Boxing Hand Wraps – Look After Your Hands!

by Fran on January 20, 2011

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Boxing Hand Wraps – All Wrapped Up!

 
Before we look at the video on wrapping your hands, there is a golden rule that I must make as plain and clear as possible. Never, ever hit a punch bag without appropriate hand protection. Don’t even be tempted to have a little pop as you walk past. The damage that you can do if you don’t have hand wraps or bandaged and protected with gloves is immense.

I’m not talking about nasty little cuts and abrasions here, I’m talking about disintegrated knuckles and shattered metacarpals where the damage is so grave that the hand is permanently disfigured and will never function properly again.

There is a range of options available when it comes to hand protection (I’ve provided a selection at the end of the article), none of which are going to break the bank, so there’s no excuse for not avoiding pain and problems. Hand protection is covered in the main by the following options:

  • Boxing Hand Wraps
  • Crepe Bandages
  • Gel Under Gloves

Boxing Hand Wraps

In the following five minute video I explain exactly how I have been protecting my hands for more years than I can remember by using boxing hand wraps.  Hand wraps are a modern progression of the old fashioned crepe bandage.

Hand wraps consist of very tightly woven fabric and are available in a range of colours and are specialised pieces of kit designed for combat sports such as boxing, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Hand wraps include a loop or ‘partial glove’ at one end (to provide the anchor point to wrap the hands) and a Velcro fastener at the other end, allowing a speedy application. Wraps tend to provide a higher level of protection than crepe bandages and would not ordinarily require the addition of sponge layers to improve protection.  That is not to say that you couldn’t put a crepe bandage on underneath a wrap in order to double up your protection.

Go for the longer version of the wrap, that’s 5 yards (4.5 metres).

Check out the video then you can read on to find out about using the crepe alternative and indeed the gel under gloves.

BE ADVISED:  If you compete in amateur boxing, and depending upon the country in which you compete, you are only able to use specific brands of wraps during competition, and you certainly cannot use crepe bandages or gel under gloves.  Your trainer/coach will be able to advise. Of course in the gym you can use whatever you want 🙂

OK, let’s have a look at the other options for hand protection.

Crepe Bandages

If rather than boxing hand wraps you decide on the option of crepe bandages, there are a few things to consider. Bandages are available at pharmacies/drug-stores and are very hard-wearing. You can have any colour, so long as it’s white, and you should avoid purchasing the basic cotton version as there is no elasticity in these and they really can become quite uncomfortable on the hand.

It’s helpful to make a small incision at one end of the bandage to allow the thumb to be threaded through (the equivalent of the loop on the boxing hand wrap); this makes the process of wrapping the hands easier.

I have always found that a bandage of 3″ (7.5 cm) width and 5 yds (4.5 metres) in length is perfect. The length is important because the ideal way to wrap the hands is to feed the bandage in between the fingers and some way up the wrist. As described in the video, feeding the bandages through the fingers prevents the bandages riding up the hand when hitting the bag, thus avoiding leaving the knuckle area unprotected.

Gel Under Gloves

Finally are the modern gel-filled under gloves (overleaf).  This type of hand protection has become more common in boxing in recent years.  They are a more expensive form of hand protection, and although their use has become more common, the hand-wraps remain more widespread in boxing. Under-gloves tend to be marketed as a convenient alternative to bandages or wraps, so there may well be compromises in terms of hand protection.

I would suggest that if you are going to try these types of gloves, ensure that they fit the hand perfectly. If there is any movement of the glove across the hand, then it is highly likely that significant friction-type injuries will be caused to the knuckles.  Whilst these injuries are not terribly serious, they can be very annoying and troublesome over time.

I’d also be concerned that the many stitched joins could be a source of weakness where damage could occur.  My personal preference remains hand wraps or bandages; gel-filled under-gloves have yet to convince this traditionalist.

On a final note, I will again emphasise the importance of protecting your hands, after all they need to last you for the rest of your life!  Gloves alone cannot provide the necessary armour. Repeated blows against a heavy bag (or the even more implacable maize bag) are going put massive stress on your hands and wrists particularly as your power develops.

