Hand Wraps Buyers Guide | All You Need To Know

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One of the most important bits of equipment in a striker’s gym bag is a good set of hand wraps.

Hand wraps (or wrist wraps) play a crucial role in protecting your hands while punching.

From boxing to MMA, each striking art has a unique method for wrapping hands.

If you’re in a hurry, there’s a great selection of hand wraps over on Amazon.

In this post, you’ll discover:

  1. What hand wraps actually do for you
  2. How to wrap your hands for different martial arts
  3. How to choose the right hand wraps for you

I also answer a few other questions you might have, let me know if I’ve missed anything.

ALSO READ: [EXPLAINED] How To Clean And Maintain Hand Wraps

BJJ - The Gentle Art x
BJJ - The Gentle Art
Why Boxers Need Hand Wraps

Hand wraps protect the small bones and ligaments in a boxer’s hands by compressing them, forming a strong fist for punching. If wrapped correctly, hand wraps will also protect your wrist by keeping it straight, which helps to reduce the risk of injury when striking.

Top Pick
RDX Boxing Hand Wrap

These elasticated hand wraps by RDX feature an attached thumb loop to make wrapping your hands easier. They use breathable fabric to keep your hands fresher for longer.

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Think about this, your main target as a striker is the head.

Your opponent’s skull is an extremely thick bone that can very easily break your hand, that’s why boxing gloves are so important.

However, let’s not underestimate the importance of well-wrapped hands.

Benefits of Wearing Hand Wraps For Boxing:

  1. Stabilize your wrists when punching
  2. Protect your knuckles from friction burns
  3. Protect the fragile bones in your hands
  4. Fill your boxing gloves for more solid punches

You could very easily injure your hands if they’re not wrapped correctly, even with gloves.

ALSO READ: [BUYERS GUIDE] Boxing Gloves | Find Your Perfect Boxing Gloves

Hand Wraps in Ancient Greece. Source: Wikipedia

What Boxers Use To Wrap Their Hands

Hand wraps used for boxing in the gym every day are made of cloth. They’re cheap, easy to put on, reusable, and easy to clean. For tournaments and sometimes sparring, boxers use wraps made of gauze and tape. These are very light and offer more protection, but cannot be reused and take far longer to put on.

When you’re sparring or competing, you risk breaking your hands on your opponent’s hard head.

Using thicker, more secure gauze wrapping helps to reduce your risk of injury.

Top Pick
Ringside Ultimate Gauze

The USA Boxing and Golden Gloves approved gauze hand wraps from Ringside are a must if you're looking to compete as a boxer. Only the best quality to protect your hands.

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Another big problem with gauze wrapping is that it typically requires another person to help you wrap your hands, which isn’t always possible.

A great modern alternative to gauze wrappings is gel hand wraps.

They do exactly what gauze and tape wrappings do, but they’re reusable and you slip them on like gloves.

Top Pick
Ringside Quick Wrap Gel Shock MMA Boxing Hand Wraps

Wear these awesome Ringside gel hand wraps in place of traditional hand wraps to give your hands more protection when training.

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ALSO READ: [BUYERS GUIDE] Punching Bags | All You Need To Know

Can You Wear Boxing Gloves Without Wraps?

It’s not recommended to wear boxing gloves without hand wraps. In addition to protecting your hand when punching at full force, they also help to preserve your boxing gloves by wicking away much of the bacteria-carrying sweat that damages your gloves and makes them stink. Hand wraps are a key part of a boxer’s toolkit.

Protecting the tools of your trade (your hands) should be your top priority.

Wrapping your hands before training on the punching bag, sparring, and definitely competing should become a habit.

Top Pick
Gallant 5.5ft Free Standing Punching Bag

These free-standing punching bags by Gallant are really well made, and great for anyone with limited space in their training area. You can move these around quite easily if you need to.

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Developing a routine of wrapping your hands before each session will keep you boxing for longer.

Hand wraps aren’t expensive either, a small price to pay for a lifetime of training.

Do Hand Wraps Make You Punch Harder? [Myth Busted]

Interestingly, hand wraps do make you punch a little harder.

But not for the reasons you might think.

