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How to Apply Boxing Hand and Wrist Wraps

Man putting on Hand Wraps before Boxing

Your hands get put through a lot during boxing, whether training in the gym or in the ring. The impact of punches can have a catastrophic effect on the tiny bones and joints in your fingers, knuckles, hands, and wrists if not protected correctly.

Properly wrapping your hands and wrists to keep your joints safe will significantly reduce the possibility of injury, improve your performance, and keep your hands in good condition in the long run. Here’s our guide to wrapping your hands and wrists for boxing.

How to Wrap your Wrists for Boxing in 10 Steps

Boxer putting on Hand Wraps

Boxers have lots of different methods for how to wrap wrist wraps for boxing, but the overall goal is the same: to secure all joints and moveable bones in place together so that none collapse or move in ways they shouldn’t during impact.

Here’s an easy technique for how to wrap wrist wraps boxing using boxing hand wrap so that all your joints are supported. Use the hand diagram below for reference.

Hand Diagram

1. Loop the thumb hook over your thumb and begin to wrap around the outside of your hand. Do not start by wrapping over the palm as this will cause your wrap to become loose when you close your fist. 

2. Wrap around your wrist three times. This is important for providing support to your wrist when you make an impact. For shorter wraps or larger hands, two times is sufficient. 

3. Next, wrap three times around the main area of your hand (the palm and the back) by circling between your thumb and index finger, and around the outer edge of your hand. At this point, you don’t need to worry about covering your knuckles.

4. On your third loop around the hand when the wrap is coming down over your palm, take it down and loop it underneath your thumb. 

5. Create the first of three ‘x’s on the back of your hand by:

a) Taking the wrap up over the back of your hand and in between your little finger and ring finger.

b) Across the ball of your hand and between your thumb and index finger. 

c) Across the back of your hand and down to the bottom side near your wrist.

d) Around your wrist.

5. Repeat step 5 by creating three more ‘x’s, each time going in between your fingers: first between your little finger and ring finger, then ring finger and middle, then middle and index.

6. At the end of your final ‘x’, wrap around your thumb, then wrap over the back of your hand and around, over the heel of your hand. 

7. Wrap behind your thumb and then take the wrap between your thumb and index finger over the ball of your hand. This changing of direction will give your thumb more support and help to hold the wrap in place.

8. Next, wrap around your knuckles three times. If you have extra length leftover use it to make more ‘x’s on the back of your hand or wrap your knuckles a few more times. 

9. Finish at the wrist and secure with velcro, ZO tape, or your tape of choice. 

How to Know You’re Wrapping Wrong

Usually, you’ll know you’ve wrapped your hands wrong because they just don’t feel ‘right’. Here are five ways to tell you’re wrapped wrong and need to re-wrap.

1. If you start to feel numbness or tingling in your hands and fingers or if your fingers start turning white it’s a sign that the wrap is too tight and that your blood circulation is being cut off.

2. If your wraps feel loose and move or rub noticeably against your hands when striking it’s a sign that they need to be tightened.

3. Being unable to make a fully closed fist is a sign there’s too much padding around your knuckles and fingers. Punching without a fully closed fist will put your wrist at risk of injury from too much movement when striking.

4. If your hands end up too bulky it’s a sign that you might need to use shorter wraps.

5. Feeling like some parts of your hands are more restricted is a sign that you’ve wrapped unevenly meaning that impact won’t be evenly distributed when you strike and putting your small joints at risk of an injury.

The Best Wrist Wraps for Boxing

There are three different types of boxing wrist wraps commonly used by fighters. Selecting the right type and length for you is the first step

Boxing Hand Wraps

Boxing hand wraps are designed specifically for boxing to offer robust support along the knuckle, fingers, and, and wrist of the boxer. They are tough, durable, and maintain joint alignment.

Boxing hand wraps come with a special thumb hook on one end to help hold the wrap in place and make wrapping easier. They also come with a velcro fastening to keep everything in place once you’ve completed the wrap.