Take protecting your hands seriously and enjoy bag work without the threat of causing lasting damage to the ‘tools of the trade’.

Below are some options from Amazon that I would choose if selecting from wraps and gel-gloves.

BOXING HAND WRAPS (US):

UNDER GLOVES (US):

CREPE BANDAGES (US):

BOXING HAND WRAPS (UK):

UNDER GLOVES (UK):

CREPE BANDAGES (UK):

If you have any comments or questions then let me know below.

Cheers

Fran

PS – Please note that if you click on one of the above Amazon links and subsequently make a purchase, I make a small commission. Da Law says I gots to tell you this 🙂

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Aodhan September 23, 2015 at 9:28 pm

Fran, just found the site, thanks so much for all the invaluable knowledge.

So apologies on the duplication of subject, but have you had any experience with the Everlast wraps with the extra isoplate padding around the knuckles? I’m a professional guitarist and am obviously trying to take all possible precautions to protect my hands. Been using these for the last couple of weeks for training and they seem to help but might be too soon to tell.

Have you worked with any musicians? My coach advised me my hands should be fine as long as I wrap properly and use correct gloves, although other musicians have told me they stopped boxing because of the impact hitting bags/ people was having on their joints. Any suggestions? Someone also suggested knuckle guards, any experience of these?

Anyway, thanks for your time if you get round it answering

all the best,

Aodhan

Reply

Fran September 27, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Hi Aodhan

I hope that you are well and my apologies for the delay in replying.

I have played guitar since I was 21, although I am a very long way from being anything like professional 🙂 Speaking from experience, I agree with your coach. I would avoid hitting bags before a performance/studio session just because your hands will feel a little weird afterwards (not sure you may have already experienced this). But, there is absolutely no reason boxing and guitar can’t be perfectly happy bedfellows as long as you take appropriate precautions.

Not seen those Everlast wraps, but the principle is a common one. A thin layer of foam underneath the wraps to add further protection.

What I would do:

– Each hand, a crepe bandage over the thin layer of foam across the knuckle area.
– Over the crepe use a conventional wrap applied as shown above.
– Gloves go for 14ox or 16 oz sparring gloves (as described here)

You should then be fine.

Hope this helps

Take care pal

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Aodhan September 29, 2015 at 3:22 pm

thanks a million Fran, I’ll give that a try. anything you’d recommend for the layer of foam?

Also crepe bandages are a separate thing from gauze some people use?

cheers

Aodhan

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Fran September 29, 2015 at 7:43 pm

Aodhan

A simple dish-washing sponge with the scourer removed. In terms of crepe bandages, see the article above, there’s some info there.

Cheers

Reply

Aodhan September 30, 2015 at 7:32 pm

thanks again Fran

all the best

Alexander February 4, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Fran, every time this comes up, I always say I have ‘big hands’ compared to many others. Precisely ‘ten and a half inches around open hand’ at knuckles. And I know plenty others with bigger than that. Try buying gloves for that size. And that’s before wraps. And yes, you can get handmade gloves, the makers say so, but try that as well! Huh.

Prior to velcro cuffs, when all we had was lacing gloves, it was a ‘nightmare’ for me trying to get my hands into them. In the amateur game I think they only buy medium ones, shared, and not enough, that’s why the gloves are always ‘mingin wet’ after a ‘long fight programme. And I was forever being warned for ‘slapping’ , couldn’t clasp my fist, too tight – just like Elvis’s trousers.

I watch you guys with ‘wee hands’ and goggle, at the amount of wraps that go on some pros hands, along with much effort to build up big (cosmetic) knuckles aided with tapes and cotton. And I just hope they are not sprinkling them with plaster powder, and looking for the sweat to set them hard? But I also do wonder if all these wraps, cushion ‘your knuckle punching power, rather than making for a hard sharp contact.

