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Protecting Your Weapons: How to Wrap Your Hands Properly

When it comes to boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, any branch of martial arts that involves punching, you will need how to learn a boxing hand wrap technique to help protect your hands. Not only does wrapping your hands increase your punching power, it also prevents injury.
Although the hand wraps may differ depending on the branch of martial arts you’re fighting in, one thing is for sure—you’ll still need to learn how to use hand wraps.
In this guide, I’m going to take you through everything you need to about boxing hand wrapping, how to wrap hands for heavy bag, how to wrap your hands for kickboxing, and how to wrap hands for muay thai, among many other concepts and important aspects of hand wrapping.
First and foremost, why should you wrap your hands?
Whether you are learning how to wrap your hands for Muay Thai, learning how to wrap hands for boxing gloves or just looking for boxing hand wrap instructions, you first need to know what the purpose is behind hand wraps.
No matter what branch you’re fighting in, if there’s punching involved, your hands could be considered one of your most important weapons. Therefore, hand wraps are made to protect these deadly things from injury. If you have injured hands, you are less likely to be able to train or fight, so we want to keep them as protected as possible.
When looking at the anatomy of your hands, they are made up of over fifty bones between both of them. These bones are tiny and easy to fracture from repeated impact. The hands also have really small joints that can also get injured if used improperly. These wraps for boxing will help you not only by holding the hand together but also by providing the support you need to protect your knuckles, your fingers, and your wrists. It also helps with support in keeping correct form.
Although you might have heard that the wrapping is for your knuckles, to protect them and give them cushion—that’s not their purpose. When you’re boxing, you normally wear boxing gloves. This provides cushion while the hand wrap provides support.
Also looking at the anatomy of your hands, you have a lot of loose joints and moveable bones. These wraps are there to give support and security to all of them together so that they absorb the shock of a punch much better than if it was naked. The shock is distributed throughout the whole hand, giving you much more strength in your punch but also protecting each individual bone from receiving a fracture.

Signs of a Proper Hand Wrapping

signs of a proper hand wrapping
You’ve looked up everything, from how to wrap hands for boxing everlast to how to wrap hands for heavy bag to how to wrap your hands for mma to how to wrap hands for boxing gloves, however, to get the know ultimately if you’ve done it properly, you should just check out your hand. If your hand is able to tighten when it’s closed, you’ve done it perfectly. You don’t want your hands loose when you’re throwing a punch.
I will get into the actual instructions of how to put on wrist wraps and how to put on boxing wraps, and I will also touch on boxing hand wraps 180 and how to wrap hands with 120. However, before I get into all of that, I’m going to give you a few tips to pay attention to when wrapping your hands before training or a fight.
Here are my hand wrapping tips:

Nothing should be Uncomfortable.

Although it might take a while to get used to it, your hand should never feel really uncomfortable or your hands shouldn’t still be hurting half an hour into your workout. If you look down and your fingers aren’t their normal color, than the wrapping is probably really just too tight.

Ultimately, hand wrapping should simply be a way to protect your hands and secure the bones and joints in your hand together. If you are looking to stiffen your wrist from bending, this is DEFINITELY incorrect and you should redo it.

Own the Process and take Advantage of the Transition

You have to wrap your hands every time you train or compete. It is part of the ritual. This ritual can be used to mentally get your “head into the game”. By doing this, which will become second nature to you once you’ve done it a few times, you will make the transformation from whoever you were before to the boxer or fighter you are after the wraps.

Not Everyone is Alike

There are Professional fighters do wrap their hands a bit differently, therefore, if you like one fighter than you can base it off them. However, don’t be surprised if one fighter’s style will differ from another—this is perfectly normal. Some fighters will use longer wraps and add extra padding in their knuckles, this will change from fighter to fighter. This might change according to the particular fighter and what they prefer. It also may change depending on how hard the fighter hits and how long they’ve been boxing for.

Tight Wrist vs Loose Wrist.

