebody as you wrap up or have headphones on to get in the zone. One thing remains true regardless of how you like to wrap your hands for boxing: taking the time to do it can save you from injuries in the long run.
Like a BJJ player tying their belt, wrapping your hands serves a functional purpose. The way you wrap your hands before a boxing session can also say a lot about you. Skillfully wrapping your hands with speed and grace shows that you’ve probably been around a gym for a while. Meticulously wrapping, unwrapping, and re-wrapping your hands is a sign that you’ve probably just begun your journey in boxing.
Whether you’re a beginner or an old-timer looking for refreshers, this article will help you figure out how to wrap your hands for boxing.
Why wrap hands for boxing?
For the uninitiated, wrapping your hands may seem like an unnecessary step. What’s the point of hand wraps when you’re wearing boxing gloves anyway? There are two main reasons why boxers should wrap their hands, aside from the fact that it makes you look badass.
So let’s talk about it. Why do boxers bind their hands?
1. Injury prevention
Boxing demands repeated impact on your hands and knuckles, especially since a lot of the punching you’ll do is often with a solid target. The repetitive impact of hitting the pads and heavy bag puts you at risk of overuse injuries. Wrapping your hands is an excellent way to avoid this, so it makes sense to reinforce them.
Wrapping your hands will help stabilise the hands and wrists while also offering support to your knuckles. In a sport where your hands absorb most of the contact, they’ll need as much support as they can get.
If you’ve ever caught a whiff of a smelly glove, you know the horror of the musky stank. Now imagine that smell seeping into the pores of your hands. Needless to say, it takes quite a fair bit of soap and scrubbing to rid your hands of the funk. Hand wraps act as the washable middleman between you and your gloves. (Think of it as the equivalent of a sock for your hands.)
For best hygiene practice, use wraps every time you throw your gloves on to prevent the odour from ever occurring.
Picking the perfect handwraps for boxing
Buying your first pair of hand wraps can be a bit overwhelming. There’s a wide array of options, with different colors, lengths, and textures. You may wonder: does it really matter which wrap I pick?
Whatever type of hand wrap you should get is entirely a matter of preference. The longer handwraps will offer more material for support which will benefit punchers with larger hands.
How to wrap hands for boxing
There are many different ways to wrap your hands, and some boxers might develop their own wrapping method over. How you wrap your hands will also depend on where you need the most support. Some may require more wrist support, while others like stabilising the thumb and knuckles.
In any case, the fundamentals of hand wrapping remain the same whether it’s for Boxing, Muay Thai, or any combat sport that requires the use of hand strikes.
The main idea is that you want to get the wrap taut enough to make the wrap solid but loose enough not to cut the circulation in your hand. You want your wrapped hand to be tight enough to stabilize your bones and ligaments when you punch, but if you start losing feeling in your hand, you may have gone too tight.
It might take you several tries to get the perfect amount of tension when wrapping, and that’s fine! Last we checked, there’s no such thing as a hand wrapping championship!
Like we mentioned up top, there are many ways to wrap your hands. Check out the step-by-step video below for how to wrap your hands a simple an effective way. In this video, Mitch uses a standard five-meter hand wrap. Follow along and make the adjustments you need to suit you:
- Begin by unrolling and re-rolling your hand wraps. When you first buy your hand wraps, the Velcro side will be outside. We want to roll it from the Velcro end so that the thumb loop is on the outside. This will make the hand wrapping process much easier.
- Hook the loop onto your thumb and bring the wrap across the back of your hand towards the wrist.
- Wrap your wrist 3 times.
- Bring the wrap up and wrap your knuckles 3 times.
- Go back down to the wrist and wrap it once to anchor it.
- Bring it up across the back of the hand to the space between the pinky and ring finger, wrap around the rest of the hand, then wrap around the wrist once.
- Repeat the process for the middle and pointer fingers.
- After wrapping around the wrist, bring it up and wrap around the first knuckle of the thumb.
- Wrap around the wrist once, wrap around the knuckle once, then continue wrapping the wrist until you run out of wrap.
Remember: Your wrapped hand should not be painful or uncomfortable, whether it is relaxed or in a tight fist. If your fingertips are turning white, or they’re starting to feel a bit tingly, they’re probably too tight. Unwrap and rewrap them as necessary.
Frequently asked questions
Should You wrap Your hands when boxing?
Absolutely. It’s important to wrap your hands even if you’re going to be wearing boxing gloves. The gloves cushion your fists from impact and lessens the shock. The hand wraps, on the other hand, make sure that the small bones and ligaments in your hands stay in place when you punch. They also help fill your gloves so they fit nice and snug.
Do hand wraps make you punch harder?
Hand wraps don’t necessarily make you punch harder, but they do help you punch harder. Since your hands are protected, you don’t need to worry as much about breaking your hand, so you’re free to go all-out in terms of force.
How often should you wash your handwraps?
In a perfect world, everyone washes their hand wraps after every use. As the world is now, it’s still acceptable to wash them after 3-5 uses. Just make sure to store them in a well-ventilated area so they don’t marinate in sweat, and spritz them with a bit of alcohol to disinfect. If your hand wraps get a funky odor after training, it’s definitely overdue for a wash.
How do I know my hand wrap size?
The perfect hand wrap length will depend on your preferences and the hand wrapping technique you develop later on. As a beginner, though, you should try shorter if you have small hands and longer if you have big ones.
Can i hit a heavy bag with just hand wraps?
We’d advise against this. You won’t really notice the negative effects after one or two rounds. Too many heavy punches with just wraps on however, will definitely have your wrists and knuckles suffering for it. There are bare-knuckle boxers who train bare on the heavy bag, but we really don’t recommend it especially if you’re a beginner.