Additional features of Sterosport Boxing Hand Wraps:

  • Made from 100% cotton
  • Machine washable
  • 177”.3.4 metres long

KO Wrap

KO Tape

KO wrap is a type of gauze wrap used by many boxers in both amateur and professional circles. Gauze hand wrapping is known to be the most protective and lightweight way to wrap your hands, but it can be tricky to get the hang of and you may need someone to help you the first few times you do it.

KO wrap isn’t self-adhesive and doesn’t come with velcro-like boxing hand wrap so you’ll need to use something to fasten it once your wraps are complete. If you’re covering your KO tape with boxing wrap or zinc oxide tape this shouldn’t be a problem. Some boxers simply use a piece of gaffa tape to secure the loose ends.

Additional features of Sterosport KO Wrap:

  • Flexible width-ways for comfort
  • 100% cotton
  • Machine washable

Conforming Bandage

Conforming bandage is a lightweight and stretchy bandage that cornermen often use as an alternative to KO wrap, wrapping it several times around for knuckles for extra padding before applying zinc oxide tape over the top.

Conforming bandage is well-known in the medical industry for its ease of use when bandaging injuries and holding dressings in place. The flexible quality of the bandage means it will conform to your hands as they move, making for highly comfortable boxing wraps for wrist support.

  • Fray-resistant.
  • CE-marked and NHS-approved.
  • Available in widths of 5cm, 7.5cm, 10cm, and 15cm.

Zinc Oxide Tape

Zinc Oxide Tape

Zinc oxide tape is a non-stretch, high-tensile rigid tape used to provide complete immobilisation of a joint. When applied, it provides powerful support and is often used to protect soft tissue injuries during healing.

Zinc Oxide tape is sometimes used together with other boxing wraps to give the knuckles, wrists, and hands the best boxing wraps for wrist support.

Additional features of Sterotape Zinc Oxide Tape:

  • 10-metre rolls at widths of 1.25cm–5cm
  • Non-irritant for sensitive skin
  • CE approved

This table shows a comparison of the pros and cons of different types of boxing wrist support wrap:

Type of tape Pros Cons
Boxing hand wrap
  • Made with velcro fasteners.
  • Reusable.
  • Extra-long for lots of room to wrap hands and fingers fully.
  • Built-in thumb strap for easy wrapping.
  • Some boxers prefer to double up with KO wrap underneath for added protection.
KO wrap (gauze)
  • Non-stretchy for high levels of protection.
  • Reusable.
  • Lightweight, 100% cotton.
  • Wrapping can take more time.
  • You may need assistance wrapping.
Conforming bandage
  • Excellent stretch and conforming properties for a great fit.
  • Permits air circulation.
  • Fray-resistant.
  • Found too thick for some boxers.

 

How to Wash Boxing Wrist Wraps

If your hand wraps can be reused like our boxing hand wrap, you’ll save a lot of money. To wash your wraps simply roll them up and put them into a net bag, then into the washing machine with your normal laundry.

Using a net bag will ensure your wraps stay together and don’t tangle up in the drum. After the cycle is done, unfurl the wraps and allow them to air dry fully before using them. Using wraps that are still damp can cause painful friction on your skin.

Boxing Safety and First Aid

Steroplast Medical Boxing First Aid Kit

Getting the technique for how to wrap your wrist for boxing right is just one of several critical safety precautions boxers have to take when they enter the ring. With a highly physical combat sport like boxing, every safety measure you put in place helps to prolong the match, as well as your long-term fighting career.

Find out what to look for in a good head guard, mouthguard, pair of gloves, and more in our article Essential Boxing Safety Equipment. From vital pre-match checks to mental health, we also cover eight absolute necessities in our article Essential Safety Tips for Boxing.

Good cutmen and cornermen always enter a match fully prepared for any eventuality. You never know when an emergency can strike and a fighter might need first aid treatment in a matter of seconds.

Make sure you have a fully stocked boxing first aid kit to hand at all times. Order one of our pre-filled kits or find out what needs to go into your boxing first aid kit in our blog. Back up your kit with all the necessary first aid qualifications and you’ll be as ready as you’ll ever need to be. Find out about boxing first aid training requirements in our article First Aid Courses for Sport.


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