Depending on the fighter’s preference, some fighters like it tight, some like it loose. These can also change depending on the preference and strength in punches. Depending on how they punch, a fighter may want a tighter wrap on their hand or wrist.

Invest in Enough Hand Wraps

Whether you are a professional or doing it for fun, you should have at least two pairs of hand wraps so that you can always have a fresh pair to train. If you are reusing old hand wraps without washing them, it’s possible that you are transferring mold and the smell to your gloves.

If you train more times, however, have enough according to how often you train. After washing them, let them air dry or if you cannot wash them, at least dry them out.

Wash Your Wraps Separately From One Another

Just as a precaution, if you are washing your hand wraps, either wash them by hand (ironic), or separate them because they often bleed dye. They can stain your clothes, so wash them with similar colors.

Despite what you may have read, there are various ways to wrap your hands. Depending on what your branch is and what you’re fighting, the way a fighter wraps their hands may change from one fighter to another.
This will differ depending on the certain branch you’re fighting in and the way you’re taught. IN general, the way to wrap your hands is divided in two different ways. One method is for boxers while the other is for Muay Thai fighters. Here, I’m going to go through both ways.

Boxer Hand Wrapping Method

boxer hand wrapping method
Although the way a fighter wraps his or her hands is different for every fighter with the number of loops or small details like that, the main principles are the same. From wrap to wrap and fighter to fighter it also changes simply because of the length of the wrap itself. If it is longer, than one will have to wrap their hands more times around.
A boxer will wrap their hands with support on their mind, emphasizing the wrist area and making sure that their fist is solid when clenched. They focus on the knuckles, thumbs, and wrists in making certain that they are all secured. The wrist wraps for boxing are simple yet effective.
Therefore since they are so simple, you might be wondering, “why do boxers wrap their hands?”. Well, at the end of the day, they still have to protect themselves and support their wrist when punching.

Muay Thai Fighter Wrapping Method

muay thai fighter wrapping method
Opposed to the boxer method, the Muay Thai fighter focuses on the initial padding that is set on the knuckles. This protects your hands and knuckles when hitting pads or the heavy bag since you don’t have the boxing gloves for extra padding. Muay Thai fighters normally use small sized gloves opposed to the bigger gloves used when a fighter is boxing. Not only does this protect the knuckles, it also secures them and protects them from the damage that comes from repetitive punching.
This is what the mainstream Muay Thai fighter uses. However, if you are looking for what a traditional Muay Thai fighter’s hand wrapping method, look no further. When doing it this way, you need a pre-made cushion that sits on the knuckles and is then wrapped around. This method takes much longer and much more preparation than the other, more mainstream way but is really efficient in protecting your knuckles.
You’re not the first person to begin wrapping their hands for the first time and you won’t be the last. Done correctly, hand wrapping will be extremely beneficial to your training and keeping not only your hands protected but structured properly when throwing a punch. You shouldn’t be feeling your wrist buckle or crunch. Everything should be snug but not too tight.
If you think that there’s too much to remember—you’re probably right! There’s a lot of information to remember. However, after a few times, you’ll get the hang of it and it will seem really simple and you might even enjoy the ritual aspect of it. However, since we’ve all been there—especially me—I’ve made a list of common mistakes that you might encounter when first starting to wrap your hands. Try and avoid these at all costs.

Common Mistakes for Beginning Fighters

common mistakes for beginning fighters

Turning the Wrap Upside Down

This is a fairly common mistake to make if you’re in a rush. However, pretty simple to correct, just make sure that when you begin, you start with the correct side up, which is usually stated right there as a label. However once you wrap it once, there should be a place where the loop is, that way, you’ll know which side is up and which is down. Once you’ve done it once and noticed that the velcro on the end is upside down, then you’ve done it incorrectly. Once you know which side is which, you can even label it yourself by writing simply with a permanent marker on the proper side.

