Wrap it Up | How to Wrap Your Hands for Boxing

Wrapping your hands is a fundamental component of boxing training. Boxers wrap their hands to protect the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the hand and wrist from injury. Any kind of boxing is a contact sport, whether you’re working the heavy bag, hitting mitts, or sparring, and it puts a lot of pressure on your hands and wrists.

Read on if you want to learn more about the type of pressure your hands are experiencing, the best way to mitigate injuries, and how to wrap your hands for boxing.

About Your Hands

Take a moment to appreciate what your hands do for you every day, and the challenges you'd face if they sustained an injury.

Your hands are home to a variety of different sized and shaped bones, 27 in all. These bones can be categorized as carpals (the bones in your wrist), metacarpals (the middle of your hand), and phalanges (your digits). All of these bones and joints work together to allow you to do the things you need to do in your life, whether it's opening doors, typing on the computer or training in combat sports.

In other words, taking steps to prevent a hand injury during training is critical. That's why it's so important to learn how to wrap your hands for boxing and to wear gloves when appropriate.

Force and Pressure During Boxing Training

Now that we've covered why you should wrap it up, let's talk about what your hands and wrists endure during training.

Beyond the simple force you’re applying to your knuckles, hands, and wrists, you’re also getting an additional aspect of angle and torque applied to your fists. There are many variables, both environmental and conditional, that affect the type of pressure you’re experiencing, including:

  • Punch type - a jab might be a quick snap, but a well-placed left hook can be devastating to your unprepared opponent and your unprepared hands.
  • Punch placement - if you're jumping rope and misstep slightly, you might roll your ankle. The same theory applies to being slightly off-target with a punch.
  • Mitt position - if your sparring partner is taller than you or closer than usual, it could impact the way your punch lands.
  • Bag stiffness - a new heavy bag could have quite a different effect than the old bag you use while training at home.
  • Glove weight - even the slightest weight variations could change how you land a punch and the impact it has on your bones and joints underneath.

In short, anything can happen during training. Taking precautions to protect your joints, soft tissues, and prevent a hand injury or a small fracture will help keep you active for years to come. If you love boxing training and combat sports as a workout, be proactive in wrapping your hands. The professional boxers do it during training and so should you.

How Wraps Help

Wraps are designed to provide mechanical support to your wrist and hand in those situations where these factors may detrimentally affect the well-being of your fists. They can even protect you when you punch with poor technique. Furthermore, if you have small hands the wraps can fill up space in your glove to prevent friction and movement.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that boxing is dangerous. Like any sport, injuries happen. By taking the proper precautions rather than taking shortcuts, you can protect your body and train at any age.

The two main things that wraps provide are protection for your knuckles and support for your wrists.

Protecting Your Knuckles During Training

Needless to say, your knuckles bear the brunt of your boxing training. Whether you're working with a sparring partner or hitting the heavy bag, the repetitive force adds up over time. Having an extra layer of padding between your knuckles and the target will protect your joints and prevent a tiny fracture that could turn into huge problems down the road.

Using hand wraps under your gloves can help you hit every training session, rather than having to take an extended leave to let your hands heal. Use that extra layer of padding every time you head to the gym. If you forget your wraps or gloves at home, rent or borrow some rather than working out unprotected.

Wrist Stabilization During Training

Wrists are fragile. All it takes is one misplaced punch to cause serious damage that will impact all areas of your life. Wrapping your wrists can prevent hyperextension that could have you out of the ring for a while. While building strength in your wrists outside of boxing training is wise, keeping the external support and protection during your workout is essential.

When to Wrap Your Wrists for Boxing

For those who are new to boxing and to Gloveworx, wrapping your hands for boxing is something we do before every BOOM and TUFF session. Our coaches are there to help if you need it, but we encourage everyone to own this skill and learn how to wrap like a pro.

Wrap Styles

You may have noticed that each coach at Gloveworx wraps hands a little differently. There are many ways to wrap hands for boxing, but the fundamental principle that each coach keeps in mind is that we need to protect the knuckles and the wrist from injury.

While we do teach a basic wrapping method at Gloveworx, keep in mind that it may vary based on the size of your wrist and hand and the area you want to emphasize protection. Over time, you will develop a preference for how you want your hands wrapped and you’ll feel more comfortable wrapping them yourself, rather than having a coach do it.

How to Wrap Your Hands for Boxing

Wrapping your hands for boxing is a simple process. Follow the Gloveworx guide to wrap your hands in just 10 steps.

  1. Start by rolling the wrap up tightly—starting at the velcro and ending at the thumb loop.
  2. Put your thumb through the loop and begin wrapping over the top of the wrist.
  3. Wrap down your wrist twice and up your wrist twice.
  4. Wrap around the thumb and then over the top of the hand to the wrist.
  5. Wrap from your wrist to the top of your hand and wrap your knuckles twice.
  6. Bring the wrap down under the hand and over your thumb.
  7. Thread it through the web of each finger and back across the base of the thumb every time. Some contenders prefer a little extra padding around their middle finger.
  8. Return to the knuckles and wrap them twice more for a final bit of padding.
  9. Wind the wrap down around your hand and wrist until it ends.
  10. Make sure the wrap is tight, and secure it with the Velcro strap or tape.

As you’re wrapping your hands for boxing, make sure you keep your palm flat and your fingers spread at all times to ensure that your wrap is comfortable.

Types of Wrist Wraps

If you choose to buy your own wraps, look for a length that fits your hand size. People with small hands-- especially children-- should have the right balance between protection and movement.

There are many different types of hand wraps, as well as a few types of gloves, that boxers prefer for their workouts: Mexican hand wraps, cloth wraps, elastic wraps, and gel hand wraps to name a few. Find something that you feel comfortable in or talk to one of our coaches about their recommendations. It's also worthwhile to invest in a portable hand wrap roller if you'll be spending lots of time at a boxing gym.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Now you’re wrapped and ready—at least on one hand! The best way to get better at this skill is to practice it. Practice at home a few times before your session and you will be a pro in no time.

If you have any questions about wrapping your hands for boxing, ask your coach at Gloveworx to help you out.