Hand wraps don’t necessarily make you punch harder, but they certainly help you punch harder by securing your hands. Protecting them so you can punch with as much force as physically possible. The added feeling of compression around your hands makes your punches feel far more solid and reliable.

It’s fair to think that strengthening the structure of your fist with wraps, that would focus the force you’re able to transfer.

This might certainly be the case with bare-knuckle boxing, where they only use hand wraps.

Compared to a bare fist, a punch from a wrapped hand would certainly do more damage.

However, if you’re wearing thick padded boxing gloves, wrapping your hands is less an offensive and more a defensive strategy.

Top Pick
Venum Elite Boxing Gloves

These Venom Elite Boxing Gloves have around 5,000 reviews on Amazon, and they're all 5-star. These world-leading gloves are great for beginners and more advanced fighters.

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How To Put On Hand Wraps

The world of martial arts is full of unique methods for wrapping your hands.

I’ve trained with many different people and seen a new method almost every time.

How you put on hand wraps will depend on a few factors:

  1. What your coach teaches you
  2. What works best for your own hands
  3. Which martial art you’re training (Eg. MMA is different to boxing)
  4. How much time you have before training sessions

Point 4 is important because most people can only squeeze in one or two training sessions a week.

Spending a good portion of that time wrapping your hands correctly can be frustrating because you want to start hitting the bag ASAP.

To save you time, I recommend using inner gloves (for MMA or Muay Thai) or gel wraps (for boxers).

Top Pick
RDX Boxing Inner Gloves

If you don't like wrapping your hands and want to get straight to training, these slip-on inner gloves are a great speedy alternative to conventional hand wraps.

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Best Way To Wrap Your Hands For Boxing

As I mentioned before, boxers use both cloth wraps as well as gauze wraps.

Wrapping your hands for boxing is pretty complicated compared to other striking arts, specifically gauze wrapping because it requires more than one person to do it.

However, if you’re simply training boxing for fitness and not really sparring or competing, then using cloth wraps will be fine for protecting your hands.

How To Use Cloth Hand Wraps For Boxing

If you’re simply hitting the heavy bag or doing some pad work, cloth wraps do a great job at protecting your hands.

RDX Pads & Boxing Gloves Set

This punching mitt and boxing glove set are great for practicing the aim of your punches. You'll need a training partner or coach to help you, but using mitts for boxing training is super important.

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To save some time before training sessions, use slip-on inner gloves.

Here’s a great technique for wrapping your hands for boxing using cloth wraps:

How To Use Gauze Hand Wraps For Boxing

If you’re sparring or competing, you’ll need more protection because you’re punching a hard skull.

Gauze wrapping is a tried a tested method, and I highly recommend doing it if you want to keep fighting for longer.

This is what pro boxers use to wrap their hands.

What you’ll need:

1 x Training partner or coach to wrap your hands
2 x rolls of gauze
1 x roll of tape

Here’s a video showing you exactly how to wrap your hands with gauze:

Again, instead of spending the time and money on using gauze each time you’re training in the gym.

Simply use gel hand wraps, you’ll thank me later.

Why Boxers Tape Their Hands

As a boxer, your only weapons are your fists.

Boxers tape their hands for the same reason they wear boxing gloves, to protect them. Taping with gauze provides more protection than cloth wraps, and are very light. Since your main target in boxing is a hard skull that can easily injure your hands, it’s important to protect them to keep fighting for longer.

Your hands in boxing are your weapons of choice.

Like any weapon, keeping it in fighting condition is what will keep you alive.

Best Way To Wrap Your Hands For MMA

Unless you’re a high-level MMA competitor, you’re most often going to be using cloth wraps while training.

Unfortunately, inner gloves don’t work too well for MMA.

Since MMA requires your hands to grip while clinching and grappling, you need to wrap your hands in such a way that it allows more movement and flexibility. Being able to open and close your palm while gripping with your fingers is absolutely crucial for mixed martial arts.

READ MORE: Striking Vs Grappling | Which Is Most Effective?

The way you wrap your hands are quite different from boxing and Muay Thai, here’s a great example:

Best Way To Wrap Your Hands For Muay Thai

Muay Thai gloves are made slightly differently from boxing gloves, the padding is distributed more to the sides of the gloves than the knuckles.