Going for Price and not Quality

I know that you might be on a budget and are just looking for something to protect your hands. However, aiming for the cheap kind might actually be hurting your rather than hurting you. Therefore, if you’re going to invest in a hand wrap, you might as well invest in quality material.

The low-quality wraps are generally designed from material that is rough and will probably cause chaffing in your knuckles. Although you might think you can handle a bit of this pain, it can actually eventually get to the point where the skin will rub off. When the chaffing gets wet from the shower afterwards, they will open and set you back a few days because you won’t be able to train with open wounds. However, if you opt for quality wraps, longer wraps, and soft material hand wraps, you can avoid this whole situation.

Wrapping With Way Too Much Snug

Although I want you wrapping your hands tightly for support and helping with your form, you should definitely avoid wrapping your hands and wrists too tightly. A good and easy way of being able to tell if you wrapped them way too tightly, is the discoloration in your fingers. This means that your circulation is cutting off. If you notice this, take the wrapping off and start over again.

Wrapping With Not Enough Snug

Even though you are trying to avoid wrapping your hands too tightly, you also don’t want to wrap them too loose. This is just as ineffective as the other end of the spectrum. If you’re training and your hand wrapping begins to fall apart or come undone, then you haven’t done it correctly. Not only is this ineffective for training, it is also time consuming because of the times you have to redo it. You will also lose your rhythm during training because you have to do it over and over again.

Not Supporting Your Wrist Enough

Although you might give enough attention to your knuckles and the bulk of your hand, you might not have supported your wrist enough. One of the major purposes of wrapping your hands up is to wrap up your wrists, as well. Therefore, if you are not giving your wrist enough loops, then you’re probably not supporting this joint enough, which you’ll notice when you punch. If you are not supporting your wrist and go at a heavy bag, you’ll notice the pain and might even end up with a wrist sprain.

Leaving the Fist Open When it Should be Closed

There’s a certain time in the process of hand wrapping where you should be making a fist when you’re wrapping—when you’re looping the wrap through your fingers. However, if you don’t do this, the wrap won’t move into place, displaying a good fit.

Leaving the Thumb Wide Open

This can actually lead to a pretty big injury if you ignore the thumb. When you’re wrapping your hand, you might become so focused on doing it correctly, you forget about the thumb completely. However, avoid this mistake and remember the thumb, wrapping the hand wrap around it so that it stays in place when punching.

When you’re out there shopping for hand wraps, you’ll probably begin to notice a trend—there are so many options! Whether you are choosing a certain material or style, you might be a little confused.
Fortunately, when it comes to styles, from Muay Thai to Boxing to MMA, most of these hand wraps don’t display much of a difference from one to another and you can use them almost interchangeably. However, when it comes to Boxing style wraps, there are two different kinds, Mexican-Style and Non-Mexican style.
You might be wondering, “what are mexican style hand wraps?” Well, Mexican hand wraps are extremely long, they are 180 inches, which equates to fifteen feet long! They are used for extra padded protection, with the ability to be folded over the knuckle area anywhere from five to seven times to display extra padding. When you accompany these styled wrapping with 12-oz gloves, it’s a match made in heavy to hit the heavy bag.
There are also ways to differ wrapping your hands and that’s only if you start getting into fighting—with gauze. Some MMA brands have actually branched out and created hand wraps with gel that is added to the clot fabric. There are various types of wrappings, so when you are just starting out, you might want to stick with the basics and simply look for the standard hand wrap with some of these features:
Quality hand wraps should be soft and non-abrasive.
You can use gel inserts that go directly beneath the wrap
You can also buy them already included, with gel hand wrap.
After you wrap your hands, pair them with quality gloves that have good padding.

