IKMS Martial Arts

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Hand wraps – Why, when, and how


hand wraps

Common questions we are asked in class are “should I be wearing hand wraps in class?” and “what’s the best way to wrap your hands?”

The short answer to these questions are “yes” and “that’s really a matter of personal preference” however it’s a little more complex than that in reality.

First, let us look at why hand wraps are used in many striking based arts. Fighters can generate a huge amount of power while punching. The levels of force involved can be massive and are capable of causing significant trauma and injury both to the opponent and the fighter. Broken bones in the hands and wrists are common as are soft tissue injuries. Wrapping the hands can provide additional protection and support to the fighter’s hands.

Types of hand wraps

Broadly speaking, there are two types of wraps; the combination of and gauze and tape type wraps often used by fighters competing, and the fabric wraps commonly used in training.

Gauze and tape type wraps tend to be used only for fighting (although some professionals use them in training) mainly due to the time taken to apply the wraps (they also need someone to apply them). The fabric type are easy to apply on your own and are quick to apply with a little practice.

In the striking arts like Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Boxing etc. hand wraps are used in conjunction with boxing gloves to form a ‘protection system’ for the hands. This offers maximum protection against the risk of injury when hitting pads, bags, or an opponent. Once applied they can be kept on easily for the complete session. In Krav Maga  training it’s not quite so simple. Although KM sessions can involve striking pads, bags, and opponents, they also often include weapon handling, grappling and other activities that can be hampered by wearing hard wraps.

It can soon become tiresome and a waste of valuable training time removing and reapplying wraps during a session, consequently, hand wraps are often left out of KM sessions.

One possible compromise for Krav Maga sessions is the use of gel filled inner gloves. These gloves are available from may of the leading brands and while they aren’t quite as good as wraps for support, they are very quick to put on and take off.

Benefits of Hand Wraps

  • Supports the wrist
  • Isolates and secures the thumb
  • Protects knuckles
  • Reduces the risk of injury
hand wraps

Fabric wraps

Fabric hand wraps are themselves broken down with a few different options. Some hand wraps have a stretch to them (often you’ll find these as ‘Mexican’ hand wraps), meaning they fit the hand tighter and often form to the shape of the hand a lot closer, and then some hand wraps are non-stretch, which are usually (but not always) a slightly thicker material which fits slightly differently and doesn’t risk being too tight. Both types will do a great job at keeping you safe, so the fit is really down to what you prefer.

They also come in a variety of lenghts ranging from around 2.5m to 4.5m.

How to apply wraps

There are many ways to apply hand wraps and you’ll find a plethora of articles and instructional videos online describing ‘the best way’. In reality there is no magic method. It really come down to personal preference.We recommend trying a few methods and see what works best for you. The videos below show two of our preferred methods.

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