This is to block hard kicks and elbows coming at your head.

For this reason, Muay Thai fighters will often wrap their hands with an additional layer of cloth over the knuckles to protect their hands when punching. This added layer of cloth works similar to the way gel and gauze hand wraps are used in boxing.

Here’s a good example of how to wrap your hands for Muay Thai:

READ MORE: Boxing Vs Muay Thai | Which Is Better?

How To Choose The Right Boxing Hand Wraps

Choosing which hand wraps are best for you will depend on the size of your hand. Traditionally, you choose between 120-inch and 180-inch length wraps, with most recommending 180-inch wraps because more fabric is better than less. However, modern 120-inch elasticated hand wraps provide far more support.

These are a great examples of modern, elasticated wraps that work best for training boxing, Muay Thai, or even MMA.

Top Pick
RDX Boxing Hand Wrap

These elasticated hand wraps by RDX feature an attached thumb loop to make wrapping your hands easier. They use breathable fabric to keep your hands fresher for longer.

Check Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Are Hand Wraps Reusable?

The advantage of using cloth wraps, inner gloves, or gel wraps is that they’re reusable. Allowing you to wear a clean pair each time you train while washing the dirty ones. Cloth hand wraps can be washed in your washing machine with the rest of your kit, which is cheaper than using disposable gauze wraps.

Remember, never use dirty hand wraps.

Using dirty hand wraps with harmful bacteria can give you nasty fungal infections, keeping you out of action for weeks at a time.

How Many Hand Wraps You Need For Boxing

It’s recommended to have at least 2 – 3 pairs of hand wraps for boxing, depending on your training schedule. This allows you to use a pair for training while washing a second pair and waiting for a third pair to dry completely before using it for your next training session.

You could get away with 2 pairs if you wash and dry them regularly, but remember to never use damp hand wraps for training.

Below is a good guide on how many hand wraps you might need, based on how often you train each week:

Days Per WeekPairs of Wraps
11
21 – 2
32 – 3
43
53
63
73

Are Inner Gloves Better Than Hand Wraps?

The goal of hand wraps is to protect your hands by keeping your bones and tendons compressed, offering more stability in your punch. Inner gloves do offer this to some extent, but their main advantage is convenience. Allowing you to start training quicker rather than having to spend time wrapping your hands.

By wrapping around your wrist and between your fingers with cloth wraps, you’re creating a far more secure structure than you’re able to achieve with inner gloves.

Inner gloves don’t offer the customizable support that cloth hand wraps do, but they do offer a good level of knuckle protection.

However, for everyday bag and pad training, inner gloves work fine.

Hand Wrap Buyers Guide

Best Hand Wraps for Boxing

Top Pick
Ringside Ultimate Gauze

The USA Boxing and Golden Gloves approved gauze hand wraps from Ringside are a must if you're looking to compete as a boxer. Only the best quality to protect your hands.

Check Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Top Pick
Ringside Quick Wrap Gel Shock MMA Boxing Hand Wraps

Wear these awesome Ringside gel hand wraps in place of traditional hand wraps to give your hands more protection when training.

Check Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Best Hand Wraps for MMA

Top Pick
Venum Boxing Hand Wraps

These elasticated boxing hand wraps with velcro fasteners by Venum are perfect for any fighter's tool bag. They're strong and comfortable, so you get the best of both worlds.

Check Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Best Hand Wraps for Muay Thai

Top Pick
RDX Boxing Hand Wrap

These elasticated hand wraps by RDX feature an attached thumb loop to make wrapping your hands easier. They use breathable fabric to keep your hands fresher for longer.

Check Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Conclusion: You Should Wrap Your Hands for Boxing

As I’ve mentioned a few times in this article, wrapping your hands for boxing is about as important as wearing boxing gloves.

You should always wrap your hands for boxing, Muay Thai, or MMA. Whether you’re competing, sparring, simply punching the heavy bag, or doing some pad work – Ensuring your hands are well supported by being properly wrapped is what will keep you training for many years.

Breaking your hand can be painful, but the frustration of not training is 100x worse.

READ MORE: [BUYERS GUIDE] Boxing Gloves | Find Your Perfect Boxing Gloves

Sources

Photo by WBC