Learn how to wrap your hands to increase punching power and prevent injury. I learned this from Wildcard Boxing gym. Tested and approved by the pros.
Why Wrap Your Hands?
Then handwrap’s purpose is to protect a boxer’s most important weapon, his hands! The hands are made up of many small joints and small bones that could easily fracture from the impact of repeated punches. Handwraps are there to hold your hand together providing support for your wrists, fingers, knuckles, and the entire hand itself.
Many people incorrectly think handwraps are for extra cushion or protection for your knuckles.
The handwrap’s purpose is NOT to cushion the impact; that’s what the boxing gloves are for.
The handwraps are there to secure all your loose joints and moveable bones. The handwrap fastens all your joints together so the shock is better distributed across your entire hand. You don’t want your joints to be moving freely and independently when the hand strikes an object. You can suffer a fracture if joints are moving in their own direction.
A properly wrapped hand
will tighten into a solid fist when the hand is closed.
If your hands are loose when you punch, it’s very easy for small joints in your hand to collapse over each other and break. Even if you don’t break your hand, you don’t want to risk hand injuries that prevent you from doing other things in life like typing on a computer, holding a pen, or carrying things. Save your hands for life after boxing!
How to Wrap Your Hands
You will need a pair of handwraps. A good length is 180″, but small hands can do with just 120″. The semi-elastic, also known as “Mexican wraps” are my favorite for their comfort and performance. You should avoid any thick inelastic handwraps or handwrap gloves, these do not offer the same level of support. (The gel handwraps do not tighten your fist when you close your hands.)
OK, LET’S BEGIN!
1. Loop the thumb and wrap BEHIND the hand
You go down the back of the hand so the handwrap tightens when you make a fist.
If you run the wrap down the front of the hand, the handwrap loosens when you make a fist. It’s annoying to have to re-wrap midway through your workout.
2. Three times around the wrist
This provides support for the wrist. If you have short handwraps or big hands, you can do just 2 times. Some fighters like having loose wrists (for angled hooks and uppercuts).
3. Three times around the hand
You’re wrapping around the palm of your hand. Don’t worry so much about covering the knuckles.
Bring it down to the back of your thumb.
4. Three X’s through the fingers
Now you begin to create X’s on the back of your hand as the handwrap goes between your fingers and crosses the back of your hand. This part pulls your knuckles together for support but keeps your knuckles separated so they don’t collapse or break over each other.
Wrap between your pinky and ring fingers.
Now over to the side.
Now down to the bottom of your hand. The handwrap forms an “X” on the back of your hand.
Now back to the top of your thumb again.
Now between the middle and ring fingers.
The second “X” is formed.
Back to the top of the thumb and now between index and middle fingers.
Now the third and final “X” is formed. All fingers properly separated.
Finish on top of the thumb.
5. Around the thumb
Go once around the thumb.
Now go down the back of the hand.
6. Lock the thumb
Go behind the thumb…pay attention carefully to the next step.
Go down the palm instead of wrapping all the way around the thumb. This further secures the thumb and locks the handwrap into place so it doesn’t get loose while you fight. (Notice how the handwrap changes directions.)
7. Three times around the knuckles
Now go around the knuckles.
8. Extra wraps and finish at the wrist
If you still have extra wraps left over you can do some more “X’s” around the back of your hand.
You can also wrap the knuckles some more. Don’t wrap so thick that your hand won’t fit in the gloves.
Finish at the wrist. You can secure the velcro right on the wrist for maximum wrist support. Some boxers like to finish above the wrist so their hand can bend a little more for hooks and uppercuts.
Congratulations! A perfect handwrap. Isn’t she beautiful? Go ahead, admire your work, make a fist.
A perfect handwrap
will tighten your fist when you close your hand.
- Everything should feel good. The hand is relaxed when you’re not making a fist, and tightens when you close your hand. If your hands hurt after just 30 minutes or your fingers are turning white, it’s probably too tight. There are many ways to wrap your hands. As long as you’re protecting your hands and properly securing the bones together, that’s all that matters.
- Tight Wrist vs Loose Wrist. Some fighters love throwing more powerful straights and will concentrate more wrapping right on the wrist. (Some fighters will put one layer of tape around their wrists right before wrapping their hands for a stiff right hand.) Other fighters want less wraps on their wrists to allow more flexibility for hooks and uppercuts.
- Professional fighters do wrap their hands a bit differently. They use longer wraps and add extra padding for their knuckles. The need the added protection because of how hard they punch and how long they’ve been boxing for.
- Thanks to Pepper Roach (Freddie Roach’s brother) from Wildcard Boxing Gym for teaching me this. After learning 3-4 other ways of wrapping my hands over the years, I have to admit this method is my favorite. I call it the “X-method with the thumb-lock”.
Wrapping the hands is every boxer’s daily ritual. It’s the ten minutes where every athlete/student/office worker transforms into a boxer. Do it right to protect your hands for use inside and outside of the ring.
For those who keep asking, these are my favorite handwraps!
(180″ semi-elastic stretch cotton)