The wraps I us in the gym, are never longer than ‘two – to – two and a half metres long’. And that is only for ‘large ring gloves’ – and as far as ‘bag mitts go,’ I would be lucky to manage two metres. But most of my wrap will go round my wrist, and scaffoid joints, that’s where I need the ‘punching hit support’. And I think as my hand is squeezed tight into the inner glove, wrap support across the knuckles is less relevant. So maybe sympathy for wee hands, there, just trying to fill the gloves.

Hope that might help some folks. And give you some thought Fran. And for info, just helped, recently, glove up some ‘ninety boxers’ over two rings – using only ten pairs of gloves. And have to say I never noticed any ‘odd looking wraps’. My main irk, is people who try to make the first loop of the thumb, across the front of hand , instead of to the back, as it will always work off and loosen the ‘hand wrap’. Cheers, Jab, Jab, Alexander.

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Tommy G February 5, 2015 at 6:11 am

“My main irk, is people who try to make the first loop of the thumb, across the front of hand , instead of to the back, as it will always work off and loosen the ‘hand wrap”
So I take it then that did Fran did it incorrectly in the video then? After Fran puts the loop on the thumb the first wrap starts across the palm side of the hand. Or maybe I’ve misinterpreted you. Thanks

Reply

Alexander February 5, 2015 at 10:08 am

Hi Tommy, I wouldn’t say Fran is wrong. And maybe with longer wraps, and tape, the loop is less likely to slip off . But I only know, if I come across the front of the hand, that after a session of ‘hard punching’ the loop may well have slipped/worked of over the thumb – anchor point. And as a consequence the wraps have slackened off. Coming apart as the hand is pulled from the glove.

However once wrapped either way it makes no difference really – or does it – but I would argue that, from my own experience, if I take the wrap, from the looped thumb, across the front palms, it is likely the loop will work off and over the thumb, and then the tension in the wraps will fail, slacken, fall apart, and not do the job intended. Dare I say I can hit hard.

This is interesting, perhaps with a smaller/normal hand, with more windings, this is unlikely to happen. Or is it a practice from the past, when the boxing glove thumbs, were not stitched to the main body of the glove. And maybe there would be a chance that the warp could slip and pull back the thumb, like a hitch hikers thumb. We are all different in some ways. Will be interested to hear Fran’s view. Jab jab, Alexander.

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Fran February 5, 2015 at 9:11 pm

Hey Alexander/Tommy

Thanks for the considered comments. Interesting, because I had a guy on the YT channel make the same observation of wrapping around the back first. I wouldn’t particularly disagree and to be honest I probably do it both ways. I don’t notice a different probably because the act of wrapping the wrist first holds the thumb loop (in my experience).

On the previous video I didn’t wrap the thumb because of the shortness of the wraps I preferred to maximise the protection on the fist. Lots of people didn’t like that!!!! As you say though, modern gloves give a ton of protection to the thumb unlike the gloves of yesteryear.

I hope though that the key message isn’t lost – I like to look after the hands because they are needed to do a ton of other stuff aside from punching (as my mediocre skills on guitar amply demonstrate!)

Thanks gents, appreciate the comments as usual.

In terms of the

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Alexander February 5, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Hi Fran, thanks for that, and yehhh – must always use the wraps – and I think your example is best. But dependent on individual hands – some folks might want to vary it a bit. And don’t forget hand and wrist strength – wraps – wont necessarily overcome weaknesses there – the muscle needs built up. Archie Moore, a very durable Boxer in the 1950’s used to do a kind of ‘short flexing and pressing’ off the wall – but using the clenched fist – rapid staccato style – short and abrupt. And he had ‘very good strong wrists, hands, and forearms as many of his fallen opponents knew. Sorry to blabber on Fran. And hey, I play a good finger blues guitar, and my metacarpals are good, and in tune with my feet – Ali Shuffle an all. Keep up the good work.
Cheers Alexander.

Tommy G February 9, 2015 at 5:33 am

Thanks to you two, that’s an interesting debate. I came across this video from the GB Boxing physiotherapist on hand-wrapping. I hope you don’t mind if I post the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB-CJfcOigQ&feature=youtu.be&list=UUxU_A-W5sbfnqjV-LMDIzLg

He does seem to advocate Fran’s method. He also shows an interesting method of cushioning the knuckles which I’ve never seen before which might be worth considering.

