The hands are susceptible to injuries when put through frequent and heavy impacts. The many small bones, tendons, and joints are easily damaged when they collide with a very hard object like the skull.
The primary reason fighters wrap their hands is to compact everything together and prevent injuries. Not to add power to the punches, as some people believe. Although, when a fighter feels his hands are safe, he does punch with a lot more power.
There are many different ways of wrapping hands, and none of them can be considered the one “correct” way. But I will give you my favorite way of wrapping hands for MMA and a few other suggestions. Then we will look at the different types of hand wraps and hopefully make your choice in the matter easier.
Fighters wrap their hands manly to protect them from nasty injuries. The main goal of the hand wrap is to maintain a tight and compact fist at all times. The wraps provide some extra cushioning on the knuckles. Still, they are the hardest part of the hand anyway, and the MMA gloves provide the majority of the padding there.
While boxers in bare-knuckle fights have their knuckles open, the wrist and hand behind the knuckle are usually wrapped in some way.
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Professional fighters in MMA, boxing, and other combat sports usually receive a professional wrap with tape and gauze. But even world champions don’t get these for every training session, so everyone should know how to wrap their own hands with a standard cotton hand wrap.
Here is one well-tried and tested way of doing it. This is using a 4.5-meter wrap. I strongly recommend getting the “Mexican style” wraps as they give you many more options for wrapping:
Find the loop and place it on your thumb. There is always a way to know which part is supposed to be down.
Wrap it around your wrist 3 times, relatively tight.
Go around your palm and the knuckles, then return to the wrist one more time.
Go between the pinky and the 4th finger, then around the wrist. Repeat for each finger, alternating between the fingers and wrist. It’s imperative to keep your fingers separated and extended, not loose. If you keep them loose while wrapping, the wrap will become too tight and obstruct blood circulation.
When you go between the fingers, make a tight fist, then extend the fingers once the wrap is around the wrist. Repeat a couple of times for each new turn.
After you’ve gone between all the fingers, you can go a couple of times around the knuckles. By this point, there should be a little wrap left. Use that around the wrist and finally close the Velcro strap.
That’s it. There are countless other options for wrapping your hands, and many of them are good. This one is suitable for MMA because it leaves the thumb open and free to move for grappling.
There are a few different types of hand wraps, each with its advantages and limitations.
Classic Cotton Hand Wraps
The standard hand wrap is essentially a long cloth piece you use to stabilize the hand and wrist for impact. They are cheap to buy, and once you learn how to use them properly, they protect the hands very well. The cotton wraps also soak up some inevitable sweat that will eventually destroy your precious boxing gloves.
A good hand wrap is 180 inches (4.5 meters) and is made from a blend of cotton and something elastic. This combination of materials and length is called “Mexican style” hand wraps and is the overwhelming favorite of fighters across all styles. The elasticity helps the wrap cover the hand more tightly, and the length is enough to pad the knuckles and brace the wrist and hand simultaneously.
There are some shorter hand wraps at around 120 inches, but naturally, they offer less protection and fewer ways of wrapping.
The only problem with the standard wrap is that it takes some time and technique. This is where the following category of hand wraps comes into play.
Inner gloves are also called “quick wraps.” They are small-sized gloves that double as knuckle protection. Inner gloves are very quick and easy to put on and require no skill whatsoever.
But regardless of how tight it is made, it can never compact the fist the same way a regular wrap can, which is its main downfall. The better models come with a long strap wrapped around the wrist and solve the wrist stability issue of the plain inner glove.
Another problem with inner gloves specific to MMA is that they generally can’t fit inside an MMA glove. While inner gloves fill in perfectly inside a 16 oz sparring pillow, it is a nightmare to try and squeeze inside a 4 oz MMA glove.
Tape and Gauze
By far, the best protection comes from wrapping the hands with tape and gauze, but this can only be done by another person who has the skill to do it. This type of wrapping is usually reserved only for fight night or for high-level professionals who can afford to have their hands wrapped by a coach every session.
Hand wraps are generally very inexpensive, and even the higher-end brands don’t charge a lot. Wraps go through much wear and tear anyway and must be changed frequently. Here are a couple of recommendations that will do an excellent job of protecting your primary means of offense and defense in MMA- the hands.
A high-quality Mexican-style hand wrap doesn’t need much else. The Ringside Mexican style hand wrap is the right length, the right blend of materials, and a trustworthy brand. Just choose the color to your liking and buy a couple of pairs.
The same concrete recipe for success for a very reasonable price. The Sanabul wraps even have a shinier design than the Ringside model. With that number of positive ratings, you can be sure you are purchasing a quality product.
RDX offers an excellent option for an inner glove that is quick to slip on for people who don’t want the hassle of wrapping their hands every training session. The polyester elastic fabric keeps the hand relatively tight while the gel padding is forgiving on the knuckles. A very important addition is the 75 cm long wrist hook and loop strap that secures the wrist almost as well as a regular Mexican wrap.
Wrapping your hands before you start hitting is paramount for their health and longevity in the sport. The wraps protect the bones, joints, and tendons in the hand and stabilize the wrist. Learning how to do it to feel safe and protected is essential. So take the time to experiment with a few different ways before you settle on the one you feel the most comfortable with. It may very well be the one explained in this article.