How to Wrap Your Hands

wrap your hand
Finally, I’m at the section of the guide where I help teach you how to wrap your hands.
General speaking, to do this, you’ll need two hand wraps, one for each hand. Although you should aim for the 180” in length, you can get away with 120”, especially if you have smaller hands.
Speak around with your boxing gym or school or instructor before purchasing a type and they might have some advice and steer you in the right direction based on quality and price range near your area. They might know the best places to buy them and what is best to use for beginners.
Finally, here are the steps when wrapping your hands. It’s a pretty lengthy process when written out, so be prepared:

1. Unroll the Hand Wrap

Since it probably came in a package, you first have to unroll it out fully. You’ll notice that one side will have some sort of indication of which side goes up and down, however, you can figure it out on your own based on the placement of the velcro.

2. Begin Wrapping

To first start off, loop that part of the wrapping around your thumb and make sure the “this side down” marking is pressing up against the back of your hand. This loop on your thumb will be your anchor. Once you’ve had that anchored down, you will pull the entire rest of the wrap to the outside edge of the opposite side of your hand.

3. Move to Your Wrist

Once you’ve looped around your thumb, wrap around your wrist and keep it tight. While you’re wrapping, keep the wrist straight. This will keep your arm structured and properly set so that your punch is absorbed through your entire arm rather than bending your wrist. Wrap it three or four times around your wrist, ending with the ends of the wrap beneath the base of your thumb, ready to wrap around your hand. This will depend on the size of the wrap and your hand.

4. Protect Your Knuckles

From where you’ve finished at the thumb, wrap upwards towards your knuckles. Go around your knuckles twice. However, while doing this, make sure that you are spreading your fingers out wide. That way, they’ll have more room when you are balling your hand into a fist and they wont feel crunched together.

5. Go Back to Your Thumb

After going around your knuckles, go back to the base of your thumb.

This wrapping portion should be in a diagonal direction, connecting the knuckles to the solidity of your thumb. However, when you’re doing this step, don’t wrap too tightly or you’ll notice circulation being cut off. Circle the thumb once or twice, depending on your preference. Anchor it back to the wrist so that you won’t overextend your thumb. Take the remaining end of the wrap and then from the base of the thumb, wrap it back around the wrist.

6. Back to the Knuckles

Although you might think this is a bit repetitive, it is definitely for your benefit to cover all your bases again. From the wrist, return back to your knuckles by going diagonally. You can wrap around your knuckles (with your fingers spread out) several times until you have about 20 inches of the wrap left. This will not only give you enough cushioning, it will leave enough wrap to finish off the process.

7. Back to the Wrist for the Finale

After wrapping your knuckles enough, head back down to the wrist and pull tight. Wrap the wrist around and around until there is not more wrapping then secure the velcro.

If you want, you can also wrap between your fingers for extra protection. When you’re finished wrapping your thumb, lead the wrapping back up to the back of your hand and in-between your pinky finger and your index finger. Go back and do this again and again until you have cloth between each finger wrapped tightly.
Here is a video of hand wrapping that can help you if you are a visual learner that takes you step by step through the process:

When you’re done and making a fist, there are a few things that should be checked off the list. Your knuckles should be fully covered. The wrap shouldn’t be too tight that any part of your hand is being discolored or cut off of circulation. However, it should also be tight enough that your fist shouldn’t be able to flex too much.

Wrapping It Up

Even though there are so many different types of hand wraps out there, you’re only as good as how well you can wrap it and if you’re doing it properly. I hope that this guide has helped you learn how to properly wrap your hands and which hand wraps to go with when first starting out.
When trying to remember the last few important tips, you should also have your wrists and knuckles properly secured so that there isn’t any give when you’re punching. When you make your fist, your hand should feel secure and stable—meaning not too loose yet not too tight.
It might take you a little while to get the hang of it, however, when you’ve gotten it, it will become second nature to you. Make sure you’re following the steps properly and preparing beforehand, whether you’re training or fighting, it is very important that you are taking the necessary precautions by wrapping your hands and doing it properly so that you will not only be protected from injury, you’ll also be able to punch correctly and effectively.
I hope that this guide has helped you by introducing you to the world of hand wrapping, no matter what type of martial arts branch you’re fighting in.


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