Ramiro February 4, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Thanks for the video and advice Fran.
For me, the hand wraps are the best option. I prefer the Venum Fight wraps over Everlast.

Congratulations for Youtube audience and go for the 3 million this year!

Thank you again coach!

Ramiro desde Sudamérica.

Reply

Fran February 5, 2015 at 8:59 pm

Thank you Ramiro 🙂

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James October 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Hi Fran,

Hope your keeping well, I’m still loitering around after all these years, however this time I’ve actually taken things one step further and joined a boxing gym!

I’m looking into buying some gel gloves instead of my hand wraps, what’s your take on them? Its mainly for ease so in the gym I can hit the bag, then quickly get gloves off for fitness stuff and then quickly get them back on again for pads and bags.

My only concern seems to be the lack of wrist support they give.

Reply

Fran October 2, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Hello James, nice to hear from you.

The gel under-gloves are OK. My preference, and that of most of the boxers in our gym, are good old hand-wraps but gel gloves do work too. Get some high wristed bag gloves with good velcro and this will help with the wrists. The harder you begin to hit though the more likely you will switch to wraps in time – you can still take them off nice and quick, it’s putting them on that takes a little time.

Best of luck in the gym 🙂

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Jacob February 8, 2014 at 3:49 am

Fran
You suggested taking off hand-wraps before starting skipping because of the possibility of the wraps causing numbness in the fingers. I don’t experience this numbness while skipping with wraps on; that being said is it OK then to continue wearing them while skipping?
Also, before purchasing your product I had been boxing at a gym for a few months. There we would often (depending on who was running a session) warm-up with skipping. My question, is it of significance when you skip during a training session?
Cheers
P.S. Thank you for sharing your boxing knowledge.

Reply

Fran February 10, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Hey Jacob

Thanks for the question.

Wearing wraps whilst skipping will not cause any damage at all.

In terms of when you can use skipping, the answer is that you can skip at any point during your session. During warm up and indeed during your warm down. It’s all down to the level of intensity. When used during warm down it’s nice and slow and steady. As part of warm up it’s a gradual build up. When used as part of the session it’s either for a long period with bursts of intensity or short duration with lots of intense sprints and short duration recoveries (at a slower pace).

I hope this helps, thanks again for the question.

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Frank Mitchell March 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Yep, I saw a programme about Gypsy Bare-Knuckle Fighting, where they were ready to fight even with damaged hands. One guy described how his grandfather fought for an hour, and got injured so badly his hand needed to be amputated. Having said that, Karate guys practice strikes on a gadget called a Makiwara, traditionally a springy post padded with rope. But they strike with the first two knuckles, and you might have a comment on the difference. During a contest they don’t actually hit the opponent: They’d get disqualified.

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McKenzie October 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm

im a black belt in karate and ive allways thought that you have to wrap ur thumb so that you dont break it.
Can you tell me why u didnt im just currious sorry

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mckenzie October 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm

and do you have to

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Fran October 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Hi McKenzie

Modern boxing gloves give lots of protection to the thumb, so I tend to focus the wraps on the knuckles and wrist. Do what’s comfortable though.

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Dan February 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm

In your video, I noticed that you don’t really wrap your thumb at all. Many other wrapping videos I’ve watched make a big deal about making sure the thumb is wrapped. What’s your take on this? Thanks

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Fran March 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Hiya Dan. Good question. Modern sparring and competition gloves protect the thumb really well, unlike the older style. The worst injury I had as a boxer was torn tendons in my right thumb, a long time ago using the old style gloves and during a fight. When hitting a heavy bag using bag gloves/mitts the risk of injuring the thumb is pretty slim, I certainly don’t ever recall seeing such an injury in the gym. So, all in all I think that the bit of bandage/wrap that would be used on the thumb would better serve the knuckles or the wrist, where the impact of the shot is at it’s greatest. Hope I explained that OK Dan. Thanks.

Reply

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